Life Hacks: Getting dressed.

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Getting dressed is a process these days. My clothes are in about six different locations around our apartment, and after finding a box of clothes, I then begin the Russian roulette of “what fits today,” a game that has more loaded bullets by the day. But the process of packing up my clothes and sorting through them has reminded me that getting dressed can be one of the most stressful parts of the day, and yet is really important. I am not a fashionista, not overly bold with my clothes, and not someone who invests a lot of time in following fashion. But I do love clothes, do pay attention to what I like, and do believe that the clothes we wear affect how we feel about the day. When I feel confident with how I look, I act confident, and feel stronger for whatever the day holds.

I am not qualified to give out fashion advice, and I am happy to leave that to the legions of fashion bloggers out there. But here are my tiny life hacks for feeling content with my clothes — not some mythical wardrobe that I don’t and will never have — and feeling equipped to make getting dressed something that prepares me to face the day instead of an afterthought.

  • Purge your closet. You know how I feel about a good closet purge! Ever since my giant purge last spring, I have kept up a policy of only keeping things in my closet that I love and it is so freeing. Yes, I have some items that might only get worn once or twice a year – cocktail attire, Easter dress, etc. A minimalist might ditch those. But I love them, so they stay.
  • Stop buying clothes. Towards the end of last summer, I decided to stop buying any sort of clothing until Christmas. And it was wonderful. It gave me time to really push my wardrobe to its limits and more importantly, it helped me realize that the average American woman does not need as many new things as she compulsively buys. For pregnancy, I have purchased two items, received three as gifts, and then got a couple bags of hand-me-downs from a friend, and I am hoping to not spend any more money on this temporary time.
  • Imagine what you want when you “have nothing to wear.” Sometimes, you really do have nothing to wear and you need to buy clothes. But instead of just buying, make it intentional. When I am staring at my clothes and finding nothing, I imagine what I wish I were finding in the recesses of my closet. My shopping thus becomes intentional and actually fills a void. When I first moved to DC, I kept on feeling poorly dressed every time I had to go to something marked “business casual.” I kept hoping to reach in my closet and some sleek black dress that could pass for business, if people showed up in suits, or cocktail, if everyone else turned out in sequins. Instead, I kept coming up with cute Target sundresses and short Parisian miniskirts, accented by the occasional polyester blend printed dress that was holding on from early college. I spent the next year buying a couple dresses to fit this bill, and letting go of the others, and I now feel 100% confident when I have to show up to one of these ambiguously labeled events.
  • Organize your closet. You might have wonderful clothes, but can’t find them – can’t wear them.
  • If you know it’s going to be a rough day, take extra care with your hair. It’s like having a super power. And once you’ve done your hair once- dry shampoo that head as long as possible! I curl mine using this flat iron (pricey, but I’ve had mine for 5 years and it’s still going strong!), and I can make it last 2-3 days (unless I go running) with some generous dry shampoo application. I am by no means monogamous with my dry shampoo and have tried many, but I am currently crushing hard on this one.
  • Wear bold lipstick and simple stud earrings. They coves a multitude of sins. For me, I like to think that they cover the one where I actually have no clue how to wear makeup and always forget to put on jewelry. My favorites for lipstick are ever and always, this line and this line.

But now, I’m asking you people who are snazzy dressers and always looking enviably. What are your hacks to looking awesome every day? Give me all the secrets.

Image via here.

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14 Responses to Life Hacks: Getting dressed.

  1. Wendy says:

    I by no means look awesome even 60% of the time, but one thing that I have learned about maternity clothes (at least), is that it is worth spending on *some* things. I did the “I can make my normal wardrobe work for my pregnancy!” thing during my first pregnancy, and it kinda worked, but 1) by the time I was eight and nine months pregnant, I was able to wear about five things, and then 2) several months after Emma was born and I was a more normal size again, I realized that all my clothes were stretched out and I had to buy new ones anyway. And in my first pregnancy, I didn’t buy a pair of maternity jeans; finally, a generous friend lent me her maternity wardrobe (and she had a full wardrobe), and I can’t describe how amazing it felt. to wear jeans again! I felt human. during my second pregnancy, I got a good pair of maternity jeans and a handful of maternity shirts, as well as a couple nice maternity dresses (because dresses and tights ftw). I have two pairs of super-stretched yoga pants that I’ve worn through all three pregnancies now (they didn’t start out maternity, but now they are…). Now I’ve got a “maternity capsule wardrobe,” of sorts, which I definitely recommend. it’s not much, but it saves the rest of my normal clothes from getting stretched out and ruined.

