Reader Request: Wardrobe Diversity

wardrobe outfits same

Reader Monica asked this question:

I would like to hear your perspective on style or wardrobe diversity. Often I feel like I have a few types of tried and true outfits, but feel ‘boring.’ And then I think, well, Sal always looks great and many of her outfits have a similar flavor, maybe it’s not that important? It seems you may have an interesting perspective on this.

Monica’s got me pegged: Even back when I had a lot more stuff, I had my go-to formulas and I wore them into the ground. Above you see three outfits from earlier this year, all of which feature a jacket, top, slim pants, and ankle boots. I could live in variations on that outfit just about every day from October to April.

It’s been great to see the press focusing on stylish women – many of them working in the fashion and design industries – who opt to wear personal uniforms. And I think there’s absolutely no harm in wearing slightly tweaked versions of the same outfit every day of your life. UNLESS doing so makes you feel bored, boring, or stagnant. It comes down to the difference between a signature style and a style rut: A rut feels bad, frustrating, and difficult to get out of. You’re in a rut if you’re wearing the same things over and over again and cannot think of anything else you’d rather wear. A signature feels natural, aligned with your inner vision of yourself, freeing, serene. You’ve developed a signature if you’re wearing the same things over and over again and feel pulled-together and perfectly like yourself.

So the answer to Monica’s is a question: Is wardrobe and outfit diversity important to you? If it’s important to you but you aren’t managing to support that importance with putting time and energy toward your personal style, is there a way to compromise? Maybe create three main outfit formulas to work off instead of sticking to just one? Are you bored with wearing the same things each day? If so, what’s keeping you from branching out? Could mixing up your shoes and accessories be helpful?

And if anyone ever complains to you that you wear the same outfits over and over, I highly recommend mooning them. Or suggesting some other hobbies aside from tallying and cataloging your outfits!

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4 Responses to “Reader Request: Wardrobe Diversity”

  1. vlg

    I have a “uniform,” more so for the spring and summer when I want to focus less on the fact that I have to go to work while my family plays. It’s a pretty simple formula: bottoms (capris or skirt), tee or sleeveless button up, and a light cardigan for the office AC. I keep it from getting boring with a variety of summer-colored tops as well as necklaces and light scarves.

  2. Danae Rem

    I have a “uniform”: winter is black dress pants and turtleneck. Summer the same but t-shits. Utilitarian but boring. I love the idea of a conscious uniform – intentional and based on what looks great on and I feel great in but I never take the time to figure that out, unfortunately. My uniform feels more like an accident than a choice. Still, I admire Sally’s recent change to a different uniform that reflects creativity and ease.

  3. Teri Ahlm

    Yikes! I’m a fellow Minnesotan and I still can’t get over the snow in the first pic. Oh yea… Uniform. Tee shirt dresses w/ platform Teva’s all summer long. Jeans, a tee & a cardi with Frye boots all winter. The dress, tee & cardi color may change, and I may add a scarf or necklace but not much else changes!

  4. Heidi/FranticButFab

    Totally agree that there’s a difference between style rut and signature style. When I thought I’d fallen into the former, I spent a couple of years breaking out of my comfort zone, partly as an experiment. I was then much more confident that my rut wasn’t a rut, it was my signature, and I now had an evolved version of it. (For a while I took lots of outfit photos and it’s interesting to go back through them and see what I’m still wearing and what I’ve since edited out.)