What To Wear When You're Too Stressed To Think About Pants
The Debrief: Too stressed to think about clothes? You need an Emergency Capsule Wardrobe
You know when you've taken too much on and every time you open your wardrobe it feels like there's too much information in your brain (and not enough time) to fit in worrying about what bit of material you choose to put on your body? This is happening to me at the moment. One day I came into work wearing a pair of inside-out leggings and a pyjama top having cried on the way to work because I'm unable to dress myself properly due to tiredness (I'd been up till three the previous night working on a side project).
No more. Because bollocks to people who tell you to have a capsule wardrobe for your life - those people have never known the joy of coming home with a pair of hotpants covered in ducks only to never to wear them again - but non-bollocks to the idea of having an Emergency Capsule Wardrobe. This is an array of clothing you can throw on when you don't have time to think about what you're throwing on. They match, you'll look put-together, and most important: they're not inside-out leggings and a pyjama top.
On your top
You know that top you've got that fits and goes with everything but isn't a statement (as those in the fash biz say)? So, for example, mine is a long sleeved black top from Dorothy Perkins in 2007. In winter I find myself wearing it all the time, but it's looking a bit old now. For your stress wardrobe, take this much-loved item and buy two more of them (or the closest you can find to them) and one white shirt because when you're stressed, you're going to want something that doesn't make you feel uncomfortable and goes with everything. Go for black, grey, white or navy colours.
Top, £20, Monki
On your bottom
Buy a long cotton skirt that goes to the ground (can be worn without tights for hot stress days or with tights for cold stress days) in a neutral colour (black, grey, navy). Buy a shorter cotton skirt in a neutral colour. Buy some black trackpants. Buy your favourite out of that previous list again. Best to not spend money on these, otherwise you'll get stressed thinking about it. The black trackpants, by the way, are for the days when you're really snowed under and haven't been able to do laundry so have no knickers. You can wear these trousers commando and feel hilarious walking around the office - if you team them with smart shoes and your white shirt (see above) then this is an acceptable work outfit unless you work as a banker in which case... sorry.
Trousers, £9, H&M
All you need is one cool necklace and you're pretty much sorted. You'll look put together and like you've made an effort, when really you've just put a necklace on. If necklaces aren't your thing, then the same thing goes for bracelets - have four or five cool bracelets you can just shove on without thinking about them and no, cool bracelets aren't expensive. Charity shops sell hundreds of them for 50p each. If you go on ebay and search 'unusual bracelet' you can get loads for under a tenner.
Necklace, £20, Asos
If you don't have a pair of normal flat shoes that you can walk around in forever, then get a pair. If you can't get away with wearing trainers to work, and don't have a pair of smart flat shoes then WTF go and buy some. Shoes are your saviour. You can wear trackpaints with smart shoes and it looks like a sophisticated sartorial decision rather than you having run out of knickers and being unable to wear anything else on your lower half. Make sure the shoes aren't orange. Stick to neutral, normal shoe colours.
Shoes, £27, & Other Stories
Your Emergency Capsule Wardrobe needs to be stored in a separate place to your other clothes, otherwise you'll panic and be unable to find anything. I have a wicker box in the bottom of my wardrobe that contains my stress wardrobe clothes. Most of the time they are in the laundry and I end up wearing something insane, but on the occasions that the CSW box is fully stocked I vocally thank myself while getting dressed. It's a great feeling. Only exception is the shirt, which you should keep hung up one of the rail so there's easy access and it's not totally creased.
I advise you to sort out your capsule stress wardrobe before stress actually hits, because you won't have time to do anything about it and you'll start crying. Also, obviously don't go out and buy stuff you already have - that's mad. Just make sure you've got a good run of stressing outfits ready and Future You will thank Present You so hard when shit hits the fan. You're welcome.
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