Some years after the first "THE UNIFORM", I got some questions about this post, and if my uniform has changed or not. The answer to that is mostly no, but there has definitely been some upgrades. Trends change, but my personal style remain. Also, having a chronic illness plays a little part. I just don't have the energy to even wear skinny-jeans some days (Not elastic enough apparently). That said, I still love to feel stylish, even on my lazy days.
I think we all can relate to feeling tired from time to time, or not having enough time to get ready. So, I just wanted to share some of my personal tricks with you guys.
THE UNIFORM 2.0
I love fashion, things that are a little different, creative and beautiful, and as many other creative souls I have a tendency to "feel" what I want to wear, instead of just throwing something on.
"I feel like being a superhero today! How can I make that work with what I've got, without it looking like a halloween costume?" You just want that feeling, not the spandex and the cape.
Being a perfectionist, I'm not finished before I get that feeling of satisfaction, thus resulting in a lot of "involuntary" tardiness.
My fabulous sister (also being too creative for her own good) used to be late a lot, because she was making her outfit before school. True story!
In reality, we don't have time for that. So as a person who hates being late I wanted to better myself and find a solution where I could be efficient, without totally diminishing the joy I get from "playing" dress-up and feeling confident in what I wear (People whom are always late are annoying. Also a true story!).
Getting to the point. I love uniforms! They look awesome, they're "comfy", make you look great and you always know what to wear. So I decided to create my own "uniform".
For starters, everyone should dress how they feel, or want to feel. With some guidelines off course.
Step 1. Who am I, what style do I like?
Step 2. What is my life really like? Do I need to be fancy for work, or wear sensible shoes?
Step 3. What flatters my shape, looks, and colors?
Step 4. Make step 1, 2 and 3 work together and for you.
It's all about figuring out who you are, what you like, and edit until you find a way to make that style look good on you.
You should go with your most flattering, but still appropriate color. For me it's black, which is also my favorite (Altho it's not actually a color, but merely the result of absence of, or complete absorption of light). You can't go wrong with black (Except for at weddings...), it's stylish, slimming and respectful. Other safe base colors for non flashy people are: Different shades of grey, navy blue, army green, black and white, jeans blue, brown, and so on. But please, be colorful if you're the type.
I like my clothes to feel comfy, look edgy, but classy and laid back, with a hint of either retro or futurism.
Being Norwegian, our weather does not exactly scream dress and heals, so I had a hard time figuring out how to make it work. But when I found the perfect shoes, cardigan, and that super elastic skinny jeans trend emerged, my life got a little easier. I'm too curvy to fit into regular jeans comfortably and they don't flatter my figure. Anyway, It's so much quicker getting dressed wearing pants. All I need to decide is which top to wear, instead of an entire outfit. It used to be more like….what shoes, which dress, what? …AAARrggg! I'm late.
The "every day" 2017 Uniform
Since 2013, I have chopped off my seriously long hair into a lob, and upgraded my everyday uniform to a nice fitting casual top, paired with a cardigan or sweater, a pair of high waisted super-skinny jeans, shiny Dr.Martens, Wayfarer Ray Ban sunglasses, a black classic long coat, and a large black scarf if it gets cold and windy. This look is great for days when you need to get things done, but you still want to look cool and pretty. The only thing that I spend time on now is the long a** showers I take, for my thick a** hair to dry, and a medium but acceptable amount of time on my makeup.
The "I just can't be bothered"
If I'm running a quick errand or just can't be bothered, I might just stay in my yoga pants and wear some cool and comfy sneakers, put my hair up into a high pony tail (to give my face a lift instead of dragging it down with that "flat hair day" look, when not wearing make up or blow drying my hair). But other than that I leave the overall look the same. If it's coldish, I'll add the same black coat, sunglasses, and scarf, to keep it fashionable... After all, workout clothes are trendy these days, so why not combine the comfy with the stylish. This look is a serious time saver, but I still feel good about myself. Since the uniform is supposed to be a "I always feel comfortable in this" kind of "go to" outfit, I usually stick to black, because that's my safe color. But when I'm wearing little or no makeup it is much more flattering to wear a lighter color such as white or grey up close to the face.
The "I'm going out, but I'm in a hurry" Uniform
A or B
If I'm going out with friends and have the time and energy for it, I will usually get my fashion on. Get into lots of wild colors, dresses, skirts, blazers, and bold accessories, but sometimes I just don't have enough time or energy to get creative. In those situations it's good to have some safe outfits that always work. Again, I like to stick to black or white, and depending on whether or not it's hot or cold out, if it's a pants or a skirt kind of day. Plan A, is usually the easiest, black elastic faux leather pants, combined with a chill T, tank top, or a peplum top for a more classy look, a classic blazer, and either boots or heals.
