"We are what we believe we are."
C.S. Lewis

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Uniform

J Crew Classic Shirtdress
 I've been thinking about doing a post on the uniform concept, an idea I've embraced as it helps me to get dressed in the morning without that dithering around in front of my closet.
I realized this morning it has to be a series of posts: for a simple concept it requires quite a bit of wardrobe planning.
 I find myself reworking what qualifies as a "uniform", for example most of the house-frocks I chose for this past summer's uniform ended up being impractical.  I had picked dresses based on fabric and color and not preferred style: most of them had straight skirts.  In my daily life I need a full-skirted dress for running around, mopping, and scurrying up and down the stairs of my three-story house.

This classic shirtdress is just what I'm talking about.
 I am unable to provide a link as it is now sold-out on the website.  It had terrible reviews but I ordered it anyway once it hit sale-with-discount, I had a feeling the dress could be saved with the right belt.
This sort of dress has loads of fabric which creates that full skirt I'm after, yet the original fabric tie gives it a sloppy look.
The length is perfect.  Add in some shoes with a slight heel (I'm wearing my Chie Mihara brown and navy polka dot shoes with their "Jackie" 1.5" heel), grab your handbag and it is a perfect spring and summer "uniform" dress.

As much as I've embraced a ban-on-black for my wardrobe in the warmer months I've definitely turned to the dull shades for fall and winter, at least for everyday.  I have to say that though at times it feeds my grumpy outlook it has never been easier to get dressed in the morning.
Key to my current uniform are a few Eileen Fisher pieces as I have previously mentioned.  In my ongoing "uniform" posts I'll discuss these pieces in a bit more detail.  I'm really getting the value out of the dresses, skirts and "magic pants" I've purchased from EF (well, most of them were in fact sourced on ebay, even better for the uniform budget).
Brora cashmere sweater.
Eileen Fisher merino skirt in black.
La Canadienne riding boots.
 This is the outfit I wore yesterday.  I did not have a good day, my youngest daughter was home with a head injury from the previous day and I had barely slept during the night as I had one eye propped open to check that she was okay.  To be able to throw this on without even thinking was vital, I was able to get back to caring for her yet I still looked and felt fine when we were able to go for a walk and out for lunch in the afternoon.
The Eileen Fisher skirt is cozy yet polished looking, the merino knit used is quite amazing for its structure and comfort.  I bought it from the excellent ebay site Quail Run Sales.
 The Brora jumper is awesome of course, and considering the very plain aspect of my daily uniform a small detail such as the buttons on the shoulder is quite welcome.  MrBP bought this for me last year at Christmas.  I'm sure you'll be seeing it again as I continue to discuss uniform: I wear it with my Eileen Fisher riding pants (or "magic pants") as well.

Considering the palette of my fall and winter uniform pieces (gray, black, brown) I thought I'd better get a scarf on the go that could be worn every day, brighten things a little with a lighter color scheme, all while working together with my various daytime coats in camel, black and light brown tweed.
Women's Plaid Alpaca Oversize Scarf Lands' End
I found one at Lands' End and ordered it with a recent 30% discount.
It is quite a luxurious scarf and I was attracted to the plaid pattern with its wintery yet pretty colors.
The alpaca is light yet incredibly warm.
 It has a chameleon ability to look good with a variety of shades: all of the gray and brown I'm wearing seems to bring out its pattern.  When I wear it with an all-black outfit it pops, brightens, and becomes the one noticeable component of the entire scheme.
Of course it looks good with the handbag which is probably why I ordered it in the first place!

Any thoughts on uniform?
Have you lined up a special warm scarf to brighten your coats and daily outfits this winter?

I hope you have a wonderful Saturday.
xoDani

48 comments:

  1. I have two uniform:

    1. Painting studio ~ paint stained jeans which are baggier and sturdier, paint stained 23 year old J.Crew work boots, and 3 paint stained sweaters. Paint stained Mulberry Bayswater handbag in cognac.

    2. Going out ~ nice jeans, including black jeans. Cashmere sweater, or Equipment silk blouse in ivory, nude, olive, and navy. Black blazer, navy blazer, and ankle boots or brogues. A couple of clutches, and one cross body small Chloe bag in a cherry red.

    I know - I'm thrilling.

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  2. Kathy I love your uniforms! Laughing about your paint-stained handbag.
    Your going-out uniform sounds perfect, I've heard many good things about Equipment blouses, and I love the color palette. With the pop of red!
    Thanks for the sizing tip on the Goldsign, I found the Jenny in a light wash with a cuff on shopbop marked to half price, I'm going to try my normal size and one size up based on your recommendation.

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    1. Just looked at the cuffed pair. I like the J.Crew/Goldsign version much better. Why not try going up one size in those?

