My Office Uniform :: Black & White

I'm no stranger to the uniform concept; I explored this idea a year or two ago and concluded it wasn't for me. Then came a new development: I started working in an office. We all know the struggles of managing to look put together every day, and from that the uniform concept was reborn.

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I won't lie, I was heavily influenced by Matilda Kahl's article about wearing the same thing every day. I started my own experiment and started wearing black on bottom, white on top every day to work. The most magnificent thing happened - getting ready for work became easier. Rather than pulling myself out of bed every day, sitting in my closet for 20 minutes staring, and showing up to work looking like I actually slept in my clothes, I started to feel pulled together. It influenced my work, too. The better I felt about how I looked outside, the more confident I was about everything. Weird how that works, right?

So what are my key pieces for making my 9-5 uniform work for me? Let's explore.

White on Top.

For someone as clumsy as I am, white on top is not the ideal choice; however, it's a really easy color to find lots of variation with a white blouse! I have multiple white blouses, but they all have really different details. Some are long, some are boxy, some tie up at the waist or have sheer panels. I even throw a pattern in when I feel like it. The variety makes it feel like I'm not wearing the same thing every day...even if I am. I've been looking for a soft wrap blouse like the one here from Ella Moss.

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Black on Bottom.

Pencil skirts, pants, leggings...I'm not picky. While some adopt the more traditional edition of a uniform [ankle pants + button up], I decided to simplify the process by wearing whatever I wanted on bottom. Some days, it's really warm and I feel like a flowy black skirt; other days I want more polish and go with a pair of high waist trousers. I tend to stick with black pants (pictured: Vince) about 99% of of the time, though.

Perfect Pumps.

A great pair of pumps is essential for the 9-5'er, and every woman has her favorite pair. I love my Manolo BB's, but I have heard a lot of great things about Diane von Furstenberg shoes for comfort (the pair pictured is the DVF Bonnie pump), so I'm planning on picking up a pair of those soon. Since my uniform is classic black and white, I love adding some flare with a little color with my accessories.

A Boss Bag.

I've tested a lot of purses on my way to find the perfect work bag or tote. It has to be able to carry a 13" Macbook, occasionally a DSLR, and all of the other stuff I accumulate throughout the day like makeup, Diet DP, three pairs of sunglasses, etc. I'm really intrigued by this Rebecca Minkoff satchel right now; it looks like the perfect size and has a shoulder strap for when I've got a heavier haul.

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Desk Flats.

And if we're being real, I don't always wear heels. A girl's gotta have a killer pair of flats for work as well, and these from Ferragamo have been on my wishlist for months now. When I'm shopping for flats, I look for pairs with unique details (like these bows), a bright color, or super pointy toes. The details are what dress the flats up enough so that you don't feel frumpy.

Anyone else trying their hand at the office uniform? On the weekend, it's a free-for-all, but you'll find me in black in white most days of the week right now.

This post contains sponsored links from Shopbop.

Closet Confessions :: The Uniform

I've been spending the past few months cleaning out my closet and trying to refine my personal style. You can read the whole journey here.

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When I started my Closet Confessions series, one of the things I really wanted to get out of it was a sense of what things I really LOVED, and WHY. I'd never been able to pinpoint what made a piece a favorite before, so I just bought an endless stream of stuff I thought I liked (usually on a whim, and for cheap) that took up valuable real estate in my closet. So during this journey, I've been reading lots of other blogs about everything from curating to organization trying to find my way.

Over a weekend iced-in, I discovered Into-Mind and her amazing series, the 10 Step Wardrobe Revamp. I spent a good majority of my Saturday reading, taking notes, examining my closet and really thinking about what she was saying as it applied to my own wardrobe. The concept of minimalism has always seemed romantic to me, but let's face it - hardly anything I do is minimal. But the idea that you could curate your closet into a hundred outfits you'll always love by adopting a uniform was so intriguing to me that I started down the path toward my own.

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What I didn't realize is, I've always kind of rallied around a "uniform" of sorts, subconsciously. I'll say I'm "on a drapey sweater kick right now" or "I can't stop buying ankle boots", but what I'm doing is creating multiple possibilities for my favorite things within my wardrobe without even realizing it. What the Wardrobe Revamp does is help you hone those tendencies into a thoughtful, deliberate outfit of your choice. I spent time on my blog pinning my outfits that I considered "home runs" from the past year, then I took the time to really study them and look for consistencies (the advantage of doing this if you're a blogger). What I discovered was, while I love color and pattern and incorporate it into most outfits, I prefer the outfits that are based mostly on neutrals with just a "pop" of interest. This time of year, I favor layers, particularly jackets. So I decided on my uniform - skinny jeans or pants, flowy top, fitted jacket, ankle boots. The variations on the uniform include sweater over button up or long sleeves, and jacket and skirt. My patterns are stripes and leopard, my fabrics are leather and tweed,  my details are bold jewelry and bright bags. Using this concept, I started building an inspiration board on Pinterest filled with "The Uniform" to get my creativity flowing.

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Finally, I pulled several pieces from my closet that fit the theme of the uniform and also were consistent favorites. I had an epiphany - why do I constantly pull the same items when I travel? It's because they fit the uniform. They're easy to remix, work in a variety of situations, and I'm always comfortable in these few pieces. Using that knowledge, I can begin to create a capsule wardrobe.

Now, I'm just at the beginning stages of this revamp, but it's definitely on par with the goals I had for my own closet (which I'm listing below). I highly recommend you take the time to read every single word on Into-Mind. Girl's got a good head on her shoulders and it's a great starting point for anyone trying to define their style and really dig in to their closet. PS - I'm planning on doing a 30x30 - Capsule Wardrobe edition in January if you want to join in!

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Closet Goals:

1. Get rid of anything that doesn't fit me, my style, or my lifestyle.
2. Identify trends in my style to focus on in the future.
3. Develop a uniform, color palate, and defined style.
4. Slowly replace cheap items with better quality ones.
5. Continue adding pieces (of high quality) that fit the goals.
6. Buy better, buy less.
7. Break up with Forever 21 (it's not you, it's me. Just kidding, it's you).
8. Have a closet full of favorites.
9. Have a defined style, appropriate for my lifestyle and age.
10. Be the everlovin' most chicest person that exists, etc.

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As we're nearing the end of the year, what are some of your closet confessions and goals?