How Much It Cost Me To Wear The Same Thing Every Day

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If you’re new to the blog, you might not know this, but I wear (pretty much) the same thing to work every day.

Yes, that’s right, I am Mark Zuckerberg / Barack Obama / That Woman at that Ad Agency in New York.

And it’s amazing.

Fellas, you may or may not have experienced this, but I can almost guarantee the ladies reading this have. You know that feeling in the mornings where you just can’t tell whether this top goes with those pants, and can I wear a sweater over it, but what if it’s too casual for that meeting… and the end result is a giant pile of rejected outfits and nothing feels right?

I do.

It was a staple in my life as I tried to piece together outfits that struck a balance between professional enough to be taken seriously as a young woman, and casual enough not to stand out like a sore thumb in my “You can totally wear jeans!” tech and agency offices.

Thanks to my work uniform, I haven’t felt that way in over a year and a half.

That’s right, friends: I’ve been wearing the same work outfit for more than 18 months, and I will still proudly declare that it’s the best decision I’ve ever made. (Yes, there have been a few exceptions to the uniform, like on days when I forget to opt out of doing laundry and wear dark jeans instead of my trademark black pants, but they happen so rarely that they’re notable.)

In that time, I’ve written about why I started wearing the same thing every day, and covered my coworkers’ reactions (which were surprisingly positive!) but I’ve never touched on the financial side of things.

Did this decision actually impact my money?

The short answer is hells yes, in a big way. But as usual, there’s a more nuanced version of the story, because this decision has had different impacts on my money at different parts in the process – and it definitely wasn’t free.

Getting Started

This isn’t really the kind of strategy you can inch your way into – and I know, because I’ve tried.

For years, every new piece of clothing I got was imbued with the hope that this was going to be My New Look, and the foundation for everything I bought going forward.

Dude, it’s one sweater, it’s not going to overhaul your whole closet, or follow you around guiding your other purchases. (I know this now.)

So when I decided that yes, I was committed to trying this out, and fed up enough with choosing outfits that I knew I could stick to a work uniform for at least six months to make the clothing purchases worth it, I went shopping with one goal. Find a top that I could buy five-to-seven of, that would layer well under a blazer, and wouldn’t be too high-maintenance. (No dry-clean-only for me, thankyouverymuch.)

I found my top, a silky, machine-washable, not-see-through t-shirt blouse, at Express, and literally bought them out of the mediums they had on hand in both black and white.

Along with that, I found a pair of black skinny jeans that fit perfectly, and boom. I had my outfit – and was down about $400. (I say about, because I hadn’t yet started tracking my spending.)

So first money lesson in all of this: it’s not the cheapest strategy to get started with, and you’ll need to know you’re at least somewhat committed to giving it a try for a few months. Otherwise, you might just end up with a closet full of the same outfit you can’t stand to look at because you’re so bored of it.

Dealing With Seasons

If you live somewhere where the weather holds steady all year round and is temperate and beautiful… I mean, I’m not saying we can’t be friends, but I’m hella jealous. I live in Ottawa, which is just about as variable as you can get when it comes to weather. We’ve got scorching hot, 40-degree-Celcius, don’t-touch-that-hot-metal-thing summers with bonkers humidity, and we hit minus-40-degrees-Celcius, don’t-touch-that-cold-metal-thing on a not-infrequent basis in the winter.

I know about dealing with seasons when it comes to clothing.

Before I started my work uniform experiment, seasons were the death of me. More accurately, they were the death of my budget.

I relied on really variable clothing to suit different seasons, and whenever I needed to replace a sweater, I went out and took in all the trendy new ways I could be dressing at the mall. More often than not, this was not a cheap or frugal activity, and I’d leave with purchases that seemed perfect at the time, but were either totally disjointed when I got them home, or worse, didn’t really fit with the rest of my closet.

This is where the work uniform approach has saved me the most money. Sure, I still hope to be a perfectly put together J. Crew model with an endless closet and perfect accessories whenever I walk by their store displays, but I’ve completely cured myself of thinking that’s something I will – or can – do in the near future.

Total money spent on “being season- or trend-appropriate”? Zero dollars.

