If you’re like me, when you think of the the word, ‘uniform,’ one of two images come to mind: a gaggle of schoolgirls in identical skirts, ties, and blazers, or Mark Zuckerberg in a grey t-shirt and blue jeans. Both are expressions of efficiency – ensembles that say to the world, “I have more important things to worry about than what to put on in the morning.” But both are also undeniably associated with not only the word ‘uniform,’ but the words bland and boring. Not to discredit the method to Mark’s madness, but it’s time we reassess and reclaim the modern uniform, making it our b*tch.
Take it from Thom Browne, the designer who pretty much reinvented the suit (yes, something so inherently conservative as the suit) by shrinking its proportions, making it feel experimental rather than traditional. Instead of it representing boring uniformity or unimaginative thinking, it can represent confidence and control for the modern man and woman. In an interview with the New York Times after his Japanese schoolgirl inspired S/S ’16 collection debuted, Thom explained how he actually finds a uniform liberating and individual. He says, “I think it takes a lot of confidence to be able to be that true to a uniform. I live and breathe the idea of uniforms. Having to think about getting dressed in the morning would be the most exhausting thing.”
So how do we take a brilliant but hella-bizarre runway show (see below) and leverage it into something that’s actually RTW? Check out a few other trendsetters below you may have heard of and take inspiration from them as to how narrow or broad your uniform can be.
AKA Boss Lady, Clinton sticks to a couple cuts and styles that work for her on *all* the levels. A simple, clean-cut suit conveys the powerful, feminine, knows-what-she-wants message so intrinsic to her image. You can take inspiration from this by not necessary buying the same outfit in five different colours, but rather sticking to outfits that have similar tailoring and proportions, which can be as strict as Clinton or as wacky as Brown.
This devil’s uniform isn’t actually Prada. It can be narrowed down to traditionally structured dresses and skirts in bright colours and repetitive prints, and simplified further to her- her sleek bob and dark, thickly framed sunnies. I told you, people – a uniform can be simple!! Take inspiration from this by always doting your favourite black structured bag and blowout, or a string of pearls and your round reading glasses. Pick two or three small things that feel like staples to you.
Though we’ve probably never seen her wear the same thing twice, Queen Bey too, has a uniform. Almost every time she performs, she wears a costume that’s cuts almost as high as her hips, showing off her strong, sexy legs and bey-hind (I had too). A uniform that she feels fierce in, able to perform to her maximum capacity. Any of us can take cues from that – picking a style, cut, or colour scheme that you feel confident and comfortable in, allowing you to perform at 100% on a daily basis.
Bottom line – if something works for you, go with it and wear it all the time. Seriously! Don’t be afraid to stick to what you like and what you know. It doesn’t mean that this is what you’ll be wearing for the rest of your life, but as time goes on your style will evolve. It will remain timeless because it isn’t a product of what’s hot right now, it’s a product of you.