Why You Need a Fashion Uniform

You need a system.

 Steve Maneri on a New York City rooftop wearing The Casual Jacket in Black, paired with The Casual Pants in Black and The Long-Sleeve Henley Tee Shirt in Black Italian Rib-Knit.

Steve Maneri on a New York City rooftop wearing The Casual Jacket in Black, paired with The Casual Pants in Black and The Long-Sleeve Henley Tee Shirt in Black Italian Rib-Knit.

Have you ever gone shopping with the simple goal of getting a new white tee, only to leave overwhelmed, empty-handed, and seriously questioning your style identity? As a fashion writer in New York City, I can honestly say that the constant flux of trendy clothes is over stimulating. Enter the adult uniform: no team jerseys or school polos required—unless, of course, you’re really those types of uniforms

Besides the whole unification purpose of uniforms, having a set wardrobe will simplify the process of getting dressed everyday. Developing your own fashion formula with strategically selected pieces and a coherent aesthetic ensures that everything will coordinate effortlessly, and no, you will not be sacrificing creative expression. In fact, applying the uniform strategy to your closet will allow you to tap into your inner fashion boss and unlock your true style, because you are essentially prioritizing a base of garments that actually fit your taste, your lifestyle, and most importantly, your body. Forget what's trending in stores for the week. Here’s how to cut through the noise and establish some authenticity.

1. Identify your daily routine.

Where do you work and what is the environment like? Is it formal and professional, or do you freelance from home in something completely casual? Is your office unbearable without a jacket because the AC is cranked on full blast? Do you travel often? And if so, what for? It may seem unnecessary to analyze what you do day-to-day, but keeping this in the back of your mind will help you refrain from impulse purchases that don’t make sense in the first place. Just because that Hawaiian shirt looks rock star cool on Harry Styles or strangely tasteful on your favorite menswear blogger doesn’t mean that it’s going to fly in your corporate office.

2. Claim your style identity.

Who or what inspires you? Maybe it’s a dark palette of garments reminiscent of city edge, or maybe you feel most confident with something preppy. No need to conform to one look, but it helps to at least figure out what you like and don’t like.

3. Quality over quantity.

You only need a total of three different versions of each garment to get the basics going, so invest in pieces that you love.

4. Neutral pants.

Black and charcoal casual pants, along with laid-back joggers. And no, we didn’t forget about blue jeans; you just really don’t need them.

5. Play with outerwear and silhouettes.

Save for a few special pieces (keep reading to #7), your pants are generally the most neutral and versatile component of your outfit. That said, you should take full advantage of outerwear and tops. First on the list is a hoodie; just be sure to avoid odd colors and total shapelessness, as it comes across immature. For a flexible work environment or a cool weekend look, an elevated hoodie under your casual jacket is a solid upgrade to denim, leather, and even something more tailored. You’ll also need at least one sport coat and one blazer that you can interchange with various pants for office days or business occasions. Underneath your outerwear, you can keep it casual with soft knit tees, but be sure to mix it up with something like a long tunic or a crisp button-down shirt.

6. Matching Separates.

There’s a clean appeal to coordinating colors and/or fabrics. It’s this streamlined look that makes suits successful in the business world. Take a cue from the concept, and apply it in a way that makes sense with your lifestyle. At REINGE, our Casual Canvas pants paired with the Casual Canvas Jacket in the same fabric is a popular everyday look that eliminates an overly formal appearance.

7. Be a little trendy.

If there’s something new that you really love, don’t deprive yourself. Your taste defines your aesthetic, which you used to build out the bulk of your wardrobe, so chances are this trendy pieces will mesh what you have going.