Do you have a 'uniform' ?

Many male designers, when interviewed, say they wear a 'uniform' to work; Marc Jacobs wore button-downs and jeans, back in the day when he dressed more conservatively (or just plain dressed). Others favour white tees with Japanese jeans, or reveal that they have eighteen identical suits.

An petite octogenarian artist in New York says she wears black yoga pants and crisp mens' white shirts (which she buys at Goodwill), with a thermal top under her shirt in winter.


My petite aunt made a dressmaker suit in various fabrics, and wore only that style all the decades I remember her. Her daughters begged her to vary her wardrobe, but she had found her look.

I wore a school uniform from age 12 through 17: gray flannel pleated skirt and blazer, white blouse. I liked the relief of not having to figure out an outfit every day, but think I was an exception. We spent the weekends in minis and beads.

The
simplicity and ease of a uniform still beckon. Mine could be
  • Pants: Matte jersey wide leg
  • Sweater: Silk or wool knit; fine cotton in summer
  • Accessory: An Indian or Italian shawl- a stack of various colours and patterns

Oh no, I'm pretty much aiming toward pajamas, a female Hugh Hefner!

I admired the salwar kameez (below) when I was in India, and might choose it if brave enough.

If you designed your own 'uniform' what might it be?

Do you have, if not a uniform, a dependable combination in which you feel great?

13 comments

Imogen Lamport said...

I would get way too bored with a uniform - hated wearing one for work, and have refused to work anywhere that requires one.

I think I like variety too much to have one.

If I had to, it would probably be a skirt, usually calf length with unusual construction, with knee high boots, a knit top and cardigan or jacket, and a great pendant.

Completely Alienne said...

I have worn a 'uniform' to work for years. I am a lawyer so I have to look relatively smart but am in the public sector not private so do not have to be very smart and can avoid suits, which I don't like. So I wear black trousers or occasionally a black skirt - very rarely varying it with dark gray - then white blouse and jacket (non matching - I have a couple of nice green ones and a dog tooth check and gray as well as various black) in summer and a (usually black) jumper in winter, with jacket if I need extra warmth. Occasionally, when I need cheering up I opt for a brighter jumper.

My work uniform is minimal, easily updated and I keep it separate from my normal clothes and don't wear it when off duty.

Deja Pseu said...

For work, absolutely. My uniform is trousers (these days Banana Republic "Jackson" cut) in black or taupe, a sweater or 3/4 sleeve knit tee, a jacket or cardigan and (usually) a scarf. Even though I'm trying to wear more color these days, when I want safe-tried-and-true I go for black, and use accessories to add color.

I used to wear strictly pants suits (oh so easy to get dressed in the mornings!), but that feels too formal these days for our office environment.

Vildy said...

I like being covered up. I always want a third piece and have lots of coats and raincoats besides. I prefer boots but not the kind that are form-fitting. Other than that I always want some movement in my clothing, whether it's a scarf that flutters, necklace that will jump around if I walk fast, flare and swirl in my skirts, no straight skirts. I want my clothes to suggest energy. I love any kind of belted jacket/shirt that creates casual blousiness and a peplum effect but looks thrown on and unstudied. Naturally, I study my wardrobe a lot to get this unstudied effect.

materfamilias said...

I spent too many school years in a uniform -- at first the classic pleated tunic/jumper, then the box-pleated skirt, both with white shirt, tie, cardigan, and ugly/boring shoes -- so I'm with Imogen.
All the same, I do have several uniform-like combinations I gravitate towards -- there's a basic shift dress I've been able to pick up a few variations of the last year or so, and I'm thinking of having it made in a range of fabrics. And I do tend to be rather uniform in the way I wear jeans (dark wash, slight flare, long cardigan, or v-neck pullover with scarf). I also love a combination of interesting skirt with more conservative v-neck top and knee-high boots.
Hmmmm, although I like several typical combinations, I'm getting that I wouldn't want to return to the uniform days of my youth -- clearly, I like variety!

Duchesse said...

Vildy: "Naturally, I study my wardrobe a lot to get this unstudied effect"- I so enjoyed this comment! I thnk we all want to look unstudied, but fabulous!

materfamilias: I too keep thinking "dressmaker to copy this" but fear disappointment. V-nekc pus scarf my spring fabblack too.

Pseu: Occasionally I have to wear full corporate drag and it just about kills me, especially pantyhose and heels.

Alienne: These days I blur the off-work and at-work line (skirts, pants), but like you wear jackets for a note of authority.

Imogen: "Calf length with unusual construction" is the skirt I always look for! ANd great pendant- yum!

bonnie-ann black said...

for many years, i wore dark slacks (actually tuxedo pants i bought at the army/navy store), turtleneck in some bright colour in the winter, white shirt in the summer and a waistcoat (vest) of some kind. these were where i did my real "style"... the vests were made of beautiful materials in different colours and patterns, and i wore tons of pins, chains and ornaments were on them, usually in a theme (all swords, all insects, all flowers)... i wore (and still wear) hats and long coats in winter, and hats and long sleeves in summer.

unfortunately, most of my vests have worn out and there are no replacements available. i've looked into having them made, but the cost of materials and fiding a real tailor are prohibitive.

Anonymous said...

I love uniforms and variations on the theme. V neck sweaters in many colours with black pants or jeans, and scarf, bracelets and fancy earrings to accessorize works in my line of work. For "corporate drag" (love that phrase) I do black pants, black shell, with a great jacket, boots and fabulous jewellry. Always bracelets. You've got me ready to try a little black dress with heels and black stockings, so I'll see what effect that has on the viewing public.
sjcyogi

Frugal Scholar said...

I've noticed that many women "of a certain age" have taken to uniforms. My 18 year old daughter, who is very critical of me (as I was of my mother) told me that I look great most of the time. She said that I had developed a few "signature" looks--featuring pearls, scarves, and a couple of killer jackets--and that she loved them. I figure if she approves, I must be looking OK.

Imogen Lamport said...

I've found the best shop in Melbourne for my skirts - they're all French and Italian imports, the price on the tag is never the price I pay, and the women who run the shop are the best value. What I also love about them is that if I call them up they'll keep the shop open for me if i can't get there in normal trading hours! How good is that. All my favourite clothes are from there.

Anonymous said...

Although I spent a good many years in school uniform (and count me as one of the people who liked not having to figure out what to wear, as long as I had a clean pressed blouse), I don't have a uniform so much as a very limited palette of colors, all of which look great (not just OK) on me. I may evolve into a uniform, but, for now, my limited color choices greatly simplify and streamline my wardrobe.

s. said...

Gwyneth Paltrow wrote about her "uniform" in her Goop newsletter not long ago. Fun to see that even the rich and famous often find comfort in wearing the staples that they know and love.

Duchesse said...

s: What was it? Something involving dark matchstick jeans, I would guess?