Monday, 4 May 2015

Women In Uniform

The idea of having a "uniform", a set formula that is worn every day with the only variations being in colour or fabric, is one that I have been reading articles about for a couple of years now. I can see a lot of advantages to this way of dressing: it would take the guesswork and indecision out of getting dressed in the morning, shopping would be simplified  and it would make wardrobe capsules about a million times easier to create. The concerns that prevented me from developing my own uniform have been the fear of forgoing the creative aspect of fashion that I enjoy so much and also not finding a combination of items that I loved and felt comfortable enough in to wear every day. I think that may be about to change.
                                                                 T-shirt: Cue
I realised recently that when I am choosing warm, comfortable outfits to wear at home, I seem to invariably gravitate towards  a long-sleeved T-shirt, either in wool or cotton. I love the coziness and ease of these tops, but I really don't like how I look in them.

Then I put this new crepe knit cardigan over the top, and I felt instantly fabulous! The thickness and drape covers my chest, the shoulder pads add structure and the tie waist and angled hem provide the femininity that I missed when I wore jeans and a T-shirt on their own. I have worn booties here, but I also like this outfit with tall boots worn over the pants for the days when it is cold and wet.

I have 5 pairs of skinny pants in various fabrications, colours and patterns, so I have been experimenting with the skinny pant/long-sleeved T-shirt/cardigan or jacket/boots formula today and have been pretty happy with a lot of the combinations. I was a bit concerned that this uniform would only work with this cardigan, as it is such a beautiful shape, but to my surprise I have had some success with several of the jackets in my closet. The key seems to be a strong shoulder, good chest coverage and some element of waist definition. I am looking forward to experimenting more with clothes in my wardrobe that will slot into this formula and I am excited about finding a version of a uniform that I feel good in. Do you have a uniform? How did you come to choose it?

Women In Uniform by Skyhooks


  1. I love the jacket. As a matter of fact, the first thing I did was go hunting for the brand.

    I don't wear a uniform per se, but I definitely have certain styles I gravitate towards because I know certain cuts will always look better on me.

    1. I think that's always an interesting issue - often our bodies make the decisions about what we wear if we have a particular aesthetic outcome we prefer!

  2. I feel you SO MUCH on being torn between the freedom of a uniform...and fearing the loss of opportunity for creativity. I'm dancing on that edge by paying attention to my lifestyle and culling all the things that aren't successfully holding their own as favorites.

    So...that leaves what is becoming uniform. Two dress silhouettes, three pant silhouettes, four blouse silhouettes and a much limited color palette. Not all silhouettes work for all seasons: for example, I don't wear the drapey pants or shorts in winter, and bodycon is too warm for summer.

    It's taking some time - I've been doing this one summer and one winter. Now as summer returns I'm re-approaching some marginal items and being more sure I can cut them as my activities build on last year's experiences. HOWEVER...I don't know how I could do this if my activities were a change of lifestyle from last year, and I see why I haven't been able to before now, because I was changing my habits so much from year to year.

  3. That's really interesting. It sounds like you still have a reasonable variety in the silhouettes you choose? I will be keen to hear if you still enjoy the silhouettes from last summer that you chose a year ago. How did you settle on the "uniforms" that you chose?

  4. We are definitely back into air conditioning, and so far, so good on the drapey slacks + boxy drapey blouse shape that I worked out last year. My office is conservative but I personally am encouraged as a rare female software engineer. I interpret this as ballerina + librarian + heels for authority/height + long necklace for badge wearing. I did add a pair of heeled black strappy platform Born sandals that can handle the rain, and two F21 short sleeved chiffon kimono blouses that I wear with matching cardigans indoors. Focusing my overall presentation on this silhouette has meant I can pare back the tops that are different, and I'm already thinking about making more drapey slacks with phone pockets. I'm against wovens with much stiffness these days - without perfect fit, they just give me bulk.