Thursday, October 8, 2015

The Work Uniform

via Harper's Bazaar
Even though I write a lot about clothes and post outfits on this so-called fashion blog, I absolutely hate thinking and planning what I'm going to wear in the morning. The outfits that I actually do post are a happy coincidence on days that I actually think I dressed myself well. My whole closet is built in a way that I look, at the very least, as non-descript as possible.

I recently re-read this article I came across last year when I was still at the ad agency about an art director at Saatchi who has a work uniform. Her name is Matilda Kahl and her story behind the uniform creation is pretty interesting! It definitely resonated with me.
"About three years ago, I had one of those typical Monday mornings that many women have experienced. With a fairly important meeting on the horizon, I started to try on different outfits, lacking any real direction or plan. As an art director at one of the leading creative advertising agencies in New York, I'm given complete freedom over what I wear to the office, but that still left me questioning each piece that I added or subtracted from my outfit. "Is this too formal? Is that too out there? Is this dress too short?" I finally chose something I regretted as soon as I hit the subway platform. 
"As I arrived at work, my stress level only increased as I saw my male creative partner and other male co-workers having a "brodown" with the new boss as they entered the meeting room—a room I was supposed to already be inside. I just stood there—paralyzed by the fact that I was not only late, but unprepared. And my sweater was inside out. I had completely stressed myself out, and for what? This was not the first morning I'd felt this unnecessary panic, but that day I decided it would be the last.
I think I want to try this. Not everyday but on days when I don't want to fuss with clothes. Why? I constantly am underdressed for the level of work I'm at. I want to be taken more seriously because I'm young. I want to dress more professionally. I work at a start up so people just wear what they want, and it's so tempted some days to show up dressed like a scrub.

Here's what mine would be.

Banana Republic Sloan trousers in black - cropped in the summer and regular length in the winter. (have, need at least 2 more pairs)

Sleeveless, collared, button up tank in neutral colors in the summer (don't have)
Add a blazer or a crew neck sweater or a leather jacket over top in the winter (have all)

For comfort: black smoking slippers (have)
For height: Ankle boots (have many a pair)
For inclement weather (snow, rain, slush): L.L. Bean Boots, and changing back into normal shoes (have)

Gold cuff (have)
Dainty gold necklace (have, but want to upgrade to real gold)
Long gold chain pendant (have)
Grey or camel scarf (have and have)

What do you guys think of having a work uniform? Weird? Not weird? I love the idea of it. I feel so much more energized when I don't struggle with what to wear in the morning. Some days it comes naturally, and other days - I give up. Why not optimize for those days by having a uniform?



  1. I don't know if I could wear the exact same thing everyday - to be honest I really like thinking up outfits, I usually plan one the night before so I don't have to in the morning. I guess I generally already have several go-to outfit formulas (button down + skinny jeans or a long-sleeve tee/thin sweater + trousers) which I just mix and match. The dress code for doctors/med students here is pretty lax, we just need to be neat and practical, there's no pressure to look formal or trendy. I do know the feeling of staring in my wardobe and panicking, that's usually on the weekends where I feel obliged to maximise wear of my more casual clothes. My general rule is that if I'm not comfortable with an outfit I put on in any way (with how it looks or feels), I take it off immediately and put on something that I know works, otherwise I'd be self-conscious for the rest of the day.

    1. Ahh, I don't advance plan. I definitely should, but I usually put it off and it doesn't end up happening, so I settle for the first thing that I put on in the morning. I think the main goal for me is to look older, since I'm a little further into my career now. I need to think of some outfit formulas beyond what is jeans + long sleeve + jacket!

  2. I'm all for the idea of a work uniform and I personally consider myself to be someone who already has a "work uniform" even though I actually wear a wide range of things (cardigans on top of dresses various combinations of almost completely interchangeable tops and skirts, and I occasionally mix in my one pair of slacks). Even with that fairly wide range of items, I find that dressing for work takes almost no mental effort. (Basically all of my skirts are black, which makes it super-easy to match things.)

    I've never had to worry about dressing more formally to be taken seriously, I feel like, even though I am a very new and very junior employee. Our office has a very permissive business casual dress code (by NYC standards), which does make that easier!

    1. I've only worked in casual work places, except for my time at the agency, where I'd only dress up if clients were coming in, so my wardrobe definitely lacks in the professional clothing! I definitely agonize over what to wear to an interview or client meeting. I only have enough outfits to last 2 days, since that's how long clients were usually in town haha.

  3. I like the idea of having a work capsule, but I've read that article, and I couldn't wear the same thing everyday--even if it was rick owens. I group my work wardrobe together and stick to a minimal color palette so I know everything coordinates.

  4. I LOVE this concept. If I still worked in an office/business setting I think I'd find a way to adopt it.

    I have also noticed since this article first came out that style of top (with the black "tie" thingy) has become increasingly popular!