Do You Like the Idea of “Uniform” Dressing?

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Do you like the idea of uniform dressing - or dressing to a formula?

Today in this video Jill Chivers of Shop Your Wardrobe and I discuss the idea of “uniform dressing” (think Jackie Kennedy Onassis, Audrey Hepburn, Anna Wintour) and who it may appeal to (and who it doesn’t).

I would love to know your thoughts – do you like to dress to a formula or a uniform or do you like to mix it up more?

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21 Comments

  • Like Jill, I tend to reach for the same types of clothing over and over. Jeans, a nice t-shirt and an interesting/fun jacket. I find this suits my body type and any creativity I have is placed in accessories.
    By the way, I really love these recent videos with you and Jill. The issues you bring up are very interesting and I have learned a lot from them. Thanks!

  • This was a really fun conversation to watch.

    I tend to be a uniform person partly because I have a hard time finding clothes that suit me when I shop, but partly because I find it takes a lit of energy to create different looks. I really enjoy seeing the looks of those who don’t wear uniforms and sometimes wish for their variety.

  • A fascinating topic, Jill and Imogen.
    I like options, not a uniform, so I have a wide selection of clothes — but in practice, having a lot to choose from used to find me wearing only 20% of my wardrobe — as I would tend to forget about items which I hadn’t worn for a while.So just recently, I’ve set up a schedule to make sure that everything gets worn in the right frequency. My skirts/dresses are worn one day per week, while pants are worn 6 days per week, all in strict rotation, so no items are left out. Weather is the only factor which I allow to change the order of wear. I find that creating outfits according to a schedule, not my mood, is actually a very interesting challenge.
    I guess this is a “uniform” approach, but oddly enough, I feel that I am getting way more variety into my daily WIW than my previous haphazard approach. So far this winter (that’s over 2 months) I have not repeated a single outfit, though eventually I will have exhausted all of the first round options–at which point I will repeat the outfit cycle, but change the accessories.
    The irony of needing to impose a tight structure to make sure that I experience enough variety isn’t lost on me :),but never mind, I’m so happy with the results that I only wish I had started doing this years ago!

    • While reading Louise’s comment, I realised that there were similarities with myself. Not wearing everything in my wardrobe, scheduling the wearing of those items via a spread sheet. Winter is just cold so my uniform is pretty much the same. I realised that my long sleeved t-shirts are rarely seen so they can be non-descript but my outerwear jackets are obviously seen all the time. In warmer weather I have a more flexible rotation schedule and a more types of uniforms and a bit more ‘unpredictability’. Thank you Imogen and Jill.

  • LOVED this conversation! Almost seventy…my uniform has changed over the years…and now I still wear the same thing every day..but, pants instead of dresses…flats instead of heels.

  • Pants/jeans, white button down shirt, a tan leather belt, flat shoes that are not black (oxfords or ballet flats). I could wear this every day for the rest of my life.

  • I’m a mixture. I do like to have a uniform of sorts, however, I also like to go off piste a bit too fashion wise. Very interesting feature again! X

  • I used to be like Imogen and firmly in the anti-uniform camp but recently have moved closer to team Jill and embraced the concept of wearing “my” uniform – the reason? I’ve put on a bit of weight so have put a caveat on buying major clothing purchases until I get back to my “goal” weight. I have put together a selection of pieces which look the most flattering and are comfortable, and basically wear the same things on rotation. It’s been liberating (and such a time-saver). I think there is a time for uniform dressing and a time for mixing it up!

    • It’s interesting how we change over our lives, sometimes swinging toward the uniform for ease of dressing (I probably did this more when my kids were really young and I had very limited brain space) and other times going into the area of lots of variety.

  • Interesting! I think the question may be a bit more complex and there is a grey area.

    During an argument a boyfriend once criticised me as having just ‘one look’, (as if that was inherently bad, even if true), but the idea of a uniform/ having to wear a v similar outfit every day is painful to me. I would go nuts. At the same time, there is an overarching theme to how I dress myself: elegant, feminine but dramatic, invariably earrings and v frequently a necklace or a scarf too. The accessories are not wildly different so there is a certain pattern there. Besides, I tend to wear dresses/skirts rather than trousers but that’s mainly because they fit and suit my body shape so much better and there is not a lot of variance in terms of the shoes I put on but that’s again related to orthopaedic problems.