Adding On To “The Uniform”
Alternate title: the magic of layers.

After the blissful summer season where my black pants and white top combo was perfectly appropriate, winter came, and with it the kind of bone-chilling temperatures that made a silky short-sleeved top the kind of thing that earns you some crazy side-eye. Like, did she not even look at the frozen wasteland that is our city before getting dressed today?

Also, I was so cold. So I bought some layers to toss on top of the standard uniform.

This was during my year of tracking my spending, so I can tell you that three knit cardigans from Express ran me $159.95 exactly during their boxing day sale, and they’re still going strong as we head into the colder months this year.

Bonus, they’re also key when the air conditioning gets aggressive during the summer. Offices, amirite?

Replacing Old Items

Ok, true life confession: my professional-yet-casual black pants are actually from American Eagle. What can I say, their pants actually come in lengths suitable for my gigantor frame (I’m very tall, which can be hard to convey on the internet, but there you have it). They also fit like a dream, so until they change their sizing or fit, I’m hooked.

The only problem? They don’t exactly last for years. However, they’re pretty reasonably priced, so if it means I buy a batch of pants every year, that’s OK with me. I did exactly that this summer, and dropped $275 on replacing two pairs of jeans that had long outlived their useful life, and two new pairs of my beloved uniform pants.

They’re so good that I put up with going into American Eagle and realizing that I’m not a ~youth~ anymore on a semi-frequent basis, OK? Those are good pants.

The Grand Total I Spent on My “Uniform”

So if you look at the direct costs of the outfit I wear every day, and the indirect layering-and-replacing costs, I’ve spent about $834.95 in the past 18 months on my work clothing. Which you know what? Is probably what I spent over the course of six months before starting up this whole crazy idea in the first place.

But here’s the thing: this was never about the money. (Or, lol, the “fashion.”)

This was 100% about not having to think about what I had to wear to work every day. Eliminating that one decision saved me hours of stress, and piles and piles of feeling uncertain and awkward and less-than-totally-confident during my day to day. Decision fatigue is real, friends, and I’d rather spend my limited decision-making energy on things that make a real impact, like my work or my relationships or literally anything other than my clothing. I just don’t care about it enough to spend any more time than I have to thinking about it.

I also hope that what I wear is the least interesting thing about me on a consistent basis. Which, while this work uniform approach is entirely offbeat and weird and notable, might be asking for a lot. But you know what, I accept that high bar, and will continue to wear (mostly) the same outfit with pride.

And I’ll revel in the fact that I’m not “overdue” for a fall shopping spree at the mall. Probably has a lot to do with why I can afford all those pumpkin spice lattes.

PS. Want to get your very own work “uniform” going? I put together a complete guide on wearing the same thing every day, focused on the questions you need to ask to choose the right work outfit for you and your job. 

 

What does it really cost to be a minimalist when it comes to your work wardrobe? I break down exactly what I spent on clothing to wear the same thing every day.

Desirae is on a mission to demystify and un-boring financial info for millennials, so that we can all save more money, spend on stuff that matters to us, and still have a latte or two along the way. Money is literally why we can have nice things, and Desirae is committed to helping make sure you know just enough to make the right calls for you. (She’s also committed to her expensive dog, her side hustle, and her retirement fund.)

55 Comments on “How Much It Cost Me To Wear The Same Thing Every Day”

  1. Penny @ She Picks Up Pennies

    So many props to you, Des! I’m doing some weird version of this in a backwards way. I had three closets (and a purse closet) at my parents’ house. Invasion of the only child and all of her crap. I know. I KNOW. And I’ve donated and sold many of the things. But I still took over two closets in our current house. And I’ve gotten that reeled into one closet now. I look really hard at what I actually wear season by season and I pitch the rest. My dress pants are down to two different black pair and a gray pair that I wear on the regular. So, now I can start weeding out the rest. I’ve also always worn lots of black and white and gray and that helps so much.

    1. Desirae

      ONLY CHILD CLUB! You have to bring your own toys and leave in two hours! (Lol I joke, I just love leaning in so hard to the only child stereotypes. My greatest joy is when people are surprised to learn I’m an only child. Like YES! I DID IT! They can’t tell!)

