What do Barack Obama, Mark Zuckerberg, catholic nuns, and Hindu priests have in common? The wear a daily uniform.
Having one or just a few styles in your closet has been shown to increase productivity and avoid decision fatigue(see source). It also allows you to cut back on how many clothes you own. This saves space, time, money, and resources.
A daily uniform is a great way to embrace a minimalist wardrobe approach to clothing. Use these 5 points to set yourself up for success.
1. Pick items you actually ENJOY wearing.
If the clothes you put on every day are uncomfortable, you resent them quickly. That’s a sure fire way to abandon a daily uniform.
“I like my starched collar shirts.” Do you? Do you, honestly? Well, if you do, that’s great. But most of us don’t. So don’t include that in your daily uniform.
“I just have to wear heels when I leave the house.” Really? How long is it before you take them off under your desk? Flats are probably a better option.
Comfort is one of the secrets to a daily uniform. If you feel so comfortable in what you wear that you don’t even notice your clothes, then you’re on the right track. Being aware of a dress that’s too tight, or pants that are too stiff is a constant distraction. It’s just a little sensation that will bother you throughout your day.
It’s easier to put on the same daily uniform every day if it’s a pleasure to wear.
2. Start with a solid foundation.
Patterns are fun and definitely tempting. Especially when we want to feel like an individual, or want to stick out.
However patterns are subject to your emotions in the moment, or a given situation. You might not be in the mood to wear polka dots every day. And unless you really love felines how many time are you going to want to wear a blouse printed with kittens?
Stick with solid fabrics. It’s easier to build an outfit around khakis and a gray polo than striped slacks and a Hawaiian shirt.
*Plaid is actually not a bad option for tops. Traditionally tartans held meaning for a specific clan in Scotland. You can create your own style around a plaid that says “you”.
3. Avoid visual fatigue, stick to the simple colors.
Again, many of us like bright colors, but in constructing a daily uniform it might not be the best route.
Colors make a statement. We can use that in expressing ourselves. But bright, electric, artificial colors have a tendency to be hard on the eyes, leading to visual fatigue (a real thing, see source).
A muted pallet goes along way. White, black, gray and brown are a great place to start. And if you are using color, go for a faded or heathered shade. Mint green over lime. Mauve over ultra violet. Burgundy rather than apple red.
Another approach is to ask yourself “what colors do I see in nature?” How much neon orange do you really see? Sure, there are some brightly colored flowers and birds out there. But the majority are milder, and easier on the eyes.
Create contrast or flare with accent pieces. Save your bright colors, and patterns for that matter, for scarves, hats, pocket swatches, belts, etc. A bright color on a plain background says a lot more than a full canvas of hues.
4. Think Versatile.
We’re fortunate to live in an age where “business casual” exists. Most of us simply aren’t expected to “dress up” like previous generations. We can create outfits that are flexible across many situations.
A quality, fitted tee and a pair of blue jeans can find their home just about anywhere. The bar, your grandmothers house, work, a funeral. You can pass it off. Your ratty gym clothes or a sequined cocktail dress? Not so much.
A daily uniform needs to flow with you from one situation to the next. Even if today you aren’t leaving the house, you might have to run to the grocery store when you realized you forgot to buy eggs. And tomorrow you might be touring museums all day with a friend. It won’t matter as long as your daily uniform is as versatile as you are.
5. Stop worrying about what other people think!!
I saved the most important one for last. The hurdle people talk about the most when adopting a daily uniform is their worry that people will judge them for wearing the same thing every day.
Truth bomb: You are your own worst critic.
You know how worried you are every day about your own life? Well, maybe not worried, just caught up in it. And everyone around you? That’s what’s going on in their heads too! They don’t have time or energy to spend judging you because you have worn the exact same dress 3 times this week.
Conduct your own experiment. Start by wearing the same outfit 2 days in a row. See if anyone notices. I bet they don’t!
Actually, people are MUCH more likely to notice when you do change outfits. They have to do extra work to categorize who you are in their mind. Human brains like to do the least amount of effort. When you wear the same uniform every day, everyone around you will come to expect you to look that way in their heads all the time.
If you switch it up and wear a different color or totally different style, they’ll notice, because now they have to re-categorize the picture of you in their head.
Once people get over this hurdle it’s common to hear them talk about feeling free; not worrying about what other people think about them. We can all use more of that in our lives.
Everyone can do this.
The hardest part is starting. Then once you’re off and running, it feels natural. Like having skin. You don’t think about your skin every day do you?
Adopting a daily uniform does not have to be rocket science. And you don’t have to do it all at once. Baby steps are great. Try just wearing the same bottoms several times a week. Then the top. Then shoes. Experiment. You’ll find what works for you.
Do you already have a daily uniform? Or are working on creating one? Share photos in the comments so we can see what you’re coming up with!