Thursday, January 14, 2016

Why developing your signature uniform could be the best thing that ever happened to you.

Celebrities who developed a signature look
For several years, I worked for an organization that required everyone to wear a uniform consisting of black slacks and a simple polo shirt displaying the company logo.  I remember the first time I met my supervisor wearing a cute, stylish outfit. After our greetings the first thing she said to me was "I appreciate how much time and effort you put into looking great but you have to adhere to the dress code."

I felt the life sucked out of me.  I didn't want to become one of those soulless employees walking around looking like everyone else.  But, for the sake of the paycheck, I obeyed.  Fast forward a year later and I'm counting all of my blessings for having to wear the same thing everyday.  Here's just a few benefits I enjoyed:

1. I saved a TON of money!  Not having to buy business casual work clothes allowed me the money to splurge on other indulgences.  Having to always have new, nice clothes to wear is not only exhausting, it's expensive.

2. Time. Time. Time!  Oh my gosh,  I can not tell you enough about how good it feels to wake up in the morning and not have to worry about deciding what to wear.  When I had to leave at 4:30 am to catch a flight, all I had to do was iron a polo shirt and head out the door.  I enjoyed lots of extra sleep thanks to that uniform.

3.  Less clutter & bulk.  After leaving my job, I started buying "normal" clothes again because I wanted to celebrate my freedom.  It didn't take long for the closet to get filled with clutter. And when I go on vacation, I end up bringing lots of unnecessary outfits because of indecision.  When I traveled for work, I had the smallest little carry on filled with a handful of different colored polo shirts and a few pair of black slacks.  That was it.  Life was so much simpler then.

4. You develop your brand.  Because my polos had a logo on it, random people would start chatting with me about the company.  At first, I was annoyed by this, but after a while, I realized what a smart business move it was.

Developing a personal uniform is like creating your own brand.  If done right, that's what you become known for.  Look at all the fashion designers who are all easily recognizable because of their attire.  If you develop a style brand for yourself, people may look at you funny at first, but in time, they'll realize this is a carefully thought out strategy that pays off in a big way in the long run.  Wearing a daily uniform doesn't always mean black + white attire.  Designer Betsey Johnson has a signature look that speaks to her creativity.  I love this story of how a woman designed her signature look then bought all of her work clothes for the year in one fell swoop.

Lots of successful people follow the approach of having a signature look.  As someone who's lived that life for over 4 years, I totally get it.  When I see Kim K wearing various shades of the same dress, I nod silently to myself because I completely understand.

I never thought I'd miss the days of having to wear a daily uniform. But all these successful people can't be wrong.  Some of us wear almost the same thing every day anyway, but is it stylish, and does it elevate your look?  My current daily attire doesn't meet these requirements so it's time to design a uniform as part of my signature look.

  1. Great post Nadege, its definitely something to consider for many reasons. However, while I don't think I can do a signature "uniform", I'm definitely working on establishing my signature look for work, etc.