Why successful people wear uniforms and you should too

Posted on July 17 2015

 

When we say the word "uniform," what pops into your head? The word uniform most likely conjures up pictures of something drab or ill-fitting, something that makes you the same as everyone else. Would it surprise you to know that Karl Lagerfeld, Steve Jobs, and Anna Wintour each have their own uniform?

Forget all your assumptions about what a uniform is, and instead think of it as your signature look. Creating a uniform is all about identifying what items in your wardrobe you love the most and look the best on you, and then creating a signature look based on those pieces. We do not mean that you should go out and buy 10 tops that are exactly the same (although that is a great approach too!). Your signature look is all about finding out what look best identifies your fashion taste and makes you feel great. For some, that means buying the same black t-shirt and jeans over and over again, and for others, it means finding the perfect silhouette. In our blog post, How Multifunctional Designs Save Busy Women Time, Energy, Money, and Space, we share Anna Wintour’s two favorite silhouettes and help you see how she achieves a great variety in her clothing without varying from her own uniform. What is Anna's uniform? Her signature hairdo, big sunglasses, slim-fitting short sleeve dresses, nude color high heels. 

 

For others, creating that perfect uniform is all about finding a look that is comfortable and practical, yet flattering and put-together. For Steve Jobs, it’s that comfortable black top and jeans. For Karl Lagerfeld, it’s his signature fingerless gloves, dark pants, white collared shirt, and boots. For Carolina Herrera, it’s her white button-down and ball gown skirt. Why do these very successful, and very creative, people dress the same each day?

 Steve Jobs in his uniform of black turtleneck and blue jeans

Karl Largerfeld in his uniform of black sunglasses, white shirt, black suit and black jeans

Caroline Herrera in her uniform of white shirt and a line skirt

 

Here are just a few reasons why uniforms work so well for them, and why they can also work for you:

  1. It takes the stress out of the morning routine – everyone has that moment of frustration when the clock is ticking, but you can’t find an outfit that works for the day.
  2. They know it works, so they feel confident in their appearance.
  3. It saves time and money – We realize that Steve Jobs most likely didn’t wear the same outfit out of frugality, but it definitely will cut down on the money spent updating your wardrobe and time spent on choosing new outfits.
  4. Fewer choices means greater happiness - According to Life Edited, having fewer (but better) choices can actually make you more content. It can signal the end of continually searching for the next best thing.
  5. It eliminates wastedid you know that we only wear about 20% of the items in our closet? Think about what that means about our shopping habits: we are buying items that we simply do not wear.

The uniforms of our favorite designers speak to a larger trend in fashion that we are huge fans of: designs created to be practical while also being aesthetically pleasing. The insightful article, Slave No More, from T Magazine’s blog, highlights this change in fashion. Finally, designers are embracing the notion that you can look amazing without constantly changing with the trends and without being uncomfortable.

 

Image courtesy of T Magazine

 

 

Matilda Kahn, an art director, found her own slice of contentment and simplicity when she discovered the power of wearing the same thing to work each day. She provides insights into her uniform two years after adopting it in the article, Why I Wear the Exact Same Thing to Work Every Day. She shares her own feelings of frustration over never knowing what to wear, and the simple joy that came with making the decision to pick a uniform of a silk, white blouse and black slacks. 

Matilda Kahn in her uniform. Image courtesy of harpersbazaar.com

Matilda Kahn inspired her colleagues to dress up like her. Image courtesy of harpersbazaar.com

 

If the thought of only wearing one outfit to work each day is too big of a leap for you, we have another solution: multifunctional fashion. With pieces that can be worn in more than one way, it means that you can achieve the same look and silhouette, but it will look like a completely different outfit. It also means that you can add in a greater variety of colors and patterns into your wardrobe while still minimizing what you need to have in your wardrobe. In essence, you get the best of both worlds: variety and a uniform that will simplify your life, make you feel confident, and save you time and money. What more could you ask for? Finding one design that you love from Jia Collection means that you automatically found at least two outfits that you know you will love and look great in. Uniforms don’t have to be boring, and multifunctional fashion makes that challenge all the more simple.

Kelly, Jen and Laura have find their uniform in our Danielle 4-way dress/cardigan, which one will be yours?

Kelly Hoey wearing Jia Collection Danielle 4-way dress/cardigan

Kelly Hoey, angel investor, speaker and CMO wore Danielle to her trips and presentations.  

 

Jen Zimmons, president of her own international consulting business, wore Danielle on her recent 2-week trip to Europe.

 

Laura Alcantara, writer and editor, wore Danielle to work and for her after-work events.

 

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