Pajamas to Party Ready in 30 Minutes

quick party trick

by Monica K. Guthrie


Dressing up your frumpy clothes

Sometimes I like to fill my days with Netflix and cheese puffs (you know the cheap faux cheese balls they sell at WalMart? … no.. of course you don’t. You are all fabulous women who eat healthy things … I hate you and want to be you at the same time).

Anyway – on those days I really hate to get up from the couch and get ready for a last-minute party or, you know, work or something. It’s a safe bet to say I’m feeling very lazy, and that’s why I found a way to transform my couch-wear to party/work wear when my husband calls with a last-minute work party or my boss calls with a last-minute work issue.

busy mom 

The phone call always comes in the middle of doing dishes or laundry or just as your potty-training child decides to lose it in the middle of the living room. You’ve got 30 minutes to be “presentable.”



Chances are I’m wearing leggings, normally gray or black (because they hide more). My shirt might be a T-shirt so I’ll swap that out for one that is black (or dark colored). Doesn’t matter if it’s a loose T or a long tunic, black is generally flattering on everyone. If I’m in leggings, I try to make sure the top covers my butt and my crotch – assuming a lady-like appearance is the first step to making everyone look like you have your stuff together. That said, you don’t have to. Wear what makes you feel good. For my long tunics (or a summer dress that I might try and pass for a top) try knotting it to the side for an asymmetrical look. Plus, it is super trendy right now.

 busy mom's outfit

 I had on black leggings so I tossed on a black top (one that was less wrinkled than others). I thought I’d go ahead and do a shorter shirt, but the truth is, I prefer longer shirts or a long cardigan to wear over. Note the festive Christmas socks – sadly those don’t make the final cut for this outfit.


Make up

When you feel like your face is gorgeous, everything else can follow – at least that’s how I feel. If I do nothing else, I’ll throw on a primer on my lids followed by a light-colored shadow (for me it’s usually another nude, but with just a touch of shimmer), followed by eyeliner and mascara. If it takes more than 3 minutes, it’s because I smudged my mascara … although I may just use that opportunity to turn a mistake into smokey eyes (smear that mascara all over!) and elevate my entire look to match.

 make up tools

 If I have time for nothing else, I put on my eye makeup. It makes me feel pretty and sometimes confidence is all you need to pull off a look. For me, it’s a base for my lids, eyeliner, a little eye shadow and then mascara.

 pretty mommy

 Tada! You’re probably thinking “she looks exactly like she did before the makeup" – and maybe that’s true but I FEEL prettier and sometimes that’s all you need.



Next comes hair. I keep my hair a little on the longer side to give me more options. I usually haven’t washed my hair in a few days so I need to put on some dry shampoo (or baby powder if I’m out of the dry shampoo) and then it’s time for styling – and by styling I mean a bun or a pony tail (if I choose pony tail, I straighten just the ends to make it more sleek). And that’s it. I now look like a ballerina but that’s okay because previously I looked homeless.

hair styling

 If I’m in a rush, I’ll just straighten the ends of my hair and throw it in a ponytail. If I’m in an even bigger rush, it’s a high bun (ballerina style).

 ponytail style

 Not a big deal. Just a pony tail.



Accessories will determine the direction your outfit will go. Pearls or big sparkly earrings will be great for a party. For work I might put on small stud earrings and a long necklace. For a party I’m gonna glam it up with a lot of sparkle. If it’s cold, toss on a scarf (in addition to your jacket if it’s REALLY cold) and wear some boots. Spray your favorite perfume and bam! You’re ready to go!

 hair accessories

 Accessories set the mood of our outfit – for a party I’m pairing it with big sparkly earrings and a sparkly headband (to also take notice away from the fact that I haven’t washed my hair in three days – don’t judge). Put some booties on my feet and I’m ready to head out the door.

headband and earrings 

A close up of the headband and earrings.


 mommy is ready for party

If I’m headed into work, I want to cover my tush a little more so I throw on a knit sweater and, if you didn’t notice before, I used my sparkly earrings as buttons on my sweater (swapped the backing on them for something more study, sometimes you can use erasers from pencils to hold them). Now I’m ready for that last-minute conference meeting.


Now, reading this makes it look like it takes a long time but really it doesn’t take very long. The hardest part for me is waiting for my steamer to turn on so I can get the wrinkles out of my top (also, best purchase ever – worth every penny, get one!). This is just a basic outline – you can pump up the makeup, the accessories, swap out a black top for something more glamorous – have fun! But if you’re in rush and need to transform yourself quickly, I hope this helps!


Monica K. Guthrie is an Army brat, an Army veteran (Rock of the Marne!) and now an Army spouse with two boys. She is currently the media relations officer for the public affairs office at Fort Sill, Okla., and writes a weekly column called the Okie Bucket List. She also has a photography and graphic design business, Pro Deo Creations, that she maintains between potty training and kissing scraped knees. 

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