Uniform. Latin, meaning “Of one form”.
There is a lot of buzz in the fashion world right now about wearing a uniform. Should you? shouldn’t you? What are the benefits? Will people think you’re that girl from Seinfeld?
But even if people do think you’re crazy for wearing practically the same thing every day, the benefits are well worth it.
Defining what a uniform is
The word “uniform” can mean that you wear identical articles of clothing every day. But it can also mean that you wear a similar outfit or look daily.
Your “uniform” is your signature look. Something unique that you’re known for whether that be jeans and a white t-shirt, vintage workwear, or bright multi-colored dresses.
Having a uniform means that you have a small collection of clothing where each piece fits together seamlessly because each individual piece is of the same style and form.
Your wardrobe is a uniform entirely unique to you. You’re always buying in that “neighborhood” of clothing.
Who wears a uniform?
Only the fashion, art, and business elites. Mark Zuckerberg, Alexa Chung, Andy Warhol, Karl Lagerfeld, Rodin, Picasso, Steve Jobs, Jane Birkin, Coco Chanel, presidents and heads of state all rely on uniforms to save precious time, mental energy and communicate a clear identity.
You can make your uniform whatever you want it to be and I recommend the more unique the better.
Keep in mind, a uniform has to be functional, interchangeable, and reliable. When you create your unique uniform you will notice all sorts of benefits that you wouldn’t with a mismatched and uncurated wardrobe.
1. You will defy aging
Having a recognizable “look” that moves from decade to decade is like waving a magic wand to erase your age.
Take Karl Lagerfeld for example. Sure he’s looking his age now, but what’s interesting about him is that he started powdering his hair white long before he went entirely gray.
When you have a defining look, people will associate you with the look rather than focusing on the detail of your age. Anna Wintour is another great example. She’s known for her signature sunglasses, bold dresses, and bob hairstyle.
When you keep to a look, you’ll never be tempted to “dress your age”, a fashion myth I absolutely abhor. Dress for your identity alone, never your age. There are too many gorgeous, strong women out there of every age rocking it to believe in this fashion myth any longer.
I’ve been gravitating towards the same styles since I was about 16 or 17 and I’m sure I’ll keep doing so till I’m 101. Why? Because it’s about me being me, and you being you.
2. You’ll spend less time worrying what to wear because everything goes together
There’s a reason why certain schools have adopted the uniform as mandatory wear. It saves students time and worries.
We have a limited amount of gorgeous brainpower each day. As soon as we wake up we become decision-making machines. However, the more choices we make the less brain power we have. To conserve brain power for more important tasks like learning, being present at work, or making progress in your business you need to adopt a uniform.
3. You won’t worry if you look good or not
When you finally craft your uniform, your identity, you never really have to feel self-conscious again. A good friend of mine has mentioned on more than one occasion that when she shows up to a function she feels worried about her outfit choice. “Why did I wear this”, she thinks.
Never wonder why you picked out another outfit again. Just hone in on a theme and stick to it.
When I’m rushed to get out the door, even on the most harried of days, I still receive compliments about my outfit, which is always nice. But what it really says to me is that I look presentable, cute even, because I stuck to my uniform.
4. You won’t fluctuate in weight because you’ll wear certain items into the ground
Here are perhaps one of the best benefits from keeping a uniform. You tend not to fluctuate dramatically in weight. Europeans do this extremely well, blast them!
Imagine being able to wear the same pair of jeans for over 10 years. When you stick to well-made pieces with very little stretch in them, you’re able to stay true to your size over a long period time.
I gain or lose weight over time but for the most part, I stick around the same range.
I have a particular pair of jeans that I use to measure my weight by since I don’t own a scale and never, ever will (scales are pointless and toxic in my opinion). I know that when these jeans are snug or loose in certain areas, I need to up my walking, get better sleep, do less sitting, or be conscientious about my sugar, carb, and alcohol intake.
This is a bit controversial, but I believe in the power of the mind over matter. A great book on this subject is (don’t hate me) French Women Don’t Get Fat: The Secret of Eating For Pleasure.
5. You’ll prevent impulse purchases because you know it doesn’t go with your uniform
Uniforms are stylish if you style them to be.
Style outlasts trends. I can’t emphasize that enough. Style is not fashion. To have a unique style means that sometimes you’ll be misunderstood, sometimes you’ll be envied, and sometimes you’ll be right on the money.
But who cares what other people think if you hate a certain trend?
What matters is that you have a unique perspective on life and when you remain true to that you will always be more comfortable in your own skin. You can easily say ‘no’ to trends or other attractive items because they don’t really fall in line with your uniform.
6. You’ll spend less on clothing but increase the quality of what you buy
When you’re poor, you can’t afford to buy cheap.”
– My grandma
Grandmas are the best. They know what’s up. I love the art of clothing and I’m not averse to investing in what my dear old friend Ashley calls a “forever piece”. With that being said, I also have bargain pride. I like to brag about how little I was able to score certain items for, like my vintage American Optical 14k Gold Aviator sunglasses for $.99 at a local thrift store.
Every budget is different but everyone can afford high-quality clothing if they know what to look for at a thrift or retail stores.
When you have a curated wardrobe, you don’t waste money on fast fashion. This means you spend way less than the average bear.
You can squirrel away those savings to be used on a splurge if you want.
7. People will know what to buy for you
Husbands and boyfriends and others rejoice! Be so you that when a friend sees something at a garage sale, she thinks of you and snaps it up on your behalf!
Be so you that when your love needs to get you something for your birthday or Christmas you don’t turn into Rachel Green.
What a joy to take the guesswork out of gifting on behalf of your friends and family.
8. You’ll be able to focus more on your health and things that matter and less on trying to cover something up
I see a lot of people who use clothing as a way to hide. They hide their arms (me), their jelly rolls, their knees, or their neck.
When you simplify everything, you can really start to use that precious and finite energy towards making healthier choices. Uniforms are flattering and help us feel secure in our form.
But they also give us an opportunity to work on ourselves without having to pay too much attention to what we look like. What a gift to take the attention off of the body for just one minute. Am I right?
Now that you know what wearing a uniform means you can create your own unique persona. The benefits are so valuable to your overall wellbeing, budget, and health you really can’t afford not to have a personal style.
Wearing a uniform doesn’t have to be bland or boring. It can be rewarding and a great way to express your creative self, outlast the fast-fashion trends, and spend more time on the things that matter most to you!
Simplify your wardrobe and you can simplify your life.
And if you want to learn how to create your very own uniform, check out my workbook, How To Dress Like A French Girl, below. I walk you through creating your Style Manifesto, the exact pieces you need to have a simple capsule wardrobe, and where to find the most stylish ethical brands for any budget.