December 30th, 2008
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the Uniform

I have long been obsessed with the idea of the uniform, a simple set of clothes that comprises your entire wardrobe. (if you are one of these you will know what I’m talking about instantly). In my own way I have fallen into clothing “patterns” that manifest themselves by way of favorite items that I wear constantly. Maybe more aptly I should call it a “clothing system”. While I love clothes and get excited about them, I do not enjoy shopping for clothes and would rather have several of the things that really work for me, (read: I feel good in). I don’t really have the energy to put into creating “a look”, as I would much rather spend my time (outside of parenting) reading, researching and creating. So I have several “fall back” items. Every time I stray from what works I end up regretting it. I fantasize often about having the simplest and extremely portable wardrobe, only of items that work well and that I love. At times it seems a bit of a daunting thing to limit yourself in this way, at others, an act of total freedom! I like the idea of having small embellishments on the basic items, allowances for socks, scarves and hats.
A few of my favorite artists have had uniforms, the most memorable being Charles and Rae Eames. Charles wore the same button up shirts, pants, shoes and bow ties everyday for his whole life. While Rae actually designed a kind of smock which she made in multiples, and wore a simple white shirt underneath. I cannot explain how excited I get just thinking about it.
about a year ago I started writing notes on what constitutes my Uniform.
I prefer multi purpose items. (works in the city or the woods)
they must be very durable and last for several years.
they must be comfortable.
I must be able to perform any task in it, (hiking, biking, walking, etc.)
must be made out of natural fibers.
it must travel well, (look good wrinkled)
my goal right now is to pare down what I have into a workable multi-piece uniform. My husband and I are in the process of severely paring down our worldly goods. While my current wardrobe is not very large (two drawers and one side of a very small closet, 1.5 ft wide), it is still challenging to get to the simple workable level I am aiming for.
I love the idea of the smock, but find it does not really suit my lanky frame, (i end up looking like I am wearing a sack.)
there are a few people who have also dealt with the Uniform as a concept. the one that comes to mind is Andrea Zittel.
some other’s whose style I am really into right now…
uniform studio
trapper jane
otchi potchi
*above image excerpted from how to be an explorer of the world”, 2008 perigee books

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