Creating your own work uniform saves you time and money
When I was younger I hated the idea of having to wear a uniform. To earn extra money I worked part time in a supermarket on top of my day job before I became a teenage mum.
Their uniform at the time was a really drab brown a-line dress with a belt. An ugly colour with an ugly cut and it did no favours for anyone bigger than a UK size 8/US4.
That first experience of wearing a uniform put me off the idea of ever wearing one for my day job. Luckily as a civil servant I don’t need to.
But here’s the funny thing. 15 years after leaving that depressing brown dress behind I found myself creating my own work uniform. Needless to say brown doesn’t feature!
When you are working full time with small children, time and money are often in short supply. Even if you earn a decent wage I know you will put the children, bills and life first before buying yourself clothes to make you look and feel good whilst at work.
When working you don’t have time to dress yourself carefully and stylishly. You don’t have the money to spend on the latest fashions to then wear them to work. When money is tight, buying clothes for yourself is your last thought.
Many workplaces require you to dress smartly or smart casual. These are so broad that your entire wardrobe could fit these categories. Choosing what to wear every day from your entire wardrobe can be painful and time wasting.
Do these problems sound familiar? Do you:-
- Waste time standing in front of your wardrobe wondering what to wear
- End up wearing something you are not comfortable in and it drags your day down
- Wear your nicest clothes because you’re not sure if something else suits you
- Spend time trying to match shoes to clothes
- Waste yet more of your precious time choosing matching accessories
- Feel frazzled by the time you have finished dressing
- Spend too much on clothes so you have enough to wear both at work and at home?
The solution is to create your own work uniform. By creating your work wardrobe you stop wearing all your nicer gear for work.
When you get a chance to go on a night out you will be able to wear something that feels special. Not something you’ve worn to work a dozen times before.
You would never dream of wearing a supermarket uniform at home or on a night out so why do the same with normal clothes you wear to work? Keep your home clothes ring-fenced and you’re less likely to feel the need to shop for a new outfit ahead of a night out.
Key components of your uniform
- Decide on a style of dressing that will be appropriate for your workplace
- Ensure you are comfortable with this clothing style
- A small pallette of 2/3 base colours
- Choose clothing styles that are interchangeable with other items in your base colour
- Classic styles with minimal branding/logos don’t date
- Choose tops that you can wear with all of your base colours
- Ensure your shoes are comfortable enough to wear all day, more than once a week
I work in an office and manage a team so chose to team jackets with skirts and trousers. I don’t wear dresses as always feel uncomfortable in them due to how I view my shape/size (typical woman!).
Both my navy jackets can be worn with the navy skirt and trousers I have. Indeed I have been know to inadvertently wear them with black trousers as I often get dressed in the dark!
An example wardrobe
- Black bottoms – 1 each of: skirt and trousers
- Black jacket
- Black shoes/boots
- Grey bottoms – 1 each of: skirt and trousers
- Grey jacket
- Grey shoes/boots
- Contrast colour jacket (mine is bright pink!)
- 8 x Blouses and shirts in various colours/patterns
My work wardrobe is almost identical to the above apart from having navy not grey. Add in a pair of sandals for hot days and that’s your wardrobe for both summer and winter if you work in an office.
You might want a jumper/cardigan/fleece in the winter but most buildings have central heating/air conditioning so possibly not. The only time I wear a fleece to work is when the central heating is broken!
Finish off your work uniform with a couple of go to accessories that you can wear daily. I gave up wearing jewellery, saves time in the morning. No more faffing trying to get stud earrings in!
The benefits of having a work uniform
Indecision goes out of the window. Your uniform dictates the majority of what you are going to wear. You don’t need to worry about colour schemes as this is built into your work wardrobe.
You save time as there is no time lost deciding what to wear, done and dusted in about 20 seconds, if that.
A more organised you
You always know what your work wardrobe is and don’t have to think about whether something is suitable to wear to work or not. You’ve already done the hard work creating it.
Having a base palette of 2/3 colours means you don’t spend money on the latest shiny new colour scheme to hit the shops. Once you have your wardrobe you only need to buy replacements. Most clothes last for years before needing replacing.
You get into work mode more easily as soon as you get dressed. Once your wardrobe is established you will find that you become your work persona once dressed and you’re focused on work and being organised.
Building your work uniform
Having created your basics for your work uniform the key thing is to build up your wardrobe over time. This is not an excuse to spend £500 on new clothes!
Identify what you already have that can become exclusively work. In the ideal world you will have created a complete work uniform from existing pieces in your wardrobe. If that is the case then ensure you ring fence them from now on and only wear them to work.
If having created your ideal work uniform you don’t have the right key pieces then plan how and when you will buy these items.
As you know these new clothes will only be for work, why not focus on getting as many as possibly from charity/thrift shops?
Keeping your work expenses as low as possible means you leave more money for your family and savings. You don’t want to be paying out your hard earned money just to go to work. You go to work to earn money for yourself and your future plans
Classic styles don’t date and can be picked up for a few pounds in many charity shops. Choose charity shops in affluent areas and you’ll pick up well made, branded items.
Half my work jackets are from charity shops including my favourite Laura Ashley navy short jacket. I bought it for £5 and it’s still going strong after 10 years!
Choosing to create your own work uniform will save you money, time and stress. Identify what your work wardrobe will include. Buy from charity shops for additional savings. Spend the money you save on your family or save for a holiday – the choice is yours!
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