A couple of years ago, I came across an article in Bazaar Magazine written by Matilda Kahl, an art director for a leading advertising agency located in New York. This article fascinated me for several reasons: (1) because, like her, I consider myself a creative type, (2) because I love fashion and am always trying to figure out ways to build a more successful and professional wardrobe, and (3) because for a short stint, I was a fashion consultant. After reading Matilda’s article about why she decided to establish her own “work uniform,” I was intrigued, and I’ve shared this with every section of my Internship Preparation class each semester. As you can imagine, some lively discussions ensued.
The premise of Matilda’s decision to build a black and white work uniform is based in logic and created for simplicity. By taking the “creativity” out of selecting and creating a fashionable and unique outfit each day for work, Matilda puts that energy to work for her incredibly creative job. Her black and white uniform consists of black bottoms and white or cream-colored tops; she accessorizes with scarves or bows. Additionally, she said she did not skimp on the quality of her clothes; she bought designer clothing and expensive tops and bottoms that she cares for, but the overall idea was that she never has to worry if anything matches or doesn’t work. The simplicity of the way she dresses is always in style.
Look—let’s be real—I don’t know how many of us (a) WANT to do this, or (b) WOULD ENJOY doing this and not get BORED, but it certainly is food for thought. It takes away a lot of stress in the morning when one is rushing out the door for work. And, it does allow room for creative energy to be used elsewhere.
I’ve looked at my own closet—it’s filled with black, that’s for sure. I could surely buy more white tops and make this happen.
Will I? I don’t know. But it sure is an enticing thought.
Stephanie Verni is Professor of Business Communication at Stevenson University and is the author of Inn Significant, Baseball Girl, and Beneath the Mimosa Tree. Along with her colleagues Leeanne Bell McManus and Chip Rouse, she is a co-author of Event Planning: Communicating Theory and Practice, published by Kendall-Hunt.