Wake Up and Face Your Closet

It’s that time again.

Yes, that time. Time to decide what I’m going to wear to work tomorrow.

Much as I love clothing, I hate this part of my day. I mean, I can barely make it through one day, and before that day is out you want me to start planning for the next? Whatever happened to living in the moment, people?

Tocky the rolling alarm clock

Waking up is hard to do. So I bought Tocky, the alarm clock that rolls around so you have to get out of bed and chase it around the room. My cat isn’t a fan. Photo courtesy of Brookstone.

When I had a job where I started work at 4 a.m. (yes, you read that right), picking out the next day’s outfit was part of the pre-bed routine. I laid out everything, down to my, um… everything. That way I could sleep as late as possible and get dressed on autopilot.

Now, though, I tend to put off this task until I am showered and standing in front of my closet bemoaning the fact that I have nothing to wear. An early-morning denim crisis, if you will. Sometimes I even lie in bed an extra few minutes, telling myself that I’m mentally reviewing the contents of my closet and deciding what to wear. This tends to work not that well.

However, when I pick out my clothes the night before, I find it shaves a much-needed five to seven minutes off my morning routine. I’ve even—don’t laugh—looked for Lifehacker articles on how to buy time in the morning, but I haven’t found much of use.

I’m curious– is there anyone else out there who loves clothes but loathes having to decide what to wear every day? Do you choose your outfit the night before, or wait for inspiration to strike in the a.m.? Do you, god help me, put together a week’s worth of outfits on Sunday?

Okay, you write, while I get into bed and maybe think about what I’m wearing tomorrow. Or not.

Building a Wardrobe for Life

An article in this month’s More magazine struck a chord with me. More‘s tagline is “for women of style and substance,” which I take to be marketing code for “women in their forties who are smart and look good for their age.” Since I will be one of those women in a few short months, I’ve started reading the magazine with some regularity.

In this piece the author, Jennifer Braunschweiger, forces herself to consider every last item in her closet. “If I put it on, and then take it off, I have to give it away…If I wear it to work and feel uncomfortable, out it goes as well.” (You can see a slideshow of Braunschweiger’s closet project in More magazine online, but the essay is only available in the hard-copy magazine, and it’s worth a read.)

She continues, “a closet isn’t a museum or an archive. It should be a simple storehouse of clothes that reflect who I am today and that I can wear to work tomorrow. .. Letting go of clothing is letting go of who I used to be.”

Closet as Archive

That’s true, but for me there’s something more. The truth is, and I say this without meaning to sound like the world’s biggest Debbie Downer, but I have had little success to date in building the things most women my age have. Through many missteps for which I take full responsibility, a couple strokes of bad luck, and a select few cases of good old-fashioned getting screwed over, I haven’t as yet succeeded in building a lucrative, flourishing career or a family of my own.

But a wardrobe? Now that, I have managed to build.

Don’t get me wrong. I have managed to grow as a person these last years and I’ve certainly had some successes.  But the truth is that one of the few very tangible things I have to show from my last 10 years is my wardrobe. If I dismantle it blouse by sweater by skirt, what do I have to show for the last decade? Continue reading