I admit that this is extreme and certainly doesn’t win any awards for creativity, but so far I’m enjoying the constraints of my 5 sweaters, 3 jeans, 3 shoes, 3 coats just fine. Ask me come the end of February and maybe I’ll have a different answer for you though.
After working in fashion adjacent jobs for my entire career, I’m realizing that I don’t enjoy expressing myself through clothing all that much. I prefer to blend in and buying stuff makes me panicky. I’m more comfortable with very limited options. I wouldn’t say I’ve committed to a full on uniform, it is more of a recipe that I follow every day. Neutral colors. Crewneck or turtleneck sweater + blue or black jeans + sneakers or ankle boots + wool or down coat.
I do have other clothing in my wardrobe that I didn’t include below: a few cold weather items (snow boots, scarf, hat, gloves), workout clothes, a black silk blouse and pants in case I have to go somewhere fancy, but this is what I reach for 95% of the time. I don’t have more sweaters and jeans lurking in storage bins. I do want to do a better job shopping at smaller, sustainable brands this coming year, but in my mind getting a lot of use out of a piece is at least half the battle.
To quote Alice Gregory whose uniform was a big inspiration:
You save a lot of money by relinquishing trial-and-error shopping—those items you buy and never wear, try and fail to return. Gone is the mental math that goes into calculating how much you “paid per wear” for that sweater you only put on three times. And nobody thinks of a person who wears the same thing every day as unstylish. Rather, it’s simply a classification that does not apply.
If you too are a person for whom the idea of expressing yourself through clothes feels embarrassing or even just inefficient, then I recommend you find a uniform of your own. There will be some inevitable missteps, but the end result will be worth the effort. Think of it as shopping so you’ll never have to shop again.
Here’s the rundown of my winter uniform if you’re interested:
5 Sweaters: Everlane navy waffle cashmere sweater, Uniqlo charcoal cashmere crewneck sweater, Uniqlo charcoal merino turtleneck sweater, COS oatmeal speckled crewneck sweater, COS black speckled turtleneck