I recently started a new job where I’m required to be more creative and decisive than I’ve needed to be at work in a little while. In the weeks leading up to starting this new job, I started ordering clothes. I always dressed nice and put together at my last job, but the overwhelming majority of the office was extremely casual (like running shorts and flip flops), so this new job was a chance to have fun and step it up a notch and no one would care.
But then I thought about how worried I was about doing well at this new job and whether I could still think creatively at work anymore. it’d been about a year and a half since my last super creative job. I didn’t want my wardrobe to get in the way. I didn’t want deciding what to wear in the morning take away from the time valuable time I spend either working on personal writing projects or just enjoying a cup of coffee and preparing for the day ahead. And I didn’t want to end up at work in an outfit that didn’t feel quite right and that I’d be fussing with all day and would just ruin my confidence. Which has happened more times than I’d like to admit. I wanted to have one less decision to make every day.
On my last day at my previous job, I wore a navy blue boilersuit/coverall/utility jumpsuit/whatever you want to call it. I found it at Lucky Vintage in Seattle for $30. It mostly fit me like a glove. The lady at the register said that it’d been there a while and so many people tried to get it on and make it work but couldn’t. It was meant to be! I had my sister do a few alterations on it to make it truly fit me like a glove. I felt so strong and powerful and confident and sexy and cool wearing it on my last day.
I thought how that was how I wanted to feel every day at my new job. But I’d need more jumpsuits like that.
I’m not new to uniform dressing. I adopted it for the three months I worked at the Stranger in 2015. I was inspired by an article in Harper’s Bazaar about this art director at a huge ad agency in New York who’d been wearing the same outfit to work for the past three years (by the looks of her Instagram, it looks like she still wears this uniform. So she’s been doing it for eight years now). I thought her uniform was so cute and stylist and a little androgynous (which is my weakness) that I adopted pretty much the same look with my little spin on it: a white sleeveless button-up shirt with a scalloped hem collar, black skinny jeans, a gray cardigan, all-black vans, a black ribbon tied around my neck and my hair in bun.
I loved it. I felt cool and put together everyday. And no one ever said anything about it. But I quickly became miserable at that job and by the time I left and found a new job, that outfit felt tainted somehow so I retired it. Then over the next few years, my personal style started to develop and then solidify, so I was having fun dressing and expressing that.
But now that I have a strong sense of what my personal style is, I think I’m ready to give uniform dressing another try. This time, with jumpsuits. When I was searching for the perfect jumpsuit that would fit me as well as my vintage navy blue one, I remembered the jumpsuits Paramore wore during the After Laughter album cycle that they’d gotten from Big Bud Press, a small clothing brand in LA. They come in a bunch of different colors, so I could still wear the same thing every day but get to mix it up with different colors. They’re pretty pricey ($180 each) so I started by purchasing one in Mustang Red in XXS and it fit me like a glove. Props to them because the jumpsuits are unisex and go from XXS to 5XL. The torso is slightly long on me. Maybe by and inch or two, which I could have my sister tailor for me if I decide to. Once I knew that I liked the jumpsuit and new my size, I started ordering more colors off Poshmark and Depop. So far I’ve got the Mustang Red, Gross Green, Basic Black, Vintage White Tee and Sunshine Yellow. Plus my vintage navy blue one. I’d still like the Royal Blue, a purple and maybe a pink.
I’ve started wearing a few of them to work, but it’s only been two weeks since I started the job and they’re slowly starting to show up in the mail so I haven’t fully transitioned into the uniform yet. When I thought of this idea a few days before my first day, I was upset that I hadn’t thought of it sooner, because then I could have started the job with the uniform already in place. But I think it’s better this way because people at work can see different facets of my style and know I have a strong preference for jumpsuits and slowly transitioning into the uniform will also allow me to slowly transition out of it in the future if I decide to or sprinkle in non-uniform outfits at work without it being a shock.
Since I have a creative job at a small ad agency, I think the jumpsuits will be the perfect uniform because they’re still put together and polished since they’re tailored and fit me so well, but they’re still fun and stylish and well-suited for a creative.
I’ve been styling them with my hair slightly wavy and messy, checkered vans and white Nike ankle socks with a black swoosh. But I should switch it up with so many of my sneakers. My gray New Balances with the black or white jumpsuits, my black adidas Gazelles, my Reebok Club C 85 zip, my AF1s, my silver metallic on white adidas Superstars, high-top Chucks…
I just haven’t figured out what I’ll do in the summer when it might be too hot for utility jumpsuits.