Even for someone like me who gets bored easily, style uniforms are a hugely helpful tool for getting dressed day in - day out. However much someone may enjoy creating new outfits, between snoozed alarms, stressful deadlines and the radio announcing traffic problems there simply isn't enough time for real creativity every single morning. This is where pre-planned outfits, and in particular, style uniforms come in.
Style uniforms are outfit combinations that form the core of one's style. They are reliable in terms of figure flattery as well as exuding the desired message about who we are. They can be a certain silhouette or centred around a certain item. If you pay close attention, you will notice how most stylish women have style uniforms - think Audrey Hepburn and crop trousers with fitted knits; Victoria Beckham and midi skirts with long roll-necks and high boots; not to mention Queen Elizabeth and her colour-coordinated dress, coat and hat combos.
Yes, they can get boring if taken to the extreme - but are also very handy if used in the correct way. Once you know that a silhouette or item suits you, it does make sense to make full use of these, so you always have some trusty fallback outfits to reach for when you don't have time to experiment or when nothing else seems to work. And having a 'signature style' is never a bad thing, is it?
Now, obviously style uniforms will depend greatly on your body shape. For someone with shorter legs, it will not be satisfying to be wearing cropped trousers and flats all the time, however stylish they may look on others. So with this in mind, here come some of my own style uniforms, all tried and tested to flatter longer torsos/shorter legs, and geared towards spring.
1. Leather pencil skirt, tucked roomy V-neck knit, long coat
Easy to wear on both colder and warmer days [just switch the shoes], this is one of my favourite office combinations.
2. Leather A-line skirt worn with body suit
Minimal but effective; and if you feel like more oomph, there are plenty of glam or colourful body suits around [try Zara for bold silky numbers]. Works with a short blazer as above or with a longer coat for windier days.
3. Long skirt worn with a cropped knit
Pair with sock ankle boots or heels and top with a leather jacket. It is often a surprise how well this works for mid-casual settings.
4. Asymmetric dress topped with a blazer
Simple and flattering. Heels/heeled ankle boots or boots are a must. Belts can be added/exchanged [matching them to the colour of your blazer often works best]. Experiment with the length of the blazer; I prefer it to end just below my hip.
5. Straight jeans worn rolled up, loose top/blouse, blazer
Pair with heels or platform brogues as desired. You do not have to cuff the jeans but this often looks better - just take care not to go too cropped or you risk your legs looking shorter: a hint of the ankle is all you want. [And yes, as you will have noticed, I recommend ruched sleeve blazers as they are super flattering, drawing the eye upwards from the hips.] The blazer can be exchanged with a cardi if desired.
+1. Skinny jeans, long top, belt, blazer & heels
I meant to do five outfits only but could not not include this combination which I adore! Belting a long or, even better, hi-low blouse/top is a very cool way to be both comfy and appear longer legged. I like to wear them with tough jeans/accessories to give them edge. Heels are a must to balance out the length of the top [but can be lower than the ones above!]. And if you wonder what topper to wear - short leather jackets and blazers look cool, but longer coats are also great if you want more of a traditionally polished vibe.