      Also, how easy is matching things to black and grey pants?! Love them.

  2. Latoya Femme Frugality

    Ive tried so many times with a capsule wardrobe. I even tried finding a shirt and buying multiple colors. I liked that version better because it was no guessing. I guess the next phase is to buy same shirt all same color. I hate shopping so once I find aomething I like it doesnt take me long to convince myself to drop the bills on it!

    1. Desirae

      The finding is the hardest part by far! I have so many friends who have been thinking about this but can’t find something they like, that fits, and that suits their work. It’s such a challenge – which is tough when the big selling point is “you don’t have to shop so much”! Like, sorry, jokes on you, to get there you have to shop A LOT. I hope you end up finding something you like!

  3. Financial Panther

    So I probably have it easier because I wear a suit to work everyday and can’t exactly relate. I basically wear the same thing everyday and haven’t really bought any clothes in quite some time.

    One thing I did notice is that despite having a closet full of shirts and ties I’ve collected over the years, I basically wear the same 5 shirts every week. Maybe I should just get rid of all those shirts I’m not wearing and reduce some of the thinking stress when opening up my closet each morning.

    1. Desirae

      Lol on the contrary, if you wear a suit to work you can 100% relate! This is basically a woman’s approach to trying to find the equivalent of a suit and then just wearing that. You’ve just never had to like, reverse-engineer it because suits have always been A Thing. (Also, I feel like if I worked in a suit-type environment getting away with this would be even easier – there’s a lot to be said about casual workplaces but they’re harder to navigate from a clothing perspective for sure!)

  4. Kara

    I want to adopt the uniform mentality so badly, but I just can’t. Since I’m freelancing from home, I just wear work out clothes every day. I suppose I could adopt a uniform for my networking events, but that doesn’t feel exactly the same. Clothes and shopping stress me out and I am not good at them. Uniforms seem like the way to go!

    1. Desirae

      Oh man, if shopping stresses you out just opt out, friend! You’ll know when it’s time to do a big shop when all of your clothes start falling apart, not fitting and looking weird all at the same time – as a fellow-not-shopper, I put it off for way too long and got to that point, lol. I figured since I was already there, might as well go all in on the uniform since I had put it off for long enough! (Also, on my most recent foray into the mall, I realized that I’m An Old and hate everything, because every store seems to sell some version of Fashion Hippie and I can’t pull that shit off.)

  5. JoshO

    I currently work from home, and am expected to wear either my work-issued polo shirt (complete with ghastly logo) or a suit when giving presentations. But I’m also in South Florida, where I used to just wear a pair of khakis and any random polo shirt I picked from my closet. I currently have 21 of the EXACT SAME shirt in various colors. I call them my “adult garanimals” because I can pair any of them with any pants or shorts in my wardrobe. No thinking required!

    1. Desirae

      Do you give presentations from home via video conference? (I just can’t stop picturing like, board shorts paired with your suit jacket because they can only see half of you, lol.) But yesssss to the same shirt in multiple colours! Best case scenario!!

  6. Kate

    I LOVE everything about this. You are now a fashion icon, in my opinion ; )

    My “uniform” plan was not as well thought out as yours because it was almost unintentional – it was more, “hey! these pants actually fit well! I should buy all the pairs!” and “hey! this shirt goes with all those pants I bought. I’ll buy 4!” So I have no idea how much I actually spent (summer 2015, before I tracked anything either), but I do know I shop *far* less for clothing – like literally once a year now. I could never articulate WHY I loved it so much though until reading your post and being like, “these are the things I feel too!!!”

    I’m AWFUL at following trends and it was so stressful trying to keep up and failing miserably. It was exhausting and expensive and depressing , so my accidental uniform is now something I’ll never give up, even though I do still occasionally get jealous of my magazine-ready coworkers in their always new, always gorgeous outfits.

    (Also have you seen Alyssa’s new video? She and her fabulous choker and her always on-point fashion-pro-ness is what I secretly dream of one day being)

    1. Desirae

      Omg, the trend stress is SO REAL. As is the jealousy over magazine-ready coworkers, haha, I still have that too! I worked in fashion marketing for a hot second (I KNOW WHO AM I) and it was literally like opening the pages of a fashion magazine every day. I fit in… uh…. well?

