the style uniform

5:03:00 PM

Lately, I keep seeing article after article about style uniforms, and why they're such a great idea. From Steve Jobs to President Obama to Mark Zuckerberg, wearing the same clothes every day seems to have some serious links to personal success. 

There's a lot of different lines of thought as to why this is. The biggest reason points to the concept of decision fatigue - a real psychological condition in which a person's productivity and efficiency suffers as a result of being exhausted from making so many mundane decisions all day long. Having a go-to uniform eliminates at least one decision that we make daily, which frees our minds up to worry about bigger, more important issues. 

Another reason the uniform is a great idea is that wearing the same outfit every day can become a part of personal branding. According to personal branding guru William Arruda, people who have uniforms wear what they wear because that’s what they feel comfortable wearing. “When you wear something that just feels right, you are confident. And it is also great to have a trademark look. It makes you memorable and distinctive.” 

This might sound a little weird, but I like to think of it in terms of smell. For example, my mom has worn the same gardenia perfume for almost my entire life, and every time I smell it (in a magazine ad, or on someone else), I immediately think of my mom! It brings a smile to my face because I associate it so strongly with my wonderful mama. It's the same with a uniform. When I see a sleek long black dress, I think of Audrey Hepburn in Breakfast at Tiffany's. When I see a sequined, glittery, purple suit, I think immediately of Prince. Uniforms create resonance. 

Some of my favorite fashion icons have some very distinctive uniforms, as you can see from the collages below...
Crisp collared shirts and nipped in waists, à la Carolina Herrera, are always classic.
Love it or hate it, Diane Keaton's androgynous look is her signature!
No one pulls off sexy, geek-chic like Jenna Lyons.
A no-uniform uniform, like Miroslava Dumas' eclectic and colorful ensembles, definitely makes an impact.
With her crisp shirts, pointy stilettos, and ripped-up denim, Sarah Harris is one of my top style muses.
Similarly, Emmanuelle Alt's skinny jeans and leather accents also make my heart swoon.
So, what's my uniform? I had to think about it a little bit, but after looking through my closet, this is what I decided on.

daily uniform 1

Almost every day, you will see me in some kind of combo of the above pieces. I work in a pretty casual office, so jeans are definitely a staple, but I make sure to never wear faded or ripped pairs. My favorite style of shirt is the classic button-down (and anyone who knows me know I am an absolute stripe ADDICT, so I keep a few of those in rotation), and, since I really do favor comfort over fashion, I'm almost always in some cute flats. Add a large tote bag, a versatile jacket, and a pair of wayfarer sunglasses, and I'm ready for the day, week, year, etc.

The biggest complaint I've seen about the uniform is that it gets boring, but I think that if you see your uniform as a basis for how you dress, and then get several versions of it to put on rotate, you can wear almost the same thing every day and still look unique and put-together!



the uniform x 5

Finding your uniform is a great place to start if you're thinking about creating a capsule closet, or even if you just want to remove any and all decisions when it comes to getting ready for the day. Free your brain for more important things! Like jewelry!

Just kidding. Sort of...
xxLena

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