Sunday Outfit Planning: A Wardrobe Experiment
March 02, 2018 | Filed in: Your Closet
This New Year, I made one simple resolution: Get dressed faster. Often finding myself rushed in the morning, I wanted to save two precious commodities: time and mental energy. I decided to conduct an experiment in outfit planning for the week, setting time aside on Sunday to do it (yes, kind of like what I used to do in kindergarten). Here’s what happened.
I hypothesized that outfit planning for the week would save me time and mental energy in the morning. By committing to wearing the clothes I’d laid out, I would minimize decision-making and save brain power for the office. I was also interested to see which pieces I’d choose—would I gravitate toward tried-and-true looks I knew would work, or would a leisurely Sunday planning session inspire me to get more creative?
I’m a checklist person—a J, for Myers-Briggs aficionados—so I started by listing the days of the week in a Google doc. Under each day, I added any factor that might affect my outfit choices, such as the weather forecast, evening plans, and meetings where I’d have to look extra sharp. Next, I went day by day and put each outfit on a hanger. I lined up the hangers in my closet in Monday-Friday order so I wouldn’t have to do any rifling through the closet. Altogether, this process took me about 45 minutes.
I saved time each morning, but not overall. It typically takes me ~10 minutes to get dressed in the morning. ~45 minutes spent planning my outfits on Sunday over five days comes out to ~9 minutes per outfit, or ~1 minute saved per day. That said, concentrating my styling efforts to a single afternoon made me feel as though I’d gotten significant time back. And since I will likely repeat those outfits in future weeks, it was a time investment that will continue to pay dividends.
The mental energy I saved was tangible. Each morning, I woke up with a strong sense of relief knowing I wouldn’t have to decide what to wear—or realize last-minute that the dress I had in mind was sitting in my laundry basket. I suddenly had time to eat breakfast at home before heading out the door, which, as it turns out, is a lovely way to start the day. I do my best work in the morning, so arriving to the office clear-headed (and well-fed!) gave me an extra productivity boost. One unexpected benefit was the peace of mind I felt in the evening—I was significantly less stressed about the coming workday knowing that I’d have zero decisions to make before getting to work.
I was surprised by how much fun I had planning (and wearing) my outfits. Without any time pressure, I found myself experimenting with new pairings—a few of which are now part of my regular rotation. I also gained insights about which pieces I gravitate towards. I found myself reaching for my most comfortable pieces, most of which had a good amount of stretch. Finally, the experiment showed me where the holes in my wardrobe are (I need more jackets!).
I would absolutely do this again. Reaching into my closet and pulling out a pre-set outfit felt like a superpower: I got to the office earlier, avoided pre-work stress, and felt confident in what I was wearing. While this method requires a bit of effort up-front, the mental energy it saves during the week makes it worthwhile.
Monday: The Soho skirt in black + the Fey top in black + the Vanessa pump in red
Tuesday: The Lydia dress in charcoal + the Didion top in waterfall
Wednesday: The Cobble Hill skirt in plaid + the Zora top in navy melange + the Vanessa pump in black
Thursday: The Oshima pant in black + the Peggy top in ivory + the Ono cardigan in black + the Cecilia earrings + the Small Victory necklace
Friday: The Gwen dress in charcoal + the Ono cardigan in black + the Matte satin belt in fir tree
Photographs by Yan Ruan.