Personal Style: The Wardrobe Uniform



This summer has really been a time of soul-searching for me, especially as it pertains to fashion. The entire concept of fashion and the rules of fashion have changed drastically from when I was a teen and avidly following it. I've been thinking a lot about personal style, and what makes me happy, and what I'd like to wear. When I pick up clothing catalogs or hop online, I naturally gravitate towards the office style - what to wear to work pages, but that's no longer my lifestyle. It's time for a change.

For over 25 years, I worked in an office environment. The work I did and the companies I worked for tended to have highly conservative dress codes. Skirts, suits, dresses, high heels and stockings were the norm. Ten years ago, I moved to Virginia and began freelancing for a living. My office is in my home. I rarely, if ever, meet clients in person anymore. Yet I realized just this month that my wardrobe choices were always mentally geared towards that person I no longer am...the career gal who needed to 'dress for success.' Today, success is defined by a very different metric. Clothing has to be comfortable, practical, and casual.

As a child, I wore a uniform to my Catholic school for 8 years. Play clothes were whatever I had laying around - there was no attention to what I wore after school. Sundays meant a dress or a nice skirt and top for church, and that same outfit did double-duty for weddings, graduations, or other significant events. 

I hadn't realized how these factors all played into my concept of fashion as an adult until this summer. I realized that I was still treating my closet as if I needed fancy, tailored clothes every day, and that "play clothes" - casual clothes - were an after thought.

Capsule Wardrobes and the Wardrobe Uniform

I came up with the idea of the "Wardrobe Uniform" after listening to a video cast from my friend and fashion mentor, Colleen Hammond. (If you haven't read her book, Dressing with Dignity, or signed up for her Style Academy, do so - it's well worth it!). Colleen suggest coming up with a template, a clothing outline, that works for your body type, then having pieces you can mix and match without much thought. It's sort of like a capsule wardrobe - pieces go together, and you know what you are going to wear.

I realized this week that my entire wardrobe needs to shift to my new way of life (Hey, it only took 10 years - don't judge!). So I came up with a template, a plan, and a scheme. I made a list. 

I went through my closet and figured out what I have, what I need, and what fits!

And now I have my list, it actually feels manageable. It feels like I can do this thing - I hate to shop, so it won't feel like shopping. When I know what I need, I can actually reduce clothing errors and stupid purchases that end up at the charity shop because they aren't me. 

I hope to share this process with you over the next few weeks. Updating my style from corporate career girl to modest, casual, work at home woman is going to take time. But it's a project that, I think, in the end will save time, give glory to God through modest dressing, and make me feel comfortable and happy all at the same time.

So here's to a Wardrobe Uniform and a Capsule Wardrobe...and to a return to elegance!


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