Get out the door for work faster

Wardrobe boot camp: how to get out the door faster

Nikki ParkinsonFashion, How to 40 Comments

Editor’s note: This is regular series in which we help Styling You readers solve a particular wardrobe or clothing crisis with a little advice and some shopping suggestions. If you think you’d like to be considered as part of a Wardrobe Boot Camp post, then please email me ([email protected]) with a couple of photos and a brief run down of what specific help you would like. 

Katy is a mum who works outside the home and has one-year-old twins. She also lives 40 minutes from where she works. And she blogs here.

Wouldn’t weekday mornings be fun at Katy’s house? NOT.

That’s why Katy contacted me. She estimates she’s got about 10 minutes to get herself sorted as part of the morning rush and she has to get dressed in a corporate-ish kind of way for work at a university, 40 minutes drive away.

katy wardrobe boot camp

The Plea

I am in a bit of a funk and need things that are really quick throw on but look nice. After reading your blog posts, I have swapped my daily full face of primer/foundation/pressed powder with BB cream. I also quickly dash on Napoleon highlighter for the cheeks and Burts Bees Tinted Lip Balm (in Tigerlily colour) instead of lipstick and liner. This is saving time. (I had never heard of BB cream before reading your blog – love it!)

I don’t even know where my iron is. Can you tell the dress I am wearing is not ironed – oops?

I would love to wear heels again but don’t have any in my wardrobe that really fit my post-baby feet well so I have been living in Siren ballet flats.

None of my old work pants fit me again yet post-babies (two years on – sob), so I really want to find a nice pair of black pants that don’t need to be ironed and that will look sharp at work.

I have been into Portmans and Cue a couple of times to look but I don’t really fit well into their sizes.

I am a 10 up top and a 12/10 down the bottom depending on the brand – I actually think I am a size 11 down the bottom but most places don’t seem to do half sizes.

I usually wear dresses these days as they help with the time factor and often don’t need to be ironed if I get them in the right fabric. I usually save up and buy myself one new dress each season from the Myer or Tigerlily sales.

My hair is what suffers the most with the 10 minute routine – I usually braid the fringe (I have a blunt fringe like yours was before you grew it out) and it pretty much lives in a pony tail.

Long gone are the days where I would wash and blowdry and GHD it every morning.

Help me know how to get out the door faster.

The tips

1. Ok, so my hat goes off to Katy. She’s already taken on my tips for the two-minute makeup. Yes, it is possible. If you’re wanting to minimise your makeup routine, really think about the bare essentials you need for an everyday look and have just those products on top of your cabinet or in a separate makeup bag. If you put them in a makeup bag and something delays you getting out of the house, then you can easily throw the bag in your handbag and finish putting your face on in the carpark at work!

2. On the hair front, I hear you. I don’t have babies and I’m still a slacker with my hair. My tip to help you mix up your styles during the week would be to wash it on a Sunday afternoon, let it dry naturally or blow dry. Before bed, whip those ghds through it. It won’t be perfect the next morning but it should just take a few run-throughs (two minutes) on the top layers to keep it looking good all day. This style should keep for two days, then you can revert to popping your hair back in a pony … the braid is a great idea and looks like you’ve gone to a lot of effort.

3. Ensure that your wardrobe is organised so that all your work clothes are front and centre. Before going to bed, remove from the wardrobe and hang on your door the outfit you’ll wear the next day – everything down to the shoes and accessories. No time for thinking in the morning. Remove any clothes from your wardrobe that don’t fit you (store them elsewhere if you like but don’t keep them in your main wardrobe).

4. As you already know, dresses really are your working wardrobe friend. It’s a one-garment-per-outfit no-brainer. And there are lots of non-iron options around. Only buy these going forward.

5. Finding the basics, like those black pants, does take a bit of time and persistence. Honestly, tailored pants can be as tricky to buy as jeans as they need to fit your shape. If you are between sizes, then look for styles which have a stretch to them (which definitely means no ironing!) as the size down could work.

6. With shoes, I would suggest working towards a wedge or a kitten heel for your work shoe of choice. It will give you a more polished look but still be wearable. Flats – ballets and loafers – look great with pants for autumn and winter.

7. I love that you’re wearing a jacket with your dress. Jackets are a key wardrobe essential for making you look polished at any time. With the choices below, I’ve kept that black jacket in mind so you could work it back with either the dress or the peplum top/pants. For variety, you could add a coloured jacket to your wishlist – something to work back and “pop” winter grey and black.

The shopping

Get out the door for work faster

1. Target dress $69 | 2. Jacqui E pant $69.95 | 3. Lovisa necklace $19.99 | 4. Katies top $10 (on sale) | 5. Nine West wedges $139.95 @ Style Tread

Do you have any more tips for Katy to help her get out the door faster but still looking professional for her job? 


Katy bought the Target dress and couldn’t be happier … sharing her “after” photo here:

Wardrobe Boot Camp: After

Comments 40

  1. After reading this post, it got me thinking about what I should wear to my first job interview in 7 years. I took myself off shopping and purchased 2 very versatile Leona Edmiston dresses – no ironing, lovely patterns, flattering to a post baby figure 🙂 Very happy.

