Women's sweaters

How to create a style uniform.

Even if you never step foot in an office, having a style uniform will save you time and help you look sharp with little effort. But a personal uniform isn't the same as that plaid skirt and white blouse you wore to school every day – it's an outfit created using classic pieces that make you look and feel good, like that cherished cashmere sweater. And there's still room for creativity and self-expression, so don't worry about seeming drab.

Why should I have a personal uniform?

Adopting a style uniform is great for anyone who loves clothes, but hates being a slave to fashion. Life is a little easier when you always know what you're going to wear and all of the items in your closet can be mixed and matched. It's also a good way to save money – when you invest in timeless, well-made pieces, you'll be less likely to waste cash on things you don't wear and make regrettable impulse purchases.

How do I start?

Think about what you need to wear every day. Do you have to follow a corporate dress code or can you wear whatever you like? Then focus on what makes you feel comfortable and attractive – it might be a black dress and tights, a blouse, slacks and a blazer, or jeans and a turtleneck. Also, take time to ponder what colors you prefer, which silhouettes catch your eye and what kind of clothes you're naturally drawn to. Is there something you buy over and over, or a kind of top that always gets you compliments?

Pin it down

Consider using Pinterest to create inspiration for your uniform – pin all of the tops, bottoms, shoes, coats and accessories you like, and try to make sure they can all be worn together. Narrow things down so that all of the items are reasonably similar and the general idea of what you want will begin coming to life. Avoid random, impractical items that don't go with the flow, unless you want one or two 'just because' pieces in your closet (but don't get carried away!).

Quality comes first

When you've decided what your uniform is, invest in well-made pieces that look amazing and will last a long time. Less is definitely more, and over the long run, you'll probably save by only purchasing quality women's jeans, shirts and so on. Find some reliable brands you really love as well; that way, finding replacements for your staples will be easier.

Play with accessories

Having a uniform doesn't mean you can't have fun with trends – just limit them to your accessories. A cool necklace can make an outfit pop and a silky scarf adds color and texture. A new bag will freshen things up and is a great way to experiment with the latest looks. Shoes are also an easy way to add some spice to your outfit, but remember you'll get the most mileage out of things that go with more than one shirt or top.

Try a signature beauty look

Top off your uniform with a signature beauty look. Maybe red lips are your thing, or you love the look of dark eyeliner and mascara. A makeup routine is easy to master and doesn't have to take that long – just a little foundation, blush and lip color are enough to have you looking poised and polished.

Tender loving care

When you're investing in high quality clothes, be sure to take excellent care of them. Always follow the directions on the washing label and avoid using the dryer, which can break down fabrics quickly. Separate lights and darks to keep colors bright and vivid, and consider placing delicate items in a washing bag. Fold sweaters instead of hanging them and store everything in a cool, dry place away from moisture and heat. Some pieces, like your wool winter coat, might require dry cleaning to look their best, but it's a worthwhile expenditure.

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