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    2. Kathy you're right they might be much better. I just dread ordering JC again, mailing back is so expensive!

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    3. Yes, but the one size up will be great, and if the others aren't good, you have to mail those back too. Don't be tempted because they're on sale....

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  3. I love your uniforms!

    For work, my uniform is a No. 2 pencil skirt and a silk blouse, with a merino cardigan tossed over top. I sometimes try to wear a blazer or sweater jacket to make the look a bit dressier and more structured. For casual wear, I wear a pair of J. Brand dark denim skinny jeans and a striped top or a cashmere sweater. Nothing fancy but it's easy and still looks pulled together.

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    1. Hi Louise, love that, and do you have any striped cashmere sweaters for our winter? I can so see you wearing one with your denim!

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  4. Morning Dani - I hope that your daughter is feeling much better, you must have been so worried.
    I love your belt; it looks almost exactly like a belt that my best friend in school brought back from Italy for me - over 35 years ago!!! At the time it was too big for me - now it's juuust right, or even a little small, depending on dinner. The march of time! :0)
    I have lots and lots of scarves - right now with my navy coats I'm wearing a wool scarf with a small blue check. Your Lands End scarf is lovely - so soft-looking.
    Have a lovely weekend!

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    1. Patricia she's much better and her headache today has cleared! 35 years, I bet you're glad you kept that belt it sounds wonderful!

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  5. Oh, and I hope your daughter's head injury is better. I guess you were sort of half up all night checking for a concussion?

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    1. Hi Kathy that was it exactly, I was worried about a concussion. My daughter also has childhood epilepsy so I was on the watch for a seizure as well. I haven't slept for a couple of nights now and feel fairly delirious!

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  6. Dani ,sounds like your daughter is on the mend,Thank God!I do like your uniform , one major requirment is it must be easy to wash. Have your Eileen Fisher basics stood up after repeated washes?I will give them a try.Was wondering why you must mail back all your purchases,it must be costly !Do you not have a jcrew close by?Hope you have a relaxing weekend and your daughter gets plenty of rest.Please tell her we are all thinking of her!!!XOXO
    p.s. any more Christmas inspiration this week?

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    1. Anon yes thank God indeed, thank you. The EF washes up great, hand-wash cycle, lay flat to dry. I live an hour from a J Crew but here in Canada if we order online we HAVE to mail it back, we can't return in store. It usually costs about $23-$28 or so depending on weight, what a pain!

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  7. wait, head injury? how is she? how are you? yiiiikes!

    It suddenly got chilly here, my uniform is wool slacks and silk shirt or sweater, plus blazer depending on day's commitments. More pencil skirts this fall/winter, too, rather than whine about shortness I'm buying the Tall for a perfect midi length. And I'm loving the different color and texture tights at Target.

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    1. Fred, that Target tights assortment is fab and will be coming to Canada in 2013, hurray. In the meantime we have Hue and Joe Fresh, thank goodness.

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    2. Hi Fred, yes she was hurt in gym class, what a worry these last 2 days but she seems fine today.
      It's been cold here but we have a reprieve, it's a lovely day. Your uniform sounds perfect!

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  8. You look stylish no matter what the day is, Dani.

    Hope your daughter is feeling better. It's not easy when little ones are hurt in any way. Hopefully, she will be injury free!

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  9. Ooh, that scarf is just gorgeous. It's in all those lovely neutrals to tie everything together. While I love my brights and patterns in the dead of dull winter, I do love easing my eye with a neutral palette during the winter months.

    As for my uniform in the winter, when it's wet or slushy outside, it's always boots, skinny jeans, and a cozy long cashmere cardi, tee and scarf.

    Dressing up I like the ease of dress, tights (or fleece-lined leggings, love!) and boots. I also love to pull out those double-serge skirts with a cozy sweater, blouse and tights, paired with either some easy heels or...boots once again.

    I thought that dress could be saved with the right belt as well! I have several similar shirtdresses in a similar shape that I absolutely love.

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    1. Hi M, Love your uniform looks, you are always so pulled together. I'm really finding boots are key! I have a few pairs and they are essential for fall/winter day-to-day outfits!

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  10. I love the idea of a uniform. I have fallen into a definite pattern for work and for off time. At work it's almost always a silk blouse and pencil skirt with heels. When I'm off I veer toward Emmanuel Alt - jeans, tees or blouses, jacket and kitten heels. I tend to do the same thing over and over so I guess I actually have a uniform too!

    The dress is really so much nicer with a wide belt. It not only corrals that fabric, it makes your waist look teeny tiny.

    It's so scary when one of the little ones has a good head bump. I know that feeling, watching for any sign the bump is more serious than you thought. I'm glad she's okay.

