I have spent a stupid amount of time staring at my closet. Apparently I’m not alone, as the average woman spends nearly one year of her life, or 15 minutes a day, deciding what to wear. I’ve tried a handful of unsuccessful tactics to shave down this quality time I spend with my wardrobe each morning, from putting together my outfits the night before to assembling all my work clothes in one spot. Don’t get me wrong—I love experimenting with clothing combinations and the magical feeling that comes from crafting a particularly on-point outfit, but this time commitment was bringing me down.
I had essentially resigned myself to this necessary time suck until one day, my boyfriend casually mentioned how he gets dressed in the same order every day: shirt, pants, jacket, and shoes. And while men generally have significantly fewer outfit options than women (we’ve got rompers, skorts, and dresses over pants!), I figured it was worth a try on my own closet. I came up with the below dressing flowchart that surprisingly works—with the catch that you have to force yourself to actually follow it.
See, normally, my outfit decision process goes something like this: Wander over to closet, stare vacantly at clothes for a minute or two, go find phone so I can see what the weather is, head back over to closet with game-changing weather information in mind (though I live in L.A., where it’s practically 75 degrees and sunny every day), inspect shoes to see if any of them are inspiring enough to build an outfit around, abandon shoes, start flipping through my blazers, discover blazer that really needs to be dry-cleaned, and put said blazer in tote bag by the door. You can see how something as simple as choosing an outfit can easily take 15-plus minutes, and we haven’t even gotten to the part where I start trying things on!
This is how the outfit decision process goes with the flowchart: Force yourself to pick either a top, jumpsuit, or dress. You must start there—do not inspect shoes or blazers, do not pass go, do not collect $200. Then, depending on what you’ve chosen, follow the flowchart to add additional elements until you have an outfit. If you move swiftly, this process can be cut down to one minute flat. It forces you to remove the dawdling, narrow your choices, and follow a specific structure.
Will you absolutely be thrilled with your one-minute outfit? Not always. If you can spare more time, redoes are absolutely allowed. Will you come up with your most creative, coolest outfit? It’s possible, but I would recommend taking time on the weekends, when you aren’t trying to get out the door, to really experiment with your clothing and flex your sartorial savvy. I find the chart is best used when you’d like to get dressed quickly and need to structure the time you spend in front of the closet. It has worked a tiny miracle on my mornings, which is why I wanted to share with you.
Scroll down to check it out in detail, let me know if it works for you in the comments below, and then shop a few outfits I put together with the chart in mind.
Proenza Schouler Cotton-Blend Mid-Rise Bootcut Jeans ($98)
By Malene Birger Vanamala Striped Silk Wide-Leg Pants ($191)