I realized something the other day: I have a uniform.

I was getting dressed to go out to something. I pulled out a simple black dress, put it on and then went back to my closet. I pulled out a white/black tweed blazer, a camo jacket and a long grey cardigan. I held up the tweed jacket and showed my daughter.

“That makes you look like Madam Secretary Mom.”

Down went the tweed jacket.

I held up the camo jacket.

“Are we storming the building?” she responded.

I held up the grey cardigan.

“Ok. That works. You don’t look as scary as you usually do.”

Finally, I found my persona for the day.

It was then I realized that I have a very organized and methodical approach to dressing. For the most part, my under layer is very simple: plain dress in black, grey or olive, or black shirt and black pants. My underlayer is plain, generic and practical. Sort of like me- at my base I am very simple. But them I add another layer- cardigan, jacket, scarf, jewelry, whatever, and poof! Everything changes. I am no longer plain. I no longer recede into the background. I become who I need to be that day.

Like it or not, clothing is one of the first things people notice about you. It’s literally the wrapping with which you present yourself. From a distance you might not be able to make out facial features, but you notice jeans, or a dress, or whatever.

We also choose clothes to make us feel something. Sometimes we want to feel confident, or mature, or scary. Sometimes we want to blend into the woodwork. Maybe we want to impress someone, or intimidate someone. All these things can be accomplished with clothes.

There are days I need to be Madam Secretary Mom. There are days I need to be cool LA. And there are days I need to be less scary than I normally am. I use my wardrobe to help me with this. I am always the same underneath:  introverted, sarcastic, clever. talkative in the right circumstances, and logical. But sometimes I need to highlight certain parts of me: if you look the part, you can fake it till you make it.

I guess this is why a capsule wardrobe works for me. I have moods and personas, but at my heart I am always the same person. I don’t need a lot of clothing to amplify who I am: I can accomplish that with a jacket type thing and accessories- all it takes is a little tweak.

In my younger days I had a closet full of all different types of clothing. I used to wear color. But now, with age comes wisdom and confidence. I now know who I am in my heart. True, we are always evolving, finding different interests and likes and dislikes, but I like who I am on the inside. Which makes me unafraid to wear what I like on the outside.



22 thoughts on “The Uniform

  1. I dress for myself first, keeping in mind where I’m going and who I’ll be with. But you know in the end, it’s not what you wear that matters, it’s how you make other people feel. Or at least other sane people feel.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Agreed. I definitely dress for myself. But if you dress innapropriate for surroundings you will be less approachable. If you walk into a cocktail party with a hoody pulled over your head, it might be who you are, but it also might make others feel uncomfortable. While you have to be yourself, maybe you need to walk in with it unzipped and not hiding your face. It’s a fine line, being yourself and fitting in so to speak. Like dressing overly sexual at a pta meeting. Great. You’re sexy and you own it. Awesome. But maybe your kids teacher doesn’t need to see stilettos and fishnets.

      Liked by 2 people

  2. This blog made me smile. It’s very true that most of us have a clothing uniform. I’ve had a uniform for years. It used to be a blazer, turtleneck and jeans. When I taught it was a blazer, slacks that matched and a neutral top. During my early teaching years I wore a lot of suits with skirts or pants. By the time I retired I stopped wearing skirts and had jeans in every color. During my hippie days I wore overalls or a long colorful skirt. I think we wear what we like and what makes us feel like who we are. The 90’s were my power suit years. I wanted to look older, more empowered and so my attire represented that. But my weight also had a lot to do with my wardrobe. Up until my 60’s i was very thin so I could wear anything and all colors and always looked good. Now, I need a black top to feel good. It hides those lumps and bumps. I’m not huge but I’m a 10-12 instead of a 5-6 so I’m self conscious. In retirement I have a million (slight exaggeration) black tops and I wear a lot of jeans. I have always loved jeans. They represent my generation . I collect them. Skinny, flared, cropped, embroidered, whatever. I also love jean jackets and I still love blazers. I don’t wear turtlenecks anymore, they draw attention to my droopy jaw line and are no longer flattering to women my age.

    Your basic black dress is a must for ALL women. So that’s a perfect choice. And a topper, a jacket of some sort is always perfect. I tend to wear black slacks and top and a jacket rather that a skirt these days, but the idea is the same. A black backdrop works and anything goes over it. Ultimately if you feel you look good, you look good.

    We all have our little wardrobes. My kids joked that I’d be buried in a pair of jeans. And so I have that all set up in my funeral arrangements. ( Yes, I did that a few years ago. Set up everything so my kids wouldn’t have to. And I even have my outfit written in there too. Why not? Sounds morbid, but my kids will be laughing when they read it. Yes, we all have a uniform. And I’ll be buried in mine and hopefully still look cool. Lol

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s the best part of getting older. We figure out who we are and we’re comfortable with it. It’s nice when we own our look and realize we’re great just the way we like it. Takes awhile to get there though


  3. Ugh. I need a stylist I think…I am wearing black leggings and a cotton top in grey and white. I am indoors blogging and doing scheduling and will be walking a dog at noon.


    When I go out someplace, that’s when I realize I have not enough good clothes, and not enough opportunity to dress to go out.

    So. If I come visit you, must I shop first and come prepared, or will you take me shopping??

    lol 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Wonderful. I agree that you need to dress for yourself first but know where you’re going and who you’ll be with. Working from home my clothes are mostly casual and I struggle to find something for when I go out.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. If I see someone with a hoodie on my street heading my way, I usually check out the face and the age more intently. One feels so much better dressing up for the day and adapting to the day. We adapt to our environments. Walking in my immediate area, I wouldn’t wear heels but I have on occasion noticed women with heels walking dogs. My take: are they interested in a date with a neighbor or coming directly home from work? Lately, I tend to think of tattoos as dressing which tells me so much information about a person.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. What a great perspective…. and something I will definitely work into my mindset!! I have always been so careless about my wardrobe, and I suppose that probably leads to my chaotic way of life. As I make my way through ‘midlife’ now, it’s time to pick up a new way of thinking. Something as simple as the right choice of clothes might be the very start of enormous change in my world!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I totally get that…enter stitchfix which put me on the proper path. Are think there are two types of people…those who are stylists by nature and those who need them to get a push

      Liked by 1 person

  7. I am also finally at the stage where I tend to dress to please myself, rather than to meet anyone else’s expectations. Although, sadly when I am invited to a social even, my first thought is still, “What in the world am I going to wear?”

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s funny you wrote that because today my friend said she was asked to speak at a conference and the first thing I said was “what are you going to wear?”

      Liked by 1 person

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