When I got my first job when I was about 14 or 15, I wore a uniform. I worked as a car-hop at the local drive-in. Not a movie drive-in, but a restaurant where customers ordered food from their car and we brought it out on trays which hung on their car windows (thankfully for me, not on rollerskates). Each day when I went to work, I wore a polo shirt with the restaurant logo on it and either jeans or shorts, depending on the day’s weather. Easy enough.
I haven’t worn a uniform for a job since then. I’ve worn many things over the years and my teaching wardrobe varied a great deal over the years. When I took my current job, I thought a lot about what I wanted to wear to work. I wanted to look professional but still be able to be mobile around the building. My students wear uniforms, so I felt like I needed to make sure my look wasn’t too casual.
More than 20 years after my time at the drive-in, I find myself wearing a uniform again. No, I’m not moonlighting in fast food. I’ve simply narrowed down my wardrobe to the point that I wear almost the exact same thing every day. To be honest, it sort of happened by accident. I’ve read before about how important people like Steve Jobs and Barack Obama wore the same clothes every day, with very little variation. Some of them say it has to do with the fact that they make so many important decisions each day that something simple like their wardrobe shouldn’t be one of them.
I don’t pretend to think I’m as important as either of those two, but I appreciate the fact that I don’t have to spend time and brain power selecting my clothing for the day. If you’d have asked me even last year, I’d have said that a “uniform” wasn’t for me. I liked clothes and variety in my wardrobe far too much.
So what do I wear? Nothing too fancy or complicated. My uniform consists of black trousers, a button down Oxford shirt, a school jacket, and my Dansko clogs to save my feet. I do have multiples of everything so I don’t have to do laundry every day, and I have shirts in both blue and white. I purposely bought 3 different school jackets this fall because I’m proud of where I work and I like being able to show school spirit every day.
If you’re considering trying a work uniform, you might wonder if people will notice that you are wearing the same thing every day. What I can say so far is that if anyone at my school notices, they don’t say anything. In fairness, I think having two different colors of shirts and three different jackets means I don’t have to wear exactly the same thing each day.
Will I wear the same uniform all year? Maybe. As the weather changes, I may need to adjust the pieces I’m wearing since a shirt and a jacket might be too warm. But seeing that winter in Minnesota lasts forever, I should be set for awhile.
Have you adopted a work “uniform”? Would you consider it or is it too restricting for you?