What is a Personal/Style Uniform?
It seems to mean different things to different people, so let's clarify what I personally mean by a uniform, because while both a personal uniform and a signature style are great minimalist approaches at simplifying your wardrobe, I consider them to be different. This three part series is focused on personal uniforms, but many of the points are applicable to building a signature style as well.
A personal uniform will be nearly indistinguishable from day to day and stick to both specific colors you've picked for each item and specific form you've chosen for each item. (e.g. your top is always a white button-up, your bottom is always black straight jeans, and your shoes are always red sneakers).
A signature style will have some aspects chosen (color palette or silhouette, for example), while some aspects will change from day to day (e.g. always a sheath dress but variety in color/print and always with black shoes but variety in form).
When the world of style feels overwhelming or joyless (Marie Kondo / KonMarie people, I'm looking at you), I think it's best to start with a uniform, and then when it feels fun, allow it to expand into a signature style. This way you don't waste a lot of money and time on looks that don't work out.
What does a Personal Uniform look like?
A few celebrity examples of personal uniforms shown left to right are:
1. White button-up, black full midi skirt, black ballet flats inspired by Audrey Hepburn and Carolina Herrera
2. Black turtleneck, blue jeans, white sneakers inspired by Steve Jobs.
3. Navy pant, navy blazer, white button-up, black dress shoes inspired by Barrack Obama. It would be fun to add a blue statement necklace in place of his tie.
Personal Uniforms, much like other uniforms, tend to look boring, and usually consist of neutrals, but that's part of their simplicity; and with uniforms, simplicity is the point. It's an anti-style approach to wardrobe. It takes much of the art out of dressing. It's also likely to be a timeless and unoffensive look for this reason.
Why Would I Want a Personal Uniform?
While the main benefit of a personal uniform is that you save an enormous amount of time and hassle shopping and getting dressed every morning, there are a couple other clear benefits:
- You will be infinitely more memorable to others when you're always wearing the same look- a kind of self-branding. In the past I had people tell me that I look so different each time they saw me that it's like meeting a new person. I also had people tell me that they didn't see me at such and such's party, because they didn't recognize me. While that is great if you're on the lam, it can be beneficial to be easily spotted and remembered too.
- Another unsung benefit of a personal uniform is that it provides a canvas or backdrop for playing with accessories if you so choose. If you love style, but find it expensive, time consuming, and generally overwhelming, limiting your style play to accessories can be a great boon.
Watch for Part 2 and Part 3 of this series for how to create your own uniform.