When was the last time you stood in your closet and had no clue what to wear? When’s the last time you threw on something in frustration, only to regret it as soon as you left your house?
If you haven’t heard of “uniform dressing,” get ready to learn how a few mindset shifts about getting dressed can save you time and energy.
What Is a Uniform?
While the word “uniform” can conjure up images of drab head-to-toe coverall ensembles, in this case, it is anything but. A uniform is simply what I’ll call a “recipe of outfits” that you like to wear over and over again. In fact, many people have embraced uniform dressing for decades: They call it a suit.
I was introduced to the concept of a daily “uniform” about six years ago when reading a Harper’s Bazaar article about an art director who decided to wear the same silk blouse and black trousers to work after spending way too much time stressing over what to wear each day.
Since then, the concept of uniform dressing has gone pretty mainstream. It’s genius. Any time I’m stuck about what to wear, I think of the “recipes” I return to over and over, and I make my choices from there.
A uniform can take on any definition you’d like but for me, it means sticking with a similar color palette and proportions of tops and bottoms (more on that in a minute).
Benefits of a Uniform
One of the main benefits of embracing a daily uniform is that I’m wasting a lot less time, money, energy, and clothing by buying things I know will go with other things in my wardrobe.
How many times have you stood in your closet, kids running wildly about, while you tried to figure out what to wear to meet the teacher night or church or book club or a big work meeting? Having a recipe to follow can help alleviate that I-have-nothing-to-wear feeling and put good use to your closet.
It’ll also help you when you shop for clothing: You’ll be less likely to purchase something you never wear. You’ll start to think through how many different outfits you can make with your current wardrobe.
How to Put Together a Uniform
Uniforms may sound boring on the surface, but once you dive in, they’re anything but. The great thing about a uniform is that you can make it anything you want — it’s yours! If you’re an at-home mama and like to wear leggings, oversized T-shirts, and fashionable sneakers, own it. Or maybe straight leg jeans, a solid-colored T-shirt, and slip-on sandals are your thing. Maybe you work in an office and know you tend to wear pants.
Take a quick spin through your closet and notice similarities in the pants you reach for over and over again. Do you gravitate toward wide-leg crops or slim cigarette pants? Do you like dark, solid colors or lots of prints and patterns? What types of tops do you typically pair with pants? Fitted button downs? Loose silky blouses? Pastels? Solids? Stripes? Finding the common denominators will help you nail what you love to wear.
I like to look at proportions when thinking about putting an outfit together. If my pants are on the tighter side, I aim for a loose, tunic-like top (preferably one that covers my rear, thank you very much!) If I’m wearing wide-leg pants, I like a fitted tank or T-shirt to balance them. And don’t neglect the beauty of the “completer piece” or third layer. It’s an item you “add on” to your T-shirt and jeans or skirt and blouse or dress — a layer to pull it all together.
Examples of Uniforms
I’m going to give you some ideas of uniform combinations but the best part of getting dressed is the creativity that comes with it. See what you can come up with!
- Bold shorts + neutral T-shirt + sandals
- Breezy sundress + sneakers
- Running shorts + workout tank + light jacket + sneakers
- Capris + tank top or T-shirt + sneakers or sandals
- Jeans + long-sleeve shirt + chunky cardigan + booties
- Wide leg pants + fitted T-shirt + short jacket + sneakers
- Skinny jeans or leggings + flowy tunic blouse + + jackets + boots
- Dress + cardigan + boots
While fashion can seem like a frivolity in the life of a busy mom, we all have to get dressed. Why not make it a little bit easier on yourself and embrace a daily uniform?