      And literally the ability to pull off a choker is just so far beyond me that I salute and bow down to anyone who can. Alyssa’s hair is also like, my dream, but I wouldn’t even know how to do that ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ (It’s a *very* loosely held dream.)

  7. Samantha

    Yassss! American Eagle jeans are the best. I used to work there and fell in love with their jeans that are high waisted. Finally! Even with my big ol’ booty it doesn’t mean I’m mooning people left and right!

    I’d love to do a work uniform, and in a way, I kind of have one with all the flannel I have/wear, but I’ve limited myself to buying 100 fancy hangers and only allowing myself to have enough items to hang. It’s working surprisingly well, especially now when I’ve pretty much narrowed down my closet to my favorite things so I’m much less likely to impulsively buy more clothes.

    1. Desirae

      They ARE THE BEST! I will happily stare down a 13-year-old for the last pair in my size.

      I looooove your approach with the hangers too – that is brilliant! Do you hang everything? I feel like my drawers would be my worst workaround for that, like “Oh, I can just FOLD this one…”

      1. Samantha

        Ha, yeah the folding is a bit of a cheat BUT, I only don’t hang my sweat/yoga pants (because they don’t count!) and my crappy t-shirts that I workout or lounge in. And technically they share the same drawer, so I don’t think I’m abusing the system too much.

        My only problem is when I accidentally break one of my fancy hangers (apparently I’m a bit too aggressive with dressing?) and then I’m tempted to either buy more hangers (cause they never sell just one) or just live with one less clothing item. Right now I’m doing the one less clothing item but it’s tempting, let me tell you.

        1. Desirae

          Bahahaha that would be such a good Weird Twitter Bio: “Aggressive dresser.” And hey, if you break enough of them you can totally justify the pack AND the eventual new items to hang on them!

          This also reminds me I desperately need new bad-workout-t-shirts, for the most ridiculous reason. I have a whole bin of lululemon gear from when I worked there, but it’s all a little small or a little form fitting, and I just want a shitty like, cotton t-shirt from a work event or something that isn’t super form fitting! Which sounds so weird because I’m sitting on this pile of super expensive technical gear, haha. (Still, thanks to my work uniform, NOT the weirdest thing I have to say about clothing!)

  8. Sarah @ Smile & Conquer

    In theory I really love this idea but I think I would have a tough time sticking to it, I really like shopping…it’s my downfall! I do love how simple it would be getting dressed in the morning and not having a minor (major) breakdown about having nothing to wear. I did just recently buy three colours of the same sweater because I loved it so much but I think that’s the first time in my life I’ve bought duplicates.
    I would be a-ok doing this for pants though, I too live in black skinnies but have never found a pair that I love enough for everyday (American Eagle here I come).

    1. Desirae

      Oh I hope they work out for you! Otherwise I’ll feel like I totally could have saved you a trip by not raving about them – but I guess jeans are kind of touch and go in the best case scenario. And honestly, if you like shopping that is so ok, and no closet-shaming here! As one of my (super cool, way cooler than I am) friends once said to me in a very kind, wise and loving way: I may not like all the things you like, but I like you!

      She was, of course, referring to my early bedtimes and such, lol, but whatever. The sentiment should be more widely applied! People can like different things and that’s ok!

  9. Tawcan

    This is totally awesome, especially you have been able to save money while doing it. I’m not sure I’d be able to do the same for my work though. Having said that I tend to wear the same shirt for 3 days or so before washing them. I don’t wear the same shirt for 3 days straight but rather just rotating it over a course of 2 weeks or so with other shirts. I tend to wear my jeans for one or two weeks at the time. As you can expect my clothing expense has been pretty minimum. 🙂

    1. Desirae

      YES! Multiple uses of clothing between washes, in the absence of like, clear dirt, should be something people talk about and do so much more. It prolongs the lifespan of your clothes by so much, and for real: most of us just sit all day. It’s not like we’re working out in these clothes or anything! I am all about this and totally do it too. No shame!

