- Fashion icon Karl Lagerfeld died on February 19 at the age of 85.
- Lagerfeld – best known for being the creative director of Chanel – had an iconic work uniform that included a starched white shirt, black sunglasses, and a tailored black jacket.
- Other successful people – such as Steve Jobs and Mark Zuckerberg – have also been known to sport identifiable work uniforms.
- To assemble a work uniform of your own, an expert says you’ll likely need to buy at least three pairs of pants and at least five tops.
Dressing for success is always a good idea.
Nowadays, that could mean wearing the same outfit to the office every day – a sort of work uniform.
The late Karl Lagerfeld, who died on February 19 and is best known for being the creative director of Chanel, also sported an iconic work uniform throughout much of his career. That included black sunglasses and a tailored black jacket, in addition, of course, to the high-collared, highly starched white shirt – of which, it turns out, he had about 1,000.
As the New York Times reports, assembling a standard “work uniform” allows you to streamline your routine and eliminates one more potentially stressful choice from your daily life.
Experts say that making lots of small decisions like what to wear and what to eat throughout the day saps your mental energy for when you need to make more pressing decisions, a phenomenon called “decision fatigue.” This mental fatigue makes people more likely act impulsively or do nothing at all when more important matters come up.
Penny Geers, stylist and owner of Your Closet, Your Style, has some tips on assembling a work uniform of your own.
Check out your closet before you go on a shopping spree
“Take note of your favorite go-to pieces,” she tells Business Insider. “Those will be the basis for what you need to purchase to make the full uniform.”
Most likely, you’ll need to buy at least three to five bottoms and no less than five tops.
Be prepared to splurge
“When purchasing, you need to think quality first,” Geers says. “If you typically wear t-shirts of a less-expensive, lower quality, you will need to invest in some that will withstand constant wear and laundering. Also, this collection is your work uniform only and should only be worn for that purpose.”
Breathable, easy-to-care-for materials like wool and cotton blends are also a must, as are wrinkle-resistant tops. Geers says to avoid incorporating hyper-trendy items into the ensemble. Those are perishable, as far as style goes, and you can always get your trendy fix by investing in accessories.
- Hulton Archive / Stringer / Getty Images
Don’t limit yourself
“Just because it’s a work uniform doesn’t mean it has to be boring or dull,” she says. “Add your own style through the accessories and the color of the items you choose. Shoes, belts, scarves, jewelry all play a major part in you creating and proudly showing your style and who you are.”
Consider your uniform’s influence
If you decide to go the route of adopting a work uniform, just remember that clothes are important. What you wear can alter how you think and feel. A California State University study found that formal-wear may make men feel more powerful, The Atlantic reports. What’s more, your choice of garments can also affect how others see you. As “Flex: Do Something Different” author and University of Hertfordshire professor Ben C. Fletcher wrote in Psychology Today, “Our clothes say a great deal about who we are and can signal a great deal of socially important things to others, even if the impression is actually unfounded.”
Most of all, make sure that your work uniform reflects your style and makes you feel comfortable.
“The trend towards a work uniform makes sense to me,” Geers tells Business Insider. “I believe that what you wear strongly affects how you project yourself whether in the workplace or socially. If you feel great in what you’re wearing that immediately comes through in how you carry yourself.”