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    1. Hi DF, Yes watching and waiting, I was very anxious these last couple of days!
      I think you've found your perfect uniforms, both weekday and weekend!

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  11. I hope that your daughter is out of the woods with her head injury. It is very scary. I absolutely love your winter brown, black, grey look with your beautiful scarf and LV bag. I also think that the navy shirt dress is such a classic, easy on the eye and easy to throw on and look pulled together. Did you find that it ran true to size? I tried it on at the Clearance center but they only had it in a bigger size than I normally take and it was too big on top but the length was decent.

    My uniform has been a J Crew blazer (or the one Brora hacking jacket I have) scarf, jeans, boots- boring but easy and comfy. I'll wear flannel lined pants and thick cashmere sweaters when the weather gets really cold. Several years ago I bought LL Bean sheepskin lined lace up boots that were a good investment for extra cold days and winter visits to NYC.
    Have a great week end.



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    1. Hi AmW, I took my usual size in the dress and you can see with a big belt it fits fine, even though my top half is my smaller area. Without the leather belt it looks pretty bad!
      Thanks my little girl is much better today!

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  12. Hi Dani - so glad your daughter is fine! As you know I am still working on a uniform, and am always interested in everyone else's uniforms, wish I could have Kathy's uniform!

    I have been searching for a comfy uniform with the winter months in the house - honestly, I am so uninspired when I get home - saturday pants and uggs and a t or sweater. I just ache to be comfortable! It is particularly acute these days because of the extra 10 pounds - I refuse to go up a size and must really buckle down and get the much-needed exercise and reduce the stress! Anyway, I ordered the merino fair isle leggings and got them today and they are wonderful! I plan to pair them with the dream navy cardigan and a tshirt for my louning pleasure. They are sadly dry clean only but I am thinking of handwashing - didn't you get last year's version?

    I love your uniforms - so simple and chic! I loved that first dress when I tried it on in Boston but it was voluminous on me and I think you are right, that belt tames it all and makes a huge difference!!!

    Have a lovely Saturday! Am on the couch all afternoon with Vogue, cocoa and gingersnaps and am completely babying myself today!

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    1. WMM, very glad to read you are having a much-needed sofa day after the past week! I don't have those leggings, but gave them as a gift to my cousin last year who hand or machine washes them using delicate, a mesh bag and our family secret for any cashmere or fine woolens - a tiny bit of Johnson's baby shampoo as the "detergent". I know they have stood up very well as she emailed me a photo when she put them on for the first time again last week (it has been brrrr in AB). Bet DBP will report same - no dry-clean needed.

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    2. WMM I'm also so happy you are resting up properly today! Yes no need to dry clean those merino leggings, I washed mine on the wool cycle many many times, as I wore them often for big walks and for skiing. I love those! That's what I should have ordered last week, the new colorway!
      I think you deserve a really comfy home uniform, you are working very hard never mind the stress of your recent loss. You need to be good to yourself all this winter!

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    3. Aw - I love you ladies - you are so good to me! Am posting all pics tomorrow - the good, the bad and the ugly!

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  13. I hope your daughter is on the mend. Head injuries are awfully scary!

    Your uniform is so chic and cozy-I adore your EF pieces. Mine is (as I think you know) jeans, a tee and cardigan or pullover and scarf. Sometimes a blazer makes it into the mix, or a leather jacket. I usually wear boots or flat shoes-and my MK Gia. I add colors in scarves and sweaters-white, pink, red, merlot and deep blues. Most shades of gray make me look sickly and beige and camel are death on my fair complexion. Jewelry is simple-earrings and watch and if I don't have much computer work, I throw on a bracelet or 2.
    Once in a while a skirt gets worn with tights and boots-something I'm trying to incorporate more often. My warm weather uniform consists of a lot more dresses and skirts. There are days where layering just annoys me so I default to denim.

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    1. Julie I am very happy I have the EF pieces!
      You really know your own style and I always love to hear about your uniform, you know your colors as well. A watch, that's one item I'd like to add in, something smaller for winter with a leather strap. It's hard to find one I like! That isn't 8 million dollars!

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    2. I know what you mean about 8 million dollar watches. Mine cost a small fortune, but it is been on my wrist every day since 2004. It is a Michele Diamond Deco, worn with a variety of leather straps-I have 6 colors but wear the black most often. It is one of the most expensive pieces of jewelry but is one the lowest cost per wear items I own. I hope you find something fab.

