Uniform dressing is a simple concept: it’s the art of pulling together a few key looks from core wardrobe building blocks to make getting dressed easy.
Remember school uniforms? And how getting out of bed and on your way to class in the morning was so much simpler when you didn’t have to think too much about what you were wearing? Uniform dressing is like that, but so much more chic. From some select, elevated basics you can build a capsule wardrobe that is both stylish and simple, morning after morning. And trust us, it definitely doesn’t have to be same-same either. We asked the stylist Emma Kalfus, co-founder of fashion platform SIDE-NOTE – a woman who has made uniform dressing into an art form – about how to make a capsule wardrobe work for you.
Refine your style
One of the key benefits of uniform dressing is that it helps you define, and refine, your personal style. Kalfus describes her wardrobe as loose, tailored trousers or 501-style jeans with a crew neck T-shirt or knit – weather depending – under a blazer. “I might not be groundbreaking in my sense of style, but I’m definitely true to it, and have been dressing the same for years and years,” says Kalfus. For her, having a daily uniform “makes dressing easier” and, she adds, “I think it helps to define your style”. By working out what you want to wear, morning after morning, you also gain a stronger sense of self.
Invest in your building blocks
Once you have worked out your daily uniform, it’s time to invest in each of the individual pieces that you are going to be reaching for, time and time again. As Kalfus explains: “You need to create good backbones in your wardrobe, so don’t buy fast fashion for your uniform pieces.” Maybe it’s the loose, tailored trousers and blazers that Kalfus favours. Or maybe you’re someone who loves wearing slip dresses or flared skirts paired with camisoles, dressed up and down with blazers or T-Shirts. The key thing to do is ensure that your key uniform pieces are elevated, understated and of the highest quality. If you’re going to be wearing them day after day, they need to be premium. “Invest the money and find the right fit that will last through the seasons and in years to come,” adds Kalfus.
Keep it classic
“I’ve always been more of a pants girl, and definitely fall into quite a classic category for style,” Kalfus muses. It’s why she created a uniform style that plays into these pillars: leaning heavily on tailored trousers and denim and classic pieces that never go out of fashion. Steering clear of the trend cycle will help keep your uniform timeless, and makes getting dressed in the morning easier. “I also go with the classics, and something that suits my body type,” Kalfus advises.
But make small refreshes
A uniform doesn’t mean that you will always be wearing the same thing. It’s important to keep refreshing your uniform, season after season, both to keep you inspired and to prolong the life of your capsule wardrobe. Kalfus advises finding the pieces that fit you perfectly and buy them in multiple colours or fabrics to keep things fresh. “You can never have too many jeans,” she says, “so if you find a fit that works for you and that you wear often, buy into them in another colour way. Same goes with blazers.” The idea is to ensure that your uniform is effortless but also still exciting. A timeless uniform that still feels new, every time you put it on.