feature image via rebloggy.com
Most people hear the word “uniform” and shudder; I hear it and smile because I’ve discovered this secret that no one wants you to know — finding your uniform means shopping and getting dressed become exactly one million times easier (trust me, I did the math). Because your uniform complements your look and lifestyle, you’ll know what works for you and what doesn’t, thereby severely limiting the trial and error that most people deal with on the daily.
Shopping is no longer the total stress-fest that it used to be because you know what works for you (and what doesn’t). You get to be adventurous within the structure of outfits and clothes that you already know look good, instead of wasting your time on the new version of the same slouchy sweater that you bought a year ago but never wore. Finding your uniform is such a weirdly freeing experience because a uniform gives you structure and then lets you go hog wild when it comes to colors, patterns, and textures.
Finding your uniform will take time, but here are a few questions to get you started:
- What pieces in your closet do you grab time and time again?
- What items do you actually end up buying whenever you go shopping?
- What are the pieces that you love so much that you can get down with spending a little more?
The answers to these questions should help you decide which pieces to buy and which you need to stop going back to. Hopefully they’ll teach you to be more conscientious about your clothing choices as you build your wardrobe around your freshly discovered uniform. You’re going to make mistakes along the way, but ultimately finding your uniform is going to make fashion so much more fun.
Broken down below are four different winter uniforms. These examples are meant to show you that although the clothing itself is specific, the uniform is not. A uniform gives you both structure and choice and the outfits below are a good example of that.
Boots + Skinnies + Graphic Tee + Sweatshirt
Nothing says effortlessly cool like skinny jeans coupled with a pair of boots. Top it off with a graphic tee and slouchy sweatshirt and you are definitely ready to fashionably get your brunch on with all of your cute queer friends. This uniform lends itself to any number of clothing combinations thanks to multi-hued skinny jean options, ankle boots and tall boots, and myriad sweatshirt options. It might be called a uniform, but it’s really about giving you more choices, not fewer!
Tip: Pair tan or mahogany boots with black skinnies to look extra pulled together.
Booties + Tights + Skirt + Striped Tee + Blazer
This uniform is for the more femme-inclined ladies. My black booties have been giving me life this season. Pair them with opaque tights and a full skirt for a more demure look, or fishnets and a pencil skirt to get all the queer hearts racing. Add a striped tee and blazer and you’re gonna be the most put together woman on the street.
Tip: Tights are going to be the best and easiest way to switch up the look of this uniform: opaque black tights are perfect for work, while tights made of intense colors and patterns lend themselves to the weekend.
High Tops + Jeans + Tee + Hoodie + Jacket
High tops are amazing, but are not often thought of as winter-appropriate footwear. I am here to put that sad thought to rest. High tops can be great in the winter, especially if you invest in some badass leather ones. The real trick is making sure that you don’t wear them on snowy days; as long as it’s sunny and above freezing, you are good to go. Use high tops as your winter uniform base and build on them with a nice pair of jeans, your favorite tee, and a super soft and slouchy hoodie.
Tip: The jacket you throw on over everything should compliment the look, so make sure it’s relatively casual.
Oxfords + Jeans + Button Up + Sweater
This is the uniform for those of you who want your look to say you have your shit on lock. The type of person I could entrust with my beautiful kitty whenever I leave town. The uniform itself is basic: oxfords with black or dark wash jeans, a crisp button up shirt, and a sweater. The best thing about it is how perfect this uniform is for trying out new colors and patterns. Yes, you know you’re going to wear a collared shirt under your sweater at work on Monday, but the thrill of “which piece to pair with which” will still make getting dressed in the morning an adventure.
Tip: Don’t always go for a white button up; fun colors like mustard yellow or hot pink make everything more exciting!
Regardless of personal style, a uniform can work for you. It doesn’t matter if you identify as butch, femme, queer, sparkly unicorn, or any other identity under the sun. It’s a matter of figuring out what works for you and what makes you feel good. You can do this!
What a great read! I’ve been a little hesitant to commit to what I think is my uniform…I just don’t want to seem unexciting. But you make a good point in saying its about the comfortable structure and then having fun with different patterns and colors! Excited to see more of your articles!
Yay everything in this post.
Dresses are my uniform because they’re comfy and once you pick a dress THAT’S it you don’t have to coordinate with anything else !
I do the skirt too but only when i need an excuse to wear a cute sweater or blouse.
That said, tights and leggings are a PAIN and can be expensive for how fast they break down… so when i ruined them all and don’t have the money to buy new ones i have to go back to pants (booo) until its warm enough…
Wow, this was such a refreshing fashion article. It made me feel a lot better about the fact that I basically wear the same thing every day! (Very similar to #1, only geeky tee rather than graphic, and I really need some new boots.)
And in Chicago, it hardly matters this time of year, we’re all just blobs of coats and scarves until spring anyway. :)
Ahaha. Oh, Chicago winters. Totally true — at least we get to look cute once we’re indoors!
My current ‘uniform’ (on teaching days, at least) is button-down + chinos + jumper. I get to be warm and also spend little time getting dressed. I’ve been trying to branch out into more colours, but for me that means “still kind of a dark colour, just not blue, grey or black”… one step at a time.
Ha! I understand that struggle completely. My girlfriend took one look at me this morning and her only response was, “that’s a lot of black…”
I had felt absolutely clueless on how to dress in a fashionable, masculine way until I read this. Thank you so much! I love your outfit ideas, and that I can put them together with things I already have.
“while tights made of intense colors and patterns lend themselves to the weekend.”
am I not… supposed to be wearing colorful tights to work…?
(Just kidding, nothing will stop me ever.)
My uniform: purple docs, black skinny jeans and a shirt or a jumper (or both)- oh, and a beanie hat. But nobody ever sees my outfits because I’m always wearing a jacket because I’m always cold. :(
My causal attire winter uniform is an issue because it’s rather butch looking and not the genteel kind of dapper butch and paired with my Fuck the Cold Perma-Scowl makes me look a “thuggish” for a “nice” white girl. All I can really gather from it is that I like hiding under large warm layers and tactical boots are my one true love.
But uh for work it’s a like black, white, gray and sometimes red mash of Button Up + Sweater + Suit Parts + Skirt + Tights + Boots.
Because what I do partially involves manual labour I tend to have black leggings on under respectable pants and a cheap black knee-ish length circle skirt in my bag.
There’s be a big difference between outside and inside all year round the places I work so I have plan for removing or adding layers whether or not I’m doing anything physical to be honest.
The button up shirt and nice sweater item combo is the best most constant item for my office wear. Be a blouse or suit type shirt it works.
I really enjoyed this article. It’s nice to hear that dressing nicely can be relatively simple and structured (while allowing for creativity within that structure). I’m one of those people who finds clothes shopping rather stressful, so I love this concept.
(My work uniform, however, is entirely GMP and PPE attire…)
Loving this. Also can we talk about the twins in the feature image? One of them Cipriana Quann has an amazing blog called Urban Bush Babes and is super fierce and smart and beautiful and iI’m basically in love. She did a very moving video for Style Like U which is a project totally worth checking out as well. http://stylelikeu.com/the-whats-underneath-project-2/cipriana-quann-urban-bush-babes/
Um, yes. I love them and aspire to look half as amazing/cool/flawless as they do.
they are both on the blog! URBAN BUSH BABES = ALL THE GOALS.
I am a big fan of uniforms! My current uniform (dress, warm leggings, cardigan/sweater vest) is shaped by my commitment to wearing clothes that feel as much like pajamas as possible while still looking professional.