Make the most of your busy mornings with these tips for getting dressed faster each day.
I consider myself to be a morning person, somebody who would rather get up early than stay up late at night. I have more energy and a better mood at the beginning of the day. I often joke that from six o’clock to bedtime, I’m just trying to keep everyone alive! My advice today is coming to you from somebody who is a morning person.
I know at least half of you are not morning people. The struggles that I’m going to talk about today aren’t specific to people who are not morning people. Even people who enjoy their mornings and are at their freshest and best in the mornings still struggle with these things because the truth is that choosing our clothes can be easy or it can be hard.
If it’s hard for you, it’s probably because you’re expending way too much energy on this morning person or not. Today, I want to dig into this concept a little bit more and try to help you find some ways to make it simpler so your mornings can be smoother and more peaceful.
So you can get on with your day faster instead of standing in your closet for way too long, feeling super frustrated, and still ending up feeling frumpy and blah at the clothes that you chose for that day.
A little bit of background information here: I am a night shift wife. I have been a night shift wife for the full 10, almost 11 years of my marriage. My husband worked the night shift when I met him, and that is just how it has always been in our marriage. At this point, it’s a great thing for us because he comes home in the morning and he’s able to manage and help with some of our younger kids while I do school with our older kids.
He’s also available more days off during parts of the week so we can go do fun activities when all the other kids are in school. If we go to a jumping place with our kids, we have the place to ourselves and it just allows us a lot of freedom as a family.
I’ve adapted at this point, so it would be so weird to me if my husband had a nine-to-five Monday through Friday job. I think I would lose my mind a little bit because he has actually worked a few days of that schedule and it just feels terrible.
Have you ever seen those magazine clippings from the forties or the fifties that advise how to be a good wife? I’m not going to get into the rights and wrongs or pros and cons of something from half a century ago but I always remember there’s something on there that says that when your husband gets home, you should be dressed and you should fluff your hair or freshen your lipstick.
You should look fresh when your husband gets home. As a night shift wife whose husband gets home around eight o’clock in the morning, that’s a tough call sometimes. Especially as I am about to have my seventh baby and my sleep has been chaotic and unpredictable for the last decade. Some nights it’s great, some nights it’s not.
Trying to be dressed and ready by eight o’clock every single day when you don’t have to leave the house and don’t have to be anywhere it’s hard. For those of you who have to get kids to school or go to work, work, I sympathize with you. Truly I do because, I would be a hot, hot mess. But as my kids have gotten older, we’ve gotten much more predictable with our schooling schedule. We try not to fly by the seat of our pants
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Get Dressed Fast: Nightshift Mornings – School by 8:30
I do need to be functional and ready for my day by 8:00 or 8:30 because that’s when we start our morning time for our school. A quick overview of my morning routine, I usually wake up and do some bible study and some prayer time. Some days it’s five minutes and some days it’s 45 minutes.
It just depends on how the littles have slept and how I’ve slept and everything else. Then I usually get up and I get dressed, unless it’s a shower day which is a completely chaotic day that I’m not even going to talk about. Then I go into the living room, sit down, and brain-dump my stuff for the day that I need to do.
At 7:30, I know that my husband will be home in 30 minutes so I get up and I start breakfast. That leaves me until 7:30 to get dressed because once he runs in the door it’s breakfast, and then the kids want to hang out, and then it’s time to do school. If I don’t manage to get up super early and I don’t get dressed before he gets home, whatever. But I definitely will do it after breakfast between him getting home and starting school.
For me, 8:30 is the cutoff that I have to be dressed and ready for my day. But I also want you to know that even though this is my rule, that has not always been the case. I have over the years stayed in pajamas way too many times or didn’t get dressed for multiple reasons: I didn’t feel like it, didn’t like my clothes, or didn’t want to make a decision.
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Get Dressed Fast: 17 Minutes
This brings me to why sometimes we don’t want to get dressed. There’s this statistic that says that the average woman spends 17 minutes deciding what to wear every day. The thought of somebody spending more than 17 minutes doing this just blows my mind, to be honest. That’s a lot of time.
If you do the math, it adds up to well over a hundred hours a year which is a huge waste of our potential and our time. Things that are so valuable and so fleeting that we are potentially wasting by taking so much time getting dressed. I don’t know if I’ve ever spent 17 minutes deciding what to wear.
Maybe when I was in my twenties and my friends and I were going to go out. I do recall spending mornings going through multiple outfits. The kind of morning where you put something on, throw it on the floor, and then put something else on and throw it on the floor.
Maybe you’re more organized and you hung it back up. But for me, I would just throw it on the floor or in a heap somewhere on the bed or the floor. I call this the discarded pile of frustration because you put it on and it just feels wrong so you try again and again.
Eventually, you realize that you are running out of time, that you have to be wherever it is that you’re going, whether it’s cooking breakfast, or you have to be out the door to go to work, or your kid has to be to school. You’re stuck and you’re wearing whatever you’re wearing, no matter how it makes you feel because you couldn’t decide.
After all, decision-making is difficult. Having said that, I would like to share with you three pretty quick tips for the things that have helped me to stop this cycle of frustration and decision-making. I now choose my clothes in about two minutes.
It takes me less time to choose than it does to put them on my body as I walk around and answer everyone’s questions about the day and gather things from places that aren’t always in the same room. It probably takes me longer to wrap my hair than it does to get dressed and choose my clothes. This process is really fast for me.
