MAINTAINING A STYLISH LOOK AMIDST A BUSY CAREER- PART 1

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Having and maintaining a stylish look amidst a busy schedule can be very challenging. I have had couple of people walk up to me and ask me how they can maintain a good fashion sense and still juggle a busy career. It’s not about being a fashionista. You don’t have to be an expert in fashion in order to dress good and look good.

A lot of women downplay the importance of looking good with excuses such as they do not have time, they are too old for looking stylish, too pregnant, too busy and loads of other excuses.

Looking good is a reflection of who you are; it affects how people relate to you, especially for women who have busy careers. You cannot afford to be lackadaisical about how you look when you go for meetings, conferences, meet with your workers, meet with new clients, or appear before you partner, children and family members.

You do not need to be on Instagram or social media to get ideas on how to dress. So many women, find it difficult to handle dressing well with a busy career especially the married ones with kids. I mean, it’s hard enough to multi-task with a job, family and other responsibilities. A lot of people just become relaxed after certain milestones like giving birth, getting married, being frustrated with mid-life crisis showing up early.

A lady walked up to me about a year ago and told me how she used to be very fashionable but after she gave birth she just lost touch and got busy. When I showed her a picture of my mother who is over 50 but still stands out fashionably after four kids who are all full grown adults, she was shocked.  You may say, my mum is much more relaxed now because all her kids are grown but right from when we were kids, I have never known my mom to dress in a lackadaisical way. She was very particular about that and always ensured that even when I am out running errands, I looked good no matter how busy I was. Now, if my mom was so lackadaisical about how she looked, she might not have been able to rub off on me in that sense and I might not have been able to write what I am writing to you now unless somewhere along the line, someone else helped me.

Since you can afford to wear clothes, it is expedient that you take some time to make it worth the effort. We watch all these career-oriented movies like suits and admire the way the ladies dress; an example is Jessica Pearson in the TV series Suits. She is a top lawyer in Boston and she is very busy yet her dress sense is very classy and it reflects her personality and how powerful she is. Imagine if she went to work dressed in a lax way,  it is extremely likely that it could have put off some prospective clients. Someone used to tell me, you don’t need expensive outfits in order to look good. The way you look affects the way your clients see you and even your loved ones. Dressing is very important. You don’t need to admire people when that dress well from far, you can be one of those women.

Anyway, enough of the chit chat, In this article, I will give little steps, basic tips and style -guides on looking good effortlessly without spending hours in your closet thinking you have nothing to wear or you don’t have time to look good. I will help you know how to manage your time in such a way that you’re able to create time for yourself amongst a busy, crazy career. In the remainder of this article, we will explore the following ideas:

 

  1. Time Management
  2. Basic Wear Collection
  3. Solid Wardrobe Foundation
  4. Getting rid of Junk

 

TIME MANAGEMENT

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This has to be the first tip because it is the reason most people give excuses and fall short of what they really want to achieve in their style. It is a matter of fact that life gets busy and when you do not know how to manage your time, juggling a busy career and having a good dress sense becomes a lot of work. Like I said, having a good dress sense is not trivial, it is very important because your dressing reflect who you are. I used to be careless about my dressing and my mum was always upset about it. I would go for meetings, run errands, go out with friends and family and pay little or no attention to how I looked because I felt I didn’t have enough time. I never had enough time.  I always thought that I didn’t have to put so much effort into how I looked if I was only just going down the street, but I was very wrong. I realised that how I was perceived and even spoken to when dressed properly was different from how I was when I wasn’t. It also helped my self-confidence. My very good friend who was my business partner back then too was always asking me if I was robbed on the road because I just didn’t ‘dress the career’ and always looked disorganized.

Time management is everything, it starts from the time you wake up in the morning, the rest of the events that take place all start from when you choose to wake up.

What happens most times is that people don’t plan ahead of time on what they want to wear the next day or even for the week. So you wake up, maybe make breakfast for the family or do some work before you set out and before you know it, time has gone and you just throw on anything you can find because you are too tired and late to give a hoot about how you look. After all, you are working hard right? So who cares about how you look as long as you are making the money? Wrong answer sister!!! Wrong excuse!!!

What I usually tell most women in such dilemma is, you need to learn how to manage your time in order to get the best out of everything and not even just your outfits.

Here are steps you could take:

