Uniform, Smuniform… I Want To Be An Individual!
I had considered calling this blog “The Uniform Revolution”, because I think a big part of making your life easier are routines. In regards to clothing, shopping and dressing yourself, establishing a uniform is the best way to do that. I realize that the idea of turning your fashion life over to the “uniform” gives most of us a sense of horror. If you spent your childhood trying to escape the seemingly soul crushing daily dread of wearing a uniform, or worse yet spent your summers being forced to wear a pair of pleated shorts and polyester shirt for a job or two, the idea of spending your life in one truly fills you with horror.
Trust me, I get it…
I have done both; and for a long time I swore that I would never again don such ill-fitting, poorly colour coordinated, boring attire. Being a creative kid, it felt incredible unfair to have to give up my individuality and “awesome” sense of style to fit into a group I had no interest identifying with.
It took me some time and distance to start appreciating the reasons why those uniforms made my life easier;
- I was never late to a uniformed job.
- I freed up my time and attention to fully enjoy my life and not worry so much about how I looked.
- Status was more about who I was, how I behaved towards other people and my accomplishments rather than vanity and outward appearance.
- I felt a sense of belonging – no-one could tell me I was or wasn’t anything but the identity that my uniform granted me. There was a sense of being part of something bigger than myself; whether I wanted to be or not.
Years later, I figured out that there’s a way to transfer the positive aspects of wearing a uniform into daily life – mostly by picking my own ideal mix of clothes.
Anytime I get too busy in life to decide what I’m going to wear every morning, I just don my uniform.
Just because you’re wearing a uniform, doesn’t mean you have to look like everyone else. In fact, the best uniform is uniquely your own.
Your “uniform” can vary seasonally and doesn’t need to be extremely restrictive. Wearing one most of the time does’t mean you can’t change it or wear something special or different depending on the occasion.
This was my uniform all through Spring 2016 :
I changed up the button-down and top (often wearing a crop top or light tank). For colder weather, I switched out the shirt to a sweater (v-neck or turtleneck). In warmer weather I dropped the jacket and denim jeans in favour of culottes, or silk shorts and the button-down became a cool-evening cover-up. At work I wore basic colours, and flats instead of boots.
Give Your Brain a Break
Chances are, you already know what your uniform is. Think of it as a formula with multiple variables. Any one part can be switched out for another, similar item without losing the structure of the whole. A uniform is just a system to help with narrowing your choices and dramatically cutting down on your decision fatigue. The idea is to remove distractions and the need to make too many decisions in order to save brain power.
You’ve worn yours multiple times over your lifetime and in various iterations:
- Figure out what items are your go-tos and you’ll figure out what your uniform is. I will write a more in-depth article about this soon. In the meantime, just pay more attention to your favourite clothes, and the clothes that tend to wear most often. Especially when you’re tired or short on time.
The idea of a daily uniform has become pretty ubiquitous with the Silicon Valley set because of people like Steve Jobs and Mark Zuckerberg. But if you think about it many people wear a uniform without even realizing it. For example; a suit is also a uniform. Anyone who has to wear a suit to work everyday knows what I’m talking about. Sometimes these sorts of informal uniforms are expected in a workplace. Why? Because it should help mentally free up and focus people on their tasks instead of their clothes.
But it goes further than that; MANY designers and creative people choose to wear a uniform after decades of experimenting with and honing their style; Vera Wang, Marc Jacobs, Sofia Coppola, Gwyneth Paltrow; They all wear more or less the same thing all the time and not because they lack the ability to diversify their wardrobes.
Karl Lagerfeld, Michael Kors, Alber Elbaz and Tom Ford all wear a variation of the Black Suit. But you would never accuse them of them of looking alike.
*images from fashionista.com*
It doesn’t matter if you call in a “uniform” “style” or “signature look”. The idea is to simplify. Figure out what you love and what looks great on you, and then repeat it over and over with small variations.
So how exactly WILL this help you be more sustainable? The benefits are that you will save time, closet space, mental space, money, you’ll wear the things you own more often and feel more like yourself. Chances are you will also take better care of your clothes- as you will have less of them, and replcacing or mending your clothes will be simpler.
Hopefully I’ve given you guys a few things to think about. Watch for a post delving deeper into helping you figure out your uniform and simplifying your whole wardrobe and let me know how this concept has been working for you!