This is a piece I never imagined writing. I’ve always loved a statement jacket or an amazing dress. I absolutely stay away from the capsule wardrobe concept. But, over the past year or so, perhaps because of limited closet space and an effort to shop minimally, I’ve realized that having an everyday uniform – even as a working creative, or, perhaps, particularly as a working creative – makes my life easier and more chic.
WHY AN EVERYDAY UNIFORM IS A MUST FOR CREATIVES
When you think of a professional uniform, who comes to mind? Right now, it’s probably Elizabeth Holmes. I mean, who isn’t caught up in the scandal?! Fake voice aside, that black turtleneck, smoldering eye makeup, and bright lip worked for her. It defined her without defining her. Her uniform let her work (or lack thereof) speak for itself.
Then there’s Carolina Herrara in her crisp white buttondown and full skirt. Vera Wang in all-black. You can even go back to Katharine Hepburn in her wide-leg trousers, tailored blouses, and slouchy blazers. These creative and driven women were and are always sophisticated, always pulled together, and always in their prescribed and intentional uniform.
We often associate uniforms with restriction and conformity, but when your everyday uniform is one that taps into your signature style without distracting from your talent, it quietly speaks volumes. At the risk of sounding too buzzword-y, it’s all about creating the image that is your personal brand.
A UNIFORM AS A SIGNATURE STYLE
Having an everyday uniform makes getting dressed in the morning easy. It gives you the flexibility to mix and match pieces that consistently speak to your signature style. It allows you to focus on your work speaking for you. It strengthens and furthers your persona and your brand.
As a writer, I have to strike a chord that falls somewhere between the funky artsiness of an art director and the buttoned-up sophistication of someone on the business side of things. I have to look creative and serious at the same time. Identifying and sticking to an everyday uniform has been key in finding that image.
I want to look put together, tailored, and as if I’m here to concentrate on getting shit done…while, at the same time, providing just enough quirkiness that you believe I’m the right creative for the job. A uniform that has become quintessentially me is just the ticket.
MY GO-TO EVERYDAY PIECES
So, what is my everyday uniform? As you might have gathered, it consists of a blazer, a striped shirt (or turtleneck if it’s cold!), and high-waisted jeans. This blazer is my go-to. I have it in 3 different colors and I love this hunter green because it’s a bit unexpected. All these pieces together have a bit of a 90’s, bookish vibe, but with a touch of current trends, and I can dress it up or down depending on the shoes, accessories, and the particular blazer or shirt I choose. Sometimes I go with navy schoolboy blazer, but there are other times I pull out the velvet. I’m always switching it up.
Here, I paired it with sensible heels (that phrasing does make me think of a someone’s grandmother…), a clutch, and bold earrings. I would also wear it with cowboy boots and a pendant necklace or sandals and a tote. It’s so versatile, but always classic, and just tailored and serious enough.
WHY THIS LOOK WORKS FOR WORK AND PLAY
The best part about this look is that I can wear it to work in the morning and go straight to happy hour afterward. If I know I have an evening event, I’ll choose a more feminine or eccentric blazer. Perhaps a pink peplum or a military-inspired coral piece. It’s all about varying the base pieces to create looks that don’t restrict me to one occasion.
If it’s freezing out, I do a turtleneck and boots, but I’m still almost always sticking to the uniform of stripes and a blazer. On a warm spring day, you can guarantee I’m pulling out a classic navy and white stripe, and then pairing it with a white eyelet moto blazer. This look works for literally anything.
HOW IS A UNIFORM DIFFERENT FROM A CAPSULE WARDROBE?
You might be wondering, how is an everyday uniform different from a capsule wardrobe? Well, I could never do a capsule wardrobe. I love statement pieces. I love picking up awesome blazers on clearance because no one else wanted the puff sleeve seersucker or the large scale tartan. I could never restrict myself to 30 pieces made to mix and match.
Where a capsule wardrobe is about pairing the same items to make different outfits, and everyday uniform is about pairing different items to make the same outfit. An outfit you know is flattering and works for you and your lifestyle.
DO YOU HAVE AN EVERYDAY UNIFORM?
So, do you have an everyday uniform that works for you? Has it evolved over the years with your lifestyle? I’m interested to know what works for you and what pieces make it into your daily and weekly rotation!