    1. Desirae

      Hahaha I considered it! I almost felt like it was drawing too much attention to the outfit, because I’m sooooo not here to give people advice on what to wear (obviously, lol.) Maybe someday!

  10. Britt

    Hi, Des! Just stumbled on your blog through Penny, and YES I TOTALLY AGREE! Capsule wardrobe all the way. I work from home, so finding comfy clothes-that-weren’t-my-pjs-but-were-also-regular-clothes was my challenge. I’m not as precise with owning the SAME shirt x5, but I only allow myself to buy white, black, hunterish green, and denim. So basically, I wear jeans or leggings, a v neck, and add sweaters of varying warmness depending on the season (I’m from MN…I hear ya on the crazy temp swings).

    It makes my life so much easier.

    Plus, because I’m so limited in what I can buy, I let myself buy better quality stuff that lasts longer and fits better and still financially come out ahead. I found a pair of legging/pants at J Crew that I love..so once a year, I buy a new pair on a 40% off day, and LOVE wearing them 3+ times a week all winter long.

    Glad to hear there are other capsule-believers out there!

    1. Desirae

      Oh man, SO glad to hear from a fellow capsule-wardrobe-haver – thanks for commenting Britt! You’re going to laugh so hard but I read this and was like, “Ooooh, hunter green? I should totally make that work.” Such a great colour!

      In all seriousness, I couldn’t agree more on the quality thing. Now that I’m wearing fewer things, and buying them less frequently, I’m also way more likely to buy myself pieces I love that I know will last (and fit with my existing wardrobe!) I bought this one beautiful dress to wear to weddings this summer and ended up wearing it to all four weddings I attended. Not only did no one notice (yay disparate friend groups all getting married at once!) but I felt awesome at every one, and I know it’s well made and will last me for many wedding seasons to come. There’s also the good – albeit unintended – side benefit that I spend less money supporting fast fashion places and buying disposable clothing!

  11. Kate

    Such a great post! I’ve always loved the idea of having a uniform to take away the stress of getting dressed in the morning, but I never even considered the financial implications! I will definitely be giving this a chance when I start my new job!

    Kate | http://www.petiteadventures.org/

    1. Desirae

      That’s awesome Kate – and good luck at the new job! That’s such an exciting-and-stressful time, haha. I’ve done the job switch thing a few times and it’s always so interesting and fun, but I always end up SO tired at the end of the day because it’s just so overwhelming! In the good way, of course.

  12. Katelynne

    Loved this post! I also rock American Eagle Workpants (opted for non-jeans)! So affordable and they’ve actually stood up quite well.

    I love this strategy! I’ve got a rotation of clothes I wear each week and they all match the two pairs of pants so it’s never a real decision. Totally a grab and go. I like that there’s some variety but it’s not overwhelming. Super happy I never got the fashion gene!

    My manfriend has a uniform and it’s great for me as the resident laundry doer to know if I haven’t done enough laundry on Sunday night, all i really need to wash are his workshirts haha.

    1. Desirae

      Right?! The fashion gene is like, the most expensive gene. LIES I take it all back, the dog-lover gene costs more probably. But whatever. That’s just how we balance it out, right? Loves dogs, indifferent to fancy pair of pants.

      I will take that tradeoff any day.

  13. Catherine

    Love this. I wear scrubs so I get what you’re saying. I love that i grab from my scrub stash in my closet and don’t think twice. When buying my scrubs though, as cute as the turquoise pants are, I don’t buy them. I stick with black, brown and navy bottoms only and mix tops (which can sometimes be a bit more fun)… In my non work wardrobe I tend to stick to basics. A good pair of jeans, good pair of comfy /yoga pants and basics which layer (tshirts/cardigans and let’s be honest, about 20 scarves to jazz things up). I like simple. I have some issues when we’re invited to something fancier though and try and buy those few-occassion pieces second hand, or an very conscious when spending $ on non basics which don’t get as much wear.

