I’ve long been intrigued with wearing a daily uniform; for nearly two years now, I’ve actually done it.
Well, mostly. Here’s what I’ve noticed: during seasons of life that feel very full, I tend to wear some variation of the same thing every day. This makes sense to me. While everyone’s prone to decision fatigue, I know decisions drain my tank exceptionally quickly. A go-to outfit (or 6) makes for one less thing to think about every morning.
Last summer, I gave a seasonal uniform a trial run and I loved it. This season, I’m juggling several creative projects on top of a tightly scheduled family life. I’m not waiting to see what getting dressed feels like in this season. The day after school got out, I hopped on the internet and ordered the same shirt in five colors. My uniform game is ON.
(My resolve was tested last week: I needed to run to the Apple store, which is dangerously close to my old favorite Anthropologie. I strategically (or foolishly) parked by Anthro so I could pass through the store coming and going. I got sucked in a little bit: I love looking at all the beautiful dresses and interesting tops.
I was thinking it wouldn’t hurt to try a few things on … and then I remembered how often I’ve wound up coming to my senses in the dressing room an hour later, with piles of clothes that don’t quite work. Stitch Fix isn’t perfect—I need to drop off a package off the post office today that contains five rejects on an 0-for-5 fix—but I’m extremely grateful it’s kept me out of the stores and out of the dressing rooms: last week’s experience made me realize I hadn’t been out shopping for clothes for myself in a solid YEAR and that makes me very happy.)
More on what’s working: my default uniform hasn’t changed much since last season.
On hot days, like this weekend’s 95-degree scorchers, it’s tank top and shorts, plus a sweater in my bag for the AC when I’m out. On warm days, it’s a tank and jeans, or a button-down (like this new favorite) and shorts. And on cooler summer days (or very early mornings) it’s a button-down and jeans.
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.
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 a half dozen tanks (white, navy, blue, grey) from among these three options:
1. Everlane Ryan tank. ($18) I own quite a few different shirts from Everlane; some are medium and some are large. While my favorite Everlane tees are sized large, I need a medium in this deeply scooped tank to not flash everyone. (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. ($27) 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. (29.50) 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.)
I don’t like variety for my bottoms: I wear the same ones over and over again. My favorites are:
• Boyfriend jeans. (Summer is too hot for skinnies. From Stitch Fix.)
• Black coated slacks for a dressier look. (From Stitch Fix.)
• Citizens of Humanity white boyfriend jeans. These weren’t cheap (although I got mine through Stitch Fix with a discount) but I love the look of white jeans and a dark top for summer, and this is the only style I’ve tried on that was actually flatting.
I have two basic necklaces I wear all the time from Stella and Dot and Stitch Fix, plus a couple of fabulous statement necklaces from Noonday Collection.
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:
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.
Do YOU have a personal uniform? What does it look like?