Can Sartorial Uniforms Work in the Winter?

... And be interesting? Let's find out.

Six months ago, if you can recall, I thought the concept of sartorial uniforms was, to put it lightly, absolute bullshit. Nothing angered me more than people, especially the type that cared about fashion, to take the easy route when it comes to style and clump their sartorial decisions in a uniform generator that stripped all free will. Was real style dead? Could even the most fashionable of people be incapable of using their own creativity to form their outfits, overall looks, or, more generally, personal style? Can personal style even be called personal anymore if it's only molded by others? The cynic in me asked myself these questions on a daily basis, as I reached into my closet and formed outfits completely on my own. Or so I thought. I realized soon after this style crisis that maybe, just maybe, all outfits we wear are some version of a style uniform (out of infinite style uniforms) that we have stored in our fashion memories, and sometimes we need to use this capsule more than other times, when we're feeling less creative. It happens to the best of us, really. And it's not necessarily a bad thing—not using others for style inspo or stating that you never have used a sartorial uniform is kind of like living in a style vacuum. Personal style is a social construct*, if you didn't know!

After I had determined that uniforms were not only okay, but an acceptable form of getting dressed that we will all, at some point or another, run into in our lives, I felt all those struggles associated with my fashion challenges dissolve, as I knew that I was not perfect. Whew. Glad we got that out of the way. But suddenly, fall semester came along and I started depending on these crutches a bit too much. It started with me wearing the same outfits I wore in the summer since a) my creativity to get dressed uniquely disappeared, b) I had zero time to even begin to think of new looks, and  c) it was still warm outside, so why not just repeat some award-winning looks? I thought things would change when the temps dropped, as this need to wear more clothing should result in my fashion creativity reviving, but I was wrong. The style uniform became my main method of getting dressed, especially when 55 degrees turned into 40, then 30. I'd slip on the same pair of jeans, rotate between three different sweaters, and typically finish the look with one of my two kinds of sneakers, of all the kinds of shoes in the world. Sneakers! I had truly given up. My lack of blogging this fall is proof that my fashion senses were just at an all-time-low. Although my New Year's Resolution is to get back into regular blogging, implying that sartorial uniforms should just cease to exist in my brain, I decided to end the year by reclaiming this term, proving that maybe, just maybe, even after months of looking like, to put it lightly, a piece of garbage, sartorial uniforms can work in the winter. 

Time for a test drive!

This feels interesting, right?

Jeans by Reformation. Sweater is vintage, bought from @courtyard_la. Jacket by Madewell (blue version here). Boots by Zara.

I had decided from day one of fall that I would solely wear pants during this season, and also well into winter. My days of tugging tights up my legs to only feel slightly warmer were long gone, so pants it is. Anyways, pants feel so in right now, or maybe they just feel very fitting with where my personal style is going, if I'm even allowed to say it exists anymore after this dreadful fall. After accepting that wearing pants was not off limits to get back into my top fashion game, things felt easier—pants were, in fact, an embedded part of my sartorial uniform for two seasons of the year. However, I told myself that I couldn't go back to the same pair I'd wear everyday for two weeks straight. Those worn out Levi's would not touch my body unless I was only trying to look bad (aka me all winter break). I would deem them equivalent to sweats, which was truly the only way to ween myself off of them. The no Levi's rule forced me to look for something else, maybe a pair that hardly imitated jeans but rather a really cool pair of pants that Emily Ratajkowski would wear. After months of pining for these beauts (that also clean 1,000 gallons of water after purchase, which applies to all Ref jeans!), my size came back in stock and I slipped these babies on the minute they were delivered. I felt my sense of style come rushing back to me in full force—I hate to use a new purchase to be the only thing to get me back on my feet, but in this case, I truly think these are what saved me. Thousands of 'fit ideas flooded my mind that were perfect for winter but also that transcended this season. I had never been more excited for an article of clothing since the summer!

