Let's be honest: Waking up early in the morning isn't anyone's favorite thing to do — and getting ready for work can be time-consuming. Prepping for your day is stressful enough already without having to dig around in your closet trying to decide what to wear. With so many other things to deal with in the AM, simplifying this sometimes daunting task would probably be a huge help, right?
Well, you're in luck, because stylist and designer Stacy London has a genius strategy that will save you time and frustration in the mornings, giving you more opportunities to do the things you enjoy — like sleeping in, spending time with your family or working out!
Stacy explains her method for "meal prepping" your wardrobe, AKA planning a week's worth of outfits on Sunday so your look is ready to go come Monday morning (and Tuesday morning, and Wednesday, and so on)!
Plus, as you play around with your clothes each week, you'll start seeing what outfits you really love — and which pieces you just don't like as much.
Here are her tips, but keep in mind that establishing a new routine takes time. "It is going to take more than one Sunday to get the hang of it," Stacy says, "but it gets easier!"
1. GET YOUR HEAD IN THE GAME
"You've got to get ready to spend your Sunday afternoon in your closet trying to figure out what you're going to wear," Stacy says. "But this is a great opportunity to accept where you are."
2. FOCUS ON WHAT FITS
Stacy recommends skipping the clothes you know are too small or too big when trying on potential outfits, and staying with the clothes in your wardrobe that fit you at the moment. Of course, you also shouldn't bother with anything that is stained, ripped or missing buttons.
"Never forget: make the clothes work for you, you don't work for them. And project the image that you want!" Stacy advises.
3. DO YOUR RESEARCH FIRST
Go over your schedule for the week to see what occasions you have coming up, and also be sure to check the weather, Stacy suggests. "You're going to want to know how to be prepared best."
And if you won't have time to go home after work before an event that requires extra pieces or accessories, make sure you keep that in mind.
4. CHOOSE CLOTHES WITH CONVICTION + DIRECTION
Now that you know your schedule, it's time to start picking out your clothes.
"I always like to think of my weeks as a new way to find inspiration," the designer explains. Look in magazines or online (hello, Pinterest and Instagram!) for photos of outfits and accessories that inspire you. You can also find color palettes that you like and try them out with pieces from your own closet this week.
5. PAY ATTENTION TO PATTERNS
If you continue to do this with your wardrobe every week, you may start to notice patterns. For instance, if there are certain pieces that never seem to make it into the rotation, it's probably time to donate or sell those items. Or, maybe you realize there's a basic you're constantly needing, like a black turtleneck or a white tee. Then you can go out and shop for that new piece. (ANY excuse to shop, are we right?)
6. START WITH THE BASICS
"What is the one thing that everything else is going to surround?" Stacy asks. "Whether it's a dress, a trouser… whatever it is that catches your eye that you want to start with, that's the main ingredient. Everything else is going to be seasoning."
7. MIX AND MATCH
Stacy loves pairing unexpected shapes and textures. See how she made a flowy top work with a pencil skirt for one viewer, Jamie, in the video below:
8. LAYER, LAYER, LAYER
Ideally, once you know what your week is going to look like and have an idea of what kind of weather to expect, you can create layered looks. That way, you have the option of taking pieces off if you get hot or adding extra pieces in case you get cold.
This technique not only gives you options when the temperature is iffy, but it also helps you create new looks each time. (Check out her tips for 3 fresh ways to rock a black jumpsuit!)
"And remember, if you have an office that you go to every day, you can always keep supplies there," Stacy adds. "An extra cardigan, maybe a scarf, always an extra pair of shoes."
9. STATEMENT JEWELRY IS A MUST
If you can keep extras in your office, Stacy recommends always having small accessories on hand that make a big statement. That way, you can easily take an outfit from day-to-night. Metallic scarves, funky headbands and big, colorful pieces of jewelry have the ability to create "a new mood for an outfit," she says.
10. GET IT ALL READY TO GRAB AND GO
Once you have all your outfits for Monday through Friday planned (including accessories!), put them all together in your closet, in order day-by-day. Each look should go on its own hanger, so you can grab it, put it on and go!
"All the lights could be off, and you'll still find your Monday outfit at 6AM," Stacy stresses.
BONUS TIP: CREATE GO BAGS
Stacy believes that you should always be prepared, so make a portable "go" bag you can carry with you, as well as one for your office, which can be a little bit bigger. Here's what she likes to include:
- Static guard
- Wrinkle releaser
- Fashion tape
- Shoe horn
- CBD cream ("For when your feet hurt from high heels," she says.)
- Safety pins
- A mint
"All of these items are going to keep your outfit looking its absolute best," the stylist says.
When you do need to take extra items to the office, Stacy recommends using cloth bags that fold up small and can easily be stored in your regular purse or clutch once they're empty.
Like Stacy says, "luck favors the prepared."