Thursday, March 17, 2011

The Fashion Uniform

Have you noticed that the top fashion designers and editors wear their own uniform of sorts?

No matter what's happening on the runway, there sits Michael Kors in his black top and aviators. In The September Issue I couldn't help but notice Anna Wintour dressed in basically the same silhouette each day - fitted bodice, little skirt, cardy and chunky beads.

Giorgio Armani is famous for wearing a black or navy t-shirt and black pants. The new French Vogue editor Emmanuelle Alt (above) apparently wears her uniform all the time too - skinny leg trousers with blazer and heels.

If you care to google image just about anyone high up in the fashion world, you'll notice a lot of their photos look very similar. Of course there will be those who wear something cutting edge and very different each day, but I believe they are the exception rather than the rule.

They are obviously onto something, and they're doing it without telling us.

What they're telling us is to look to the trends each season, but what they're doing is wearing classic shapes that suit their body and feel comfortable, and make them feel like them.

Rather than look to the models for inspiration, I actually prefer to take note of what the tastemakers are wearing. This observation makes me feel better about choosing to have a small wardrobe of simple classics, and looking to refine it over time.

There is a great article here which talks about what to wear as you get older, and has a fabulous quote from Mr Armani:

"At every age, what makes you have a great sense of style is the ability to listen to your own instincts and to choose what makes you feel comfortable and confident. Being elegant is not a matter of age but of attitude."


  1. The older I get, the more I'm drawn to the idea of a uniform. It simplifies life and shows us to our best advantage. We can always add some fun to the mix with shoes, bags and accessories. Great article!

  2. My uniform of sorts looks amazingly like's very comfy and casual and my blazer is from my fave Ralph Lauren! Have a beautiful day! xxoo :)

  3. I think the more we depart from volumes of trendy, cheap and poorly constructed clothing purchases, the more of a "uniform" we naturally develop. Classic pieces that work well together to reflect our personality and taste become ensembles or uniforms of a well dressed person.

    I have a Winter/Fall uniform that I am reluctant to give up once the weather begins to warm up and dry out. I need to come up with a summer time uniform that I can easily accessorize.

    Thank you for pointing this interesting fact out to us!

  4. I love the idea of a uniform, and I'm currently trying to create one for myself! My dream is to have a rather small, well-edited wardrobe of pieces that I love and wear all the time.

  5. Great post Fiona. I'm starting to think our "uniform" is something that naturally evolves with age; when we realise we don't have to dress like the masses, or wear the latest trendy style to feel good.I think I have only started to learn this since turning 40.

  6. Interesting, isn't it, how the apparently oppressive 'uniform' can actually be very freeing? When you know you can wear what works for you, with a bit of mixing up via accessories, it's so much easier to enjoy your wardrobe, instead of constantly adding to it in the search for perfection ...

  7. hi fiona,

    i'm all for uniforms. prob from my catholic school days. participating in project 333 has kind of forced me back into a uniform and i love it. it's so freeing. now that spring is upon us in southern california i'm having a harder time narrowing down my 33 items. i will do it though.

    also, have you ever noticed ralph lauren after his shows. always jeans and black sweater or white shirt and blazer, so simple, so classic.


  8. My dark bottoms and white tops have been around forever...some people have said it looks like a waitressing uniform so I guess I am already there!

    It does make it easy to get dressed in the morning!

  9. I love it, Fiona. Uniform dressing makes personal elegance so easy, especially if your uniform is extremely edited and incorporates quality pieces. While it's fun from an artistic perspective to peruse the seasonal fashions, it is important to remember that personal style is not the same as fashion!

  10. I hated uniforms when I was in school but while I occasionally buy adventurous pieces I do find myself gravitating toward the same style when I shop for clothing. Other than occasions when I have to dress for a specific activity or occasion I often find myself most at ease in a pair of stylish, yet comfortable pants, some sort of camisole and a light, thin, sweater, I always like having room to 'breathe' so I never like anything that goes up to my neck but I also like feeling comfortable enough to relax.

  11. I think, don't quote me because I don't really follow the fashion scene, Sonya Rykiel is another uniform wearing designer. Is she the red-head that always wears black? I am all for simple and if that is in the form of a uniform...fantastic!! xxBliss

  12. Great quote! I have found my classic pieces I invest in never steer me wrong. I truly laugh out loud when my monthly magazines come. I love Vanity Fair, Harper's Bazaar, Vogue, and Elle not so much for the fashion as much as for the articles. Pick up any one of them and you will find the same first fifty pages advertising things most of us would never wear nor afford. On one page they will tell you skinny jeans are out while the same magazine will tell you what skinny jeans you should be wearing. It's crazy. Go for what you know, I say.


Merci for your comment. Wishing you a chic day!

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