So... you've woken up and want to get dressed, but you don't know how. You look in your closet, armoir, hope chest, and bureau... there are so many articles of clothing to choose from! Belts, ties, socks, pants, shorts, underwear... it's all so overwhelming. How can anyone get dressed with all this craziness going on!

Relax. That's the most important step. DON'T PANIC. In all likelihood, you have plenty of time to get dressed. Even if you are in a rush to get somewhere, don't skip getting dressed for the sake of being "on time". If you are hassled for "being late", calmly explain that you were getting dressed -- this should alleviate any tension.

The first step is to ascertain whether you are ready to get dressed or not. Are you planning to take a shower? If so, you should take the shower before getting dressed. Wet clothes are messy and uncomfortable, and if you shower with clothes on, that's exactly what you will end up with.

When you are finished showering, dry yourself off with a towel or similar plush cotton item. Apply deodorant, if you are so inclined. Now you are ready to tackle the serious task of getting dressed.

The first step is the application of underwear. Look around: chances are you have several pairs. They come in various styles and colors, it's really a matter of preference. Most people won't see your underwear unless you specifically show it to them, so feel free to wear whatever you want under there. Women typically wear an additional undergarment, known as the brassiere, or "bra" for short. While the average man should focus in becoming adept at removing a bra, application of women's underwear is not a necessary task for most men, especially given the difficulty of dressing oneself.

IMPORTANT WARNING: The clothes on the floor, or in the laundry basket, are DIRTY. They are only to be worn as a last resort. If you find that the majority of your clothes are in this state, you should consider doing laundry (covered in a separate node), or, if you are very rich, burning your dirty clothes and buying an entirely new wardrobe. This may violate certain local laws, so check with the authorities before setting your clothing on fire.

With that warning out of the way, it's time to put on your underwear. Most of the "modern" underwear sold in stores nowadays comes with leg holes. Putting it on is as simple as putting your feet through the holes and pulling the underwear upwards. The elastic band at the top of your underwear is called the "waistband", and when it reaches your waist, you should stop pulling.

At this point, you should have your underwear comfortably in place, with no restriction of movement... for your legs, anyway! This was the easiest part, but don't despair! The more you practice getting dressed, the easier it becomes!

The next step is to determine exactly what you'll be wearing, which, sadly, is a more difficult conquest. There are several factors to consider, including the current weather and the tasks you'll be expected to perform today. This may sound confusing, but consider this: although a thick wool sweater might look stylish, you will be very uncomfortable in hot summer weather. And although jeans and a Led Zeppelin T-shirt might "look cool" in some circles, if you're addressing the General Assembly of the United Nations, it might be wise to "dress up".

After you have ascertained the weather and your daily duties, it is time to put on the rest of your clothes. It is usually a good idea to cover both the upper and lower portions of your body, usually with two separate garments. This is not always necessary, however. If your plans include "fixin' the truck" and "drinkin' some beer", you may very well be able to get away with not wearing a "shirt". Some experienced dressers, however, advocate the wearing of a tank top or "wife-beater" as they are sometimes called. It is up to you to decide.

You must select a garment for your upper body and one for your lower body. Upper body garments are sometimes called "shirts", and usually have four holes: two for the arms, and one each for your torso and head. Lower body garments have three holes: two for your legs, and one for the torso. Lower body garments are called "pants", or, in their more diminutive form, "shorts". You may hear shirts referred to as "tees" or "polos", or you may even seen variations of the shirt called the "sweater" or "vest". Similarly, pants are also sometimes called "khakis", "chinos", "jeans", "dungarees", or any one of a number of variations. These are just particular styles... do not worry about such confusing terminology.

Fitting in with today's fashion conscious society requires that you select items that "match"... that is, they go well together. Your clothing choices must match in color and in style. A taupe button-down polo shirt might match colors with your sweatpants, but sweatpants and polo shirts are not a stylistic match. Similarly you should not wear a periwinkle sport coat with charcoal dress pants. Use your best judgment.

Once you have selected two matching items, you are ready for the most difficult part of getting dressed. Fortunately, you can add a little spice to your routine. That's right. Because it doesn't actually matter which one you put on first, you can do it whichever way you choose! You can put the pants on and then the shirt, or the shirt first and then the pants! But you still need to know how to do it correctly.

You may have heard the saying "We all put our pants on one leg at a time." For the most part, that's true. The method for putting on pants is the same as putting on underwear: put your feet into the leg holes and pull up. It can be a little more difficult with pants and shorts, because there is more fabric to guide your legs through, but with some practice, it will become second nature. If you are especially daring, you can lie down on your bed and put your pants on with both legs at the same time! This is a trick you should probably keep to yourself, however.

Next up is the application of the shirt. This can be a little tough. Find the largest of the four holes, and place your head into it. Pull down, and with any luck, your head will pop out of the hole on the opposite end! Try it a few times to see how it works. If your head finds a hole, but does not go through very easily, you probably have hit an armhole. It's nothing to worry about or be ashamed of. Just pull your head out and try again.

You may think that once your head is through, you're pretty much done. Not true! The important next step, even before getting your arms involved, is to check whether the shirt is ON BACKWARDS! That's right, you can put a shirt on backwards, but fortunately, there's an easy way to tell which way is correct. Look back down into the hole. Do you see a tag at the top? If so, your shirt is on backwards! But there's no need to take it off... simply rotate the shirt 180 degrees around your body. Now it's on the right way! Finish off the shirt by putting your arms through the remaining holes.

You may want to tuck the bottom of your shirt into your pants. This is an optional step, but many find the look to be neater and more professional. If you tuck your shirt in, societal rules dictate the wearing of a belt as well. A belt can also be useful if your pants will not stay on your waistline. Look around your room: if you find a strap of leather or plastic with holes in the middle and a latch at one end, chances are you've found a belt. Thread the belt through the loops that circle your pants, and fasten it using the latch. If these loops do not exist, chances are you are not wearing pants! You should verify that you are wearing pants, and if not, return to the earlier steps in this "how to". Regardless of whether you choose to tuck and wear a belt, congratulations are in order. You're almost done!!

If you're going outside, you will probably need to put on some footwear. Check around for things that look like they might fit on your feet. They typically come in pairs and look similar. They may have laces or Velcro straps. These are called "shoes". Subcategories include "sneakers", "sandals", and "boots", each with it's own purpose (Who knew getting dressed would require knowing all this technical jargon)? Once you find a pair of shoes, you have a decision to make: should I put on socks first?

Socks are typically tubes of cloth that you pull over your feet, much like underwear and pants. Like all clothing, they come in various lengths and colors. If you've chosen to wear a belt, pick socks of the same color -- remember, you are trying to "match". If you are wearing a belt, chances are you should also wear socks. There are also cases where you do not have to wear socks. The sandal wearing public generally frowns upon those who wear socks with sandals (much like they frown on those wear suspenders with a belt!), so if you're wearing sandals, consider 86ing those socks.

If you've decided to wear socks, simply place your foot into the sock hole and pull. Repeat with the other foot and the other sock. Your feet should now be covered with cloth. Comfy, huh? Putting on the shoes is performed in much the same way. Because of the number of different styles of shoes, application of shoes must be covered elsewhere. A "quick tip", however, is to loosen whatever fastening mechanism the shoe has before putting it on. This should save you a lot of time and frustration.

There are several more advanced topics for the more advanced dresser. These include hats, jackets, ties, cufflinks, scarves, mittens, and things with "buttons". Once you have mastered getting dressed, you would be wise to investigate further into these matters. But don't worry about that now. It's time to celebrate! Congratulations! You're dressed!

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