I started planning outfits when I started working in film festivals. With a daunting stretch of ten-plus long days ahead, before each festival I’d pull out as many outfit combinations as I could come up with. During the most stressful week of my year, the last thing I had to think about was what to wear. I’d get really into it, too, writing everything down, planning shoes and accessories, and plotting out what I’d outfit to wear on what day depending on what events or parties happened to be planned.
At the time, I didn’t think much about it. It was a purely logical task (something I’m not often accused of being), eliminating the ten, fifteen, twenty minutes I can sometimes spend staring blankly at my closet waiting for inspiration to strike in the form of an outfit that I will feel and look good in for whatever that particular day may bring. When you’re on the go from early morning to late night, bouncing from screenings to events to screenings to whatever else is on the agenda, those twenty minutes can make a huge difference in your day.
It wasn’t until later that I realized this time and sanity saver I usually only employed during a festival could be valuable any time of year at all (See? Not as bright as I claim to be). It’s two fold, this little effort of mine: building a few extra minutes into my morning routine that I can spend sipping coffee or packing a lunch is a total win, of course. But perhaps more than that, the planning has morphed into a form of self-care I actually look forward to on Sunday evenings, another packed work week looming.
I’ve never had what one might call a super positive body image; I am the first to acknowledge I’m round on the edges with more wobbly bits than is ideal. Add to that an essentially absent sense of original style, and choosing an outfit every day out of a closet that, until far too recently, still included clothes I’d been wearing in college, could turn into the most stressful part of my day, all before 9am. Does this look ok? Is this what people are wearing now? Why don’t these pants fit anymore? I have nothing to wear! Waaaaaaah!
My Sunday ritual solves all of that. Not that all my body/fashion issues have disappeared, but on Sunday evenings, I can face them with patience and a gentle spirit, sifting through my closet and drawers at my own pace to find exactly what I want to wear for the week ahead in order to feel best in my own skin. A glass of red wine doesn’t hurt, either.
Some weeks, I throw together the first five outfits I think of. I pull out the tops, jeans, dresses, whatever it is on their hangers and set them aside. In a quick once-over, I identify the right shoe options, the necklaces or earrings (or both) that’ll pair well, and just like that, I’m done. Other times, I’ve been known to really get into it, digging deep for what I haven’t worn in a while or dreaming up some new combination from my limited selection (something that still surprises me when I can pull it off, seeing how little I have to work with). I turn my closet into a store, my bedroom into a fitting room, trying on this or that until I get it just right and can confidently slot a new outfit into rotation. Either way, it’s time well spent.
If you’re thinking that I’m over thinking this, I suppose that could be. But I’m not alone. All kinds of people plan what they wear, or wear the same thing every day, for reasons much the same as mine – efficiency and sanity top among them: presidents, parents, power-house professionals. You say over-thinking, I say keeping good company.