It’s like I’m suddenly alive with colour.

The other day I got a piece of mail from a random energy company that wants to offer me fixed natural gas rates, which is annoying in itself. I mean, I worked in the energy industry. I have a master’s degree in economics. I used to price options and structured products, and I have a very good understanding of hedging. I do not want fixed natural gas rates, so please stop sending mail/ knocking on my door/ phoning me.

But the piece of mail was addressed to Mr. Nicole MacPherson, which was odd. It made me wonder if I needed an upper lip wax, or if Nicole was simply the latest name to become androgynous in the manner of Ryan or Taylor. Then I thought that perhaps this was a new, feminist way to refer to my husband! My husband – now known as Mr. Me. It’s about time!

Recently I read about a woman who wore the same thing to work every single day for three years, which I thought was interesting. My initial thought was that she wore the same clothes every day for three years, which made me wonder what the state of those clothes were like after so much wear, and, presumably, washing, but the reality is she bought fifteen white silk shirts, some black pants, a blazer, and a little black ribbon necktie. Essentially it was a work uniform.

I had a lot of thoughts about this, once I realized that no, this isn’t based on a sole outfit that ended up grimy and stinky by the end of the week. My first reaction was that taking this approach to fashion seems really boring, if you like clothes like I do. Boring or not, this is similar to what many – maybe even most – men do in the workplace: think guys in suits, or men like Steve Jobs who have a signature “look.” The premise of having a “work uniform,” so to speak, is that it takes the decision making out of your hands, and frees up your time and thoughts for more important things. I do this for meals; I plan meals for the week and I do not deviate from that schedule, ever. It takes all the decisions out of my hands; there’s no waffling around at five o’clock. I like to think that it gives me more time to contemplate important things like should I plant tulip bulbs this year, or if Don Draper ends up jumping off a building it is going to be very anticlimactic.

Slight digression: I almost always make some sort of stir fry/ Pad Thai/ Kung Pao dish on Monday nights, but on Sunday I realized I had some romaine lettuce that I didn’t have a chance to use on the weekend, since we ended up being out of town. Last night I made up a big Caesar salad with pine nuts, baked two crusty loaves of bread, and sautéed some chicken breasts for the guys with a barbeque sauce. Great, right? My husband came home and was completely befuddled. It’s good, he said, But I was thinking about stir fry all day.

Anyway, it got me thinking about how much time I spend thinking about clothes, and the answer, surprisingly enough, is not much. I set out my outfit the day before based on anticipated activities and weather forecasts, and like the meal plan, I do not deviate from it. This is because if I had to make that decision in the morning, who knows what would happen. I’d probably end up standing in my underwear, staring at my overstuffed dresser full of black clothing, until the children were late for school. So I spend a minute or two the day before setting out clothing, end of story.

That’s when I realized that I already HAVE a uniform of sorts. It’s called the work-from-home-but-still-leave-the-house-enough-that-I-want-to-look-nice uniform. Black sweaters/ tops/ t-shirts and jeans. Various scarves. Sometimes I vary it with a grey top under a black sweater, maybe, or – like today – a pink yoga top underneath a meshy black sweater. This is why I spend no brain power on clothing, it’s because my clothing all looks largely the same. Granted, I probably don’t NEED 22 black sweaters and an equal or greater number of black tops and t-shirts, but I have a uniform. I’m on trend with this whole thing and I didn’t even know it!

Realizing that I’m already kind of like that woman who wears the same outfit all the time was an exercise in self-awareness. On the one hand, I was congratulating myself on spending minimal time actually thinking about what I wear every day; I put on the clothes I set out, and I go about my business. Sometimes I admire how it looks, sometimes I don’t notice. On the other hand, maybe I’m much too boring in my clothing choices. Maybe, fashion wise, I’m just like Steve Jobs, but with much less money and fame.

This weekend we were at my parents’ place, and my mom and I went shopping to this interesting little shop in the small town she lives in. I’ve bought a few things there before; it largely deals with yoga clothes, but there are some cute dresses and things in there as well.

People, I got a tunic-length top with pockets, and it is PURPLE AND GREY. I feel kind of conspicuous, but also kind of pretty in it. Is this a turning point for me? Probably not, but I’m going to enjoy my small foray into peacock-like flamboyancy.


  1. Yay, colour!

    Yay, purple! (especially)

    I love it! (Do we get to see it?)

  2. I definitely have a uniform: jeans and a t-shirt and a zip-up hoodie. I do vary the colors based on mood: one day perhaps it is a bright green t-shirt and a bright pink hoodie, and the next day perhaps it is a light grey t-shirt and a dark grey hoodie. And in summer of course I have less-fabric versions. But it’s the same outfit every day.

  3. Every once in a while I buy colour; when I use to work though, it was basically basic black, and the one green suit I owned. I think I go to black because one it makes me look thinnner and I am a terrible shopper, to be honest I suck at it. My husband is far more the fashion diva than I, so if I want to look good I need him to help.

  4. The basic look for me is a turtleneck or long-sleeved t-shirt with jeans or corduroys in cooler weather, a t-shirt or short-sleeved button down with jeans or chinos in warmer weather, same tops with shorts in hot weather, occasionally a denim skirt, with or without leggings. Today I have on a white and black striped t-shirt and a denim skirt.

  5. I was just in my closet. It’s half a wild riotous mess of colour and half black and grey and all overstuffed and disorganized. Wait, maybe I was just in my brain.

  6. Nowheymama says

    It is even more annoying to get those mailers when your town’s utilities are set up in such a way that there is just one provider for everything. Don’t these companies do research? They are spending lots of money on an advertising campaign in a town where it is impossible for anyone to switch suppliers! It drives me crazy.

  7. I’m a clothes hound, and some of my outfits are pretty “creative” when I get up at 5 in the morning. But colour and pattern are all over the place!

  8. I have a weekend uniform, boot cut jeans, neutral tops, big chunky colourful necklaces but I do like to vary things at work. Because I work with 10 waist high fashion critics who tend towards tutus and jellybean leggings but who notice EVERYTHING I wear and comment on most of it. And I am not allowed to wear jeans at work. Boo.

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