We are getting so close to that time of year when some people decide to make ‘New Year Resolutions!’, and if yours has been to simplify what you wear or develop a uniform to wear daily… I’ve got the post just for you. Let’s talk about how to develop a uniform.
What Is It?
A uniform can look like the same thing over and over again, or a combination you like, or a collection of clothes you rotate on a regular basis. Define what it means to you, and then pursue that version which works for you.
How To: 4 Simple Steps
1.Figure Out What You Truly Love To Wear. Then Have At It.
If you like wearing dresses, lean into it by buying dresses for every day of the week. If you like wearing only skirts, get rid of most of your pants. I think they key here is to allow yourself to wear only what you are truly want to, without worrying about how it would look like to other people. This approach to clothes is meant to make you happy and satisfied with what you wear, and no one else.
2.Examine What You Already Have.
This is really important, because you don’t want to overcomplicate things. It’s more than likely you already have clothes you love, so now you just need to build on that. Examine what you wear most of the time, and how you feel when you wear those particular combinations.
Don’t think you have to start fresh, unless you just changed jobs or started working and are in need of a major overhaul. If you decide to chuck everything, you might end up like me: needing to buy so much at once that you lose all sense of what you really like, only to discard those purchased item later in favor of what you truly do like. I’m happy to be your cautionary tale.
3. Shop for it. Slowly.
Now that you know what you love, and know what you already have, it’s time to make a plan. Figure out what you need to add, and budget for it. Personally, I don’t think it’s realistic to assume you can create your uniform overnight unless you intend to wear one outfit every day and can spend the money required to achieve it.
I suggest a more methodical approach, because as you experiment with your uniform you might find that your uniform needs to change with the seasons or that wearing only dresses doesn’t work for you in winter. Give yourself the space and time to be comfortable for you, while minimizing unneeded spending.
4. Add What You Need. When You Need To.
This is where I am at the moment. I’ve got my uniform. I wear it daily. Now and then I think there’s something else I could use, but I struggle to break free from the notion that I should continue to shop just in case I see something else I like. More on this point later.
My Experience: Uniform Established
While I certainly haven’t bought everything I wanted when I set out to create my uniform, I have reach that wondrous point of being able to set out a week’s worth of outfits without thought or bother. I have a formula and I stick to it: on any given day you will see me wear a black or white top, with black pants. I add a cardigan, and sometime a scarf if I feel like it would work with the ensemble, and I’m out the door. Nothing more, nothing less.
Currently, my closet consists on the following combinations:
I also rotate a white Cuyana’s Long Sleeve Open Neck Tee, and UNIQLO’s Women Supima Cotton Crewneck 3/4 Sleeve T in black and white. I find that I like the tunic style of the Splendid tops, but they don’t seem to last (i.e. not pill!) like the UNIQLO or Cuyana shirts. I also wear a black Chanel cashmere sweater at times, and have been after a white cashmere sweater for a while. That hasn’t worked out for me yet, so I’ve finally given up on that and went with a beige sweater made out of Alpaca wool.
I have three skinny black pants and one bootcut (ish) pants that I wear daily, and they are mostly from Paige. As a side note, their Ponte pants are made outside the U.S., but their Skyline TRANSCEND skinnies are made in the U.S. and are very comfortable to wear. Twice a week I wear jeans, and I have two pairs I wear regularly. High rise jeans from Rag & Bone and The Stiletto Skinny jeans from Current/Elliott.
Beware: The Contradiction of Having a Uniform
This level of simplicity works well and not so well, depending on how you look at it. Ah, aren’t most things in life just like this?
I’ve become super pleased with my ability to find what to wear without much fuss, but I also feel like people see me wear the same thing day after day. On days I am not feeling so confident, it bothers me and I worry about what people think. On other days, I make a mental note that most people wear mostly the same thing all the time, too.
I get slightly bored with wearing the same thing week after week, but I cherish the simplicity of wearing the same thing again and again. I haven’t got any schmancy clothing to wear on special occasions, but I don’t normally need it and can easily purchase a nice dress to rectify this (but haven’t). I can keep going here, but the gist of it is that you do pay a price for keeping things this simple.
More on this is will be found in Part 2.