Ask Laia: I Can't Decide What To Wear In The Morning To Save My life

"In my darker moments, I have even gotten all the way to the subway before turning around to change."

Jun 24, 2011 at 5:02pm | Leave a comment

Dear Laia, I know you're not a shrink, but I'm coming to you with an issue that's more psychological than style. I often become paralyzed by the process of getting dressed in the morning. It doesn't help that it's morning and my creative synapses aren't exactly firing away. But it's also hard to anticipate what I'll feel like wearing that afternoon and often that night, after work. It's just too much to think about! It can take me about 45 minutes to get dressed and, in my darker moments, I have even gotten all the way to the subway before turning around to change. Is this common? Or do I have OCD? And what are your tips for just getting dressed and getting on with it in the morning?

Thanks, Suzy

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Oh Suzy, I completely understand where you are coming from, although I was a bit surprised at you turning around to get dressed after you've reached the subway. I've never done that (but I'm also SO lazy). I have a small window to spend getting dressed in the morning without making all my morning activities "run late" so I try to think about what I'm wearing the night before. I often figure out what I'm wearing the next day at some point during the day; either because something or someone I see during my day inspires me, or because it's the first day I can wear my favorite outfit again in the rotation. 

Oh and yes, have favorite outfits you wear in a rotation. I like to give it a full seven days before I repeat a full look with the same people, but have been known to repeat outfits two days in a row if I'm really feeling them and am not running into the same people (mostly in the winter though, I don't like to wear smelly clothes!). That being said, sometimes the acquisition of a new pair of jeans or a new skirt means that I wear it every.day. for weeks at a time. It makes getting dressed every morning super easy and I feel good because I'm wearing my new favorite whatever.

Think about your "default style." What is the first thing you think to wear when you have nothing special to do and just feel like "being you" (haha sorry if that sounds so corny). For me that is jeans and a t-shirt, so any time that I notice I'm running out of time to get dressed I'll probably end up wearing my favorite jeans and either a button-down shirt or a slouchy tee depending on level of casual/heat involved that day. You can also think about your "default party style": do you usually end up wearing dresses or tops and skirts to parties? Did you wear something to your cousin's wedding recently that you know looks good? This kinda stuff will come in handy when all your planned party outfits ended up being a bust and you only have 5 minutes before you HAVE to leave the house to make it to the place semi on-time. It takes some practice to automatically give in to your tried-and-trues, but they really will make your life easier.

It might also be helpful if you stop thinking about what you'll feel like wearing "that afternoon" and "that night" and start thinking about what you'll wear all day. This might seem like some "this is something/this is nothing" mumbo-jumbo, but if you don't HAVE the option of changing twice during the day, why even let yourself think about those things? You are only complicating your choices.

If you have an event in the afternoon or evening that requires you–or maybe you just want–to dress a certain way, then let that one outfit be the guide for the day. And yes this might be easier to pull off if you don't have a strict business dress code, but it still applies if you do just in a less easy way (sorry). So if you're having after-work fancy drinks with the in-laws then maybe you throw a blazer or a sweater over your favorite dress during work and bring a pair of heels in your bag to change into later. Of course it doesn't need to be that specific, it can even be about just wearing something more casual and comfortable to work because you are going to see a band after work.

I hope these help? I know it sounds like I'm saying you should think about clothes ALL THE TIME (which I doso you don't have to) BUT, you know, just use some of that time on the train spent trying to decipher where the smell is coming to figure more out about your personal style. Good luck!

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