Friday, January 18, 2013

Keep Chic and Carry On

Wardrobe planning can help to ensure that, if nothing else, you will look good amidst the chaos.

Have you ever noticed how some people seem able to keep it all together, regardless of what is going on in their life? No matter what kind of action-filled, chaotic events are happening during their week, certain people have that je ne sais quoi. They invariably seem in control and together. Conversely, there are some people that, if the wind blows the wrong way, they fall apart. They are often frazzled and flustered-- and usually this is reflected in their attire. Perhaps their clothing is wrinkled, their hair is undone, and they usually seem very tired. Clearly, being frazzled is so not chic.

What is different about these two kinds of people? The chic and the... not-so-chic? It is not necessarily a matter of time-- everyone has the same 24 hours in the day, and everyone has responsibilities and obligations. Yet some people let their daily tasks get the best of them. They become overwhelmed and their appearance is often the first thing that is sacrificed in the line of duty. Often these people are apologetic or embarrassed about how they look. When a day's tasks are building up, why add to the stress with feelings of guilt and embarrassment? Your appearance can become a place of confidence and refuge. When things start getting hectic, wouldn't it be nice to reassure yourself with the notion that, if nothing else, at least your knickers match?

This kind of confidence does not happen by accident. What distinguishes the chic from the chaotic is a matter of planning ahead and being prepared. Although most people accept this mantra in regard to everyday tasks and responsibilities, many are not aware that it is also especially true when it comes to one's attire.

For example, I had an extra chaotic week (which should explain my lack of updates!) because the spring semester started at the college where I work. I had to be at my teaching job from about 10 a.m. until 4 p.m., then I had to go to my nighttime editing job at the newspaper from 5 p.m. until about 12:30 a.m. Then begin it all again the next day. This first week of the semester, I knew, would be completely ridiculous. When you are working 15-hour days, you do not want to spend any more time than absolutely necessary on your day's attire-- take it from me! But I also recognize the truth in the expression, "When you look good, you feel good." I knew that feeling confident in my appearance would make my outlook much more positive, and I would feel overall less anxiety if I wasn't ashamed or embarrassed of how I looked for the day.

I knew for some time that this busy week was beginning on Monday, so on Saturday I created a list of outfits that I would wear each day of the week that would transition well from teaching (professional) to editing (relaxed). Notice that I began my wardrobe planning on Saturday-- not Sunday! This was because I wanted time to check my closet to make sure that the outfits I planned were actually possible. I wanted an extra day to iron, wash, or locate any items that were not immediately wearable from my closet. I also didn't want to count on wearing a certain pair of shoes or trousers if they were dirty or lost. I grouped the days' outfits together in my closet, so during the morning I was literally able to grab and go.

These few minutes of planning saved me quite a bit of time in the mornings-- I didn't have to spend precious minutes agonizing over what to wear, searching for lost shoes or dirty clothes, or making any last minute wardrobe changes to accommodate the days' activities. The best part was feeling confident knowing that, even if I wasn't completely in control of my day, it wasn't outwardly obvious. There is some truth to the expression, "Fake it 'til you make it!" Looking the part of an in-control, stylish powerhouse is a big step toward actually feeling like (and becoming!) one.

Wardrobe planning can actually become a means of stress management. A few minutes of preparation before the chaos starts can save you a lot of time and worry-- no more frantic mornings in front of the closet bemoaning how you have nothing to wear! It can also eliminate feelings of guilt and embarrassment, which often emerge when one looks (pardon the expression) like "a hot mess." Planning ahead can help you to feel more in control and confident, and confidence is very chic.

What do you do to keep it together during times of stress?

The above photo was taken by me in Naburg, Germany in 2010.


  1. No wonder you always look so fashionable and well put together! That's a great idea to plan for the whole week in advance.

  2. You are too kind! Yes, I did find that planning for the week added up to save me quite a bit of time in the mornings.

  3. This reminded me of your blog!