During every debate on school uniforms, there was always one insightful kid who’d say, “Honestly, I think a dress code sounds kind of nice.” That child must have grown up to to be Sigrid McCarthy, the editor of Australian magazine Intent Journal, who recently spoke to The Age about her “personal uniform.”
McCarthy wears a variation on the same outfit every day. Her winter look consists of a black turtleneck, tailored black pants or a black skirt, and black R.M. Williams boots or black leather loafers. In summer, her palette changes slightly with a white shirt on top. Other than that, she only adds in a bit of gray “when [I’m] feeling really out there,” she says.
It’s easy to see why the idea of a personal uniform is appealing. Aside from all the time McCarthy must save picking out clothes, she also gets to skip out on stress about what to wear and any trend-chasing. “I feel strong and capable in my clothes. There’s a freedom in that, I find it empowering,” she said.
McCarthy points out that her everything-matches-with-everything wardrobe means she’s still allowed to go shopping. “I’m not an extreme minimalist — some people own five things and that’s their entire wardrobe, but I do buy clothes. I just don’t buy an excess of them, and everything I buy, I wear often,” she says.
Other fashion experts are embracing the idea that less is more when it comes to wardrobe. Art director Matilda Kahl explained in Harpers Bazaar that she wears the same outfit of a white silk shirt and black trousers to work every day. As she reminds us, men have been wearing a work uniform for decades without a second glance — a suit.
The joy of wearing the same outfit every day, as long as you know it’s a good one, just makes waking up easier. As Racked explored uniforms have gone from a hated Catholic school rule to a fashion-forward powerplay. “Compared to constantly replacing your fast fashion every year, a consistent wardrobe is more cost-effective, environmentally sustainable, and sane,” writes Rebecca Huval.
As for getting started with your own personal uniform, remember this bit of wisdom from McCarthy: You control your wardrobe, your wardrobe doesn’t control you.
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