Ready in 10 Minutes: Out & About

A few weeks ago, Hope Steen asked me to do a blog about how to get ready in 5 minutes or less. Since I can’t even tie my shoes & brush my hair in under 5 minutes, I decided to make it 10 minutes or less. I followed up with her, asking if she was getting ready at home or when she was already out on the town (in which case she’d be stuck with whatever is on her person).  Before she could answer me, though, I decided that I should really blog about both scenarios. Today, it is appropriate for me to blog about how to get ready in 10 minutes or less when out & about.

Approximately twenty minutes ago, I received an email asking me to come to a meeting at 1:00 this afternoon. So sure, I’ve got more than 10 minutes to get ready, but I’m at work and can’t leave. I’m stuck with whatever I have in purse, in my office, and in my car. There is absolutely nothing I could do that would take more than 10 minutes.

As a general rule, I get ready in the morning assuming that I’m going to have to be presentable at some point in my work day. I’m just at that age where jeans, a t-shirt, and flip-flops aren’t necessarily appropriate. This morning, though, I overslept my alarm. I assured myself I could take a shower & change on my lunch break, so I put on a (thankfully nice) pair of jeans, a bright green tank-top, a loose fitting cardigan, and flip-flops. Definitely not something I can wear to an impromptu meeting with the director of my graduate program.

So what is a twenty-something young professional girl supposed to do?

Actually, she only has to remember 2 things to be prepared for almost anything.

1.  Keep a clean shirt in your car or your office or your desk drawer.

Basically, keep something to change into in a convenient place that isn’t your home.

This is actually important beyond just “I need to look nicer than I do right this second“. If you’re like me, you probably have spilled something down your front before & the change of clothes is essential in that situation, too.

The change of top should be a little above casual and neutral. You’ll want to be able to match it with almost any bottom you would normally wear.  For me, clean and non-destroyed jeans are perfectly acceptable office wear; which means almost anything will match on top. As a matter of habit, I’m terrible at cleaning out my car, so my Sunday church clothes pile up on my backseat until Laundry Week.*  During the week I always have at least once nice outfit in my car that’s only had minimal wear.

2. Carry the essentials with you.

I learned in college, four years that were packed with meetings at the end of already long school days, to carry some basic hygiene essentials with me at all times. After a full day of classes and looking forward to a long night of meetings for the literary magazine (of which I was editor in-chief) or Student Government (for which I was the Press Secretary), I wanted nothing more than to be able to just freshen some.

I have a little black bag that I carry in my purse or book bag that contains: travel size deodorant, travel size body spray, gum, and lip gloss.**  Everything in this bag makes me feel just a little more rejuvenated and presentable. It’s amazing what smelling good does for your confidence.

In regards to hair, some women carry a hair brush or a comb. I have curly hair naturally, so I have always preferred combing my hair through my with my fingers. Either way, wet down the brush or your fingers to tame static and frizz.

As with all of my advice, suit it to your own needs. A little time on pre-preparation can save you from the horror of having to show up to a more professional event in a witty-saying t-shirt and your lazy jeans.

In the future, I will blog the other half of this two-part series: how do get ready in 10 minutes when at home. Because sometimes being faced with your entire closet and a time crunch is more overwhelming than being caught in your casual clothes.

* In case you’re wondering how my Sunday church clothes end up in my car, it’s because I spend Sunday afternoons at my boyfriend’s parent’s house; I take a change of clothes for after church.

** My little black bag also has hand sanitizer, band-aids, and cough drops, but those items aren’t particularly relevant to this post.