    1. Desirae

      YES SCARVES! Scarves are my one and only “fun fashion accessory” and the only real way I change up my ~look~. They’re warm and functional and fun and pretty and omg scarves. My scarf-love is neverending. (And our off-work wardrobes sound eerily similar in the best way, because really – who needs much more than that?!) I only recently bought a fancy-occasion dress for the weddings I had to go to this summer, because I don’t really fit all of the ones I had in university, haha. It was a good move, and no shame: I wore it to three weddings in a row.

  14. Gwen @ Fiery Millennials

    I unintentionally did this when I started work as an intern. I bought two pairs of black pants from Express, and then just rotated what shirt I wore over them everyday. I’ve been rocking those same pants for 3 years now (albeit with no belt needed now ?). My coworker almost fell out of her chair when I added a pair of khakis to the mix so I could wear some brown stuff. Black pants on Monday/Wednesdays, Khakis on Tuesday/Thursdays and then jeans on Fridays. I still have a bit of choosing to do with my top, but at least I narrow it down to brown or black based. Great article!

    1. Desirae

      Hahahaha right?! When people kind of get used to it and know, they FREAK OUT when you wear something different! I wore jeans and a nice sweater one day last week (because I couldn’t be bothered to do laundry on Thursday night) and everyone was like, “Are you even OK? Are you dying?” I’ve never gone khaki though, because I feel like no matter what, I always think I love the colour in the store and then it’s either too brownish or too whiteish and I’ve just never found one that I like long term. (I know my life is so hard haha.)

  15. MrSLM

    Cool idea, my wife built up a small collection of work clothes for about the same amount. Didn’t go strictly with a single uniform though, instead bought a few variations on shirts/skirts/pants that all seem to work together. Doesn’t completely eliminate the decision fatigue, but reduces it at least to a small space of possibilities.

    Myself, software engineer, so jeans and a t-shirt 🙂 No decision fatigue either, t-shirt is whichever one was on top of the pile.

    1. Desirae

      Hahaha my partner is a software engineer too and you just described his entire closet PERFECTLY. I think that eventually I might transition more to multiples-of-a-few-different-things, especially if I needed to dress up more often (like big deal meetings, not just a blazer) but I’ll definitely wear my current uniform set until it wears out completely! (AKA until it’s too worn out to look professional.)

  16. KC

    I get it. My dress code is professional so I wear a suit (I’m a lady) so I’ve pretty much gotten away with wearing the same clothes for the last 5-7 years. I have 3 different suits, 3 slacks, 3 golf shirts that I wear a lot in the summer, and 3 blouses. This makes up about 14 days of different outfits. Not too shabby! Staples are key and easy to accessorize with a trendy scarf to look fresh.

    I generally buy 1-2 new tops a year to replace the worn out (read: disintegrating) tops and it works out fine. I’m actually guilty of buying more running shoes than I do with clothes, lol.

    The other ladies in my office on the other hand are wearing trendy clothes and buying about $800-$1,000 a year in clothes and yet, I see them wear the same top about 2-3 times a week, yikes.

    1. Desirae

      It’s simultaneously so much harder and so much easier being in a traditionally “professional” workplace – on one hand, much harder if you’re trying to come up with things that look “fashionable” within that context, or have variety, but SO MUCH EASIER to get away with a capsule wardrobe! I used to try to hit that standard and have variety, and it was nutso hard. It also didn’t help that most standard sizes are too short for my arms / legs because I’m a gangly giant, haha. Suits look a bit less professional when you’re rocking like, a 3/4 length sleeve that was obviously meant to be full length!

  17. Matthew

    Congrats Desirae,
    Sounds like you’ve found a way to save money doing something that makes your life easier!

    I have to admit that the numbers in this article make my head spin though… I really can’t relate. I’m not sure if I’ve spent more than $800 on clothes in my entire life. I’m a guy working in the tech. industry and I’m certainly not a fancy dresser but this all still seems nuts to me. Are people really spending this much on clothing?

