Developing Personal Style – Uniform Dressing

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This is me, pretty much every damn day. In fact, my friends probably saw me in this exact same outfit just last week. Maybe I swap a t-shirt for a collared shirt, or a grey blazer instead of navy (or when I’m feeling really crazy, green velvet). Either way, if you ever see me out and about in the wild, chances are I look something just like this. And I couldn’t be happier.

I never got off on switching things up, or sexing it up. I don’t have an alter ego. I like looking like “me”, and once I hit upon what that was, there’s no other way I want to look. I defend my choice of naturally curly hair to every well-meaning person who tries to convince me to straighten it, and I’ve taken some snarky “boring!” comments to the chin.

And that’s fine. I get it. Not everyone understands or enjoys such a…um…streamlined(?) personal style. I’ve found my way into a uniform and it’s abso-fucking-lutely spectacular.

Uniform dressing is basically figuring out what works for you, and then wearing it every damn day. It’s a wardrobe full of little sheath dresses in various colors. It’s Steve Jobs with his dad jeans and black turtlenecks. Or, if you’re me, a rotation of jeans + shirt + blazer in various shades of neutral. Wear, rinse, repeat.

It eliminates much of the fuss of getting dressed in the morning (although I have been known to linger on the age old question…distressed jeans, or non-distressed jeans…), and I can grab pretty much any jacket before running out the door because it all goes together. I even wear the same jewelry every day. I have a set of silver and a set of gold jewelry I always wear depending on my metal preferences for the day.

So, yeah…I guess what I’m saying is…despite being inundated by an endless cycle of fashion trends and societal pressure to always “change it up”, it’s okay (liberating, even) to find a look that works for you and embrace it. One person’s boring is another person’s dream closet.

— Details —

Blazer Banana Republic (old) (similar)
Shirt Banana Republic
Jeans Rag & Bone (old) (similar wash here & here)
Shoes Via Spiga (in suede)
Belt Linea Pelle (in cream) (similar)
Watch thanks to Daniel Wellington (also here)
Bracelet Vintage
Rings LittleFeathers Jewelry & Catbird

— Altered —

Bracelet has been shortened

9 Comments

  • I am so with you! Three years ago I moved to a much smaller house and discovered that the clothes that I wear daily really do represent a uniform for me. The key is to be sure that I like every piece I’ve got, since I don’t have room to waste. I’m always interested in new colors/styles, but… what works best for me evolves at a very slow pace, while keeping touch with my basic personality.

  • I absolutely love this post! I feel the same way too! I recently switched jobs, from full time to part time status, but to a more casual dress code environment. I refuse to change the way I dress so I continue to wear my sheath dresses, fancy skirts and button down shirts. As for Friday, I tone it down just a little with jeans, basic top and a blazer. By the way, you inspired me to buy that same BR blazer and I love it! Thank you so much!

  • I’ve been thinking about uniform dressing a lot this year. I essentially have a uniform right now. Although it’s maybe not my dream uniform, it’s practical. On the other hand, practical is not necessarily fun. I like the idea of a capsule wardrobe, minimalism, uniforms, but I also enjoy experimenting with fashion. As much as I wish I could have a closet of seven shirts and seven pants (I’ve known people who’ve reduced their wardrobe to less, although they are not women), I like that we women have so many choices. It’s a blessing and a curse in a way. (There’s also the ethical issue of buying into a fashion industry that outsources labor.) Sometimes my uniform is boring to me, other times I feel like having a uniform means I take my work seriously and have more time to devote to it. Maybe I simply am not ready to have a uniform. There is some fun in trying out a new trend once, but I am finding that the process of experimentation leads me closer to my true style. Maybe it’s more about the journey right now, and the “destination” will arrive when the time is right. Maybe the notion that one can live life fully with a backpack’s worth of clothes is ludicrous. I don’t know. I’m so interested to hear what other readers think about uniform dressing.

  • Han’s comment made me think of another question I’ve been pondering. It seems like you are judged in the workplace for over dressing (“you must think you’re better than everyone else”) AND under dressing (“you don’t take your job seriously”). People say you should dress for the job you want not the job you have, but I’m not sure that’s such great advice. Are there limits to how far up you can dress without it impacting your career? My experience has been you can get away with a notch up, but not much more than that, a notch being like if the status quo is khakis and a polo shirt, you can do a slightly nicer collared shirt and khakis but a dress shirt and slacks would be like woah, who do you think you are. Anyone?

  • Love your hair, please do not change it!!
    I do the same uniform, altough I wear straigh jeans and full of color shirts.
    No stress everyday.
    xoxo

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