Plan B, is better for hot summer days, or nicer occasions. A quality material top, and medi-skirt, paired with some bold earrings and heals for the flashier days. Finally, add that same black coat and some matching sunglasses.
Now, I throw my jeans (or yoga pants) on, a cardigan, a casual and flattering top (In a neutral tone such as black, white, or grey, for the sake of safe), a signature accessory, shiny Dr.Martens (Comfy and pretty. Even wear them with dresses), and sunglasses (So I can get away with no makeup on extra stressful days).
Yes, it can get boring, but it's better getting dressed for life, than spending your life getting dressed.
On days where I have the time, but still can't be bothered, I flash it up with a statement top, switch the pants into flashier pants, or a maybe a skirt, and add bold accessories and a hairdo.
In retrospect, I have also realized that this project has been a real money saver, and proves that you don't need 40 pairs of shoes (or environment saver). Being conscious of what I actually wear in every day life (real life and not my dreams), and what exactly is only used for special occasions, I have learned that I don't need a lot choices for casual shoes, pants, coats and so on. Instead I can spend my money on replacing basics, and rather invest in quality (And the occasional splurge on fashion fabs for my dress up days).
The trick is to think of your closet as a collection, and only shop for what's missing. Never just buy something because it's pretty or cool. Take notice of what you really you need, when roaming through your clothes getting ready, and make a list. This is a good way of preventing that impulse shopping, based on your feelings for that random shiny dress you just got a fleeting crush on (that you'll never get to wear). The key is to build a wardrobe where you can find an outfit for any occasion, without having to go shopping. Even if it's for work, a birthday party, camping, or a wedding. Too many of us have the "I have a hundred party tops, and yet I have nothing to wear" kind of closets. Or the "I only have work clothes, and nothing fancy". It's all about finding that right balance.
Keep in mind that these examples are based on what I actually wear, fitted to my coloring, body type, and taste. So use this info as a guide, and make sure to tailor the uniform to your own needs.
Your uniform don't have to be pants, or black, or minimalistic. It just needs to be flattering and appropriate for most occasions.
Be unique, but more important, be yourself. If you must, let your freak flag fly! And leave the (unfortunately) time consuming playing dress-up to the days when it can give you energy, not take it.
What's your uniform?
To figure out which style of uniform is best for you, check out the posts about
THE BODY TYPES, and THE RULES OF WEARING COLORS.
(Photos in this post are mostly my own. Some are borrowed from hm.com, nike.com, ray-ban.com and drmartens.com, and a few are random pictures found via Tumbler, Pinterest, or Google. Unknown source.)
OUTFIT 6 : THE CASUAL BLACK TWO PIECE
Please enjoy part 7, outfit 6, of the "Recycle fashion" series.
In short, same girl, old clothes, new style.
If you haven't read the first post's explaining the purpose of the "Eco-Express yourself, Recycle fashion" series, click right here. You can also scroll down for a quick repeat and introduction after the photos.
Basically, everything I wear is about a year old and beyond, and definitely from a previous season.
Proving that old trends can be reused for a current look. I do my best to keep the leather faux and cruelty free.
Everything I'm wearing is at least a year old, so it's hard to keep track of the exact era. But more or less...
The earrings aren't very visible, but are classic black retro style, and about two years old.
The black sandals (second photo) are about 4 years old. Then I changed into my classic black kitten heals, that are about 6 years old. Still working just fine, but close to being worn out. The next time, I'm investing in something a bit more high quality that can be more easily repaired. Both are faux leather.
The black cropped T-topp is about four years old, and originally bought to wear with one of my sarees for a more casual look. Luckily for me, the cropped look is trendy again, so I got double usage for it.
The black midi-skirt is about three years old, and a trusty favourite of mine. It's one of those, "it always flatter me" pieces, so it's the best fashion investment I've made in a while. And to think, I almost didn't buy it because I thought it was too expensive. It's so easy to get tricked by the cheap prices of fast fashion. In reality, your not saving money by buying cheap stuff that won't last, and you don't have to buy luxury brand things to get quality either. You'll wan't your favourite basics to last you a very long time, so invest in quality, and make sure the material is durable (maybe something that won't go out of style too fast either). This doesn't mean you can't shop at HM anymore (for example), just pick the "Premium Quality" or the "Conscious Collection" basics instead of the cheapest one. The ladder, is good for both you and the environment, so I try to get everything I can "green".
