Tuesday, April 17, 2012

What's your uniform?

If you were to meet me in person for the first time, chances are I'd be wearing jeans or khakis and a button-down shirt.  It is my uniform.  My friends tell me that when they think of me, this or some variation thereof is what I'm wearing.  And it's true.  I'm not one to follow (or set...) trends.  I feel ridiculous when I venture too far away from this basic get-up.  I will accessorize it, dressing it up with jewelry and fabulous shoes or down with flipflops and a beachy hat.

When I shop for new clothes, I tend to buy pieces that can be rotated into this uniform.  A denim skirt?  Perfect!  French cuffs?  Love it.  Scarf?  Um, I don't know what to do with a scarf, and I would spend the entire day fiddling with it because in my head it would never look quite right (even if it looked fine).  Scarves have too many variables.  Cool necklace?  Much better.

Periodically, I do endeavor to mix it up a little.  I look in my closet (which is sorted by color, which should surprise nobody) and if I see too much of one thing, I know it's time to go in a new direction.  I recently rediscovered skirts, and I'm liking them.  I bought one that was COMPLETELY different from my usual palate, however, and when I wore it to work, I was actually uncomfortable by all of the (overwhelmingly positive) attention it received.  Lots of bright different colors, horizontal stripes (!!!), very cute, but I realized that I prefer to stick to my basics for the office.

When we change little things about our appearance, they can make a big difference.  Last year, I completely revolutionized my hair by changing the part.  My whole life, I'm fighting with a natural part that starts over my left eye and angles back kind of diagonally.  No amount of product was really effective--by the end of the day, it always kind of went back to this weird part.  So one day I just let it happen.  Suddenly, my hair takes half the time to do, and I'm able to envision doing other things with my hair.  Right now?  Growing out bangs.  I've had bangs of some sort for as long as I've had hair.  And they don't lie flat.  The part goes right through them and it just doesn't work.  Instead of fighting with it, I'm going to see what happens if I let it win.

Comfort doesn't have to equal boring.  You can be comfortable in couture, and that's fine (awesome, in fact, and I have a jealous of you if that's the case).  When we're comfortable (not ridiculous or sloppy {sorry Britney...} ) we walk taller.  We feel like we look good, so we feel good, and that shows.  My uniform may not be all zazzly and exciting, but if it's good enough for her...

Ohhh, she added a scarf.  Hmmm.  Maybe....
..then I think it can work for me too.

Of course, some rules are carved in stone.  Some lines should not be crossed.  Ever.

Don't get me started.
I think a big part of Getting A Grip is about knowing what your best path is.  In my case, that's often the path of least resistance.  I feel like when a decision is full of "no" then it's not the right decision for me.  It's important to be able to identify your comfort zone, even if only to be able to know when you're out of it.  A comfort zone isn't necessarily a rut.  Make your comfort zone a starting point.


  1. I love this. I think whenever I try something outside of my "uniform" I just look like I'm trying too hard. I do wish I was better with accessories though. And that my ever increasing wrinkles & tired eyes were not part of my uniform!! I might officially be grown up enough for an esthitician. Ugh.

  2. I def have a uniform. It used be EXACTLY like yours but recently it has had to change as work cracked down on biosafety and I have to wear a lab coat nonstop. Imagine "the uniform" crunched under a hot thick cotton coat all day? NOT.PRETTY. So I had to change the uniform to knit shirts and layers - a nice knit shirt with a cardigan or a blazer or jacket or something. This way I can take off the jacket/sweatah, etc and put my lab coat on.

    Changing "the uniform" sucks.