Image and Style: Keeping it Simple and Uniform

 In Consciously Woman

Image and Style: Keeping it Simple and Uniform


Have you ever stood in front of your closet, staring at your clothes, trying to decide what to wear? I’m sure most of us can conclusively say yes, on many occasions. Especially on a work day, when time is more of the essence, such ponderings can cause unnecessary delays.

What if you had a uniform? Wouldn’t that be easier? The very word brings to mind private school uniforms (which I’m happy not to have had to wear, but I occasionally did wonder how much easier it would have been to dress for school). A uniform seems to be the antithesis of freedom and self-expression, an enemy of fashion.

Let’s expand the thought. If I was creating a work uniform for myself, I would likely need to determine my signature look. The things or styles I wear the most and which feel the most comfortable.  Then it would be a matter of buying a few multiples of that same outfit and there you are – a uniform for work.

This is something we see quite often, for men. The suit and tie for instance. It’s a uniform if ever there was one. Even on their days off, I find men’s fashion is simpler, fewer parts as it were. A man might just wear jeans and a t-shirt, in varieties, every day; or jeans and a button up shirt. In this regard, the idea of uniform has been in play for men for some time.

There is logic to this as well. There are a few articles that will tell you that quite a few successful and notable names wear the same thing every day. The idea is that taking out the small decisions of what to wear, frees up the mind for other bigger decisions throughout the day. And there are plenty of reasons besides – saving money, simplicity, predictability, allows for focus, less stress etc.  What I noticed most about these examples is that most of these notable names are all men: Steve Jobs, Barack Obama, and Mark Zuckerberg. I believe it’s easier to follow a uniform when you’re a man. As I’ve mentioned, there are fewer options, for better or worse, in men’s fashion. It’s easier to streamline. However, women can do it too, should they wish. One example was Matilda Kahl, an art director in New York. She decided she would wear the same thing every day, a white shirt and black trousers.

Beyond the uniform is the capsule wardrobe – merging the uniform with a minimalist sensibility. Existentially it is part of a philosophy of owning fewer clothes, less stuff, bucking the trend of fast fashion, consumer spending, and waste – and losing some of the stress that comes with it. Many of the same reasons to adopt a uniform apply to the capsule, less expensive, fewer decisions etc.

I’m intrigued by the capsule wardrobe. I like the idea of more simplicity in my mornings. In having less, and the choices of what to wear always look good and make me feel good. I haven’t embarked on the capsule wardrobe just yet. Though if you want to see an example of someone who did, check out this woman’s decision to do so. There are those who point out that the capsule wardrobe is being used as a new fashion trend, rather than how it was originally intended. I haven’t decided yet if I’m going to try to have a capsule wardrobe. For one thing, I see a lot of neutrals in these photos of capsule samples. Which is fine, I like neutrals, but the whole wardrobe in black, white, grey and blue? No thank you. And I love me some grey, please believe. There must be a balance between neutrals and self-expression. I’m still working out what my signature style would be, as well as dealing with the wildly different seasons in Canada. Additionally, I’m not interested in giving up all my shoes (which are part of my signature actually). But I do want to be more strategic about the ones I buy going forward. I would like to purchase some basic pieces that can be worn all year round and for more than one occasion, pieces that are classic and last (higher quality). I imagine them to be my wardrobe backbone. Perhaps just working towards less, keeping it simple and trying for a more signature, uniform approach would be a good start.

I haven’t embraced or taken action on the capsule wardrobe just yet, but I will definitely document the journey if I do. In the meantime, I will read up, and make a list of those staple pieces. Just as we individually evolve and learn about ourselves, so too there is a journey in the outward, clothing-draped expression of self.

Written by Lia Robinson

*image via http://ow.ly/FGtI300dvWp

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