My workday uniform

I’ve read a couple of blog posts lately about having a uniform: a go-to formula for your everyday outfit. Since my new job requires business casual dress, I decided that before I went shopping I needed to review my wardrobe and think about what I actually wear.

First of all, you need to understand that I do not have a lot of clothes. My husband and I started sharing a closet a year and a half ago when we had our big walk-in closet painted. And we’ve never switched back. We just don’t really need the space. We each have one clothes rod – about 6 feet long. I have mine split into work clothes on one half and weekend clothes on the other half.

Our shared closet. Jim’s clothes on top. Mine on the bottom.

My rack: casual clothes on the left, work clothes on the right.

So once I got rid of the clothes that didn’t fit and the ones I didn’t wear, I was left with one pair of black pants, three tank tops, two nice t-shirts, two long sleeve shirts, and three cardigan sweaters. That’s not much when I have to dress up 4-5 days a week. But what I did realize is that my uniform is black pants, an undershirt (tank, tee, long sleeve tee), and a cardigan. It’s not the trendiest outfit, but it’s what I actually wear. I wouldn’t buy anything else since I’d just end up not wearing it.

First week at the new job in my uniform.

I hit up our local consignment shop first. And I found some great deals, but I only bought things that fit my uniform. I bought another pair of black pants, Banana Republic for only $14! And I found an adorable dressy tank, White House Black Market for $14. And another black flow-y cardigan top for $17. And the most shocking of all – a black necklace for $10. I never wear jewelry other than my wedding ring, but my mother urged me to find something plain that could go with everything, so I did.

The next day I went to the real mall. I had planned to go to Loft and Chico’s. All of the Loft shirts had pockets – weird and not dressy enough. But I did find two fun colored cardigans – fuchsia and periwinkle. The ones I had were all black or cream. I love wearing color! Chico’s was a bust. Other than some basic tanks I didn’t find anything that fit my uniform. And they didn’t have the color tank I needed to go with my new Loft cardigans.

On the way back to my car I saw White House Black Market. I had never been there before, but remembering my cute consignment find, I decided to check it out. I explained to the sales woman what I was looking for. I think she thought my uniform was a little odd for work, but she was incredibly helpful. I’ve never tried on more clothes in my life! I grabbed everything I liked, and she brought me some of her favorites. And after about an hour, I spent $300! But everything fit my uniform: one cardigan and six tanks. I loved the fit of their pants, but I decided to stick with my black pants for now. I’m not sure what other color will work into my wardrobe, and none of the pants I tried on were on sale. I’ll go back in the fall.

I am loving getting dressed for work each morning. Everything now fits my style. I even found two other necklaces that I’d been given over the years. Knowing my uniform made my shopping so much easier, and I know I’ll wear everything I have. It’s not quite the 10 item wardrobe that’s the hot topic right now, but I have enough for two weeks of work, which is what I need.

A close up of my work clothes.

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  1. I love your "uniform" ! I do something similar sometimes. I have a lot of plain shirts and cardigans that I mix and match throughout the winter. I have a LOT of clothing, but when nothing is appealing, there's nothing better than putting on a basic shirt, sweater, and scarf.

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