I've spent most of my working life in a place where people sometimes schlepp into office with a T-shirt they got free from some event, 20-year-old jeans and bulky crocs. (Well, what can I say? Journalists are practical folks.)
After 15+ years working in the print media, I transitioned to a more corporate role. So, that meant a complete overhaul of my wardrobe.
As silly as it sounds, I didn't really know what to wear to a corporate office, so I had to do some research first.
That's when I came across an article by Matilda Kahl who wrote about why she wore the same thing to office every day.
I so relate to her angst of not knowing what to wear to work, and ending up late because it took too much time to put together a respectable outfit.
Her solution to the age-old dilemma was to buy 15 silk white shirts and a few black trousers and make it her go-to outfit for work.
Men, she said, have been wearing work uniforms to work for the longest time - it's called a suit.
Piqued, I began researching the concept of "work uniforms". Apparently, many successful people such as Steven Jobs and Barack Obama wear the same thing every day because they don't want to cut down on the decisions they make in a day. Human beings have finite supply of decisions in a day, and if you make too many decisions, you suffer from “decision fatigue”. So folks like these much rather use their allocation for the day to make decisions that really matter.
Since then, I've put together my own work uniform. I'm not as "extreme", however. I love colours so my work uniform is made up of: Ribbed colour shirt (no patterns) + palazzo pants + sandals
Sometimes I switch things up by wearing shirt + pencil skirt + heels for that posh, polished look.
I love my work uniform and wish I had discovered it sooner! Here are some benefits I've gotten from having a work uniform:
It reduces stress
I still have days where I have to rush to work. These days, all I have to do is grab my trusty work uniform, put it on and out I go.
It saves you money
Clothes are there to clothe us. This is what I realise when I started building my work uniform. I discovered that I don't really need more than my a pencil skirt, 2 pairs of palazzo pants and ten different coloured tops to look presentable and professional for work.
I don't have the urge to buy clothes to express myself these days. I'm not sure if it's a side effect of having a work uniform or because of my terribly practical personality. To be honest, I've never been a clothes horse, so your milieage may vary.
It helps you stay presentable effortlessly
One of the first mistakes I did when putting together my work uniform was to follow trends, only to discover that the style wasn't right for me. Fortunately, I found a combination that worked and now I have
a template that not just makes me look professional but is comfortable too.
It's environmentally friendly
Having read stories of how discarded clothes are clogging up dumping sites around the world, I'm very, very careful about the clothes that I invite into my wardrobe. I want to make sure that they will last me for years and will not end up in the dumpster, destroying the environment. My work uniform is here to stay, hopefully for many years, and that's how I want it to be.
How about you? Would you ever consider a work uniform?