I've been wearing a work uniform 5 days a week for over a year — and no one has even noticed

Work uniform

  • For the past 18 months, I’ve implemented a self-imposed work uniform comprised of a gray T-shirt, paired with jeans or slacks, earrings, and the occasional necklace.
  • I’ve never been into fashion and have hated shopping for as long as I can remember, but wearing a work uniform means I don’t have to worry about piecing together an outfit.
  • I’ve found it helpful to base my work uniform around one key piece: a heather-gray shirt, with a business-casual style and color that complements much of my wardrobe.
  • When I first started wearing my uniform, I was self-conscious that someone would notice in the first week, if not on the second day — but no one did.
  • If you want to save five to 10 minutes in the morning, or a few dollars on your work wardrobe, it’s worth trying a work uniform.


For the past 18 months, I’ve implemented a self-imposed work uniform.

On any given work day, my outfit consists of a gray T-shirt, usually paired with jeans or slacks, various pairs of earrings, and the occasional necklace.

While I could’ve picked a more formal outfit, because I work in IT, I’m frequently crawling under desks and conference room tables to run or check wiring. The lower-cut shirts that fall open and form-fitting skirts I’d worn in previous positions are no longer my friends.

I’ve never been into fashion and have hated shopping for as long as I can remember, but a work uniform means I don’t have to worry about clothes

Before deciding on a work uniform, I did more shopping than I do now, spending more time and money than I wanted on work clothes, and buying a few blouses or sweaters each season.

While I tried to plan out my clothes each night, I usually spent around 10 minutes trying to decide what to wear every morning, sometimes changing if I thought the outfit didn’t fit well together. A work uniform, or a partial one, seemed like an efficient solution.

Work uniformMy work uniform is based around one key piece: a heather-gray shirt

I settled on basing my work uniform around one item, since I thought that a complete uniform — a shirt, pants or shirt, and skirt combo — would be too restrictive.

The cut of my go-to shirt has a curved hem and wider neckline, so it’s slightly less casual than a standard crew neck T-shirt, while the color complements much of my wardrobe.

In my previous office, I noticed that all of the men — with the rare exception — seemed to exclusively wear white or light-blue button-up shirts, so the idea of wearing a specific kind of top didn’t seem far-fetched to me.

Initially, I purchased five T-shirts on sale from Old Navy, and tried wearing my uniform for two weeks as an experiment. I was looking for something basic that I could dress up or down when necessary, as well as comfortable.

Work uniform

At the end of the trial period, I told my manager, who sat directly across from me, about my experiment — and she hadn’t noticed. That, combined with the ease of getting dressed each day for those two weeks, convinced me and I was in. 

Not wanting to do laundry more than usual, I bought 10 more shirts. While the initial cost was fairly high, at $8 per shirt on sale, I haven’t purchased any clothes specifically for work, or more than a few other items, since I began wearing a uniform last February.

When I first started wearing my uniform, I was self-conscious that someone would notice in the first week, if not on the second day — but no one did

Aside from a handful of people I’ve told, no one seems to have noticed that I’ve been wearing a work uniform. Apparently if you wear different earrings, no one will notice that you’re essentially wearing the same outfit — like the Australian newscaster who wore the same navy suit every day for a year with different shirt and tie combinations.

Even when I did tell people, in many cases, they didn’t believe me at first.

If you want to save five to 10 minutes in the morning, or a few dollars on your work wardrobe, it’s worth trying a work uniform

While wearing a work uniform means that I shop considerably less and no longer have to spend much time deciding what to wear or piecing together an outfit, I’ve still had to customize my work uniform to suit each season. 

Over the summer, I dyed my shirts a darker shade of grey (black is too dark for the summer and doesn’t fade well), and customized my look with bold prints and understated jackets to stay warm in the office air conditioning. In spring or fall, I’ll throw on a button-up shirt as a layer or a scarf for a more interesting look.

Overall, though, wearing a work uniform has taught me to get creative with layering, while an interesting necklace or set of earrings draws more attention than I thought.

Although my gray T-shirt uniform may change in the future, I’ve decided to keep it for the time being — regardless of whether anyone notices.

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Source: Business insider

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