You’re reading this article because you’ve had a bad work outfit, in fact probably more than one. It’s okay to admit it, this is a safe place. I welcome you without judgement because I have had countless bad work outfits. I have worn a thick jumper over a tatty creased t-shirt, on what turned out to be the hottest day of the year. I’ve sashayed out of the house in a cute pair of ankle boots, only to hobble from one meeting to another. I’ve worn too tight jeans, skirts that ride up, tops that gape and innumerable outfits that just haven’t felt like me.
Although I have a very specific image of how I want to look, my wardrobe invariably falls short. Particularly when it’s three minutes until I have to leave and nothing is ironed. In an act of self-love, I no longer pretend that I will do my ironing in bulk on the weekends. Instead, my life has been altered by prepping clothes for work the night before. It saves time, eradicates those rushed style blunders and we’ve all read about the decision fatigue that begins with choosing a new outfit each day.
Yet, in a recent poll on the PYT Insta-story, almost half of our followers said they don’t plan their work outfits the night before. So, here’s my blueprint for planning a work outfit in the hope you’ll do so too:
Start with the weather
Is it raining, is it cold, can I get my toes out? Knowing what to expect from tomorrow’s weather will instantly reduce the number of items you can choose from. If it’s a wet day and you’re a maximalist like me, extreme flares and suede loafers are out, while patent combat boots and clear macs are on the up.
Check your calendar
Find out what you’ve got planned for the following day and prepare for it. For instance, you want to be presentable for those out of office client meetings but you also need to be mobile to get from one to the other. A safari jacket might be great during the day but you will probably want an extra layer if you’re meeting friends for dinner. Pre-planning means you are more likely to wear something that meets your needs.
What’s your baseline?
I mentioned toes earlier because for me footwear is paramount; I genuinely cannot have a good day if I have unhappy feet. Blisters, soggy shoes and numb toes arouse feelings akin to being hangry (hunger-induced rage). PYT dragon mama, Dior, has an issue with her legs being too warm. My boyfriend should always carry a hat because his ears get cold. Determine what’s non-negotiable for you to be comfortable throughout the day, it’s a no-brainer.
Pockets and handbags may seem trivial but take a leap of faith! We all have items we need within immediate reach; your phone is the obvious one but don’t forget office fob, purse and lip balm or gloss. Our essential items are like comfort blankets and are often key to a smooth running day. Not having a place for these things can distract you and is the easiest way to lose them. Plan a look to give you the necessary space for your armour, if your skirt has no pockets, make sure your jacket does. You may not be a slave to your lip products (tell me your secrets) but I’m confident you’ve got a crutch of your own.
Add some flair
So far, so practical but comfortable shoes and plenty of pockets do not a stylish work outfit make. Once I’ve got a clear idea of what I need to wear, I move on to what I want to wear. Adding details that make the outfit feel like me. This could be a neckerchief, a belt, anything leopard print but generally something colourful. I once wore all black to work and my colleague took me aside to ask if I was mourning someone. I wasn’t, I’d overslept.
Planning my looks in advance has not transformed my scattered clothes into an organised walk-in wardrobe but it does make the whole process simpler. I am less stressed in the mornings, less frequently late for work and more comfortable in my clothes. I also find it easier to shop as I am clearer about what I need and what I will actually use.
LAZY GIRL CONFESSION: I was momentarily hesitant to put my name to this article, lest anyone expect me to be perfectly turned out at all times. Alas, friends, I don’t always follow my own advice and can be found in a loathsome work outfit more often than I care to admit. Last week, I wore a questionable turban that certainly wouldn’t have slipped through the net had I planned my work outfit the night before.
Word by Akilah Cohen