Boy do I have some NEW material for you girls!
I sat around on my back patio with four wickedly cool and funny chicks this week, and they PELTED me with new material.
I might add, folks had different opinions too, so I offer them up for your consideration.
For today’s Fashion Friday, we’re tackling the benefits of a work uniform.
The what?, you ask.
There’s a school of thought which says you would take away stress, worry, and valuable decision-making time, if you just wore the same thing to work every day. Heck, lots of men do it in many offices: it’s called a suit.
Yet women, myself chief among them, spend a lot of time and energy on what to wear to work. What say you to buying a half a dozen gorgeous quality black trousers and a dozen lovely blouses and wearing them every day to work?
I have to admit, my first reaction to this theory posed around the discussion table was immediate disdain. However, I have a creative side to me, and I often don’t get to exercise that in my day-to-day work, so creativity in my work wardrobe makes life fun.
But there are a few pros for the idea. One, you don’t have to worry about your confidence level at work when you’re wearing a professional, polished, tried-and-true outfit every day. Plus, if you’re in a creative field like this art director who wrote a great article about her experience with the “work uniform,” you don’t need to waste creative energy (and expectations) on your work wear.
Additionally, there’s a huge body of literature out there which indicates every decision you make degrades your ability to make the next decision. So why degrade your decision making capability on something as inconsequential as wardrobe choices? My friend Brandy, who sees real value in the uniforming concept (you see it widely used at informal companies like Facebook where jeans and a t-shirt are de rigueur), has written here about the Hersey bar of willpower. This concept is how you have the most willpower first thing in the morning, and each hour more and more of your set amount is used up. The same psychology works with decision making. You make your best decisions early in the day, so make only important decisions then.
On the cons side: CLOTHES ARE FUN! Clothes are an expression of your personality! Clothes can make you feel confident or whimsical or intellectual or brave. I am a huge fan of variety in your clothes. Think of all the color and design and styling you miss out on when you go to a uniform! (I know, some of you are like, that’s OKAY with me!)
So how do we counter the problems with morning wardrobe indecision while you stand in your closet?
First, make the decision at night. You’re already fried. Your ability to make wise big decisions is already gone, so make fun small ones. Lay out your clothes the night before. Down to your scarf or necklace. You’ll get ready five minutes quicker in the morning and will save your sharpest brain for your biggest decisions.
Second, make sure your closet is safe. This means when you go into your closet, the outfits you pull together are going to be good because you’ve already cleaned out your closet from the icky, ill-fitting, dated items. Need a reminder of how to go about that? Revisit some of my greatest closet clean outs with Cyndi’s closet essentials, Brandy’s closet massacre, Julie’s closet revamp, and even my own closet refresh.
Third, keep a daily wardrobe journal for one month. My girlfriend kept a little list on the back of her notepad at work for one month when she started a new job. The “wardrobe journal” described the pieces of her outfit and how she felt wearing it.
I LOVE this idea! I’m totally trying this out. I have been known to come home and take off an item of clothing and put it in a give-away bag (I generally keep one active) because I felt so dumpy wearing it that day. Find what works on you, for you, and what you really love. It may be as simple as changing out the accessories and shoes to make the outfit work for you (remember my refresh of a casual work outfit). Once you have more awareness about what really works well and feels great, you’ll be able to intrinsically know what outfits are best for the events you have on your calendar in any given day and be more capable of quickly picking out the right pieces.
So sound off! What say you? Your theory on a the professional equivalent of a school uniform?