My summer uniform.

My summer uniform.

I’m obsessed with uniform dressing, but haven’t taken the plunge. As an INFP, I dwell in possibility, and the thought of committing to wear the very same thing every day, forever and ever, gives me the willies.

But it also sounds amazing. I’ve been inching my way towards a uniform: I stick to a very basic wardrobe (and makeup + hairstyle) on mornings I leave the house early to write. On those mornings, I love not having to think about my clothes for a second.

Based on that small victory, I’m giving a more comprehensive uniform a trial run this summer. Summer dressing is easy where I live: it’s hot and humid, so carefully planned layers just aren’t an option. I tend to wear the same things every day in the summer anyway; it’s not a huge leap to formalize it.

This is my default uniform. Writing days are uniform days. I’ll still wear my dresses and more colorful tops, but not nearly as often as these daily staples. (I’m estimating the figure will be 5 days uniform, 2 days variety. We’ll see.)

If you know what to look for, you can find great garments (almost) anywhere, but in the spirit of making things easy for my fellow shopping-haters, I’m sharing specific items.

summer uniform collage

Tank

A word about tanks, because it took me years to figure this out. I used to buy the smallest size that “fit,” as many women do. But I never asked myself how I wanted the garment to fit: did I want it to be form-fitting or drapey? This season, I want drapey, and I sized up to get that effect.

I have four tanks (white, navy, pale grey, charcoal) from among these three options:

1. Everlane Ryan tank. ($20) I own quite a few different shirts from Everlane; some are medium and some are large. I sized up on this one because I wanted a loose fit, but I didn’t need to. I ordered a large; should have ordered a medium. (I’m 5’9.”) This is a breezy, loose fitting tank, perfect for layering or on its own at a ballgame. Hand washing required. (When Everlane says hand washing is required, they mean it.)

2. Everlane linen tank. ($30) This is a high-neck, tailored tank with a highly textured feel. It’s slightly sheer. This is easy to wear and looks great on its own, but the side vents make it difficult to layer. Care instructions are hand wash cold, lay flat to dry. Mine has washed beautifully. The medium fits me perfectly.

3. J. Crew linen tank. (34.50) This tank feels similar to the Everlane linen tank, but it’s rounded hem makes it perfect for layering. The medium is true to size, but I sized up to a large because I wanted a looser fit. (Oddly, I also love J. Crew’s linen tees, and a medium provides the loose fit I’m after in that style. Maddening.)

Bottoms

I don’t like variety for my bottoms: I wear the same ones over and over again. My favorites are:

• Shorts in khaki, white, and denim. (I love Target’s Merona brand chinos and J. Crew chinos.)

• Boyfriend jeans. (Summer is too hot for skinnies. From Stitch Fix.)

• Black coated slacks for a dressier look. (From Stitch Fix.)

Pendant

necklaces

I have three basic necklaces I wear all the time from Stella and Dot, Popbasic, and Stitch Fix.

Layers

Even if it’s 90 degrees out, I don’t leave home without a layer so I don’t freeze to death in exuberant air conditioning. My go-tos are:

• an open-weave cardigan (Anthropologie) or a knit cardigan (Stitch Fix)
• a denim jacket (Loft from forever ago)
• a blazer (J. Crew)

my summer uniform

Finishing touches

Flats or silver sandals plus my go-to tote bag.

This look is easy to put on, easy to wear, and easy to dress up (nicer pants, blazer) or dress down (tank, necklace, sandals). Everything goes with everything else; I could get dressed in the dark.

I’m curious to see how my personal experiment goes.

Got any tips for me? Do YOU have a personal uniform? What does it look like?

P.S. The ten item wardrobe and dress for the life you want to have. Also, get 30% off women’s styles at J. Crew with the code SHOPNOW.

My summer uniform.

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61 comments

  1. Jaime says:

    I stumbled across this post last week and it’s changing the way I get dressed in the mornings. I used to struggle for several minutes and often run late because I had a closet full of clothes that were hard to wear/put together. I read this and instantly pulled out my 2 pair of favorite jeans, khakis, and a pair of shorts plus a few simple v neck tees or tanks. I add my favorite necklace and sandals and have a pulled together, but simple outfit. Mornings now are a breeze and I always feel like my personality can shine, instead of my clothes. I’m wondering if I’ll get bored with this way of dressing, but so far I love it! Thank you so much for sharing!!!

  2. Kimberley says:

    Anne, thank you so much for this post! It feels gorgeous and summery, and while it’s winter here in New Zealand, I feel like I have a head start in which to be curious about what my uniform might look like. I’ve been thinking about it for a while, and how it might save my sanity and free me up to make more exciting, creative decisions with my energy! P.S. I love the necklace in your Instagram pic today. Drool!

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