Tag Archives: Obama

Would you wear a uniform if you didn’t have to?

Creating your own uniform | lizniland.com

Back when I was just a wee student at the local public school, we were always so jealous of the kids that went to the nearby uniform-free independent school. From the bus, the classrooms looked like treehouses and, clad in their choice of colourful garb, the kids seemingly had their regular classes replaced by guitar jams and skateboard sessions.

While the skateboarding may have had something to do with it, us uniformed types envied the fact these kids were able to boldly don their favourite hyper-colour t-shirts (hello 90s!), without even waiting for an out-of-uniform day.

Between school blazers, sporting team colours and the official shirt and slacks for the weekend job, the majority of our formative years are spent dressing up to fit in. Make of that what you will! By the time you’re free to dress as you wish for the majority of your day, it’s pretty exciting to explore your options and discover who you really are.

Depending on your job, a uniform may still be a factor in your life. If you’re free to dress as you please though, would you consider passing in your option to mix and match your outfits on the daily? Maybe not. But, what if doing so would give you more time in your day, less stress, less drain on you decision making capacity and save more creative juices for the bigger fish you’ll need to fry throughout the day? Tempting, right?

Art director Matilda Kahl decided to do just that. Stocking up on a pile of white blouses and black pants and one statement necklace, Kahl likens it to setting up an auto online bill payment. She says it’s empowering.

The simple choice of wearing a work uniform has saved me countless wasted hours thinking, “what the hell am I going to wear today?” And in fact, these black trousers and white blouses have become an important daily reminder that frankly, I’m in control.

Today, I not only feel great about what I wear, I don’t think about what I wear.

I can definitely see where she’s coming from. There are mornings when precious minutes are wasted when things don’t fit quite right, when the slip that normally goes under that dress is still waiting to be washed, when you’re trying out a new combo but it’s just not coming together.

Perhaps not surprisingly, the concept of panicking about what to wear each day is pretty much entirely foreign to the male species. My partner Michael has a self-made work uniform of chinos, Tiger sneakers and polo shirts. So how come this is all so natural for boys but for women, such a story is a viral sensation?

President Obama famously explained that avoiding decision fatigue is the reason why he only ever wears grey or blue suits.

I’m trying to pare down decisions. I don’t want to make decisions about what I’m eating or wearing. Because I have too many other decisions to make.

Perhaps it’s also why Steve Jobs was so attached to his uniform of denim jeans and black turtle-necks.

So here’s the question, could you do it? Would you be willing to return to the old school days of pulling another shirt out of the wardrobe, just the same as the one you wore yesterday, and the day before that. I don’t know if I could replace everything with Kahl’s uniform but I think that sticking to a curated collection of work clothes, separate to your casual and party clothes, works for me.

It’d certainly be an interesting experiment anyway!

x Liz

Photo note: Image from Death to the stock photo.