Thursday, February 07, 2013

The Art of Wardrobe Building: The Personal Uniform

Extra pair please! (Parang extra rice lang). My shoe closet essentials (clockwise from top L-R): Lanvin flats, Louboutin Simple 85 pumps, Anthology oxfords, Sperry Top-siders, Isabel Marant Merry sandals

Years ago, back when I was still in high school, I remember Armida Siguion-Reyna saying that when she liked something, she'd buy it in all colors.

At the time, I was like, "How boring! Why get so many of one thing?" Because when you are in your teens, all you care about is variety, diversity, assortment! I have to NOT repeat an outfit, can't be seen wearing the same thing in one month!

But when I hit my 30s, I realized, Armida is sheer genius. Because, when you find something that works for you, it just makes sense to have a back-up, and if you are lucky enough to afford doubles or multiples - so much the better.

That brings me back to the concept of a uniform. If you wore uniforms back in high school, you'd know that you'd have 5 of the same, exact thing. Dressing up in the morning was easy. The only way to spice it up was if you accessorized - i.e. wore St. Michael knit socks and Bass/Cole Haan loafers (this was the early 90s ok, heehee).

So, over a decade after graduating from high school, eeep, make that two decades, I'm back to having a uniform. While I don't necessarily have multiples of the same thing, I buy things I like in at least two colors (I haven't reached Armida levelz yet, then again, I like sticking to neutrals). I keep on going to the same stores. I actually don't mind being seen wearing the same thing over and over, as long as it works for me and my lifestyle.  It makes dressing up each day brainless, and I guess, effortless.

Here's what basically makes up my personal uniform:

J Brand skinny jeans
Current/Elliott boyfriend jeans
J. Crew trousers
J. Crew shorts
slouchy printed trousers

Uniqlo, Old Navy, A.P.C. button down shirts
A.P.C., Saint James & Petit Bateau Breton shirts
Equipment, Madewell silk shirts
slouchy t-shirts
H&M tunic tops

A.P.C. tunic dresses
Ali Ro jersey dresses
shift dresses

ballet flats & sandals
round toe pumps
wedge sandals
sneaker wedge

Outerwear (now rarely used):
Army jacket
Army parka
Navy blazer w/ gold buttons
Grey blazer
Black blazers

While I may have a trendy piece or two thrown into the mix, these are the pieces that are on constant rotation and I just wear these pieces interchangeably. While I don't have a lot of clothes, my wardrobe is complete. Then again, I care more about what's functional and practical now. And like I said, I don't care if I'm seen wearing the same pieces over and over. It just has to be repeated, haha.

Yes, my high school self would find my 36 year old self boring. But I know what I'm gonna tell that little runt - "Wait until you have an energetic toddler and a 6 month old that needs to be breastfed every 2 hours!"

How about you? Do you like the idea of a personal uniform? Better yet, what's your personal uniform like?


Jackie Go said...

I like your style. If only I can pull off your look but sadly I cannot. I look very awkward and with my ahem big bewbies that grew a size bigger thanks to breastfeeding, I cannot sport the tomboyish look (which I was good a sporting back when I was in highschool) waaaait. I am inspired to write a post about my personal style. Thanks Tin! ;) P.S. I'll always be in love with your Marants #lamoyan! ;)

hes said...

Personal uniforms are the best! I found that I was reaching for the same things over and over, and instead of taking that as boring or negative, I realized that I was doing that because they worked for my style and my lifestyle. Why reinvent the wheel? Good is good is good is good. I've become more selective about my wardrobe, but when I do find something, I take note and buy multiple if I can.

cd_mfo said...

Heehee thanks Jackie! That's the beauty of personal style, you have your own look and you own it! I'd trade my Marant sandals for your boobies hahahaha!

cd_mfo said...

Hes, Amen! =)

Unknown said...

I adhere to the concept of a personal uniform. It's just makes things simple. It allows for the brain space to be utilized for more important things like creative thought and actual work.

Of course, once in a while we need a break. That's what Saturday nights, high heeled sandals and red lipstick is for.

Miss you, Tin!

cd_mfo said...

Mieke! So happy to hear from you here! Miss you too! =)

Anonymous said...

I've the same way of thinking (in terms of having a uniform). My single friends have called my closet boring as all I ever wear are button down shirts, ballet flats and some big watch. But to me, having a personal style is much better than being trendy :)

cd_mfo said...

Anon, button downs, ballet flats and a big watch - that's chic. Two thumbs up! 😉

Nes said...

I suuuper love your style! Simple, laid back but stunning! Love the Lanvin flats, too :-)

eypolapol said...

I became more fashion conscious when I became a mom but I still stick to the classics because they never go out of style. I think prints makes an outfit less boring. Basically my wardrobe has printed blouses, skinny jeans and ballet flats in different colors. I can never go wrong with those. I don't wear jewelry except for my wedding ring and watch. That way I don't have to think anymore.

Marissa said...

Love your style Tin! You're always comfy and stylish. I wish I had the body type for button downs :/

Anonymous said...

I miss your shoe series!

Tita K said...

White V Neck + GLAMOUR = My uniform. Choz.


Tita K

Anonymous said...

I love your idea of a personal uniform. It's so new-mommy proof. Being a full time mommy to a 4 month old boy, wife, graduate school student, AND educator(whew! Just got tired saying that hihi), i think it's genius since it saves time and effort. Its like even if you're doing a gazillion things, you still look effortlessly chic all the time! :) Thanks for that eureka idea ms Tin :)

Patty B. said...

Basic v-neck tees (because unlike Jackie, I don't have bewbies and these make it a lot less obvious haha!), button downs (chambray is love), breton shirts or anything striped really, shorts, skinny jeans, ballet flats and sneakers!

carlawarla said...

i loooove your shoes! i also love how you put basic stuff together and form such a well thought of outfit! like you I have tons of striped tees!! =) i need to update my shoes though since I only have flats of super basic colors! (brown and black hehehe) I have a chambray top too and a basic blazer =) you are not my fashion "peg" hehehe

hello frmo Singapore! =)

Mia said...

I'm like you, stripes forever. Also realize, fashion to me is very seasonal... It comes and goes. I'd rather buy a lot of art and gadgets than clothes. I'm a blah:).
You look cute, tin!

Blaise said...

Hi! First time to comment here :) Lately, I have started editing my wardrobe. I'd like to say (and think) that I'm not much of an impulsive shopper anymore, I really have become very selective of what I shop for, imagining if it could complement a lot of the things in my closet and if it's something I could use in a long time. I tend to go for more classic types now. And speaking of buying in all colors, my recent shoe purchases were two pairs of pointy leather pumps in the exact same style but in different colors: black and natural :) They go great in skirt, dress and pants, from corporate, smart casual to dressy.

Blaise said...

Ooh I forgot, I have 3 pairs of the same skinny jeans from Uniqlo, they come in burgundy, camel and black :) Serial buyer.

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