Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Fashion Uniforms 2016

Kate Moss working V-Neck Tee & Jeans
Over the last 12 months I've heard a lot about a "fashion uniform". Now this style of dressing is in vogue. More than just a signature pair of shades, bag or coat, your fashion uniform is more a range of basics and styles you pretty much revolve your whole wardrobe around. I always knew I stuck to my fave palette and key looks, but I realize I have totally been working uniform for quite structured years! With 2 toddlers and abandoning my work wear as a stay at home mum, my wardrobe has shrunk beyond recognition. However it is still filled with all the same styles I have worn for the last 20 years - a sea of denim & jeans, fitted V-neck tees, V-neck jumpers, plaid shirts, pencil skirts, leather jacket with a dose of black lace. At work it was all shift dresses, straight leg black pants, black pencil skirts worn with fitted shirts or tees and a blazer or jacket. My wardrobe palette is a sea of black, grey, white and taupe, a healthy dose of leopard print and a dash of metallics and pink. I can count on one hand the times I've worn yellow or orange. Shoes are much the same. All heels were 2-4 inches pre-babies. Shoes are now almost all boots. The only flats I own are Havaianas, Chucks or beachy strappy sandals. And my beloved taupe or grey ugg boots (which never set foot outside!).
Fashion Uniform

Fashion Uniform by louloublue featuring high rise skinny jeans
I love Kate Moss'es style, which echoes styles I like. Jeans, fitted shirts, tees, cashmere jumpers, pussy bows. A bit of 90's plus that rock chick edge. Her latest 'work outfit' is "skinny black jeans, black cargo jacket over her shoulders, a black top, a black handbag and black sunglasses."'I can't be bothered to get a look together" she says of her daywear now but at night I love dressing up. I go all out" Kate may be dismissive of her day-to-day style, but for most of us, 'unbothered' Kate represents the pinnacle oo goals." Net-A-PorterFor someone who is passionate about fashion and design, I always thought maybe it was wrong or strange that my wardrobe was so limited, but now I can see that you can still be into fashion and not have to wear or try every style & colour du-jour that comes though each season. Occasionally I've bought some on-trend fast fashion item that really has not suited me and I've not felt great in it, a waste of money that has ended up in a heap at the back of the wardrobe. 
Karen Elsopn as Grace Coddington
Susannah Frankel, editor-in-chief of Another Magazine is known for her chic black uniform style. "Is it boring to have a uniform?" Frankel laughs. "Maybe, but some very chic people do. Karl Lagerfeld's black jackets and white high-collared shirts, Miuccia Prada's cardigans, Rei Kawakubo's dhoti pants, Azzedine Alaia's black pyjamas... I think that's pretty good company!" The Telegraph 
Jean Seberg
Look at Carine Roitfeld's black tailored rock chick look. Victoria Beckham's pencil skirts and tailored coats and shirts. Alexa Chung's Bretons and ballet flats, Diane Von Furstenberg's wrap dress, Grace Coddington all in black. And so many historical stars like Coco Chanel, Audrey Hepburn, Jean Seberg, Edie Sedgewick whose uniform styles have been etched into fashion inspiration and history. Interesting that 3 of these women are French, a nationality renowned for their fashion savvy and chic.
Carine Roitfeld
Carine Roitfeld is one of my faves. "Most people think I’m very 'night’ in the way I dress, but for me it’s my uniform for working, and it’s also what I wear for going on a plane, for going to dinner – I will not change so much... I’m always wearing the same. Even if elements are different, it’s always the same silhouette. I travel a lot, so if I have the same base I make it easy for myself... I wear black because I like it, but also because it’s easier."  says Carine Roitfeld. Read more here

