Why I Chose A Summer Uniform

Before I had kids, I would have scoffed at the idea of wearing a uniform. One of my favorite things to do was choose my outfit for the day. I often planned them out the night before, taking into account the weather, the image I wanted to project, and the amount of travel I’d be putting on my shoes. I loved to shop, too. I’d spend hours wandering around malls and outlets, buying random things that I liked. Sometimes I’d end up with pieces I loved and wore often; other times I’d buy things that sat in my closet unused. I rarely invested in high-quality clothing.

But things have changed. I no longer love to shop unless I know exactly what I’m looking for. I prefer my new clothes to arrive in a box, either from Stitch Fix or a brand I already trust. Quality is more important than quantity. I crave efficiency and consistency over new styles. I like to look good with minimal effort.

So I’ve started coming up with a seasonal uniform.

Fall/Winter Uniform

It began last fall, when I’d just gotten out of maternity clothes. I didn’t want to buy a lot of new things to fit my shape, because I’d planned on changing that shape as soon as possible. (I’ve lost over 25 pounds since leaving the hospital, yay!) I also wanted a wardrobe that was easy and nursing-friendly. I decided on leggings, a tank top layered under a cardigan or hoodie, slip-on shoes, and chunky earrings. I invested in a few tank tops from Everlane and bought extra pairs of the Hue leggings I already liked. Cardigans were plentiful in my closet, but I ordered some extra Life is Good hoodies when they went on sale, because they’re cozy, fit well, and come in great colors. And that was it. Easy, few pieces, all high-quality.

I was surprised at how good it felt to have a standard outfit to fall back on. It was a relief on all those mornings I had to get dressed quickly so that I could drive my son to preschool or get a few errands in before the baby’s naptime. I still occasionally put together different outfits, but most days I was happy with my uniform.

Spring/Summer Uniform

I’m back into most of my pre-pregnancy clothes, which gives me more options for denim in particular. Here’s what I’ve chosen for my spring/summer uniform:

  • Cropped denim boyfriend jeans or yoga pants. My two favorite pairs of jeans are from Kut from the Kloth, bought last year. Expensive, but fit like a glove. I’m asking Stitch Fix for more denim in my next box (it’s what they do best). I love Nike Legend classic yoga pants in black.
  • Slide-on sandals. I have some nicer pairs, but more often than not, it’s the $5 Old Navy rubber flip-flops. I have them in many colors. When it rains, canvas Toms or pink Pumas cover my toes.
  • Colorful, drape-y tank tops or V-neck t-shirts. This is where I can get more creative. I’ve gotten a few from Stitch Fix and a few from combing the aisles at Marshalls and TJ Maxx. My only requirement is that they fit well in the sleeve and drape below my waist. Favorite brands: Papermoon, Lucky Brand.
  • Chunky stud earrings or hammered silver hoops. I should probably stick to the studs, because the baby is in her pulling-my-jewelry phase now, but I love my hammered hoops. I miss my necklaces, but it’s too risky to wear them. Baby girl is strong!
  • Light jacket if needed. I have a long-sleeved gray military-style canvas jacket, and an army-green mid-sleeve jacket, both from Stitch Fix. They match literally everything and have hoods for rain.


The old me would think this system super-constraining and creativity-sapping. But I’ve found that having a uniform actually makes me feel more free, in the way that guidelines help focus an artist’s style. I’m also spending less on clothes, and what I buy lasts longer. It’s a win-win-win.

Do you wear a standard uniform, even if you don’t have to? What does it look like? If not, would you ever consider wearing one? 


2 Responses to “Why I Chose A Summer Uniform”

  1. Since I live in hot and ultra casual Florida, and I work at home, what I wear probably does boil down to a uniform, even though I didn’t think about it that way. I usually wear shorts or capris, and a colorful, patterned T-shirt. If I leave the house, I always put on earrings and a necklace, and sometimes bracelets to make up for the plainness of my clothes.

    One of my projects for 2017 is to revamp my wardrobe and try to inject it with some style! I keep wanting to wait until I lose weight (perimenopause has done a number on my body), but I don’t know if I’m ever going to lose a significant enough amount of weight to make it worthwhile to wait. Better to dress the body I do have in quality, well-fitting clothes.

    • Leanne Sowul says:

      Kathy– so sorry I didn’t see this comment until now! I totally agree about dressing the body you have. I go through that struggle myself. I’ve learned that it’s better to invest in good-quality clothes that make me feel good right now, because feeling good makes me treat my body better. Maybe that means I’ll have to buy more good-quality clothes in the future, but since I’m not an over-buyer, that won’t kill my wallet, and I get to enjoy shopping again.

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