I’ve had jobs through my life that required a uniform. Working as a student nurse-aide when I was in high school, I wore a yellow-and-white striped dress with a name tag. Clear stockings and white serviceable shoes completed the ensemble. Later, as a full-fledged nurse aide, I wore a similar uniform in plain white.
As a waitress at the Shamrock Bar & Restaurant on Beaver Island, my first uniforms were ugly polyester green and white seersucker pantsuits. Next, they went to even uglier long green jumpers. Finally, Shamrock T-shirts with my own slacks or shorts became the best solution. Having worked there for more than twenty years, I had quite a collection of vintage Shamrock T-shirts! I did a short stint of serving at the Big Boy, whose uniform – at that time – was a rust brown polyester dress with a gold striped neckerchief, clear stockings and brown shoes. The other restaurants I’ve worked at – the Pretzel Bell, the Old Rectory and the Beaver Island Lodge – have had simple uniforms consisting of black slacks and white blouses.
When I got divorced, knowing that my budget did not allow for much spending on my wardrobe, I implemented something of a uniform for myself. I assessed my clothing, and made a plan. I figured that if I only purchased items in back, white and denim, everything I owned would coordinate. My mother, who hated to see me dressed all in black, could be counted on to brighten my wardrobe with Christmas gifts of bright sweaters. I have maintained this “uniform” now for more than thirty years.
Lately, I’ve been reading about the capsule wardrobe, and the benefits of living with less. I could certainly use to pare down the amount of clothing I own! After a certain age, I settled into a style of dressing that suits me, and stuck with it; there is little change to keep up with current trends.
I try to maintain my size, with no more than a little change up or down through the year. I find that I rarely wear things out any more, so the items I have last a long time. So, even with a minimal clothing budget, over the years I have accumulated a large wardrobe. As I look to paring down, I’m happy to have settled into dressing in a “uniform” of sorts. It makes all decisions for what to buy, what to keep, and what to give away much simpler. And, it takes the decision-making out of getting dressed in the morning!