You Haven’t Lived Until You’ve Worn the Same Thing to Work Every Day

by: Kat Patrick | 1 year ago | Features

Eleganza! Via Miss Crabb shirt and trousers

Personal uniforms and capsule wardrobes are really great but they’re not xtra enough for me. I wanted to whittle it down even further. Late last year I realised that, since the age of 13, the only clothing I’ve really cared about has been hoodies, upgrading slightly when I turned 30 and finally became confident enough to wear trousers with elasticated waistbands. Bolstered by the joys of no zips and zero buttons, I started culling things from my drawers immediately that didn’t, in some way, resemble pyjamas.

Now, my wardrobe is constructed entirely on a sliding scale of ‘pyjama’: which moves strictly from what can be worn outside of the house, to what can’t be worn outside of the house. This look - which usually falls right in the middle of the scale - was improved greatly when I discovered ethical fashion, and realised that 60% of the aesthetic is swaddling yourself in loose, beautiful fabrics you can also feel morally good about. This was so me!

I think, on last count, I had about 17 things in my closet in total? Don’t hold me to it but the split is roughly as follows:

1 fancy white shirt I can spill spaghetti on
1 very fancy white shirt I can’t spill spaghetti on
1 fancy black shirt for a first date
1 very fancy black shirt for an anniversary
5 black t-shirts I can spill spaghetti on whenever I want (if unlike me you're not afraid of white, this is very fab)
1 pair of loose black pants with an elasticated waist (these drawstring ones would be very good, too
1 pair of high-waisted jeans I never wear because the waist isn’t elasticated
1 blue vintage shirt that I stole from my girlfriend
1 perfect black hoodie
1 pair of black silk shorts perfect for sweating in city summer
1 pair of black cotton shorts perfect for sweating in beach summer
1 vintage denim jacket because I’m a timeless, gentrifying person
1 posh Limb jacket for the deep pockets (I am also obessesed with this) 

Wait, am I supposed to include shoes? OK. But I’m not going to include the very old but not-technically-sustainable Adidas: sneakers I still wear:

Teva Sandals
White Veja Sneakers 
Vegan Dr. Martens Boots

I know that not all offices are the same and plenty have strict, patriarchal rules about high heels and skirts. I’ve worked in those. It has taken me years of combined confidence, laziness and an unstoppable dream to be comfortable to get where I am today: at my desk, in a black tee and black linen pants, typing away like I could be in bed. This is what I wear every single day. Live, laugh, love could be embroidered on my back! But don’t worry, it isn’t.

Now, importantly, the quality of each of these items is good. They’re nice, fancy fabrics which I could afford because they’re basically all I bought last year, and they do look smart. When I need to be posher, I just swap out one of 5 black tees for one the shirts I’m able to spill spaghetti on. Hey presto! I’m public-facing. (Or, should I say: Hey pesto!) (NB: the shirts I can’t spill spaghetti on are reserved for special occasions where I need a little confidence boost.)

The benefit of feeling like myself where I have spend my 9-5 has been pretty incredible. My journey to a ‘personal uniform’ has been difficult as a queer women, especially while working low-level in corporate environments where I felt as though the dress code was suffocating who I could be at my job. It’s more than draining when you realise you spend more time with colleagues than you do with anyone else and that they barely know you.

Now, not only do I get ready for work in about 11 minutes but I also, without any decision making, always feel like I’m being true to who I am. Gay pyjama win!

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