Creating a Uniform and How It Changed My Life
**Sorry y'all! I posted an earlier version of this and the photos were broken. Fixed now!!
A couple of weeks ago I sent out a reader survey asking which topics you love reading over here and if there was anything we were missing that we could write about more. Gardening won as favorite topic, not to anyone's surprise, and crafting was actually the second most popular topic, which I thought was interesting since I don't really share a whole bunch of crafting/DIYS around here. However... we have been planning next year's schedule and it has a lot more crafting and free patterns. We are really excited to get better about sharing how-to handmade things. As for what we should talk about more of, I was surprised to see that quite a few of you were craving more information about minimizing my closet (and Tad's, too). I really didn't think that I ever did a good job of writing about that, even though it's something I am really interested in and deal with every single day. I mean, I get dressed every single day, so I have to think about what I am wearing. Or do I? The truth is, within this past year, I have finally nailed down my own uniform, which has completely changed my life, the way I dress myself, the way I get ready overall during the week, and how much I care about all of it at all.
I wrote about how long it took me to create my minimalist wardrobe in this post, which gained quite a bit more traffic than I thought would be possible. In summary of that post, it's taken me over five years to narrow my closet down, and I am still struggling! I recently just pulled out all of my sweaters for winter from our attic and am debating over getting rid of most of them. There are a few things I am beginning to notice that I just don't enjoy, even though my brain keeps telling me I should, and I'll cover those below. The biggest issue with narrowing down your wardrobe and creating a uniform, not a capsule, is realizing that you just have to let certain ideas go.
You may be asking, what is a uniform? Why is it not like a capsule? It's really up to your own judgement, but for me, a uniform is a collection of similar clothing that you wear everyday, without thought, without judgement. You are completely comfortable every single day, you don't have to worry about how what you are wearing makes you feel, and others recognize you well because of YOU. Some people say that your clothing is a reflection of who you are; it's a way to express yourself. I love that, I do. I also love being able to simplify my life by wearing something similar every single day and leaving that eccentricity for my work, my thoughts, my daily actions. A uniform doesn't have to be boring and doesn't always have to be simple, like only having 10 options. It's up to you, and you get to be the judge of how much is too much. But, in general, I think your closet just gets narrowed down naturally. As for what a capsule is, well that's shoving all of the clothing you don't enjoy right now into a box, trying to only wear 30 articles of clothing or less, and hoping that you don't get bored. What's the difference? You no longer feel any desire to reach back into that box of old clothing once you attain a uniform. And I really don't!
Finding a Right Fit
I am not the person to tell you what your personal style is or how to find. I think I would be a really bad judge of that, even though I believe myself to be a wonderful judge of character. I am super intuitive, so that kind of thing really excites me. However, finding a "personal style" is, well, personal. I have been working for years on trying to discover what mine even is, and I am sure there will come a day when it changes again, and I am thrown off course. For me, finding the right fit for your body and comfortability level is the first step in defining personal style. I don't mean discovering what your "body shape" is. That's silly. Just figure out which cuts and styles of clothing look best on your body in your eyes. When you're photographed, is there something particular that you wear that makes you feel better? It's not something you feel should look nice, but something that does look best.
Personally, I enjoy oversized clothing. I feel like right now in the media, everyone is constantly pushing, "Love yourself, embrace your curves! Don't hide under baggy clothing!" but I LOVE baggy clothing. I am an average human, tall and womanly shaped. I have breasts that I like to hide, not out of shame, but because I feel better in my own clothes using a minimizer bra. It has nothing to do with wanting to be like someone else! I feel so much more confident and normal in my own eyes when I wear a bra that compresses a bit. Maybe you like push up bras? Do your thing, girl. I also wear a lot of linen. I like how it feels, how it looks. I'll share some resources below for where I shop and my favorite pieces if you have a similar taste!
In all, just figure out what you love wearing. What piece of clothing do you have that makes you feel like a million bucks? Maybe it's five or ten pieces? Center your style around those and get rid of the rest. Your body will thank you for it. I stay away from low rise jeans because I have wide hips; I just don't wear them or try to force myself to like them!
