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Why A Work Uniform Just Might Work

Why A Work Uniform Just Might Work

You probably have your daily makeup routine down pat: sweep of bronzer, dab of highlighter, mascara, done. But your closet routine? That’s another story. Too many of us spend valuable morning minutes in front of a full-length mirror asking, once again, “What should I wear today?”

Recently, art director Matilda Kahl’s answer to that question went viral. For three years, Kahl has worn the exact same “work uniform” every day: black pants with leather trim, a white short-sleeve blouse, and a leather rosette tied around her neck.

Matilda Kahl-min

Steal her style? Art director Matilda Kahl’s daily uniform. Photography by Andrew Slough

“My uniform has helped me keep my mind clear at work, blocked out occasional self-consciousness related to my appearance, and saved me the morning stress of not knowing what to wear,” Kahl told Beauty For A Purpose.

Tempting, isn’t it? We asked Kahl and other industry experts to give us the scoop on how a work uniform can actually work.

1. You’ll save time and build your brand.

Many successful men are notorious for sporting the same look each day, a time-saving strategy that lets them focus more on work, less on wardrobe.

Social media specialist Dr. Jennifer Bennett, author of the popular LinkedIn article “Why Successful Women Can Wear The Same Thing Every Day,” (she’s known for her all-black ensembles), believes that women can also benefit by choosing function over fashion in the workplace. Wearing the same thing to work every day means simplifying one area of life so you have more time for the others, and knowing that your self-worth is not based on fashion trends. “The key is finding something that you are comfortable in that still allows you to look professional,” Bennett stated.

This approach can also be very effective in conveying brand identity in the workplace. Imagine an entrepreneur known throughout her industry for her chic sheath dresses, pearls, and stilettos.

2. You don’t really have to wear the exact same thing every day.

Since a completely uniform appearance for women is something society has yet to fully accept, sociologist and stylist Anna Akbari wouldn’t necessarily advise her clients to repeat the same outfit daily.

Instead, she recommends creating a signature style comprised of a holistic wardrobe of complementary pieces. “You can start streamlining your look by choosing a palette, silhouette, color, or general theme, and then build your uniformed brand around that,” Akbari advised. Since you’ll be cutting way down on quantity, quality is important. “You will wash, iron, and wear these clothes more than any other, so they should be able to take some hits,” said Kahl. Akbari adds that sticking to elegant fabrics will radically transform how your look is perceived.

3. But if you do go “all in,” you might make an even bigger statement.

Women’s embrace of the uniformity that men have been comfortable with for decades is a radical step, which explains why Kahl and Bennett’s approaches have generated so much buzz. A special accent can either add variety—like that occasional bold lipstick in your beauty regimen—or consistency. Kahl’s leather rosette is non-negotiable, but Bennett likes to switch up her look by adding different accessories.

Whether uniform or just a little uniformity, “When someone moves the focus away from our appearance, it provokes people to talk about it,” Kahl said. “If you have a job where you don’t want to be judged based on your clothes, or if you don’t feel like spending time choosing an outfit each morning, a uniform could be a great thing to try.”

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