    • E.H says:

      Thank you for your ideas! These were very helpful.

    • Rebekah says:

      Yes, I agree with Wendy! You probably won’t feel great by the end of your pregnancy– no matter how well it goes, you’ll still be packing 20+ extra awkwardly placed pounds– so a couple pairs of cute, comfortable pants and several nice shirts (also dresses!) will help A LOT with morale. 😉

      I have only been hugely pregnant in fall and winter, but if I ever have a summer pregnancy I’m going to wear cropped jeans and dresses– pregnancy shorts are ridiculous. They never fit me right.

      • Hannah says:

        I did get a pair of nice maternity jeans and a couple dresses, but as my friend loaned me most of her pregnancy wardrobe, I really hope I can make it! She has tons of tanks, blouses, sweaters, tees, and pants in there — even a couple swim suits! — so unless something goes terribly wrong…. I’m hoping to make it work! Thus, while the clothes I own might be small in number, the clothes I have access too are abundant! Of course, in the move I can only find three or four things of ANY type at the moment.. but in theory that will eventually get better. Maybe.

  2. E.H says:

    Love your life hacks series!! I’m learning so much. I have already implemented the notecard hack & it is making a huge difference in my time management (which needed serious help!). I’m going to try your dry shampoo recommendation since I’m in love with the suave shampoo serious you recommended on insta awhile ago. 🙂

  3. E.H says:

    *series (Ack. Auto correct!)

  4. abby hummel says:

    I also want all the dry shampoo recommendations! My life hack on getting dressed is 1) don’t have very many clothes, 2) like the clothes you have, 3) wear them.

    • Hannah says:

      I have tried many, ranging from pricey to cheap, and I really feel like the Suave one is a strong contender. The key is to make sure you get an aerosol over a foam!

  5. Somewhat similar to you – but a good haircut has me feeling well dressed for months!

    Also, I recently realized I HATE to buy basics because it feels boring, but they are the most elemental/worn pieces in my closet. Taking stock of the basics helped my closet be more well-rounded and functional.

    And last – good shoes. I only have two-ish pairs for each season, but I make them comfortable/well made. So far so good. The Petty bootie – three years in and so far so good. 🙂

  6. Rebekah says:

    Oh, so I’m not anything close to a fashionista, but I do like good clothes. And my one wardrobe tip– the thing I always recommend that women do first– is go to a department store or a quality intimates store (Soma: yes. Victoria’s Secret: no.) to be properly fitted for a bra. Then spend as much money as you need to on the correct bra, because it makes an incredible difference. Three years ago I decided to be a big girl so I got professionally measured, discovered that I had been wearing completely the wrong size, and started buying Wacoal Halo bras. WHAT WHAT. It looked like I’d lost ten pounds overnight– plus, my clothes finally fit correctly!

    This is applicable to pregnancy as well, because (well, assuming you’ll be nursing?) you should do whatever it takes to get a GOOD nursing bra. I mean, don’t worry about it till after the first couple of weeks. For that first month you should do nothing but wear sweatpants, drink coffee, and hold your squirming, pumpkin-cheeked baby. After that… I went to a boutique store and bought a $60 nursing bra… and it was the best thing. In cheapo Target bras, I looked ridiculous. In the properly fitted one, I actually looked put together again!

    • Hannah says:

      YES. It makes such a difference! I will remember this come June and some serious body shifts in key areas! I am planning on nursing, meaning that I really do want to, so unless this baby refuses or something goes wrong with my body- nursing is the plan! I’ll have to pump some too come fall to go back to work, but I will still be nursing a lot.

  7. Pingback: Life Hacks: Odds and Ends. | The Art in Life

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