It’s one of the few rituals we all have in common: getting dressed. Five writers weigh in on how they tackle this daily ritual, and not one describes their process as easy. How does yours compare?

(Disclaimer: The wardrobes pictured in this story are for aesthetic value – they’re not ours.)

 

Prep is everything

The amount of time it takes me to leave my house looking like a snack, or reasonably decent, is largely dependant on the level of preparation that takes place a day or the night before. It’s usually the process of preparation that demands the bulk of my time and energy. It often includes finding what I want, discovering gems that I have somehow forgotten, ironing, coordinating clothes with shoes and a handbag, and internally debating whether I have added too much gold to one look. Without this simple plan in place, I resign myself to a chaotic 30 to 40-minute scramble. On a good day, five good minutes is all I need.

Of course, the weather plays a role in what I decide to wear, so if I’ve missed the news I’ll generally check my weather app to try and avoid vibe-killing surprises. I do feel like I can improve my routine by making an effort to switch up my wardrobe at least twice a month so that I don’t fall into the trap of rotating the same five items when there’s an entire cupboard full of other clothes.

– Lindo Buthelezi

 

 

Double check, then let it go

On average, I definitely take about 5 minutes or less to get dressed in the morning. (Unless someone is watching me. Not in a creepy way, but sitting on my bed chatting to me. I can’t make wardrobe decisions like that).

I used to a) be a relentless weather-checker and b) plan my outfit the night before work every day. The weather checking became too much, I would look outside and then go to my phone and re-check Google Weather to make sure. It was the first signs of dementia I thought, so I tried to decrease the amount of re-checking.

And although the outfit planning gave me a sense of calm before I hopped into bed at night, knowing I’d wake up and would be able to zombie through the first bit of the morning, was satisfying; but I needed a change.

So, I stopped planning my outfit every night, instead I do so now maybe twice a week. And I dropped checking the weather so much, and decided to keep it a bit more spontaneous and loose.

Subsequently, some of my new favourite outfits have spawned out of this new, albeit sometimes rushed, experimental morning madness routine. Without planning carefully, I’ve paired unexpected items and it garnered very favourable results that even sparked joy, like a pink and white striped shirt matched with a black and white polka dotted blazer.

– Lucy Black

 

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At a whim

I take way too long. Before you take out your notepads and start judging me, allow me to explain.

My outfit choices are directly inspired by my mood on a specific day. By virtue of this trait, it immediately rules out the option of getting my outfits ready the night before.

The weather plays a considerable role in my outfit decisions. Naturally, my aesthetic is heavily weighted towards winter clothing with items such as my Dr Martens Boots, a variety of coats and polo necks being part of my staple diet. I guess the combination of the above-mentioned points is the exact reason why time is such a sensitive topic between my friends and me (omg, I still love you guys though).

This begs the question: How do I do better as a human being? And the answer? I really do not know. To be fair, more clothes wouldn’t hurt. Also, nothing tests your creativity and time management skills like a Thursday morning with no clean shirts and a mind full of exciting outfit ideas – *sighs dramatically.*

– Odwa Zamane

 

 

A dependable formula

When I was a fashion assistant, I once slept through a 6 am call time and only arrived at 10 am, near tears. Believe it or not, that wasn’t the worst morning I’ve had. In general, my mornings are a mess, and as a result, so is getting dressed.

I can take anything from 10 minutes to an hour, depending on the time and my mental state – I don’t sleep very well these days and I wake up with almost daily headaches. You don’t think your internal health will affect your style until it does! I sleepwalk through getting dressed, so having a few dependable formulas in my head helps. It’ll all look sharper and more fun when I get myself together (in other words, the tomorrow that may never come.)

Weekends are easy and evenings are better, mainly because my nights out are so few and far between that I have time to plan. I don’t often set out my outfits, but I am pretty good at planning a few options in my head to try on ahead of time. More often than not, they look how I thought they would look and I’m good to go. That turns total prep time into 40 minutes with makeup (if ever), and 20 minutes without (almost always).

– Modupe Oloruntoba

 

Put those #OOTDs to good use

I know this may be a little Cher Horowitz of me, but I keep a digital catalogue of my outfits on my phone. What started as a cute way to stay in touch with my best friend (who lives in another province) soon became a really cool and convenient way for me to catalogue most of my looks. When I’m feeling a little stuck or lazy I swipe through my photos and find the ensembles that really worked and the ones that really didn’t, and then I find new ways to put different pieces together.

Honestly, this has made getting dressed in the morning so much easier and has encouraged me to take more fashion risks. The weather obviously plays a huge role in what I choose to wear that day, but with the option of simply throwing one of my puffers on to fight the cold, I am definitely not as limited as I was a few years ago when it came to cold-weather dressing.

– Nicci Groenmeyer