Moms in the morning: Get ready in no time flat

Jun 14, 2011 at 4:51 p.m. ET

If you spend so much time getting ready in the morning that you risk being late on a regular basis, it’s time to re-organize your morning routine. Deciding what to wear shouldn’t be so stressful. Here are a few simple style strategies to get you moving.

Woman putting on necklace


Choose one unexpected element.

The next time you go blank as you stare into your closet, put on something neutral and comfortable -- your favorite black pants, your best jeans and a slouchy sweater, for example -- but add an unexpected twist. Whether it's a killer bag, a cashmere scarf in a punchy shade of coral or the sexy heels you almost never wear, choose an item that adds an element of stylish surprise to your outfit.

2Avoid accessory overload.

Sometimes, just deciding on a bag or shoes can cause a morning meltdown. Do yourself a favor and get a pretty, mid-size bag in a neutral shade and classic shape (hobo, Birkin, tote) that will go with any outfit you wear. The same goes for footwear: Have at least one pair of basic black pumps and one pair of elegant, go-anywhere flats. That way, when you're in a panic about not having shoes to match your chosen outfit, you can always grab your go-to basics.

3Make your closet work in a time crunch.

An organized closet makes a huge difference when you're deciding on what to wear. If yours is a jumbled mess, you'll benefit from some reorganization:

  • Store out-of-season items in large clear containers so they don't clutter up current choices.
  • Invest in hooks to hang up things that always seem to land on the floor.
  • Get a shoe rack, or store unused shoes in individual boxes stacked in the back of the closet or in a storage space somewhere else in the house.
  • Devise a system. Organize clothes by color, item or outfit so you can see everything you own without having to pull out large swaths of clothes.
  • Fold or hang everything. Tossing things into the closet blindly does not count as tidying up. Make a space for everything, and put everything in its space.

4Stock up on classics.

Have enough classic wardrobe items on hand to mix in with trendier, more colorful items. Well-fitting black pants, flattering jeans, a crisp white shirt, a pencil skirt, fa itted blazer and a little black dress are just some of the classic items to keep in your closet. You can jazz up these items with pops of bold color or accessories that add a playful twist, but you can rest easy knowing that you won't be wearing a fashion faux pas.

5Buy what fits you well.

If you're a grab-and-buy or impulse shopper, chances are you have a closet full of things you never wear and that don't really fit you. Of course you can't get ready on time -- you don't have much to work with. Be selective when you shop; choose quality over quantity. If something fits you properly, it will be comfortable and you will wear it. One well tailored pair of black trousers can net you countless outfits when you pair them with anything from a camisole and cropped cardigan to a white T-shirt and blazer. On the other hand, three ill-fitting pairs of pants will just sit in your closet with the tags still attached.

More style inspiration

Hot right now: Top 10 spring fashion trends
White out! Must-have little white fashion pieces
Style mistakes to avoid