Do you ever wish you could just don a suit every single morning and forget about it? Whether your job is more Chief Executive Office or Chief Of The Rampaging Toddler Hoard, there’s a certain appeal to never again facing that ‘what do I wear to work today?’ dilemma.
Matilda Kahl (no, I’d never heard of her either), an art director at Saatchi & Saatchi, really set this debate on fire when she came out of the uniform closet in an article for Harper’s Bazaar earlier this month with an admission that she owns 15 identical shirts and several pairs of identical black trousers which she simply puts on in the morning and goes. Every. Single Day. There was lots of discussion on various online forums over whether she was (a) mad, (b) deeply unimaginative or (c) an absolute genius. Personally, I’m going for (c).
Wearing a uniform isn’t exactly revolutionary. Not only have people who work in various service or manual industries been doing so for years, but so have pretty much all the men who ever worked in an office – the eponymous suit. From Barack Obama’s daily navy, grey or black suit (have a Google for the uproar when he was seen out in – gasp – a khaki suit) to Steve Jobs’ black turtleneck, jeans and New Balance sneakers, successful men have been removing that crucial clothing decision from their morning routine for a long time. After more or less throwing up my hands in horror and announcing that a suit such a limiting boring option, I fairly quickly ate my own words and came round to Kahl’s way of thinking. It’s almost like taking colour analysis to the next step – honing your wardrobe down to one outfit that works for you and whatever you spend your day doing it, and repeating it day after day after day. And of course Kahl, while accessorising daily with the same custom made leather necklace/bow, left herself a little freedom in the shape of jackets and shoes; although I don’t get the feeling she exactly went wild with either.
If you think about it, so many of the world’s most stylish women have a uniform, more or less. Can you imagine Audrey Hepburn in anything apart (a) that Breakfast at Tiffany’s dress or (b) a breton top, capri pants and oversized shades? Or Emmanuelle Alt, editor of Vogue France, in anything apart from skinny leather or denim jeans, towering black heels and a sharp blazer? And a thousand and one other style icons, all in their own personal uniforms. Of course, the point of the uniform is that is has to be perfect for you. No point copying someone else’s. In order to function as a basic, impeccably stylish outfit, it needs to flatter and fit, and there is no better way for it to do so than by being the right colours and style.
Having said that, I couldn’t resist the temptation to put together a couple of sample ‘uniforms’. I couldn’t quite commit to Kahl’s 15 identical shirts and trousers (yes, as in, the same exact one bought several times over) for my example uniforms, but I did stick to a seriously tight selection, and while I don’t imagine many of us will go to her extremes, there’s definitely something to be said for having a failsafe uniform of your own for those days when you just need to eliminate one more decision from your life. If the uniform look works for you, let me know what you wear and whether it ever gets boring.
As usual, details of all the clothes can be found by visiting our Polyvore page