Though you may not realize it, you encounter many uniforms on a daily basis. Besides the police in dark blues, there are sanitation workers usually clad in industrial green, and UPS employees in trademark brown, among others.
If you’ve been watching the news over the past few weeks, you may have also seen a lot of Hurricane Sandy rescue workers sporting bright shades of yellow or orange.
And during the election, even the two candidates represented their political parties with subtle hints of easily identifiable red or blue.
Like the plaid skirts worn in private schools, or the bad guys in old cowboy movies wearing black hats, there are many professions that call for very specific dress codes, while some are harder to figure out.
In other words, while white-collar and blue-collar work wear can be easy to identify, it can be tricky to figure out everything that comes between.
The Same, But Different
When you got out of bed this morning and decided what to wear to work, was it an easy choice? Did you slip into the same shirt/slacks variation you wear to the office every day, or did you spend time updating your look?
Did you play it safe or did you infuse some quirk into your classics? Did you reach for your trusty jeans and button down, or was there a jacket (or a tie!!) involved as well?
Whether or not you have a nametag or corporate logo emblazoned on your shirt, you may be wearing a uniform every single day without realizing it.
Control your Style Message
There’s the old adage about dressing the part by wearing what you think will take you to the next level. What does your current look say about your trajectory? Does it tell the world you’re on your way up, or are dated details making you look like you’re stuck in a rut?
It can be all too easy to fall into the trap of setting a goal, even a style goal, and then forgetting to update it as your life, career and aspirations march forward.
Keeping up with tech, fashion, pop culture, style, and work innovations can feel like being on a treadmill of opportunities, but it can also be a double-edged sword. Trying to keep up with impossible ideals can make you feel as though you’ll never reach your goals.
Keep One Thing
Last week I wrote about changing one thing, and this week I’d like to encourage you to always keep one thing — the one thing that’s uniquely you and sets you apart from the crowd. I can’t tell you what that is, but you can and I bet even your co-workers can.
What’s the thing they tease you about that secretly fills you with pride? We all have them.
Though she worked in the fashion industry for years, my super chic mother actually favors very pared-down clothing. The one thing she has always splurged on are eyeglasses frames, which, in her opinion, are like “jewelry for the face.”
Her eyeglasses are more than just a trademark or signature item of clothing — it’s the single style quirk people always acknowledge when they see her.
Wearing the same thing every day can feel boring or confining. Wearing one thing that identifies your inner strengths, capabilities or style can be freeing and even empowering.
Rachel Weingarten favors signature vintage brooches. She’s a style expert, marketing strategist & personal branding consultant for CEOs, politicians and celebrities and the creator of MintStyle. Rachel is the award-winning author of Career and Corporate Cool and Hello Gorgeous! Beauty Products in America ‘40s-‘60s. Visit her online at http://racheletc.com or on Twitter @rachelcw Write to her with your burning style questions at firstname.lastname@example.org