Get Dressed Fast Tip #1: Night Before
The first tip that I have for you is to take the time that you’re choosing what to wear and move it to the night before. You’re already in the storage space of your clothes because you’re changing out of whatever you wore yesterday into your pajamas.
Unless you’re completely chaotically, unorganized like me, and your pajamas are in a different room than your clothes or you didn’t empty the dryer, totally guilty on that one. Maybe your pajamas are in the dryer and your clothes go in the closet. I don’t know. Typically you’re going to be in the same room.
What does it cost you at the end of the day to go ahead and pick out what you’re going to wear the next day?
The great thing about this is that not only does it shift that decision-making from first thing in the morning to the end of the day, but it also lets you assess the state of clothes that you’re planning to wear. It allows you to pre-think also about the weather, about the events that you’re attending, about what you’re doing, and about dressing for the occasion.
It also lets you look over the things that you pick and see, if it has a stain, needs to be washed or mended, if it still fits you. All of these things you can assess the night before so that when the morning comes, you’re not blindsided by these surprises that are in your wardrobe.
Sometimes I get some pushback when I say this, and people tell me, they’ve tried that or they don’t always feel like wearing what they picked out when the next day comes. Usually, that’s because they’ve chosen something too complex and the day comes and it feels too hard. I get this, I have days where what I’ve chosen to wear just doesn’t align with what the day holds for me.
Get Dressed Fast Tip #2: Own Less
The next best thing you can do is to own less. Sometimes I will pick out a dress that has a fitted waist and the day comes and I’m like, nope, we’re not wearing that today. I’m not doing any squeezing of any parts of my body. I need something way more comfortable than that particular dress.
So I look in my closet. Even though I’m still having to make this decision again, I can guarantee you it’s not going to take more than three to five minutes. Because when I turn around, I don’t have a hundred, 150, 200 pieces of clothing to choose from. I have about 20 dresses. I counted them yesterday and I have 21.
Maybe some of you’re thinking, well, that’s a lot of dresses to choose from, but it’s not, because the reality is, is that four of them are the same, another four of them are the same, another four of them are the same, and three of them are fancy and not everyday dresses.
I don’t have a ton of choices. I only have a few styles to choose from. Everything in my closet is carefully curated by color and by style. It all matches, it all goes together. This is one of the things that’s amazing about minimizing your wardrobe and creating a capsule – you just have less to choose from.
I don’t know if you’ve ever talked to your husband about going to a restaurant and he’s like, “I don’t know, babe, pick whatever you want.” You’ve got 50 or 60 restaurants to choose from. It’s almost impossible to make a decision. Sometimes I’ll tell my husband to give me two choices and I’ll pick one. Your brain functions so much better when you have a smaller pool to choose from. That is what owning less in your wardrobe can give you.
Get Dressed Fast Tip #3: Wear the Same Thing
My final tip for you, and this goes hand in hand with what I was saying about owning less is to wear the same thing. When you heard me going through my 20 dresses, you may have heard me say I have four of one dress, four of another dress, and three of another dress. This is how my wardrobe functions. I wear only dresses and typically order them all from the same place.
When I order them, I order three to four colors in the same exact style because it makes getting dressed so easy for me. I know that dress A in four different colors goes with cardigan style A in two different colors. All I have to do is grab one of each. There’s no thought about whether this top looks good with this bottom or whether this cut of pants looks good with this sweater.
I don’t have to make those decisions. I’m not saying you need to go to a dress-based wardrobe to get this kind of outcome, just wear the same thing. When I say the same thing, I mean the same silhouette of clothing. Wearing the same style of clothing every single day, changing up the colors, the prints, and changing up your accessories, shoes, and jewelry gives you so much freedom.
It gives you back time and your sanity because you should not have to stand in your closet for 17 minutes every day trying to figure out what to wear. That’s a ridiculous amount of time. That is time being stolen from your life and the people in it which is infinitely more important than the clothes you’re wearing.
The other day I was sitting down and I was thinking back through my journey and the first time I discovered capsule wardrobes because someone had asked me why I do this. I think I was working on some marketing stuff and I thought to myself, why was I so intrigued by this concept that it’s become this guiding light to my closet and formed a business?
It has to be just the simplicity of having less and getting more out of it. Being free to truly love the things in your closet and to be happy with what you’re putting on your body. To not focus on your flaws and your perceived flaws, but just to get dressed and live your life and not let your clothing or your style or how you feel about yourself be such a defining characteristic of how your day goes.
That’s really what all of this does when we simplify, when we take the time to choose our clothes the night before when we mindfully start to cut things out own less. Sometimes I sit around and think to myself, I want this or I want that, but I just want my life to be simple and sweet and joyfully full of whatever God has for me.
I don’t want to be plagued with these kinds of decisions and I don’t want to be troubled by thoughts of myself that are negative. I just want to show up for my family, show up for my business, and show up for the things that God is asking me to do in a way that makes space for what’s important and allows me to get rid of the things that aren’t.
I encourage you to stop wasting your mornings. Stop feeling overwhelmed with this one thing that you can shift to make easier. You can cut 15 minutes off of that and take back a hundred hours of your life every year. What would you do with a hundred extra hours a year of your life?
Surely it’s not standing in your closet and fretting and worrying and being frustrated over the clothes that you wear.
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These three tips will help you get dressed faster in the morning so you can focus on your most important things.
Stacey is the owner and creator behind Radiantly Dressed. She is a certified image consultant and AICI member focusing on creating simplicity in wardrobes via color and style.