Tag Archives: Work

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.

Review: #GIRLBOSS by Sophia Amoruso

Review: #GIRLBOSS by Sophia Amoruso | lizniland.com

#GIRLBOSS is a part-autobiography, part-business advice book from Sophia Amoruso; the 30-year-old founder and CEO (until last month) of fashion e-tailer Nasty Gal.

I found this an easy, entertaining and inspiring read, perfect for those who are seeking more out of life than their current 9-5 job. And while it’s geared towards entrepreneurial types and career-driven individuals, I think it’d be an empowering read for any young woman – not just those aspiring to be the boss-lady either.

#GIRLBOSS was part of the A Beautiful Mess Book Club last year so I decided to write to the same questions they posed in their discussion.

1. What was something you related with?

As a comparatively straight-laced, straight-A-achieving, relatively untroubled kid, I thought it would be tricky to relate to Sophia’s story. Obviously dumpster diving & hitch hiking were not commonalities I could claim, but the striving to find your niche and succeed on your own terms was something that I really appreciated.

“I always suspected that I was destined for, and that I was capable of, something bigger”.

It may just be the ‘curse’ of the Gen-Y dreamer but I think the rebellion Sophia shows against a life of suburban mediocrity is inspiring. She is living proof that a laptop, a solid idea and hard work can get you places.

I also loved reading Sophia’s approach to feminism.

“#GIRLBOSS is a feminist book, and Nasty Gal is a feminist company in the sense that I encourage you as a girl, to be who you want and do what you want”

I really identify with this kind of definition. Too many people, not just women, avoid labelling themselves as feminists thinking that it’s all about women. Obviously what women are able to do is a big part of it, but the whole “be who you want and do what you want” is a message that every man, woman & child the world over should hear & be able to live. Whether a bloke wants to run a business or do the 3pm school run (or both!) it should be just as supported as a woman’s right to do so too.

I’ve just finished reading Lean In by Sheryl Sandberg & it covers this concept heavily. I’ll write up a post on that soon – I loved it though!

#GIRLBOSS by Sophia Amoruso | lizniland.com

2. What was something you felt challenged by?

The chapter titled “Money looks better in the bank than on your feet” is definitely a challenging phrase to my ears. I wouldn’t say I’m irresponsible with money but my eyes do glaze over at talk of budgeting and spreadsheets.

In the fashion world, sensible financial chatter is rare – Carrie Bradshaw sums the general consensus up nicely with “I like my money where I can see it: hanging in my closet”. Sophia uses examples from both a more personal perspective and from the position of a #GIRLBOSS to show that this is not a sustainable attitude.

I’m lucky to have a partner that forces me into financials every so often but the messages in the book hit me loud and clear!

And the shoplifting was definitely challenging to my lofty ideals that everyone is always trying to be good and do the right thing! That said though, I love that by explaining the consequences of her actions, Sophia has the opportunity to discourage would-be wannabes without sounding hypocritically preachy.

#GIRLBOSS by Nasty Gal founder Sophia Amoruso | lizniland.com

3. What was something you learned and put into action?

I was really surprised how much practical advice #GIRLBOSS had to offer. I’m working towards building my own business and although Sophia started Nasty Gal from the point of nothing to lose, her ability to just launch and learn is truly enviable.

“I was addicted to my business, and to watching it grow everyday”

It seems like the strict timelines of eBay really prepared Sophia for the consistency and dedication needed for following through with her business. Consistency is something I know I struggle with so #GIRLBOSS has provided a good kick up the butt to sort that shiz out.

#GIRLBOSS also drives home the overarching importance of absolutely nailing customer service.

“I just went with my instincts and treated my customers like they were friends” has arguably been one of the keys to Sophia’s success. By focusing on what her customers really want, and utilising a natural talent for content marketing, Sophia has created an authentic tribe of loyal followers. In her early business days, Sophia would post on social media and create a blog post about every eBay auction she had running, just to advise potential customers of what was available.

By legitimately filling a void in their lives, meeting their needs and solving their fashion and styling problems, she has been able to share her products with her followers without feeling all slimy-salesy.

And this. I want to read it everyday.

“Abandon anything about your life and habits that might be holding you back. Learn to create your own opportunities. Know that there is no finish line; fortune favours action.”

Fortune favours action: that’s something I’m going to put in action!


Have you read #GIRLBOSS? What did you think of it?


Image #1 by me, the others are from deathtothestockphoto.com.