Pick a Color Scheme
When I first started taking on this aspect of a uniform, I thought I was going to crash and burn. It would be boring, right? Just wearing a certain set of colors, like walking through a clothing boutique where they have everything line up in the same shade, would be incredibly bland. I would get bored, I would want to buy things in better colors. That was all wrong! My closet currently within a color scheme of faded earth tones. I have mostly whites, creams, and natural linen colors. There is another half that has a lot of denim tones, which I am just naturally attracted to. I also have earthy greens in the olive family and some salmon/peach pinks as well. I used to wear a lot of black and grey! I am still a fan of black, but I never liked grey and could not figure out why. Growing up, a lot of the tees and tops available to me were in greyscale tones. I just never enjoyed how they looked on me, but I wore them anyway. It was only earlier this year that I realized, "You know, I kind of hate the greyscale for my wardrobe." Slowly, I began getting rid of everything black, everything grey, everything that was dull and dark colored. I also did this for Tad's wardrobe. It suits my photographs better, and it makes me feel happy. I am embracing white things! I feel happier and more grounded with the colors I have chosen. Maybe you love black! So get rid of that hot pink shirt that you kind of hate and embrace all things black.
Embrace Sustainable Clothing
This one was harder for me to accept. We live in a world of throw-away fashion. There are something like 52 micro-fashion seasons now. What?! I know! I saw the released on the internet and heard something similar in a recent documentary. It's insane! The fashion industry wants you to purchase cheaply made clothing for an affordable price for every single season of life, not just cold weather and warm weather, and then throw it away before you even reach the next one. It's a cycle, a vicious one, and something that even I struggle with breaking. I am an average human, I sometimes buy into trends. Do I think linen in trendy? Mm... maybe in the strange little Instagram world that I live in, the people there I see and interact with daily. But like all things, trends die and they fade away. I won't stop wearing linen and oversized clothing. I'll probably grow with the styles, I don't think I am interested in looking outdated, but I try my hardest to find classic pieces that I know I will enjoy for a long time. Which is why sustainable fashion is so important. It costs more - a lot more. We are a company that sells linen clothing! It's hard to tell people, "Hey, you should have a minimalist wardrobe... but please buy our clothes!" We try really hard not to do that. Instead, we hope that you can find use and something that lasts out of our clothing. Don't buy it if you don't love it and plan to wear it everyday! We strive to make a high quality piece for your wardrobe that you can wear anywhere, dressed up or down, and the women that have bought clothing from us have been using it for almost two years now. That's not thrown away! It lasts, it's quality, and it's made by someone who cares. Choosing to purchase handmade has been the best decision for me; just do your research!
2015 was the first year I ever owned anything made out of linen. Jill made me a tunic, the same design that we sell now, and I fell in love. It was comfy, easy to style, and I felt good. Fast forward, and about 90% of my closet is linen... and they're just multiplications of the same cut and style! It's kind of weird. I feel like my closet is a specialty store, and I absolutely love it. I can walk in and never run out of my favorite shirt because I have two in different colors. This just works for me! It's a uniform! I bought a dress a few months ago from Linen Fox and ended up getting two more in different colors so that I can change it up and never get stuck wanting to wear my favorite dress because it is in the wash. I've narrowed down my choices to about maybe six different outfits with a few color options and multiples. It's just really fun! I never have to think about what I am wearing, it's kind of already picked out for me. I just pair things together.
I read a really great article a couple of years ago about a woman who decided to try a capsule wardrobe of only 5 outfits and wore them to work every day for like a month or something. She was expecting to have all of her coworkers judge her for only showing up in the same outfit over and over again. The result of her experiment was this: no one even noticed. They didn't say anything! And when she asked them at the end, they didn't realize that she was even doing anything. Having less clothing doesn't matter; feeling good in what you wear does.
As an artist, or even as someone who just has a mind floating with insane ideas all day long, this choice of wearing the same thing everyday makes my life that much faster and easier. I don't do makeup or hair anymore either, which is a different beast, but all I have to do is grab my linen shirt, skirt, and go. As a mom that runs a business, I need that saved time in my day! Here's a great quote by Michael Kors that I love. Have you ever realized that he just wears a black blazer, tee, jeans, and shoes every single day?
"Life is busy, and for me, as a designer, I spend all my time thinking about what everyone else is wearing. So the last thing I want to do is spend too much time thinking about what I put on." - Michael Kors
Love it! Will you embrace wearing a uniform? Below are some links to my favorite shops to grab linen clothing from.