Whenever I buy new clothes, I try to use the "quality over quantity" rule and take my time finding the right style, shape, color, cut and material. If anything is off, I usually end up not using it (or using it once), then start searching for the same thing I just bought all over again.
Learn to recognize what you actually wear and feel good in, and what you don't. The most important rule is always, "What do you feel good in?", then comes the colors and shapes, what looks good you, what doesn't, and so on. If it looks good on you, but you don't feel like wearing it, it's a waste of money and resources. Try not to fall for the, "This looked good on this other person" trap. When you're out shopping and find something you like, ask yourself, "Will I actually wear this? If so, when?"
Spend some time searching for the right item. Stuff you loose interest in too fast, or stuff that's not perfect for you, isn't worth having anyway. If you invest in the right item, you'll need less stuff. If you buy the almost right item, you'll easily find yourself wanting more. It's like food- Eat right, and you'll feel full and satisfied.
TO READ THE INTRODUCTION TO THE "ECO-EXPRESS YOURSELF" SERIES,
OR WANT MORE TIPS ON HOW TO GET YOUR WARDROBE IN ORDER,
Most of the time we see pictures of clothes, someone is trying to sell us something. There's always some new trend and must have for our shopping list. That's just how fashion works, it always needs to stay one step ahead (As it must, to keep interest up. Usually with the help of something new and different that will provoke a reaction, the way all art should).
This project is about separating the fashion from the industry, and a reminder that style doesn't come from a store, but from creativity and personality. Fashion can be about so much more than just shopping and having a certain look.
Besides the fact that we need clothing to keep us warm, or to cover certain body parts, fashion and style is more about self expression. It can be fun and creative, and a great tool for making a statement about who you are (or want to be). It can make you feel beautiful or cool, and changing up your look can sometimes be that little extra to make you feel new and refreshed. I would go as far as saying, that at least to me, fashion makes me happy. Visual beauty can turn a bad day into a good one, with just an "injection" of something pretty to look at. Bad design, makes me stressed out, and things I find beautiful calms me down and inspire me. It just put's me in my happy place (and that is probably why I got into fashion in the first place). Looking at beautiful and fun things can be good for your mental health, you could say.
But, to keep this short, let's skip straight to the most important part of the message. Trends follow cycles, and is revived every so often. So, you actually don't have to buy something new to keep up with all the trends. Well, at least not if you plan ahead a little (See the GOLDEN WARDROBE RULES, at the bottom, or click link to read the intro to the series).
To show you what recycling fashion actually looks like, I have decided to perpetuate and share some looks put together from "old " clothes, a.k.a from at least last years fashion and beyond.
These outfits aren't just for show, but a caption of an actual day out (Also why I'm not wearing heals. I try to get around it as often as possible, and only wear them when the outfit demands for it).
This is fashion in real life, emerging form a real wardrobe or two, belonging to "normal" fashion-lovers. Because, most normal people can't afford to wear something new every day.
So, I thought it would be fun to do a "fashion in real life", kind of shoot. The goal is to (hopefully) inspire others to realize that you don't need to buy new clothes all the time to be fashionable or express your creative side.
THE GOLDEN WARDROBE RULE
Be smart and selective about what you buy, and think long term. Remember that fashion goes in cycles. In five to ten years those last years jeans will be the hottest thing again. The trick is to think of your closet as a collection, and only shop for what's missing. Never just buy something because it's pretty or cool. Take notice of what you really you need, when roaming through your clothes getting ready, and make a list. This is a good way of preventing that impulse shopping, based on your feelings for that random shiny dress you just got a fleeting crush on (that you'll never get to wear). The key is to build a wardrobe where you can find an outfit for any occasion, without having to go shopping. Even if it's for work, a birthday party, camping, or a wedding. Too many of us have the "I have a hundred party tops, and yet I have nothing to wear" kind of closets. Instead, spare the environment the pollution, and save money on buying long lasting quality items.
Everything I wear in these photos, are at least a year old and beyond, and definitely from a previous season. Proving that old trends can be reused for a current look. Stay tuned for more looks from my functional closet-project, "Eco-Express yourself", and the new "The True Cost of Fast Fashion" project.
The images are mine. Location: My apartment, Oslo.
Fashion Designer and Illustrator