The older I get the less I want to faff around with clothes in the morning – or any other time of day for that matter. What I want is an outfit with superb pull-on-and-go properties; so that once I’m dressed that’s it. Absolutely no bother. Bra straps that slip off the shoulder, skimpy tights where the crotch ends up just above the knee or flush-inducing, man-made fabrics that turn me into a hot menopausal mess. No. Thank. You. All of these things create extra faffage and are a major distraction from all the other stuff I need to do throughout the day. The aim when getting dressed is to be effortless and faff-free, to put clothes on and forget about them.

I’ve written a piece about this for The Pool – based around a chapter in my new book Know Your Style. A lot of it is  common sense but my advice for faff-free dressing includes: buy flat or mid-heel shoes you can walk in, invest in a pull-on-and-go top, choose big knickers and the right-size bra and find an outfit that works and stick with it. Read the full article HERE  – and stop faffing!

27 thoughts on “How to get dressed without the faff factor

  1. Love that expression “faff free!” And agree 100%. I don’t know how anyone can wear those off the shoulder tops. I feel like I’d be constantly fussing (or faffing) with them.

  2. Boy, do I hear you! That was me getting dressed this morning. I had an outfit all “ready to go” (mentally) — nice slacks, nice blouse, a groovy jacket, the right (unusual) shoes, even a right (different) purse.

    Then I dithered too long over housecleaning and wound up with only 5 minutes to get dressed. I ditched the dressy outfit and went straight for my 501s, a snap-button denim shirt, some slip-on comfy loafers, my everyday crossover danvas bag, and a “show” belt. Badda boom!

  3. My idea of faff free dressing would be to live in the silk pajamas of For Restless Sleepers. On down days I would pair the tops with jeans or a cashmere pull on pant. Option 2 for down days would be the pj bottoms with an oversized cashmere sweater and trainers. For more important occasions pair the tops with more formal, but still comfortable trousers. I could go on but think you get the idea, it’s my current obsession and all I want to wear.

  4. I used to love 3″ heels, but after I hit 40 it became difficult – my feet can’t handle it anymore. And I am a long walker. I couldn’t agree more about walkable flat or mid heels in order to avoid pain at the end of the day. I love Tracy Neuls (too much) and is looking some other brands I can walk for 4-5 hrs.

  5. I am pleased to note I am already doing all this…even though I never heard the term “faff” before. I’m a colonial from across the pond. what can I say.

  6. @JolainMuller I wish you hadn’t posted that. I’m now obsessed, too. The moth print pyjamas! Noooo. I will have to wait for a sale AND save and hope like crazy.

  7. I’m new to your blog and I love your attitude. I don’t like to wear clothes that I’m constantly trying to straighten, as you say “to faff around” with them. It’s best to keep it simple!

  8. This reminds me that one of the first if not THE first post I read of yours Alyson featured elastic waist trousers (in my view a key Fight the Faff feature) by Uniqlo. I have about 5 in my wardrobe now – thank you !

  9. This was a much needed article, and I thank you for introducing me to “The Pool”! As the days are getting shorter I find myself getting dresses for work in the semi-darkness, in a room where a husband still sleeps. So I have to contend with the dimness factor as well as being in still-waking-up mode. Knowing the tried and true combinations is important, especially when my day includes after work activities….

  10. Totally with you on the need to reduce faffage. I only wear flats now as I can’t even walk in a small heel these days, and I try to keep things fairly simple for work, but I find that my look is always the same, i.e. trousers, flat shoes, shirt/top, and it’s almost become a uniform. Do you have a guide to finding a capsule wardrobe for work?

  11. Jean, I’m the same, and not just for work; don’t have any heels, skirts or dresses. For me there’s enough scope for plenty of variety, changing the trousers style (such a huge range these days, cropped, wide, flare etc) and the tops combinations (shirt over tee, waistcoat/gilet over long sleeved tee, cashmere jumper) – and also plenty of different colours.
    Picolin, yeah for Tracey Neuls, especially the geeks! Also smart sneakers like Axel Arigato – and flat loafers or oxfords if I feel sneakers are too casual.

  12. Like you, Alyson, I’m to the point in life where I want to get dressed once and not think about it again. I guess we all have our own threshold for what constitutes faffing, and perhaps mine is very low, but those huge flappy cuffs in the top photo (of I think Caroline Issa?) are striking, but would definitely count as faff-inducing in my life. No to anything that gets in the way or has to be “managed.” Over on Sue Burpee’s wonderful blog *High Heels in the Wilderness* a little while back, quite a few readers had a spirited discussion about this too — it seems you’ve got a lot of company on this. Because we’ve all got better things to do than be bossed around by our clothing, right? –Catbird Farm

  13. My Topshop wrapover dress that started to unwrap! oh my goodness …
    have sorted this out with a press stud and a few hidden stitches 🙂
    we so need to feel happy and relaxed in our clothes, this definitely makes us look fabulous!!

  14. Dear Alyson, I just read the full article – and your advice to actually try outfits on is such a helpful reminder! Very often, I am just too lazy to do this and think I can build it all in my head…..which does or does not work out 😉

    Regards, Diana

  15. I am so glad I am not the only one who thinks big pants are a good idea. I thought everyone else was in sexy undies.

  16. My ‘no faff’ dressing is print dresses which all go with the same neutral cardigan, shoes/sandals and bag. One choice- which dress to wear, not multiple combinations of tops, bottoms, colours , fabrics, shapes and prints.

  17. A thousand times yes! I started with tights, guessing (correctly) that the largest size in the store would fit much more comfortably than the “size” I was supposed to be on the height/weight chart. Then I started on the underwear — three whole sizes bigger than my “size” on the measurement chart means no more pinching, binding, or digging into my waist. Yes, you heard right, I said “waist” — I find full briefs to be much more comfortable, and flattering.

  18. Alyson, loved this article.
    First, I had to google the word “faffage” and now I want to add it to my vocabulary. Wondering if it’s primarily a UK word …
    I so love your blog but sad that you are in the UK and therefore your recommendations are for UK clothes ….
    My biggest problem with the “throw on and go” shirt is that most of the time I reach for a Uniqlo heattech shirt in black and by November I am bored!!!

  19. I’m all for big Bridget Jones knickers and pull on tops, very little of this button up stuff makes it into my wardrobe because I can’t be arsed. But I will make an exception for tights. I’ll take the extra time to pull those on because they make up part of my outfit (I like patterned and coloured ones) and what kind of a style obsessor would I be if I didn’t have something to faff over?

  20. Well, quite. I have long abided by this rule: no more than four items of clothing at a time. I might just stretch to five if that includes a cardigan in chilly weather. I simply cannot stand feeling constricted in any way by clothing. And since I started shopping at Bravissimo, the bra problem has been solved. I can’t wear heels because of a nodule under my toes and because I can’t be arsed to stagger like a fool in order to extend the line of my leg. I quite fancy a duffel coat for maximum cosy coverage and minimum faffage. (Pronouncing that with French accent on last syllable)

  21. So very with you on the faff-factor! I’m currently editing my entire wardrobe and anything requiring faff (or much weight-loss) is on it’s way out. My beloved high heels lie blissfully undisturbed at the back of my shoe collection – the hunt is always on for those perfect mid-heel but still gorgeous options, and flats for my mostly work-from-home lifestyle. Happy feet = happy face.

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