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  14. WHEN IN UNIFORM Of course happy to see you have found a wiser-skirted and very 1950s Dior goes to Cape Code dress. (Could look charming with JC apple cardi if you still have it.)
    What a difference an accessory makes, both belt and scarf. (Laughing because minute I saw that scarf in first LE winter catalogue I thought you could add it to the "Paris Collection; of course you would own it.) HBC collection also has a similar brown & greys striped scarf in either wool or 100% cashmere this year. Love a subtle plaid so only sad both LE and JC navy version were so large, feared would lookie like blankie on shortie.
    My new weekday uniform remains same, although more stripey tees as base layer, since although I like button-downs not always time for added stack of ironing.
    QUESTION Do your EF "riding pants" have ankle zips? Some of the online photos look like.
    ADDITION Looking for a Brora snood from Santa or January sale.

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    1. Oh, and hope you can catch up on zzzzs now that Littlest Rascal is hopefully headache free??!!

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    2. GF they DO have ankle sips but surprisingly don't bug me when I'm wearing boots. I layer socks underneath so the zipper isn't on my ankle.
      Oooh Brora snood!

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    3. I REALLY want those pants! I have a pair of Cynthia Steffe that zip at ankle and they are grand!

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  15. I looked at that scarf and considered it but my wardrobe was lacking in black trousers so I ordered 2 pair at the 30% discount and hope they will fit.
    I love your boots Dani, where did you find them?
    Great bag choice, I think it's going to get lots os use.

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    1. Hi Hostess, I order my La Canadienne boots directly from their website. Fast shipping, and right here in Canada so no duty!

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  16. I hope your daughter is fine now, it must have been a fright.

    I'm almost always in my uniform of pencil skirt and twinset or blouse/blazer. It just makes it that much easier to get dressed in the morning.

    I tried a couple of snood-type scarves recently and they are both going back. I'll be dress shopping on Monday afternoon and will be looking at accessories while I'm at it because that's just what I always do. I certainly don't have a need but when I do need something that is the worst time to look because I can never find the perfect thing.

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    1. Thanks xoxo yes it was scary especially that first night.
      I am also a big believer in being prepared as you know with clothing! If I "need" something I always make a bad choice.

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  17. Hi Dani-Your uniforms are so pretty, I especially love the sweater and LE scarf pairing. Your colors remind me of the simple and elegant tracings of the bare branches against the winter horizon. I really appreciate winter's beauty, but I just wish it wouldn't last so long! I am sorry about the box from JC being all razzberries. When I was in Chicago I visited a JC store(I get to a store about once every couple of years) and I was blown away-quality has fallen off a cliff! So glad littlest angel is better and sending prayers she continues to recover.

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  18. So glad your little daughter is OK, any kind of head injury is a worry. I love the idea of uniforms - most of my working life has consisted of suits and I don't think I could have coped otherwise. So nice to take the drama out of it all, but still look reasonably well turned-out. I love your scarf and the belt with the shirt dress looks fab.

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  19. So glad your daughter is feeling better! I love your uniforms. It's a great idea! I don't do it, I wear something wildly different every day. One day it's cords, boots, and a sweater, the next day a dress and heels, the next day jeans, sneakers, and a long sleeved tee. Of course, alot of that has to do with the fact that I can wear pretty much anything to my job! In my more serious lawyer days, it was pencil skirt, blouse, sweater or suit, every day! I will admit that having a uniform certainly does make getting dressed easier.

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  20. I'm so glad your daughter is feeling better, head injuries are scary. I would love to see more posts on Uniforms. I tried to think of what mine is and I don't think I have one, I'm a bit of a chameleon. When I'm in a hurry, I'll grab jeans + anything, and I can't call that a uniform. But I want one and it would make getting dressed a lot easier.

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  21. Glad your daughter seems well -- fingers crossed. You are such a good mommy!

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  22. Glad Little is feeling better. Honestly--boys in Phys Ed classes--too much rough-housing!

    Don't know why but I do love the blazer. I'm a bit tired of my uniform--tweed blazer, skinny cargos, fur collar and boots. I got skinny boot cut jeans a few weeks ago at the Gap and I'm quite pleased with them. They give my blazers a different look. So really a blazer is my uniform--sweater, T-shirt, blouse and whatever bottom works best. Also, BOOTS--my preferred footwear when the temperatures go down.

    I like that you can pull off the dresses and skirts that have volume. They look terrific on the right figure. Tell me more about your fascination with Eileen Fisher. I did watch her scarf tying youtube video the other day--quite clever.

    BTW--your brown LV bag could not be more perfect!

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  23. I hope your daughter is feeling better!

    Love your uniform basics - I usually do a sheath dress with a cardigan/sweater, pants with a button-up top or sweater. I need to find more good basics though.

    Lovely Brora sweater - Dani, how do you find the length? I would like to order one but I am a bit concerned about the torso length (I am close to 5'9" tall) ....I definitely don't want to invest in a sweater that isn't long enough!

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