  • Plan your outfit a day before: I know that sometimes when you come home, all you want to do is sleep and sometimes not even eat after a long day of work, taking care of kids and so on. Still if you want to manage your time properly: get home, have some food, or just sleep and eat which ever works for you but ensure that you do not wake up thinking of what to wear on the day you are set out to work and end up getting confused. Sometimes, people who are quite good and have mastered their closet, have a mental picture of what they want to wear and they know where the outfit is, so they do not need to stress themselves bringing it out. However, anything could happen, so I always say plan the outfit a day before. When you get home, after you do all you need to do, look at your closet and try out the outfits you think you should wear for the day, you could also get second opinions from friends and family members who are available either via the phone or at home. When you plan your outfit a day before, it relieves you of any hassle of having to wake up too early to select your outfit asides the other things you need to do to get going.If your excuse is being too busy to even plan a day before, you know that there are things you still do that might not be so relevant, like spending time on your phone or certain other things you could curb. There are 24 hours in a day and you can still create time for setting in motion your look for the next day. As trivial as it might be, it is important. These are one of the things that I was taught in boarding school and if it was not important, there will be no emphasis on it in our schools or homes. Failure to do so usually leads to a ‘hellscious’ morning especially for those who are still trying to understand how to manage their time. It also makes you have choices and you are in a calm disposition to choose wisely, try the outfit on in case there are any hitches you didn’t know will come up.
  • Always have a plan B and C: This is very important. It is not enough to select what you want to wear the next day. You also need to have about two other options just in case the zip of the first option for no reason pops open, or the button of the second one falls off and there is no time to start fixing up a button or any unforeseen circumstance. Having a plan B and C while selecting the outfits for the next day is important. It saves you from a crazy morning. There is nothing as annoying as the outfit you selected messing up making you run late and then you get so worked up and end up with some ‘outfit from hell’ to work.
  • Plan the outfit a week before: For those with crazy, busy careers and think they can’t breathe during the week or have no time for cloth selection during the week. Well, here’s a tip for you so you do not need to make excuses no more honey!! During the weekend, say on Sunday, you can select the outfits you will wear from Monday to Friday and even Saturday if your career is so busy and time consuming. So basically, you select an outfit for Monday to even Sunday and that carries you. In case you might have emergency events or work to do, that’s where the plan B and C options also come in. If your job entails emergency events and occasions once in a while, it is not out of place to select such outfits and keep them aside just in case. So you know that as far as your outfits are concerned for the rest of the week, you are in order.
  • Set your alarm: Okay, this is a bonus tip. It might not necessarily have anything to do with what we are talking about but it helps you to have a less hassle day because asides looking good in your outfits, your hair and your face shouldn’t look like you just dropped from planet mars.

In order for you to maintain a stylish look and other requirements like styling your hair, doing your makeup, getting the morning ready saying your prayers, making breakfast and all the things you need to get your day started, SET YOUR ALARM!!!  I know a lot of people do this, even I do this but we also know most times we can’t just help but snooze that alarm till one hour is gone and then we  start doing James Bond to finish everything we need to do in minutes!!

As annoying as the alarm sound is, if you mean to set your alarm for example by 6am, set it by 5am instead. So even if you are snoozing your alarm, at the end of the day, you will still wake up before 6 and start your day earlier. Even if you snooze it to 6 which was the plan, you are still good to go.

Also, be realistic when setting your alarm. For you to set your alarm that means you have calculated how long it take for you to pray, shower, do your make up, have breakfast and other things you’ll need to accomplish. If all these will take 2 hours especially the makeup. Lool!! It is very unrealistic for you to set your alarm exactly for two hours. Give yourself one hour more in case any emergency happens. This means that if you need to be up by 6 am and you normally get everything done in 2 hours which means you need to leave the house by 8, it is risky to set your alarm for 6, rather set your alarm for 5am to give yourself extra time for anything. This is asides the extra ‘snooze hour you will set your alarm on for those of us who like to snooze our alarm.

Sounding a bit crazy? Yes? Good. Now in order for you to avoid waking up by 4am to leave your house by 8, ladies we need to learn how to stop wasting time on things we should move fast in. I used to spend 2 hours and I am not exaggerating, doing make up alone and before I know it, time has gone and I become late. Every time!! I had to learn how to apply my make swiftly, speedily and smartly without looking like a masquerade but still standing out. You don’t need hours to spend doing makeup. Now I spend less than 30 mins on makeup except when I want to add some little ‘extras’. Loool… Time is essential and it is important to know and learn how to manage time. When you learn how to be smart in doing the things you need to do, you will realize that it might start taking you about an hour or an hour and a half to get everything you need to do sorted out. These are principles that have worked for me not just hearsay. Anyone who knows me knows I like to look good and I have learnt how not to spend my whole time in the bathroom or fixing up my hair and the likes.

A lot of people compliment me and tell me I always look ‘put together’ and dress well. It makes me happy but I did not spend hours doing all the things I had to do, I learnt that I can still look put together without spending hours on a particular thing. It’s time management ladies!! It’s planning!! So buckle up sister girl!! Sometimes I fall short of these things once in a while so don’t also get too hard on yourself. Just make it a way of life and you’ll see how stress-free your life becomes and how different your style and outlook becomes.

BASIC WARDROBE WEARS

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One of the main problems that women have in maintaining a stylish look is that their closet is filled with lots of ‘junk’.

Another reason is because the foundation of their closet is not solid. This means that the basic wears which should be in your closet, you do not possess. This makes you unable to work out styles in your closet because you do not have the right pieces to put together.

  • Get rid of the junk:

The first step to maintaining a stylish look is to start from the scratch in revamping and redefining what your closet is. Most times, people are clueless about what to wear and yet have lots of clothes in their closet because there are lots of junk. So if you are in a state of confusion as to how to have a good dress sense and you get confused because you don’t know where to start from, start with doing a ‘wardrobe cleansing’. Everybody at some point in time even the best dressed people in the world have gone through wardrobe cleansing, when you realize you need to change your closet.  I have gone through that over and over because as you evolve, your style also evolves. The outfits I wore as a student are different from the outfits I wear now. Even as a busy woman, the outfits you wore at a particular time in your career has probably evolved.

