While I’m not (yet) gutsy enough to join those ranks, I’m happiest when I have a loose uniform. About a year ago I realized I’d accidentally fallen into a uniform of sorts; for the past few months I’ve been sticking to one, on purpose.
Uniform dressers are usually drawn in by one of two things—the promise of productivity or identity. We’re all vulnerable to decision fatigue; deciding what to wear every day takes its toll. A uniform streamlines—or even eliminates—a daily, early morning decision.
As for identity: some people have a “look,” you know who they are, and many of us find that appealing. (Raises hand.)
My first stab at a summer uniform went great. I did it for productivity, but was surprised at how quickly identity came into play.
As I dialed in my uniform and narrowed my wardrobe further, I discovered which clothes made me feel great, what outfits made me feel most like myself.
I have a pretty spare closet, and I’m continuing to thin it. I know a lot more about my style, and what I want to get out of my closet, than I did a year ago. This fall, I’m doubling down on the clothes I feel most comfortable in: the things I actually want to wear.
Right now, that looks like:
• dark, fitted neutrals on the bottom, usually pants
• looser tops: collared shirts, or lightweight tees, plus a sweater or blazer
• mostly neutral palette (I can’t explain why I love this exception)
• ballet flats, often with a pop of color
(Worth noting: this is vastly different from my go-to outfits of ten years ago. Back then I adored full skirts and fitted tees. It wasn’t a conscious change.)
I’ve learned that if I want to feel great in my clothes, shape is key. I can’t stand things that are boxy or too tight. Sleeves and hemlines need to be long enough. The waist needs to hit me in the right place. (If I’m uncomfortable in something, I’m getting rid of it—even if it’s painful in the moment.)
My fall uniform will evolve as temperatures cool. I’ll bring out the boots and scarves, then sweaters. But the foundation will stay the same.
For most days, I follow a loose uniform. But if I’m in a hurry, need to leave home crazy early, or just have a big day, I have a real uniform: black pants, chambray shirt, colored flats, messy bun. (Unless I was lucky enough to wake up with decent-looking hair, in which case I’ll wear it down—always my preference.)
My sorta uniform is working well for me, but I want to continue to evolve it over the next year, and am flirting (once again) with the idea of giving a bona fide uniform a trial run. Every time I decide I don’t really want to wear the same thing every day, I stumble upon an article like this and start to waver …
Do you have a uniform, or flirt with the idea of uniform dressing? I’d love to hear all about your experience, plus your ideas for go-to outfits, in comments.