    I am therefore in-between, strictly speaking, but I think I’m closer to Imogen than Jill.

  • Many capsule wardrobes I read often mention uniforms but it never worked for me when I was experimenting with the concept. It’s something I’ve noticed since teenager. Being fitted into a box (like you mentioned) has really worked with. My personal style is too complicated for it, like for example I live the alternative street styles (emo, scene, gothic etc) and Classic office-y or “proper & preppy student” styles but I never feel “me” wearing them alone. I prefer to mix them up.

    The same with specific items, I would go crazy if wearing pencil skirt with tucked in blouses only (= a favorite outfit). Not because uniform might seems “boring” but because my choice of clothing are heavily influenced by season, mood and occasions. I wouldn’t wear the pencil skirt when going for outdoor events like fishing when having to wear snow boots in the middle of the winter! Those time I always craving for pants or leggings and as much as I love dresses. I hate wearing them casually because I wear casual and knit dresses as pajamas as sleepwear and sometimes traveling (makes sense why I’ve hard time wear sweats casually… ) and I wouldn’t wear sheath and lace dresses to go the store only!

    So ermmm yeah, I wouldn’t be able to wear an uniform unless my life depends on it (like a fire accident or something). It’s too restrictive because my style and clothing preference are based on my mood.

    Rather than uniforms I like to think my outfits as “silhouettes” that I wear in certain ways. Ie, there are ways to style: “Semi-fitted över layer + tucked in top + slim fitted skirt or trousers” or “Fit & Flare” silhouette, like different styles of bottoms and tops!

    I do like the idea if school uniforms however. Boring, yes. But practically, definitely. Young kids are so judgmental about how other classmates dress so I wouldn’t mind it if there were school uniforms when I was younger. (They are rare here in Sweden). Because they would save the trouble when getting looked down upon or harassed by others. Easier to deal with this when you’re getting older…… And Uh Probably need to stop rambling on now. x”D tehehe. Long thought’s.

  • I loved this video! I am very attracted by the idea of a uniform dressing, mostly because of its practicality! However, I was never able to apply it succesfully. Every time a set my mind on a uniform sooner or later I became restless and unsatisfied! Interestingly, I thought that this is due to the “wrong” uniform and donated everything and started again with a new kind of “uniform”, and failed again. Interesting, when the conversation reached the school uniform topic, I suddenly remebered how much I hated the unifrom, and then could not wear blue (my favorite color) for years! I think I will give uo on the uniform idea, because it is really not in my nature, and I will focus more on what I like to wear and maked me happy! Thank you for a wonderful video Imogen and Jill!

  • Very interesting topic. Like Jill I tend to wear virtually the same and I do feel very comfortable with it. A blazer with a pair of jeans (sometimes a skirt) with a nice blouse. Like Jill I have built up a lot of multiples. Sometimes I try to get out of my comfort zone by wearing a dress. 🙂 And accessories mean a lot to me as they can change a whole outfit.
    Imogen and Jill thank you for your interesting videos.

  • So little suits me both physically and personality-wise that I wear a uniform by default – black bootleg trousers or jeans, low-heeled boots or black lace up shoes, a long-sleeved shirt or t-shirt, a flowing vest, a jacket or coat. All dressed up with scarves and earrings. I’m honestly more boho personality-wise but most of it doesn’t suit me and I can’t wear it to work. My wardrobe is based around dressy casual clothes for work. I rarely go out so don’t bother buying clothes for going out. Home is daggy track daks.

  • Interesting video! Do you think that certain body types are more suited for uniform dressing than others? I am thinking of the column of color for example.

  • Yes, I wear a uniform as a member of an active senior community. It eliminates many of the daily decisions one has to make.

    All my bottoms are navy and tops in the pink to blue (which includes purple) and many necklaces to accessorize. In winter tops are cotton knit with a ballet neck (solid, print and stripe) so no collar to compete with sweater. In summer, linen big shirts with capris and shorts.

    Eat the same things daily, too. Life is too busy to be boring.

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