How do you get rid of the junk? How do you know what junk to get rid of? Good questions!! The first step is by being really sincere with yourself. There are some outfits we know we will never wear and we have outgrown them but are still holding on to such. There are also some outfits that are not worthy to be in our closet anymore, they do not add value to our closet and should never be seen on us but because of sentimental attachments , you hang on to such. For example, you have up to 10 different colours of the same vests and you use just two out of those vests or that dress that doesn’t fit anymore but you still try to stuff yourself in it and end up looking funny, or those shoes that need to be thrown away because they are peeling and spoilt but you keep them in because of sentimental attachments or some other reason. I could keep going on about different reasons and examples people keep things they don’t need. I’m sure if you are reading this, you know what I mean and might have such things in your closet. These items that you do not need but still harbour them in your closet, occupy space and fill up your closet making it difficult to be able to even spot the nice outfits because everything is all muddled up.

As hard as it may be, don’t worry, please get rid of the junk and allow your closet some breathing space. Having clothes all muddled up with no space or air doesn’t look pretty and it makes you not even realize the nice outfits you have, trust me I’ve been there done that. So sister girl, don’t worry, you are not alone, if you are really serious about this, pick  a day take a look at your closet, you can ask your friend, sister or someone you know will tell you the truth as it is. Both of you should select the outfits and take them out!! If you are still hesitant, think about other people who might be in need of those outfits you do not need anymore but you still hold on to and give them out!! Initially when I started doing this I used to think I was at a loss but I had this joy in giving things I didn’t need and the more I did, the more space I had and the more things I added to my closet because it made me have a clear perspective as to what I needed and also revamp my style into the kind of personality I wanted to be seen as.

  • Having a solid wardrobe foundation:

This is another very important aspect. After getting rid of the junk, it is important to establish a very solid wardrobe foundation. This means that there are certain wardrobe essentials you should have. When you set up the wardrobe essentials you should have which we will still discuss, you then look at your career, your lifestyle and plan what kind of style you want and will be suitable for it. You also understand what kind of outfit works for you better and invest more in that piece. For me, I like dresses a lot and they suit me perfectly so with my wardrobe essentials already established, when shopping because I know the kind of career and lifestyle I have as well as what clothes suit me more, I buy dresses more and then some skirts and others. Understanding what suits you best is very important and also it merges with the kind of career you have

So what are wardrobe essentials you may ask? I’ll give a list of wardrobe essentials that you should have and later on in this article, I will also show illustrations on how to style these essentials in order to achieve a nice look without having to stress yourself out in other articles.

  1. Black vest

 

Image 1 of ASOS The Ultimate Rib Vest

ASOS

 

  1. Cami Tops

Image 1 of New Look Petite Double Strap Cami

ASOS

  1. Black Blazer

 

H&M

 

  1. Jeans

Image 1 of ASOS Lisbon Midrise Skinny Ankle Grazer Jeans In Eden Deep Indigo

ASOS

 

  1. Black Pants

RIVERISLAND

 

  1. Pencil skirt

 

RIVERISLAND

 

  1. Black hand bag

RIVERISLAND

 

  1. Flat shoes(neutral colours)

linky, nude shoe by carvela kurt geiger -

SHOEAHOLICS

 

TOPSHOP

  1. Stilettos (neutral colour)

RIVERISLAND

  1. Wrist watch

Skagen® Anita Ladies Steel Mesh Watch

NEXT

 

  1. Black dress(LBD)

Image 1 of ASOS TALL Textured Wiggle Dress

ASOS

  1. White office shirt

T.M LEWIN

  1. Clutch

Image 1 of Chi Chi London Oval Clutch Bag in Dusky Pink

ASOS

 

  1. Across body bag

Image 1 of Fiorelli Huxley Saddle Body Bag

ASOS

 

  1. Shirt dress

 

RIVERISLAND

 

  1. Pencil dress

 

Image 1 of ASOS Pencil Dress With Ruffle Detail

ASOS

 

  1. Leather jacket (for those in the cold regions)

 

TOPSHOP

 

  1. LBD (Little black dress)

 

Image 1 of River Island Lattice Insert Pencil Dress

 

ASOS

  1. Coat (for those in the cold regions)

 

MISSGUIDED

So if you are having trouble knowing what to start up with when revamping your closet or changing your entire closet, start with these and Order our eBook on Building Your Personal Style on the site. With these outfits, you can inculcate them into your career life as they apply. When you start up with these few basics as you keep expanding your closet, it will not be a problem because the foundation has been taken care of, hence, you know what to add and what you need. Depending on your career, you will know what kind of outfits to concentrate more on and which ones to concentrate less on. So you don’t end up having lots of casual outfits when you are mostly at work, or having too many work clothes and no casual outfits.

I hope this helped you and gave you the boost, inspiration and idea you need. Stay tuned for subsequent articles like this and feel free to contact me, drop a comment and share with people.

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