Sam Baker, Dolly Alderton, Otegha Uwagba, Frankie Graddon
Left to right: Sam Baker, Dolly Alderton, Otegha Uwagba, Frankie Graddon

SHOPPING

How I get ready in the morning

From 7am train dashes to copious cups of coffee, four women talk us through their morning routines and how they get dressed

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SAM BAKER, CO-FOUNDER AND EDITOR-IN-CHIEF

 

I fear I shouldn't be entirely candid about my morning routine because it's woefully lacking. I commute from Hampshire every day to The Pool office in central London, which means I'm out of the house 13/14 hours a day, so I'm all about maximum in-bed time in the mornings. Also, if I miss a train, it throws the whole day out, so I need to be out of the house at 7am on the dot.

I've got it down to 20 minutes by sticking religiously to a couple of "uniforms" and minimal make-up. It's not that I don't love clothes – I really do – but years of wasting an hour in the morning, trying on loads of outfits only to end up in the first thing I put on, finally taught me a lesson: there's nothing guaranteed to make you feel worse than being late for work in clothes you don't feel comfortable in. If you want to undermine your own self-confidence, go to work dressed as someone else. (Just ask anyone who's attended Milan Fashion Week!)

Whistles flossy tie neck blouse

 

Now, I tend to rotate one of three outfits: 1) jeans, a jazzy top and a jacket; 2) joggers, T-shirt, leather jacket; or 3) a midi dress and either a blazer, if I'm being smart, or leather jacket, if I'm not. I'm toying with the idea of buying a slouchy suit this autumn, but we'll see.

I've never been comfortable dressed like a grown-up – my partner once told me I dress like a 10-year-old-boy, which I took as a massive compliment. Luckily for me, journalism wasn't all that formal to start with, the digital-start-up world even less so. Now, the only time I really need to dress up is if we're pitching for investment or to a big brand partner. Otherwise, it's trainers, ankle boots or my trusty Dr Martens. I don't even keep high heels under my desk any more, like I did in my magazine-editing days – I wear them so rarely I'm not 100 per cent sure I could walk in them!

OTEGHA UWAGBA, AUTHOR, BRAND CONSULTANT AND FOUNDER

 

I tend to wake up around 8am, which I think is quite late, but I work from home, so I can just have a shower and get straight to work, as I don’t have a commute. I tend not to check my emails too early on – I give myself time to have breakfast, a shower and then get dressed. If I’m working from home, I’ll shower and put on comfy clothes. I have a couple of pairs of the same trousers and they’re very comfy. I don’t wear jeans at home, just something stretchy and comfortable. If I’m not dressed, I won’t be in a work mode. I think if you do work from home, it’s important to get dressed – it really impacts your frame of mind and gets you in the right mindset. And also, if I do want to pop out, I’m ready to go.

I never plan my outfits the night before – I don’t like it. But I do leave extra time in the morning. Obviously, if I have a major event, I might think about it in advance. Recently, for example, I made an appearance on TV, so definitely planned what I wore in advance and had it laid out. I’m never really in a formal environment, as I work in the creative industries, but if I have an important event or meeting, I wear heels and trousers. I never really wear dresses or skirts. I might wear jeans, always with heels, and an interesting, often structured top. I hardly ever find a pair of jeans that fit properly so, when I do, I like to hang on to them.

 

Wearing heels definitely makes me feel more put together, in control and powerful. I never wore heels when I was younger – I’m tall anyway and felt a bit self-conscious about it – but then, when I started working, I found my height was an advantage. I’m often the youngest person, and the only female at that, in a lot of the environments I go into, and having those extra few inches almost made me feel more intimidating, which is actually what I sometimes need. It makes me feel more powerful and that is something that’s helpful for me and makes me feel more confident. People definitely react to me differently when I wear heels. I do wear flats and don’t think anyone should wear heels by any means, but I think there are certain situations in which I want to make an impact and, for me, heels are very often the way to do that. Because I’m not that formal in what I wear, I use heels to elevate an outfit.

Otegha is the founder of Women Who and author of Little Black Book: A Toolkit for Working Women
 

DOLLY ALDERTON, AUTHOR AND JOURNALIST

 

Caffeine is my must-have morning accessory. Usually a cup of coffee from the café down the road from my flat in Camden, then mug after mug of tea throughout the day. I work from home, but find myself having lovely long, free days to write at my dining-room table happening less and less frequently. When they do, I try to resist the urge to stay in my pyjamas all day and instead follow the habit of another, far greater, writer, Nick Cave. I read once that he puts on a suit every day to work from home – although you won’t find me steaming a pencil skirt to knock out 1,200 words on holiday flings for a magazine, I do think it’s important to create a working day from home.

 

For me, this means pulling on something comfortable, simple and loungey, pulling my hair off my face and putting on some thick socks. A jumpsuit works perfectly and I can easily chuck on some heels, shake out my messy Miss Trunchbull bun and stick on some mascara if I decide to venture out of the flat for a much-needed dinner break with a friend (Jilly Cooper once said a long, hard day of writing seems much easier when there’s a glass of wine at the end of it – obviously, I endorse this belief wholeheartedly).

If I’m out and about at meetings, I’ll normally go for a floaty dress and boots in the winter, or sandals in the summer. I never plan an outfit the night before, as what I fancy wearing every morning is as unpredictable as what I fancy for breakfast. Once I’ve washed and dried my hair, put on Radio 4, got changed, done my make-up, slurped some tea, got changed again into three different outfits and checked I’ve closed all my windows approximately 10 times, I’m out the door in an hour.

Frankie Graddon, Fashion and beauty editor

Blouse, £145,  Dungarees, coming soon
 

My alarm goes off at 7.15am and I’m out the door by 8am to be in work for 8.30ish. Working in fashion, clothes are a huge part of my day, but I never plan what I’m going to wear the night before – I prefer to go with how I’m feeling that morning. I need to feel comfortable in what I’m wearing otherwise the whole day goes to pot! Jeans are a constant – I’ll wear them with a silky shirt or a nice jumper – and I love jumpsuits/all-in-ones for their throw-on-and-go ease. After a quick shower, I’ll slap on some make-up, empty a can of dry shampoo into my hair, chuck on my outfit and head out the door.

I’m lucky enough to work in a relaxed office, but am always popping out to press shows or meeting PRs and designers, so I like to look relatively presentable. I often go to a work dinner in the evenings, so also need to consider that when getting dressed in the morning. Something that I can dress up with jewellery (gold hoops and necklaces are my current favourite) and a bit of lippy works for me. I also tend to wear a pair of (low) block-heel sandals or boots if I’m seeing people. These, over a more casual pair of shoes, make me feel like I’ve got my shit together.

 

I’ve long been of the belief that what you wear can completely change your mood, and subscribe to the age-old adage of “You can never make a first impression twice”, so I think clothes are really important, especially at work. They are my outer shell – my shield against the world – but they are also joyful, filled with personality and, above all, fun.

Click here for the morning routine edit

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Left to right: Sam Baker, Dolly Alderton, Otegha Uwagba, Frankie Graddon
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