Kate Hudson in flip flops, jeans & plaid Rails shirt
While my fashion uniform was inadvertent, I was reading a recent ELLE and came across an article about decoding your wardrobe - where different people wrote about their relationship with clothes -and came across a tale by Hannah Swerling about how she consciously came to dress in her own uniform. "My fashion whims were as changeable as my music taste - you could find me in oversized Maharishi pants while nodding to Dr Dre one day, or swaying to the Backstreet Boys dressed in pedal pushers and a 'nice top' the next...Through a process of trial and error, I started to make sense of what to wear...Yes, my palette is the stuff of Iris Apfel's nightmares - black, white, navy, grey and khaki. The uniform I created for myself is functional, but it also makes me feel like the stylish woman I always aspired to be." UK ELLE, December 2015
I remember reading this article last year about Matilda Kahl from Saatchi & Saatchi who wore the same outfit to work for 3 years. An Art Director. 
"I have no clue how the idea of a work uniform came to me, but soon, the solution to my woes came in the form of 15 silk white shirts and a few black trousers. For a little personal detail, I remembered my mother loved to put bows in my hair as kid, so I chose to add a custom-made black leather rosette around my neck. Done...To state the obvious, a work uniform is not an original idea. There's a group of people that have embraced this way of dressing for years—they call it a suit...The simple choice of wearing a work uniform has saved me countless wasted hours thinking, "what the hell am I going to wear today?" And in fact, these black trousers and white blouses have become an important daily reminder that frankly, I'm in control." Now her colleagues hold a Dress like Matilda day, all donning this look. “The uniform is here for me, I’m not here for the uniform.”
Audrey Tatou as Coco Chanel in classic suit
I love the idea of a fashion uniform. I also know what suits & flatters my figure.  I think knowing what you like & sticking to it isn't necessarily being lazy - it's being efficient! Fashion Historian Elyssa Dimant breaks down fashion uniform dressers into three categories:“The first is the person who can’t be bothered, who wears the same pieces because he knows it fits and wears well. The second is incredibly calculating — Coco Chanel is in that category — someone who feels very strongly that one should have a select number of pieces at any given time and in perpetuity to establish identity. They are identity wearers. And then the third is just drawn to one sensibility, to one group of aesthetics, so it’s less about projecting an identity and more about what they are attracted to” Wardrboeoxygen.com
As a bonus, having a uniform makes dressing in the morning sooo much easier, with a mix & match system & palette to choose from - If only I was better at hanging up my clothes rather than always reverting to the 'floor-drobe' and 'chair-drobe'. I find it a stress-free way to dress in things you feel good in and that you love. And I'm not talking getting stuck in a dated fashion-rut. You can tweak your wardrobe to move with and adapt to changing trends and styles - and your age. For example as I live in jeans, I moved from boot-cuts in the 90's to straight leg low-riding hipsters in the noughties in my skinny years, now post kids to high waisted skinnies. 'Mom jeans' never looked so good with great cut high waisted jeans being currently in style. I'm thankful to find that as a curvy girl I can wear skinnier styles too which are both flattering, and hide the dreaded 'builder's-crack.' (Boyfriends jeans are a no for my figure though!) It's funny how the same trends keep coming around. Leopard print, man-style suits. My plaid shirt collection gets many outings and has become quite a classic look since the grunge years. A great jacket or pencil skirt never dates, and v neck tees are always good. I change my t.shirts up with graphic or logo tees, which are currently fashionable.
I like fitted shirts and I loved Burberry's heart printed shirts a few years back, and have long been into pussy-bows and star prints, which are currently featured in Kate Moss'es range for Equipment. A good fitted white shirt with a black tie YSL-style is another fave look.
If you are forever wasting money on clothes you find relegated to the back of the wardrobe, spend ages in the morning tearing your hair out in a stress over what to wear or feel stuck in a personal style wasteland, take stock - try to find your own fashion uniform.  Start by a total wardrobe overhaul and par things down. Marie Kondo, author of The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing has some great tips on de cluttering and purging your wardrobe - namely wear what gives you joy. "Don’t just open up your closet and decide after a cursory glance that everything in it gives you a thrill. You must take each outfit in your hand. Does it spark joy?" Then check if it fits, is it in style. A great way to start! If you aren't confident about whether it does suit you or is in style, ask a fashionable friend or even enlist a stylist to help. The cost will save you thousands in the long run and give you confidence.

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