  2. Sussan do size 11 (and other odd sizes) in a variety of black pants if that helps. If you smooth after washing and line dry they usually don’t need an iron. I’d suggest a colourful belt too! Would love a post with the after photos (although hard to beat the before).

  3. I think you look so great already, Katy! Other commenters have mentioned pencil skirts, I got a great one from Target that requires no ironing – love it so much! I’ve also discovered the brand Tokito City at Myer (usually near Miss Shop) and they ahve great work blouses in iron-free material. Easy, easy combination with no ironing required.

  4. I love the braid too and am awarding Katy a medal for getting out of the door at all. Loved reading all your tips. I never iron anything so favour either cotton/lycra dresses (like the Target one) or skin tight t-shirts (my body stretches out the wrinkles!) with skirt or trousers.

    I think the low heels is a great tip too. I always feel glam when I put heels on, even it I’m not 🙂

  5. Great post Nikki and some great suggestions for Katy – they would all look great on her. I was in Coles last night and was impressed with some of the pencil skirts and ponte skirts I saw from the Mix collection. Similarly styled to the Target dress and fantastic prices – definitely worth a look. I bought a grey/black spotty skirt there a couple of weeks ago for $15 and I love it! I have a pair of black patent heels similar to the ones you’ve shown, I got mine from Jo Mercer, they also have some lovely styles and maybe a bit cheaper. I absolutely agree that you need to get sorted the night before. I get my work clothes ready the night before because I know that the morning rush can be chaotic and stressful. Good luck Katy! And btw, I think your hair looks great in this pic 🙂

  6. Oh I love all these helpful ideas coming in the comments – what a lovely blog community you have at SY Nikki!

  7. They are not exactly inexpensive, but Leona Edmiston dresses are AWESOME and don’t need ironing (Nikki I know you’ve featured them a bit), and they often have a ‘2 for $200’ deal so that could be a good option to check out rather than Myer for your seasonal updates. Katy your hair looks AMAZING – leaving your hair down and a bit wavy with your fringe braided would look wicked too.

  8. I can’t imagine what it is like trying to get out the door with twins! Well done to you. My advice … when you wash your pants (but also works for lots of other clothes) – hang them on the line on a hanger. Then when dry, take them straight off the line and into your wardrobe – most of the time this saves ironing. Or if they need a quick iron, get a cheap clothes rack and leave them hanging on the hanger until you are ready to iron – it will save you a bucket load of time. Skirts are so a nice alternative to pants and with some lovely patterned tights (such as Leona Edminston ones) – they look so stylish, dress up a plain skirt and cover up the fact you probably haven’t had time to shave your legs! Good luck.

  9. Firstly I just want to say that Katy looks pretty cute/smart in her ‘help me’ photo! Nice suggestions Nikki, I think she’d rock that Target dress with the wedge heels.

  10. Love all these tips and follow many of them already. LOTS of work dresses 🙂

    A black pencil skirt may be easier to get the right fit rather than pants and would also work with Katy’s black jacket. Add a top you already have (weight determined by the weather) in a colour that is flattering (for me that’s a bright blue) + those black wedges= once a week outfit. Just add tights and a scarf in winter and you’re good to go.

  11. Hi Nikki, Oh I LOVE it. Thank you so much. I feel so spoilt getting this advice. I wish you were in my wardrobe every morning handing me outfits 😉
    I love the Target dress, and am looking forward to trying on the JackieE pants. I
    have never been into that store. And I love how everything you suggested in
    terms of clothing is available at the Plaza. I have already started planning a
    quick shopping dash through to try them on.
    I am going to try the Sunday night hair salon @ home idea to see how that goes for GHD hair Monday morning, and I am going to get a couple of necklaces and keep them in my handbag to put them on in the car on the way to work (I miss wearing jewellery). Thank you so much Nikki. Katy xx

    1. ha! As soon as I saw this drop in my inbox I thought “I bet that’s Katy!” If it helps, I’ve always thought you look rad! And I remember once you walking in with the twins and you were in heels and I was so impressed. The bebs were only little and I was nowhere near heel-town at that point. I’ll fight you for that Target dress, size 10 xx

  12. Nikki I love that you chose options for her that were really affordable as well considering she is mum to two little ones, money may be tight too. Great post. I am going to use some of these ideas for myself

    1. I loved that too Michelle. Nikki got everything spot on for me – and we haven’t met IRL – it was all from emails.

  13. Yes I do,choose what you are wearing the night before,all of it,dress jacket,and accesssories and shoes,or even on the weekend plan the weeks outfits,get a door hanger and hang it all on there so you know what you are wearing,I find that a great help especially if I need to look good.Have your makeup on the vainty ready to go,so it is quicker and your hair to me looks fine the way it is but if you want to wear it down maybe do what Nikki says,do it the night before and then just touch up in the morning,and maybe when you get it cut /coloured ask the stylist for an easy style and get them to show you how.Katy get yourself some Ponti pants ASAP they will stretch up to a bit bigger and they look good,I don’t mean the leggings ones the more corporate styles,comfy and chic.Nikki love those wedges you have shown,not too high and very dressy looking.
    Katy I think you are doing a fantastic job working full time with twins and Honestly you may never get the body back you had before ,work with the one you have now and don’t beat yourself up over it,we women are way too hard on ourselves,be kind to your body you have gotten 2 babies out of it and look fantastic.

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