Outfit Uniforms vs. Outfit Formulas

uniform
Photo by Vicki Burton, cc

Recently I read a post by Anna Vital regarding wardrobe uniforms. Mark Zuckerburg’s grey t-shirts, Steve Jobs’ black turtleneck, Hillary Clinton’s pantsuits… The idea is that if you are to be incredibly productive during your day then the less mundane, everyday decisions you have to make, the more space you have in your day for bigger, more important decisions.

In the past this idea has seemed terrible to me.  How boring! Plus I wore a uniform for work, so I relish any chance to dress the way I like without limits. But lately, the idea of a uniform seems more appealing.  Knowing that all your pants will work with all your shoes… freeing up that space in your head that worries about style, seems like it has its merits.

But here’s my problem. I like clothes. No, I LOVE clothes. And actually I love them too much. I can’t imagine throwing out all my dresses in favor of only wearing trouser pants, or vice versa. Or exchanging all my cardigans and only wearing blazers. I love both, don’t make me choose!

So I can’t personally get behind having one uniform in my wardrobe, but the idea of freeing up space in my brain by eliminating at least part of the daily decision of “what do I wear?” is quite appealing. Which is why I really like outfit formulas.

You’ve seen me write about outfit formulas before, and if you thought it was just about coming up with new outfits (which it is), actually it’s more than that. It’s being able to create a look quickly without much extra effort. It’s not quite as fast as just grabbing one of 30 black turtlenecks, but it’s probably a more realistic option.  

Here are some ways to help you get started in using outfit formulas:

  1. Identify some formulas that work for you (here are a couple of mine). It doesn’t have to be super complex.  It could be “jeans, v neck t-shirt, ballet flats, scarf”.

  2. Get to know your wardrobe.  Dude, if you don’t know what’s in your closet, you’ve just introduced another whole time consuming step in your day.  If you have to, write down items in your closet that you tend to forget about.

  3. Fashion show! Fashion Show! Fashion Show at lunch! (name that TV show and character!). But seriously, start trying some stuff on.  If you find an outfit you LOVE, then try to figure out how to recreate it with other pieces.

  4. Think about your favorite outfits. How can you dissect them and recreate them? 

What do you think? Do you follow a uniform or outfit formula when you dress every day?

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