Some people like to plan out their outfits before they go to bed and set everything out so they can get dressed in the morning quickly and easily. I am not one of those people. I consider myself organized if I manage to lay out my clothes before I get in the shower. Yet I'm pretty stylish, if I say so myself. What's my secret?
Actually it's several secrets.
I don't mean that you should know your taste - though you should. When we stare into the closet and say that we don't have anything to wear, what we mean is that we don't have anything to wear FOR WHO WE HAVE TO BE THAT DAY.
You dress one way on date night, and another way for parent-teacher conferences. Your "looking good is the best revenge" outfit that you wear for dinner with an old frenemy would be a bit much for lunch with your best friend.
Knowing who you have to be today automatically rules out some of your wardrobe, narrowing down your options.
Of course, most of us have to be several people throughout the day. You meet with clients during the day and then pitch in at a fundraiser in the evening. One day I had lunch at a fancy-ish Italian restaurant and dinner at a BBQ restaurant in a gas station. (yes, really.) A change of accessories can go a long way. (It also helps that I'd resolved to be the most overdressed person in the Midwest.)
If you have the time, you may be able to come up with an outfit that works for everyone you have to be that day, but when you're in a hurry it's easier to just grab a change of shoes and a second jacket.
For some women it's the Little Black Dress or Little Navy Dress, for others it's a fabulous pair of pants. Print dresses are especially useful here because they stand on their own. Black and navy dresses are versatile, but unless you're going for a minimalist look you'll still need to pick a jacket.
Know What Works
I know which of my separates go together. When I don't have time to experiment, I know that this top works with this skirt, but not that one. You can't go wrong with palazzo pants - as long as you know which tops to wear with them. (It's something closer fitting, maybe even a top you tuck in.)
I have a darling aqua skirt and one (maybe 2) tops that go with it. When I'm in a hurry, I can't take the time to search around for that shirt.
But off the top of my head, I can think of 3 long sleeve tops that go with my black palazzo pants. No wait - 4. If one of those tops is in the laundry, I still have options. Why? Because the pants are black. When I have time to get ready, I can pick which top I most feel like wearing. When I'm in a rush, I can just go with the first one I find. I have navy pants and tan pants that are just as convenient.
Not that every outfit needs to include neutrals. But when you're in a rush, you need to make things easy. If I had a few more tops that went with the aqua skirt, it could be one of my rushed outfits too. (Note to self: go shopping.)
Plan Ahead (Sometimes)
It's a lot easier to throw together an outfit when you have a well stocked closet. Invest in reliable pieces, but also treat yourself. A statement jacket or top can instantly transform an outfit into something special - but only if you already own it.