Women on average spend 16mins of their day (or 80 minutes a week) deciding what to wear to work.
Given time is so scarce it makes sense that women need to find smarter ways to reduce this burden.
Building and utilising a personal uniform approach for work is not a new concept, it’s been adopted by plenty of successful people. Mark Zuckerberg with his jeans, sneakers and t-shirts, and Steve Jobs with his black turtle neck and jeans have all put personal uniforms to good use. And, if you ever thought a personal uniform approach was not cool you only need to refer to Karl Lagerfeld, a legend in luxury fashion design with his crisp white shirt, black blazer and black sunglasses.
It’s acceptable for men to wear simple jeans and tees, but what does it mean for stylish women to create their own personal uniform? Angela Merkel has a wardrobe of pant suits with the intent of taking what she wore out of the conversation. Hillary Clinton chose pant suits following media commentary on her legs when she was First Lady. Arianna Huffington is leading the #stylerepeatmovement wearing seven outfits on rotation: “I think women should deliberately repeat things they love. Men have a competitive advantage. They don’t have to waste the kind of energy we waste.”
What can we learn from these modern women? The advantages of a work uniform are many. The main benefits come from reducing the time and energy that is required when making decisions about what to wear, reducing waste, saving money and giving women a set of outfits that make them feel confident and comfortable at work.
Creating a “work uniform” allows you to streamline your routine and eliminates one more potentially stressful decision from your daily life.
Roy Baumeister, Professor of Psychology at the University of Queensland, says skipping the decision about what to wear each morning can bring cognitive benefits. “Many studies have shown that self-control and decision-making take a certain amount of energy, especially when one puts a lot of effort into them.”
In our own study conducted by One P, women on average make 5-10 decisions before they leave the house in the morning, taking away one of the more frustrating decisions is what a personal wardrobe delivers.
In addition to the time taken to decide what to wear, time is also reduced in shopping for more items driven by the feeling you have nothing to wear. Not to mention the time we spend rummaging for items in an overstuffed wardrobe, washing, ironing and dry cleaning.
According to a Forbesarticle by Ayesha Barenblat, founder of the ethical fashion group Remake, modern “fast fashion” items are manufactured to fall apart. The purpose is for those pieces to fade, tear, and quickly be replaced instead of repaired.
In Australia, the average person sends 23 kilograms of clothing to landfill every year.
A personal work wardrobe allows you to continually reuse your carefully selected garments time after time. If you create your uniform around natural fibres you get the added benefit of them being both comfortable and biodegradable. Everyone is happy!
One P’s concept of a personal uniform is built on the strategy of moving away from constantly purchasing trend driven garments that go out of fashion after one season. Rather, by procuring a set of stylish basics in high quality natural fibres you save money overall as you purchase fewer items of higher utility. Natural fibres are breathable, comfortable, durable and easy to care for as all our garments are machine washable.
How to create a personal work wardrobe.
For stylish women, the ‘uniform’ can be a stylish personal work wardrobe that can mixed, matched, and updated by way of seasonal accessories.
Step 1 – Start with your own wardrobe
Take stock of what you currently have in your wardrobe and note your go to pieces. These pieces will give you a sense of what you like and feel comfortable in. Consider where they sit on your hips, do you like a high or low waist? Do you prefer loose fitting garments or more fitted, round neck or v neck tops.
Step 2 – Assess the gaps
Hopefully you may already have some trusted basics that can form part of your personal wardrobe, from there identify your gaps.
Step 3 – 10 day work wardrobe
When creating your personal work wardrobe, you should base it on having enough items to get you through two full working weeks. This alleviates the pressure on washing and ironing too regularly, it also helps protect the longevity of the garment. This does not mean that you can’t wear an item twice in that period, but it gives you a plan without too much pressure on upkeep as well as options depending on the type of day ahead and the weather.
Here is an example of 10-day work wardrobe
Shirt 1 and maybe a Jacket
Pant 1 – second wear (no need to wash wool for up to 10 wears)
Skirt – second wear
Shirt 3 and maybe a Jacket
Pant 2– third wear
Top 1 – second wear
Casual pant style
Shirt 2 and maybe a Jacket
Casual pant style – second wear
Shirt 1 – second wear
Total garments needed
- 2 x dresses
- 1 x skirt
- 2 x pants
- 3 x tops
- 3 x shirts
- 1 x Jacket
Total = 12 items
Step 4 – Create your own style
Style is the composite of accessories, your choice of fabrics, silhouette and the colour of the items you choose. Shoes, belts, scarves, jewellery all play a major part in you creating and showing your unique style.
Fast fashion is very quickly becoming a thing of the past, in today’s fast paced world, who has the time to continually be out there shopping the newest trend? We don’t want to be creating more landfill or wasting valuable water supply in creating our clothes. Developing your own style and creating a personal work wardrobe to simplify your morning routine is both smart and responsible. No wonder it is becoming the new trend.