My spring uniform

April 22, 2015

I’ve been having a bunch of conversations with different friends and coworkers about creating a uniform (plus a recent Harper’s Bazaar article on the topic has been all over my social feeds), so I wanted to share my current uniform. On pretty much any given day, you can find me wearing some combination of these items:

Spring uniform

Though I had my winter uniform down, a couple of weeks ago, I realized that my spring uniform needed some help. (We’ve been having some very strange days lately, both weather-wise [cool in the morning, warmish in the afternoon] and office-temperature-wise [ALWAYS FUCKING FREEZING].) I was also coming up short on shoes. So I did some shopping and now I’m in good shape for spring, plus I got a bunch of items that I’ll wear for the rest of the year.

Below is a list of everything in my wardrobe that makes up my current uniform. The items I bought this month are marked with an asterisk and I included the rough purchase dates for everything else. I also included the price when I got an item at a significant discount.

Bottoms

One ankle-length pair of white skinny high-waist jeans* to wear with flats & sneakers ($9.99 on sale at H & M)

One pair of white straight-leg jeans to wear with heels (from Joe’s via Saks Off Fifth, 2013)

One ankle-length pair of dark blue jeans (~$25 on sale, J. Crew outlet, fall 2014)

One pair of straight-leg dark blue jeans* from Uniqlo

Three pairs of black Lululemon leggings (all gifts/gift card purchases between 2012 and 2014)

(I also have a white midi skirt, a radiant orchid midi skirt, and some dresses, but it hasn’t been warm enough to wear them yet so they really aren’t part of my spring uniform.)

Tops

Two white Oxfords* ($15 on sale)

One blue Oxford* ($15 on sale)

Ivory cable-knit crew-neck sweater (Polo outlet, summer 2013)

Chambray button-front shirt (Polo outlet, summer 2012)

Two white sweatshirts* ($15 each on sale)

One navy blue sweatshirt* ($15 on sale)

One pink H&M sweatshirt* ($9.95 find)

Gray sweatshirt ($14 clearance find at Gap, fall 2014)

Ivory sweatshirt* from Muji

Ivory track jacket (Lululemon gift card purchase, early 2013)

Mint green track jacket (Lululemon gift card purchase, early 2014)

A few built-in bra tanks to wear under the track jackets

Looking at this list, it seems like I have way more clothes than I’ve had in the past few years, but I guess that’s what happens when you no longer work from home or can do laundry at home! This is also the first time I’ve bought the things I really like in multiples.

Shoes

Black and leopard New Balances

Mint green Coach Frederica loafers* ($60 with in-store markdowns)

Gray BCBGgeneration snakeskin pumps* (After I tried to wear my wedding heels last week and was just like, What fresh hell is this? Seriously, I’m not sure how I ever walked in those which is a major bummer because they are so beautiful, and also because I intended to wear them to death.)

Gray wedge sneakers from ASH via Saks Off Fifth (I never thought I’d love these shoes as much as I do, but I LOVE them. I wore them a ton this winter.)

Accessories & outerwear

Black fanny pack ($20 at C. Wonder going-out-of-business sale, winter 2014)

Black Longchamp tote bag (2008)

Neon yellow Kate Spade tote/beach bag ($20 at the Kate Spade outlet, summer 2013)

Khaki trench coat (Express, 2008ish)

Black sporty rain coat (Target, 2012)

I can’t say that either of the jackets spark joy but they function so I decided not to spend the money to replace them this year.

Jewelry

Engagement ring

Gold Sydney Evan “love” ring (pre-wedding gift from my Lover.ly coworkers)

Gold midi ring* ($20, Chelsea Market)

Gold flower earrings (belonged to my great-grandmother) or similar small gold earrings

Gold “Best Bitch” heart necklace* from In God We Trust (received in an event gift bag last month)

Things I still need…

Something to replace the gray snakeskin flats I’ve been wearing for nearly seven years. Props to Tory Burch, because I’ve been wearing these shoes since my mom bought them for me when I got my first post-college job in the summer of 2008. They’ve served me well but the soles are a little too worn down to be comfortable anymore and holes are beginning to appear in the toes. I’m trying to find something as versatile and comfortable without buying the exact same shoe. (I’m ready for something a little different in terms of silhouette, and I’m not crazy about the gold logo on the new version.)

Black rain boots. I have a pair of red J. Crew rain boots that I’ve had since 2006 and just never really loved. While I love the look of Hunters, I’m planning to get this $45 pair from DSW. I’ve just been putting off buying them because I don’t feel like lugging them home on the train, which is kind of silly.

So! I’m pretty much always wearing one of the following outfits:

Ivory top + white jeans + wedges, pumps, or loafers
Light blue Oxford or chambray shirt + white jeans or blue jeans + wedges or pumps
Navy or gray sweatshirt + white jeans + wedges
White or ivory top + blue jeans + gray wedge sneakers, snakeskin pumps, mint loafers, or black sneakers
Track jacket + black leggings + black sneakers

Plus all the jewelry mentioned above, my fanny pack, a jacket, and (a couple days a week) a tote bag.

(My winter uniform was really similar, but included navy blue corduroy pants and medium blue jeans instead of dark blue jeans, pastel and ivory sweaters instead of the sweatshirts, snow boots instead of sneakers, a faux-fur vest, a couple plaid blanket scarves, and no button-front shirts.)

Wearing a uniform was borne out of necessity (a few years ago, I realized I needed to stop spending money on things I didn’t really need and that included new clothes, especially new clothes I didn’t really love) and also getting older and wanting to buy nicer clothes that I would take good care of and wear for a while. (In my case this just meant like, nicer than Forever 21 and Target.) The uniform approach makes shopping much easier because I always know what I’m looking for and what I’m definitely not looking for. It simplifies getting dressed in the morning and makes doing laundry easier.

I feel like taking the uniform approach is similar to when I went from fucking around with a bunch of meh dudes to realizing I’d rather be with someone awesome (or just be alone and awesome). I no longer fuck around with meh clothes. The best part of taking this approach is how good it makes me feel to be wearing something I really love every single day. We all have our “power outfits” (or accessories) that make us feel great. Why not just make that the thing you wear every day?

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