    1. Desirae

      Thanks so much Matthew! And yeah, there’s a ton of variety when it comes to what people spend on their clothing – I looked it up and the average household in Canada will spend upwards of $3,000 a year on clothing. While that probably includes kids, it’s still hundreds per person! Knowing how much I would be spending otherwise, this is a pretty good level for me for the past 18 months, but again, my option is probably much more effort, spending and shopping than most comparable male office options! (My partner works as a software engineer and he wears funny internet t-shirts and jeans most days – and we stock him up on professional shirts maybe once a year at Value Village, haha.)

  18. Colin @rebelwithaplan

    I unexpectedly did this when I started working at a PR firm a few years back. I confess that I mainly did it to simply my morning routine, although the savings were nice :).

    I bought several things from H&M and Express and still use the same kind of wardrobe to this day for work!

    1. Desirae

      That’s so awesome Colin! And yeah, once you find a style you can settle into – male or female! – it makes life so much easier. I also think that even if I were to expand it in the future, I have such a good groove of the styles I know make me feel comfortable that I likely wouldn’t stray too far anyways!

  19. k

    Love the self-imposed uniform idea. I’ve taken it up as well, but with 5 dresses and a couple cardigans, paired with comfy yoga pants as leggings to get through the cold Canadian winters. It makes it so easy in the morning to get ready, plus I personally find sitting at a desk in a dress more comfortable than in pants.
    I understand your pain about long pants! I am also tall and slender, so finding pants long enough and small enough is difficult. Silver jeans are an awesome brand that fit tall and slim, plus they last for years! I only have 3 pairs and one is from over 10 years ago and still going strong – can’t tell they are that old! They may be a bit more expensive, but definitely worth the money!

    1. Desirae

      Oooooh, I will check out Silver jeans for sure! I take jean recommendations from fellow tall people VERY seriously, haha. The worst is when short people are like “It’s hard for me to find pants too!” because like yes, I’m 100% sure it is, but you can hem pants. What I wouldn’t give for the problem of having to hem pants that are too long, lol.

      And I’ve seriously considered doing dresses, especially to up-level the “I put effort into this!” factor of my wardrobe. Do you mind me asking where you found your work dresses? I haven’t found a place where the normal length doesn’t look slightly too short to be office appropriate on me!

  20. Christy

    I have a work uniform too – mine also involves black pants every day. I bought a weeks’ worth of 3/4-length-sleeve button-down shirts in different colors (same style) and some neutral colored cardigans for cool days. When I replace the shirts, I think I’ll go for all neutrals there, too.

    1. Desirae

      That’s awesome Christy! True work uniform confession: I have one black and one white button down that I will sometimes work into my regular rotation. I do find them a bit trickier to layer, since mine have roll-up sleeves (because my arms are stupidly long) and a collar, so it’s harder to make them work under blazers, but they are super-work-appropriate on their own.

  21. Cat

    I have been totally wanting to do this too!
    Being a (hot) yoga teacher, I own lots of stretchy pants and tops but I have to cycle through them so much since they get sweaty while teaching.
    My issue is having non-yoga clothes in which to have meetings/brunch/dinners. Often my to and from clothes from the studio is different since I just need something to transition home in. Do you have any suggestions for my lifestyle?

    1. Desirae

      Oooooh Cat I love this question! When I worked at lululemon, dressing like a non-yoga person was my One True Challenge, haha. When I’d see people in jeans and non-stretch-fabrics I wanted to run up to them and be like “Teach me how to live!” Anyways, not at all the point (except omg the hot yoga laundry struggle is so real – I did so many loads of laundry when I was going to hot classes regularly!)

      I feel like the equivalent of your meetings/brunches/dinners for me is the times when I really have to look professional or fancy (weddings, networking events, extra-big-meetings, etc.) Since they aren’t my usual day-to-day, I keep a few really classic pieces that I love wearing that would be appropriate for those types of events, and even though I don’t wear them a lot, they’re there when I need them. I’d probably say take that approach to it – have a few outfits you love to pull out for those sometimes-but-not-everyday events, and enjoy them when you get the chance to wear them! Does that help at all?

