I’ve never been an outfit planner. Unless a special occasion was coming up and I needed to lock down what I had to wear (or had to buy to wear), I always selected what to wear during the work week just as I was about to get dressed. Sometimes it was easy. Other times…….don’t ask. I would have my heart set on wearing a certain top, only to reach for it in the closet, then remember it was in the laundry. Or the weather was ‘in flux’ and I didn’t have that ‘in between’ outfit. Or it was one of ‘those’ days and I didn’t even want to look at my jeans.
I’m awake at 5:30, up by 6 then want to be ready in order to spend some time at my desk planning my day before having to leave for the office no later than 7:40. I try to shave as much time as possible off my morning routine by having my breakfast and lunch prepped the night before to pack in my lunch bag (too early to eat breakfast before leaving) and put my hair up every-other-day to save styling time. But a well-prepped and productive morning routine could come crashing down as soon as I open my closet doors. So I decided to put together about 3-5 go-to outfits for those mornings when I can’t decide.
With winter coming upon us here in the nor’east, my wardrobe isn’t as varied as my spring/summer one. Warm weather allows me a better opportunity to stretch my wardrobe because I can wear just about anything – skirts, tank tops, flats, sandals, peep-toe pumps, sundresses, jeans, capris, shorts. So much more to choose from. But with the mornings now starting off around 20 degrees, my priority is more warmth and comfort over style.
But no matter the weather, I have several’go-to’ outfits that I can put together using the following (12) inter-changeable pieces. Fortunately, I work in an office that has a very relaxed dress code, but there are times I like to go a bit more dressy so these pieces may be able to work in an environment that has a stricter dress code. Some of these may already be staples in your own closet:
- Nice pair of jeans
- Black leggings
- Black (or other solid) pair of tailored pants
- Solid or patterned tights
- Black (or other solid) skirt
- Solid or print sleeveless tanks/short-sleeved tops
- Long (past hip length) cardigan-style sweater
- Solid or print casual dress
- Long-sleeved jersey-knit top
- Wide belt
I stress solids only because they are more mixable than prints. From these (12) pieces I can get a week’s worth (or more) of outfits. But when I’m rushed and need to pull something out and throw it on, I use these tried and true combinations:
Option Number #1 – This is by far my favorite cold weather combo. It’s layered, but not bulky. And stylish. Add a nice pair of black or brown leather boots and this is by far the fastest outfit in the west. Okay, well the east! I have several similar-style cardigans and tanks in different lengths and patterns. Pairing tanks with a cardigan or jacket allows me to stretch my warm weather tops. The cardigan is long enough (and the tank is longer in the back and tapers up the front) so there’s coverage when wearing leggings, but can be paired with jeans or a skirt.
- Leggings (or jeans, but leggings are warmer)
- Scarf or long pendant for extra oomph
Here are some other combo options based upon the list above. To make your go-to outfits even more efficient, combine all the pieces on a hanger, complete with accessories (scarf, necklace, etc) so it’s all set when you pull it out of the closet.
Option Number #2 : I have both a black and brown wide belt that I cinch over the top around my hips then pull a little bit of the material up to billow it over a bit.
- Long, black skirt
- Jersey-knit top
- Wide black belt (not listed above)
- Black tights (if cold weather)
- Boots (or pumps/sandals if warm weather)
Option Number #3 I have this nice pair of chocolate brown dress pants and a cream-colored top with fluted sleeves I just love. It is a quick and stylish go-to outfit when I need something dressier. And because they’re both solids I can add a scarf or statement necklace that won’t clash.
- Brown dress pants
- Cream-colored long-sleeved top
- Closed toe pumps (or sandals if warm weather)
Option Number #4 A dress can be the perfect ‘go to’ outfit because it’s ‘one piece dressing’. No decisions. No finding a matching top. No color coordinating. In the summer just toss it on with a pretty pair of sandals. In colder weather, add a jacket or cardigan to extend it’s functionality, along with opaque tights and boots.
- Tights (if colder weather)
- Boots/closed toe pumps (or sandals if warm weather)
Option #5 I have these neat black & gray argyle print tights that adds punch to a plain black skirt and shoes. This is another favorite of mine when the weather is cooler
- Short black skirt
- Patterned tights
- Jersey top
- Boots or closed-toe pumps
There’s a full week of pre-planned outfits that I can quickly put together when time (and imagination!) is short. Again, when the weather is warmer, you can easily substitute boots or closed pumps for sandals and go sans the tights (I don’t do panty-hose!) Keep at least two outfits, complete with accessories, on a hanger and ready to go when you find yourself having one of ‘those’ mornings!