To keep that uniform idea in mind, I paired them with the sweater I've been wearing twice a week for the past two months. This overuse made this magical (and vintage!) sweater lose its magic, but I felt that I could bring that magic back through the pants. And it worked! I layered my white denim jacket over it to make things more ~interesting~, as I said I would do in the beginning of this post, and instead of wearing the typical sneakers, I finished the look with brand spankin' new boots. You know that feeling you have when you get a new outfit and feel like you can rule the world? That's exactly how I felt. I had been able to reclaim this idea of sartorial uniforms to become something even greater than I had ever imagined.

So moral of the story: style uniforms are fun and games until you depend on them a bit too much, but it is possible to revive your style through the same method, especially when a new pair of Ref jeans is involved. My wearing habits with these bad boys is already turning into something unhealthy; will they lose its magic pretty soon? All we can do is wait and see, but in the meantime, it's comforting to know that I still got it.

*After my Philosophy of Race and Gender class, it's safe to say that almost all things are social constructs. Including style.

Photos shot by Kendall.


Holiday Knits

It's like a sweater... but for your entire body!

Winter is approximately 13 days away! Time to start using the snowflake emoji in every Instagram caption, drinking a sickening amount of hot cocoa, and living in tissue turtlenecks and bulky sweaters. Sounds like a dream, if you ask me.

Unless that dream consists of below freezing temps. Count me out.

Unfortunately, I don't live in California or the Caribbean, where this thing I like to call winter weather magically does not occur, so I must face the freezing temps along with all my other East coasters. I used to love this weather a few years ago; it called for so many layering opportunities that just wouldn't be possible in any other season. Also, this was before I knew what cuffing season was. Oh, the glory days. Now, as I no longer have the privilege of being able to hop in my heated car to drive anywhere I please, winter has changed for me. The once inspiring dark skies are now depressing, the once beautiful snow is now annoying, and the creative layering opportunities are now just... hard. For the past month, I've been living in my old Levi's that are getting baggier by the minute and the same thick turtleneck I bought from my favorite vintage IG account that I've worn three times a week since I received it. I've even given up on shoes; my already too-worn Adidas are getting even more wear instead of all the statement boots that should be getting more wear but are nothing like the comfort of a pair of sneakers with too many memories to count. I've definitely hit a fashion rut. Should I blame winter, or is it really just my too-busy schedule that has prevented me from getting creative with my style? The latter reason is probably more accurate; I haven't even had time to blog more than three times this entire semester (which, by the way, will change next semester!). But instead, I'd rather blame winter. It's way easier.

So, what's the solution to stop wearing the same thing over and over again?

I could go the style uniform route and simply accept the fact that I'll wear the same thing over and over again this winter. Maybe make it more interesting, like with a blazer? These methods are too, well, easy. What's the point of being so into fashion if it's easy? That ruins the fun.

I remembered from earlier that all I want to do is wear sweaters the entire season. What if I took that idea a step further?

Jumpsuit and turtleneck by Madewell. Shoes by Sam Edelman. Sunglasses by Lisa Says Gah.

It seems as though designers have realized that not only I wish to be covered head to toe in sweaters all winter long, but that almost everyone would find this sensation more than appealing. Enter the knit jumpsuit: one part sweater, one part jumpsuit. Isn't that genius? I kind of felt like Gigi Hadid when she takes knitwear to the next level and only wears knits in a single outfit. Unlike Gigi, I don't have exuberant amounts of confidence and matching knits, but the jumpsuit made up for that. Instead of worrying about pulling together a matching sweater set, I just slipped on this bad boy over a simple turtleneck (also a knit!) and felt my winter dreams come true. Being fully immersed in a sweater is not just an experience, but one that feels too good to be true. Instead of wearing sweats and a raggedy sweater, just wear a sweater jumpsuit, and you'll get the exact same feeling. Plus a look that's too good to pass up!

As I said earlier, I was trying to find a styling method that actually stimulates my fashion sense and makes it a challenge, not just a routine that I follow every single day. Unfortunately, this was definitely too easy to accomplish, as it was a short, two step process of getting dressed that day. No zipper required. Yet this simplicity still resulted in something I haven't felt in a long time, a.k.a. a sense that my style is no longer in a rut, but is rather progressing into something even greater than I ever imagined. No one can stop me. Not even the winter blues.

Photos shot by Lucy.