How many times have you woken up and looked into the wardrobe and thought to yourself ‘I have nothing to wear!’ It’s every Muslimah’s nightmare and it really affects our productivity!
My Wardrobe’s a Mess – Help!
The above is a scenario I know many of you will share, I like to call it the Muslimah’s wardrobe dilemma! Many sisters spend an hour (or more!) to get ready and out of the house making it a BIG time stealer! I’ve learnt over the years how to get SMART with my wardrobe so now I can get ready in 30 minutes (including using the bathroom!) and get out of that door!
Look Good, Feel Productive
As a young Muslimah I definitely believe in the saying ‘look good, feel good’! There’s a naturally improved sense of productivity when we feel positive about our image and especially when others notice it by complimenting! As Muslims we are encouraged to have ihsan (excellence) in our lives which includes dressing well. Research also shows the positive impact looking good can have on our emotions and esteem, therefore we should strive to ‘look good and feel productive’! Islam encourages us to dress well as the Prophet (SAW) always made an effort to be well presented and took care of his appearance. It is also important to look good and clean around any non-Muslims we see since it gives a strong impression.
Every Muslimah has her own style so this article isn’t about the style for you but rather it is about using the top 5 wardrobe hacks to get productive and get your wardrobe organised so you don’t face this dilemma every morning!
1. Organise Clothes into Compartments
Firstly, to be productive, you have to get that wardrobe organised! Recently, my sisters and I invested in a compartmentalised wardrobe, one with a full length mirror and sliding doors that allows you to hang clothes but also has compartments. I decided that it would be good to organise the wardrobe with my clothes as follows:
Smart Vs Casual
Clothes like trousers/skirts were hung up in one place, blazers for work, blouses and other tops all in an easily visible place with my silk scarves on a separate section as these are all items I know I can look at quickly and match up for work. This top section was my ‘smart’ clothes section.
The remainder of my items such as scarves for everyday wear and dresses which I wouldn’t normally wear to work were folded and put into other compartments, this was for the times when perhaps I wasn’t in a rush and could choose a scarf at leisure – I know a lot of Muslimahs are hijab junkies just like me!
I found it really helped to organise my clothes so that similar colours and shades were in the same place. That way, I was able to quickly match my outfit with the right hijab shade and this also meant that I could see what colours I have already for any future shopping trips as I like to buy shades that match outfits I already have.
Update your wardrobe and give it a revamp every time the season changes, this means packing away the summer dresses and getting the scarves and knitwear out during winter. This will also create more room in the cupboard and ensure you have the right kind of clothes for that time of year. Some items of clothing which we tend to need every winter are worth investing more money in, I recall buying a good coat whilst at uni which lasted me years and saved me buying a coat every year.
We all hate to admit it, but us women just buy way too many clothes that we don’t need and if we looked in the closet we’d find so many items that are just lying there unused! I regularly have a de-clutter session which allows me to sort through clothes that I no longer wear and bag them up to donate to charity or sell them off. De-cluttering also has a positive impact on you mentally and spiritually since we shouldn’t be materially attached, just see how much better you feel after a de-clutter session!
Note: De-cluttering sessions are NOT a licence to go and buy more clothes!
2. Buy Matching Items
A rule of thumb for me when I go shopping is to never to buy an item which I may not have a matching hijab for. So be SMART and only buy items of clothing which you already have a matching hijab for. Plain coloured hijabs also seem to be more smart and ideal for matching with other clothing items rather than floral prints unless you wear them with plain clothes. This is also economical as I found I wouldn’t buy clothes and then spend extra money on a matching hijab! Only for special occasions like weddings or events do I make an exception to this rule.
3. Decide the Night Before!
One of the most common reasons sisters run late is probably indecisiveness on what to wear! This means you need to think about the appropriate outfit and decide the night before. Depending on the engagement, I will choose a smart or casual look. For a corporate environment, sisters may need to wear smart as it reflects your organisational culture and also dressing well is part of Islam as it reflects our level of professionalism.
Once you’ve decided, iron it and get it ready on a hanger. Trust me, this makes your morning much more productive and smooth as you chuck on clothes instead of rummaging through the wardrobe when you’ve got kids to rush to school or a meeting to run to! I feel such ease knowing I’ve sorted that out for the next day!
4. Find Bargains!
I wouldn’t consider myself a shopaholic as I really dislike hours on end of shopping but once I get my eye on a good sale, it’s hard to drag me away! I’ve often bought great items of clothes half their original price and amazed my colleagues/friends. This has helped me save loads of money and also meant that I don’t unnecessarily spend money on items I don’t need.
Often I’ll invest in an expensive item if I see it would be useful as a long-term investment and then make it a rule that if I’ve done some bargain shopping one month then I won’t shop again until next month. Also I’ve found that online shopping during discount periods saves the physical time wasted in getting to shops and also offers exclusive buys. Finally one of my other wardrobe secrets is that I’ve bought clothes from charity shops; I’ve found some great clothes and your money goes towards a good cause! Also ethical clothing and socially conscious fashion is an new trend such as buying Fairtrade clothing which can help people out of poverty.
5. Invest in Multi-Purpose Clothes
This wardrobe hack is especially useful for mums as it has helped me mix and match items on many occasions. Buy items which include colours you know you often wear so that you can match them up with other clothes you wear often. Long sleeve tops can cover your arms and allows modest dress under sleeveless shirts.
Some of my favourite places to buy modest clothing online include Silk Route, Aab, The Closet and Essence of Hijaab as well as Pearl Daisy for hijabs. Souk bazaars and markets can also be a good place for reduced, off-the-high-street wear and local high street shops like H&M and New Look are some of my favourite places for my professional wardrobe pieces as well as Accessorize, Monsoon and Zara for the slightly more high-end products.
These are the top 5 wardrobe hacks for a Productive Muslimah so I hope you will use them to boost your productivity and quit wasting time.
Lotifa Begum is the Head of Productive Muslimah at ProductiveMuslim.com. She graduated in BA Politics & East European Studies from University College London in 2011 and was the former Head Sister at the Islamic Society. She has worked with the Muslim community in the UK over the past 5 years. Currently she is the Campaigns & Development Education Coordinator at Islamic Relief UK. Lotifa was a graduate of the NicheHero Leadership Programme with Shaykh Muhammad Al Shareef, she also completed the Young Muslim Leadership Programme with the Oxford Centre for Islamic Studies. As former Head of Content and Research at ProductiveMuslim.com she has gained insight to a wide range of productivity related issues with the global team and delivered workshops for sisters on time management, productivity and leadership. To contact her please email firstname.lastname@example.org