  22. Karin

    I’ve found that choosing my outfits for the week on Sunday works really well for eliminating the morning stress of deciding what to wear, but sometimes I get the weather wrong and have to change last minute. It’s like meal prep for outfits! I’ve been kind of intrigued by the work uniform for a while now and have most of the same questions you mentioned other people have in another post you wrote about this. Mostly, I struggle with finding the right shirt that I’ll be able to layer with and adapt to all seasons. I’m curious if you alternate the days you wear white and black tops? Are your cardigans all the same color? And my biggest question is what do you wear when you’re not at work? Has your work uniform impacted that at all? Love this blog!

    1. Desirae

      Oh man I love the “meal prep for outfits” analogy, because that’s so true! I’m glad you found an approach that works for you!

      As for my shirt, I found the biggest thing for layering was avoiding collars – it’s just so hard to find the right layering pieces for collared shirts! I don’t alternate strictly, I more so just grab the one I feel like that day, but with such an even mix of shirts it usually approximates alternating. And as for my cardigans, they’re all different shades of grey because I wanted to stick to the black and white scheme, haha.

      And honestly, it has TOTALLY spilled over into my non-work clothes! I realized when I did a closet cleanout that my favourite thing to wear is jeans and a soft white t-shirt, and that’s most of what I kept when I started getting rid of stuff. I’ve got a wider variety of clothes and layering pieces when it comes to casual wear, and some dresses for fancy occasions, but the foundation of my non-work wardrobe is actually pretty basic, and pretty close to my work uniform. (Lol when I say I don’t care what I wear, I clearly really mean it!)

  23. Katie

    I’m so curious if you’re still doing this another five months later! Have you refreshed/revised your uniform (or plan to) at all now that it’s been almost two years?

    Also, you don’t mention shoes. How do you handle those?

    1. Desirae Odjick

      Hey Katie – awesome question, and super timely, lol. I’ve actually relaxed a little bit over the past two months, mainly because my Actual Uniform has been wearing a little thin, so I’ve added more of my regular clothes (some sweaters and t-shirts) back into the mix to tide me over until I make the time to go shop for a new Actual Uniform. Honestly, it probably won’t happen until later this summer, but in the meantime, for context, I’ve added black and white cotton t-shirts into my rotation, and I even wore a hoodie to work one day, lol.

      As for shoes, I always forget to mention it because I’m super boring – I have one pair of black flats and one pair of brown flats, and I keep them both under my desk. That’s it, haha – I hate shoe shopping! I’ll replace them when they fall apart but that’s it.

  24. Sarah

    I love this so much! I started wearing a uniform almost two years ago, and though a few items are wearing out, it has been the most liberating change I’ve made in my adult life. I realized how much of a relationship I had with my CLOTHING, spending mornings (evenings) trying on my entire closet, leading to issues with body image. I selected a 3-season all black ensemble with a ponte knit pant and 3/4 roll sleeve v-neck tunic. I keep a seasonally appropriate sweater in my office at all times so I don’t have to lug it back and forth–I just wear the same one all season. I have yet to successfully tackle the summer uniform successfully, but the other 3/4 of the year (and my entire work year in academia) is so easy–and I’ve saved so much money! ($600 initial investment on 6 tops and 6 bottoms)

    1. Desirae Odjick

      SO MUCH YES TO ALL OF THIS! Hahaha sorry the caps, but YES! My entire relationship to clothing and the role it plays in my life has completely shifted, and it’s been so so so liberating. It was a similar price tag for me to get started, but given that I never go randomly shopping for “just one thing” anymore, it’s been a money-saver in the long run for sure.

  25. Tori Treasurer

    Are there any brands that you can recommend that last a long time for any type of clothing? I am planning on transitioning into uniform for class and work. (I am student). My prime concerns are comfort, durability, and fit. It’s not that money is no option, just want my dollar to be maximized over the lifespan of the uniform.

    1. Desirae Odjick

      Hi Tori! I’m honestly not the best person to ask, since I shop rarely (as you can imagine by this post, haha.) I don’t have much experience with brands, but I tend to shop at the low-to-mid-range of the clothing scale, so when I need to replace something it’s not a huge financial hit. I’d definitely recommend checking out this article, from The Luxe Strategist, about how she cares for her clothes though – I learned a ton and it can help you extend the life of pretty much anything you buy! http://www.theluxestrategist.com/care-clothes-last/

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