How I’m simplifying my wardrobe with a personal uniform

Simplifying your wardrobe with a personal uniform

I am not fashionable.

My mom and my sister both love fashion, and I just did not get that gene. But that doesn’t mean that I want to walk around feeling frumpy and unfashionable all the time either.

Figuring out my personal style and replacing the clothes in my wardrobe with clothes I love has been on my mind a lot over the last year.

It wasn’t until I started reading about the idea of a uniform as part of simplifying your personal style that it really clicked for me, though. I really love the idea of wearing different versions of the same outfit each day…not only because it makes those decisions simpler and lets me focus my mental energy elsewhere but also because it gives me freedom to wear what I love without feeling like I need more variety.

For me, during the fall and winter, there’s no doubt that my uniform consists of tank tops with a cardigan. I love that you can dress them up or down depending on the style of the tank top and the jewelry and accessories you add. But there’s also a more practical reason: I am the kind of person who sweats when I’m embarrassed or excited or sad or nervous or…well, any time I experience pretty much any emotion. (I’m thinking this does not bode well for perimenopause and hot flashes.)

Wearing a cardigan over a tank top allows me to more easily regular my temperature by easily slipping the cardigan on and off and also prevents embarrassing pit stains.

Up until this year, though, all of my cardigans were hand-me-downs from my mom and sister. However, in light of this revelation, my Christmas wishlist this year included a few new cardigans:

My personal uniform: cardigan sweaters and tanks

Kimchi Blue Weekend Cardigan Sweater
Urban Outfitters | $79

AEO Chunky Cable Knit Cardigan
American Eagle Outfitters | $69.95 (on sale for $32.50 right now!)

AEO Feather Light Open Cardigan
American Eagle Outfitters | $34.95 (on sale for $15.99 right now!)

AEO Open Hooded Cardigan
American Eagle Outfitters | $49.95 (on sale for $23.49 right now!)

Now that I’m fully invested in this uniform idea, I’m ready to invest in a few more high quality tank tops as well.

That’s not to say that I only have cardigans and tanks; I’m not quite ready to go that far yet. I have a few beloved lightweight sweaters and I love the Sevenly sweatshirts with my pajamas. But for the most part, cardigans it is. Cardigans with jeans when we go out. Cardigans with leggings at home.

I also recently cleared out my closet and reorganized. Originally I had things categorized by long sleeve and short sleeve and then arranged by color, but I’ve decided that cardigans and tanks deserve their own categories at the front for easy selection.

Once I lose the rest of this weight I gained last year, I am going to work on researching nice jeans too. I’ve been buying clearance Mudd jeans at Kohls because they’re the only non-mom jeans that don’t slide off my Italian rear end when I sit down, but I’m ready to find and invest in 2 or 3 pairs of nicer jeans that fit really well.

I’m not entirely sure what my spring/summer uniform will consist of, but I have a feeling it might just be the same with the cardigan being carried more often than worn—another good reason to invest in nice tank tops!

Do you have a personal uniform? If not, do you like the idea of one, or do you find it too limiting?

This Post Has 11 Comments

  1. I never thought of this but I guess I do, a tee shirt under a long sleeve shirt, a blazer and always a scarf when I go out in the colder months. A nice scarf dresses up any outfit.

  2. I love love love this idea! I didn’t realize it until you said it, but it would allow me to save some mental energy and I need all of that I can get! I will be investing in this idea this year! I’ll have to start by going through my closet to see what I wear the most =) Thanks for this!

  3. I so want to do this! I am working my way there, trying to build a collection of well-made simple clothes. I work outside the home so it is a little different, but I already wear a lot of the same styles every day – simple sweater or cardigan with black pants. I do sometimes wear button up shirts, but I tend to find them uncomfortable over the course of the day.

    Like you, I’m not sure what this will mean for summer, but every day when I look in my closet I think about how nice it would be to not have to THINK about what I’m going to wear 🙂

  4. I started substitute teaching last year after being an at home mom for 14 years. Cardigans and tank tops are PERFECT for it! I have Old Navy boyfriend cardigans in 3 colors and a really nice Eddie Bauer cardigan.

  5. I really like the idea of having a uniform. Getting dressed for work is no problem, I already have my outfits figured out and know which pieces work together. Its dressing more casually that usually lives me pitching a fit in my closet. I grew up wearing uniforms from 1st grade to my senior year of high school and I LOVED it! It made getting ready so easy and I would happily wear a uniform to work if they would let me.

  6. I admit that I have seen you in a tank and wondered why you weren’t freezing. =) After reading Twyla Thorpe’s book last winter I bought into this idea, along with simplifying meals, to save mental energy. I realized that mental energy is a big issue for me and an area that could help reduce stress. I haven’t figured it all out but it’s something I’m more aware of. One thing I’m sure of is my summer uniform: cotton sundresses and skirts.

  7. When you are ready to buy jeans, check ou Eddie Bauer. Try the cotton ones, not the Stay Shape. They fit great, come in lots of sizes and lengths.

  8. This is so true – I wear pretty much the same and then wonder why I don’t wear my other clothes! I should concentrate on what I know I feel comfortable in and like wearing! 🙂

  9. I love this! I recently started working with a “capsule wardrobe,” which is a similar idea. I like that I know what I have to wear and can stop worrying about it.

  10. as a fair trade supporter, do you research who is making your clothes? I could use a wardrobe shake up but I struggle not knowing about sweat shops. I go into a thrift store but hate to spend the time picking things out.

  11. I wear tank tops with a casual long sleeved blouse as an over shirt, been wearing that all winter! I wear it over jeans or black stretch pants.

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