Having a “go to” outfit for each season can enable you to consume less – and sleep in more.
My take on the capsule wardrobe is inspired by laziness. London winters can be dark and dreary, and searching for inspiration to get dressed each morning can be a slow struggle. I find it helpful to have a predetermined, guaranteed winner of an outfit in my wardrobe to give myself the ease I need on a lazy winter day.
In America, where I grew up, it is typical for state schools to not require its students to wear a uniform. My school was no exception, but I sometimes wish it had been. Though at the time I may have hated it, I see now how a uniform can serve as an equaliser for children. Furthermore, wearing a uniform would likely have spared my mother and I from many arguments about what 14 or 15 year old me thought looked cool.
When art director Matilda Kahl wrote in 2015 about her decision to wear a uniform to work, I thought it was brilliant. Choosing your own adult work uniform can leave you feeling organised and enable you to focus more on your work than what you’re wearing. This can ring especially true if your office, like mine, has a casual dress code whose grey areas can sometimes cause confusion about what is or isn’t appropriate.
My version of the work uniform concept doesn’t involve wearing the exact same thing every day, but rather having a “go to” combination of clothes for each season that I know will leave me feeling comfortable and stress free. I don’t necessarily wear my uniform every day, but I save it for those days I may be lacking inspiration or motivation to get dressed. In winter this simple “go to” look involves a patterned shirt tucked into pair of jeans, finished off with a belt and brogues. I pretty much always wear my pair of gold hoops and use one of two backpacks to easily carry my things in whilst cycling to the office. On extra chilly days, I’ll layer a jumper on top of my shirt and wear thick wool socks to keep my toes cosy.
My workplace has casual dress, so jeans are worn by employees of all levels. If your workplace is a bit more buttoned up, the jeans could be swapped for a pair of wool trousers like these. In summer, I scrap this uniform and replace it with an easy breezy sundress and some kind of flat shoe. Your work uniform might not look at all like mine – perhaps it involves a skirt and jumper combination or a different jumpsuit for each day of the week.
Having a work uniform can enable you to lie in a bit longer and avoid the rushed morning anxiety about what to wear. “Is this too dressy?” “Does this make me look silly?” “Will the client not like this dress?” “Am I showing too much skin?” Creating your own work uniform to fall back on can be a brilliant way to dodge these annoying questions we might ask ourselves whilst we’re getting ready for work in the morning. A work uniform can also serve as the foundation for your capsule wardrobe, helping you to consume and waste less. The next time you think about adding a new piece to your wardrobe, ask yourself if it will work within your uniform framework. If it doesn’t fit the framework, chances are you won’t wear it all that much and should probably give it a miss.