The Uniform: what wares we wear and where…

Steve Jobs passed away around the time that my wife and I started getting very serious about living a more minimalistic and intentional lifestyle. Jobs was a unique and fascinating individual; the bold exclamation point on his physical presence was his uniform, a concept we were interested in. The black turtleneck, jeans and tennis shoes that were a constant source of amusement for many, in truth underlined his belief in simplicity and functionality.

Of course carried out to the extreme, the Uniform becomes the opposite of individuality and at worst a cliché.

Our minimalism in the clothing department began a couple years ago when we were planning our wedding and packing for our road trip honeymoon through the Southwest in August.

Kristina was insistent I get a new suit and found the hippest clothier in PDX to do it. I wanted to spend less money, but came to see her point that this suit would
a) fit fashionably, classically, and look great
b) be worn in several different combinations for the occasion, weather, etc
c) probably last for many years.
d) eliminate confusion about what to wear in many situations
e) make many other pieces of clothing obsolete, thereby saving money and space

This and the California summer in mind, I vowed to bring one pair of nice jeans, three black T shirts and one white one, plus socks and underwear on our travels.

My uniform has now extended to include the black long sleeve cotton top – not in honor of Jobs or anything – but the black T and jeans is standard rock and roll fare and also functions fine for the casual business setting. Okay, I kept a couple of band T-shirts, but they work in the formula. For Kristina, she always looks great in a pair of fitted designer jeans and a white T-shirt — one of her colorful scarves or a simple accessory it’s a unique look from two basic elements. She also rotates a couple of versatile dresses and will be keeping and storing some more formal items including her custom designed NahKay wedding dress. Pairing down her shoe collection has been tough on her, but this job has become easier as her wardrobe becomes smaller and more utilitarian. It’s still important to both of us to keep some semblance of individuality, but function now reigns over fashion. We both own the ubiquitous Portland hoodie.

Walking around Santa Monica I was comfortable and cool. Throw on the sport coat from the suit and I was ready for business meetings at the Chateau. Toss on a hat or hoodie during a thunderstorm near the Grand Canyon and we kept on moving… We had a ton of extra room in our car, and washed laundry easily on the road whenever we needed to. It was a great trip, during which we combined business and pleasure effortlessly, and never felt out-of-place or wasted any time wondering what to wear.

I once had a daunting laundry pile that would stand perilously over the washer and dryer at home. Laundry was an unnecessary source of anxiety.

Everything I wear save for coats now fits in a small suitcase.

“The best style is the style you don’t notice.”  – Somerset Maugham


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