How Planning my Outfits Ahead of Time Changed my Week

by Marielle Nicol

“Her? She smells bad, her hair is always greasy, and she wears a variation of the same outfit everyday”. As my therapist calls these kinds of imaginary voices I come up with in my mind, “MEANIES!”

I adore fashion. Daily I am spiritually fed by the beauty of this art. At the same time, I keep quite busy, and comfort is a huge priority for me. Not in a ‘flats over heels’ kind of way; I can barely wear jeans and the last time I wore a bra with underwire was when Justin Timberlake’s ‘What Goes Around Comes Around’ was cool. (Great song, great song). I’m up early, coffee, and out the door soon after. As much as it pains me to write this, most of my real life outfit creations last about two minutes and go something like this:

  1. What clean underwear do I have?
  2. Black stretchy pants or boyfriend esque jeans, because neither constrain my stomach region, an area I usually like to keep filled.
  3. A shirt that covers my armpits because I haven’t shaved in weeks, and although I know I’m a free woman, I’m uncomfortable with my peers knowing that a terrible thing called hair grows in a terrible place called my armpits.
  4. Shoes, coat, overstuffed backpack, gone.

This shameless practicality makes me feel sheepish when I then proclaim my love for fashion. And so, one fateful Sunday afternoon in September, I decided this week would be different. I will plan my outfits right now, for everyday, and have a fabulous week. Did it work? Read on, brave heart.

  1. The weather was looking pretty typical N.S. fall, somewhere around the 20s with at least one thunderstorm emoticon in the forecast.
  2. OUTFIT PRIORITIES: This is really the meat (or tempeh, your call) of the matter. This is where one asks,  “Who do I want to be today? What am I going to be doing today? Is there a particular vibe I’ve been wanting to emulate lately?”

In response to the third, I’ve been craving some high sock + short skirt action. Also, my mom is coming to visit, so I would like my outfits to reflect the fact that I am traversing this mine field called the early twenties with relative style and poise. Here we go!

Outfit 1) Denim skirt, black turtleneck, high black socks

To be honest I felt like I needed to wear makeup in order to not be washed out by the black turtleneck and I just wasn’t feeling it. I changed tops and added a little scarf which divided my face from my shirt which helped immensely. Am I the only one who finds black fabric so close to my face without eye makeup washes me out? A little mascara ties it all in … Seeking a friend in this confusing time.


Outfit 2) Pink and Red Dress

I know I want to wear this dress I just made at Patch Halifax because I love it and want to show it off to my mom. Ditched the scrunchy ‘cause it was too matchy matchy but not in a fun monochromatic way. My go-to loafers and voila! Ready for Tuesday!


Outfit 3: White Linen Dress, High Socks, Oxfords


Outfit 4: Floral Dress


Outfit 5: Checkered Shirt, Plaid Tweed Skirt, Oxfords

What follows is an on the ground account of what transpired during the week. Drumroll please.

Monday: It turned out to be legit +30 degrees, so I wore my pink and red dress (scheduled for Tuesday) instead of the tight denim skirt and black long sleeved shirt. It would have just been too hot.

Tuesday: The heat wave continued, and poor Outfit #1 took another hit. I moved on to Outfit #3, the white linen dress, but scrapped the socks and shoes for a lighter, more summery option:

Wednesday: I take comfort knowing Halifax readers will not think I’m lying when I say that after two days of unbearable heat, it was so cold on Wednesday that I left my house that morning in JEANS and KNEE HIGH BOOTS. However, by the evening it had rained enough that it was quite warm again. I wore Outfit #3 as scheduled to dinner at Two Doors Down.

Thursday: Pouring and freezing. Flower dress? Meaning not wool tights or turtleneck? Couldn’t do it.

Friday: Cold again. I wore jeans and my Levi Sherpa Jean Jacket over a light pink tee and matching adidas. Yes, this means Outfit #5 was scrapped… It was cold out! I couldn’t show my LEGS!

Well friends, I fear you stuck with me through all that for the following conclusion:

I literally never wore anything I planned on the day I planned for, with the exception of about two hours on Wednesday night.

I’m disappointed in myself. I really am. I’m shocked, too. How did this not work? Well, I’ll tell you how, Marielle. Once again, you let the particularities of the day and the priority of comfort outweigh the chance to look like your outfit had some intention. However, I will say that having the outfits available, even if I didn’t wear them, changed my week for the better. Take Wednesday: changing into something cooler before dinner would probably have taken like fifteen/twenty minutes, I would have tried on 9 different things and made my room a disaster. Because of Sunday planning session, I had an outfit hanging on my rack that I knew I felt good in. The lesson, then, is perhaps not to plan an outfit for each day, but come up with two or three looks just to have at the ready. Maybe it would be better to make outfits for different possible temperatures!! A task for next week.


One Response

  1. Loved this, Marielle! As someone who also spends a good amount of time trying to parse out an accurate representation of my identity (or what I aspire to be) by deciding what to wear—combining certain skirts with certain shirts, varying cuts with particular fabrics—I often feel disappointed &/or frustrated when the way my body is likely to intersect with the environment on a given day might mean that I’ve got to alter/nix a certain outfit (and therefore alter/nix an entire representation of myself). Outside of daydreaming, I’ve never tried to plan an entire week’s worth of outfits in advance (let alone a day or two’s), and I’m really impressed by not only your commitment, but also the way you write about your relationship to what you wear with a seriousness that allows the subject to be discussed with more consideration than it is often given in a day-to-day context. Looking forward to reading more.

    (Love also, by the way, the dress that you made! Incredible.)

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