Fashion’s Dirty Little Secret: Uniform Dressing

The past few weeks I’ve made the case for a different kind of wardrobe, one with “fewer better things.” Today I want to take a more practical approach, sharing a sense of style I learned about when I was living in France for the year called “uniform dressing.”

The most fashionable French women don’t follow trends or fads, but each has an individual style rooted in personal choice. Each wears what looks good and feels good to create their signature look.

Most buy a small number of high quality investment pieces to mix and match; of course, this doesn’t mean they’re wearing the same outfit every day, but it does mean consistency in style, silhouette, and color palette.

Tim Gunn, of Project Runway fame, explains the concept like this:

“By uniform, I don’t mean a Stepford Wives blueprint of exacting sameness. I mean a cache of separates that can successfully interact.

“It’s essential that you identify looks, not merely items of clothing, but combinations that will be worn together – the silhouettes, proportions, colors, and textures that flatter and enhance you. Then, stick with them! Do not stray! And don’t ever forget about fit!”

He continues:

“The best in “the fashion industry don’t buy into all the trends and fads of fashion – most of them develop a style their own and stick with it. It seems to free them from insecurity and the kind of fashion slavery the rest of us are victims of…”

In case you’re still a skeptic, here’s another proponent of French uniform dressing: Ines de la Fressange.

Ines is a French model, fashion designer, and member of the International “Best Dressed Hall of Fame.” What’s more: she’s an iconic example of French uniform dressing.

One of Ines’ foundation uniform pieces is a navy cashmere sweater. She pairs it with white jeans or black pants, or layers it under a blazer.

uniform-dressing-navy-cashmere-sweater

Here’s what Vogue had to say about stylish French women (Ines in particular) and uniform dressing:

“We’re talking about the most intensely coveted sartorial secret of all: effortless, indubitably stylish uniform dressing. No deliberate statement-making, no peacocking of designer freebies, no trends. Rather than trying to squeeze oneself into someone else’s image—whether it’s fresh off the runway or vintage-sourced—uniform dressing involves making a piece of clothing a natural fit for the wearer’s own style.”

It’s not about fitting the clothes, see: It’s about the clothes fitting you.”

“Just look to French style icon Ines de la Fressange, who has become almost synonymous with her daily uniform…”

“This utterly refreshing lack of label-mongering is the cleverest way to always look appropriate and never dated, and it’s the tried-and-true secret among French women of her generation.”

“It’s the epitome of personal style, of the art of dressing like a real woman, one with a job, and a life, and things to do beyond going to an event to get her picture taken. And what’s more effortless—or chic—than that?”

So if you’re looking to build a wardrobe of “fewer, better things,” consider starting with styles you find flattering in basic colors – navy, camel, or gray.

Our Caroline body style is a great choice – it’s fit is flattering on most women. It comes in different neck styles (V-neck, crew neck, turtleneck) and the fit works in both a cardigan and pullover. The 2-ply knit weight works as a 3-season sweater, and it’s perfect for layering.

If you need any help with your selections, or you want a color or size that we don’t have in stock, please give me a call at 888-343-6771 or email me at info@isleofskyecashmere.com. We have more sweaters coming in from Scotland each week, and I can help you find what you want to begin you journey towards “uniform dressing”.

Rita Jones
Found and Owner – Isle of Skye Cashmere

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