The Ultimate
Get Ready Playlist

Words and playlist by Scarlett O’Malley

Getting ready for a night out is a ritual that comes as a rite of passage to every teen that evolves and changes through the years. From fashion trends and getting ready in shared accommodation, to the tried and tested disco-nap, here’s how my getting ready rituals have grown and evolved with me, with a curated playlist of the songs that have got me dancing around my bedroom before the bus journey there.

18…or Near Enough

I started going out when I was 14/15… My love for clubbing was written in the stars. Getting ready back then was a simpler time. As 15 year-olds with no social media (aka no make-up influencers announcing how blush is in and highlight is out) and parents who grew up in the 80s with a skincare routine of washing last night’s make-up off with the family bathroom flannel… it is safe to say we walked into the unknown with our getting ready routine. When we first started clubbing, the indie rave era was in full swing, so everything from Maximo Park to The Smiths to Hadouken would be playing through our dodgily connected iPod speakers as we sat on the floor backcombing our hair and adding glitter to our eyelids. The indie sleaze get-up consisted of something neon and bright and some form of legging as we smoked a Richmond cigarette out the window. Likewise, you wore heels to the pub in order to look older - in hindsight it made us look our exact age… which was 15. It was strictly Old Skool Garage and UK Funky in the early teenies in these arse-end of nowhere pubs and the nostalgia I get from hearing DJ Luck and MC Neat is like no other. The Pete Doherty and Kate Moss agenda had influenced us before the term influencer had even been coined, and looking a little dishevelled was in. The higher the backcombed unwashed hair the closer to Amy Winehouse: ballerina flats, skinny jeans and of course a well-worn Fred Perry.

The University Years

Getting ready for a night out when I got to uni was a whole different ball-game. A pack mentality. A kitchen-come-living room with 30+ people in it, beer pong and drinking games. As a girl from an estate, it was now very clear to me I was in middle-class kid territory now. Bodies draped over mismatched furniture. A cluster of girls all in the exact same American Apparel disco pants, some kind of halter neck and a dirty pair of converse. Individuality was not encouraged. With the pack came the uni girl uniform and not a scrunchied hair was out of place. Deep house was massive in 2012/2013. I honestly still get goosebumps when I hear the intro to ‘White Noise’ by Disclosure, maybe that’s something I shouldn’t disclose. My Ministry of Sound Deep House CD was my go-to soundtrack to warm us up, room-temp tinnies and bundling everyone into cabs before even more deep house at the club. Pre-drinks were life and held as much gravitas as a night out at uni, almost 50% never making it out of the house.

Early to Mid-Twenties

Actual raves are where we are heading these days, and trips to Ibiza reigned king. It’s safe to say I was never a shuffler, but a big love for dance music came with the territory. Not dissimilar to uni, we were living like cockroaches on top of each other, but this time with even less home comforts… Imagine four grown adults sharing a box room, sleeping in bunk beds, and vying for the mirror to get ready before a 10-hour rave hit our feet. Who said living in Ibiza wasn’t the dream! The instagram influencer in their infancy, the infamous 2016 full-on birthday makeup is on trend. I am not ashamed to say my eyebrow game was just a touch off… I would shave them off and pencil the highest, boldest arch imaginable, all in the name of the ‘trend’. It was house music when you were getting ready in your shared living room, house music when you got to the club, and house music playing on the beaches when you were trying to sell pre-party packages on 100% commission wages… I’m still sometimes earwormed first thing in the morning by the sounds of ‘Coma Cat’ by Tensnake. Back home, hitting day raves became your new favourite pastime, which means you’re eating a microwavable spaghetti bolognese at 11am, just to make sure you get something in your stomach. Plus the ubiquitous bumbag across the chest so you don’t get pickpocketed; the new and here-to-stay accessory. Going out in your 20s can still be a touch reckless, but you’re getting ready rhythm has been practised down to a T. 

30s and beyond

Now as a fresh-faced 30 year old, the art of getting ready has both progressed and regressed. Skincare and makeup routines are paramount, and looking like a well put together human is on trend, what a relief. But I’m afraid to inform you pre-going-out naps are a necessity. Anyone who tells you they don’t nap is either lying or no longer leaves the house past 9pm. Disco naps are on trend, you heard it here first. A more solitary getting ready set-up is very much on the cards these days too. A ‘what are you wearing’ text irks me for some reason. Babes, we’re 30, wear what you like. Feeling good is just as important as looking good and gone are the days of bambi on ice style struggles, wearing stilettos in January to take three buses to the nearest pub that would let you in without an ID. Now it’s all about sitting at your dressing table, pre-drink (with ice) on a coaster, and a cleanse, tone and moisturise before you start your make-up. We’re talking well thought-out layers here. I may be in my 30s, but I’m still out until 6am, whether that’s hitting a rare soul all-nighter or hitting a rave. You select a favourite record to get you in the mood, maybe something by Stevie Wonder, and play it while you get ready for the night ahead. I haven’t really got a hyperfixation on a venue or genre any more, but spend more time than ever hitting the club. From soul to house, what I DJ is what I shake a leg to. The fact that I ate a carb-heavy dinner, used setting spray to avoid my make-up melting off, and have some dance-ready trainers on, means that the last 15 years have served me well in the dos and don'ts of getting ready.