I’m not sure when I began to suspect that Steve Jobs might be on to something with his wardrobe. On the face of it, who in their right mind would wear the exact same outfit every day? It’s not only boring, it shows a lack of imagination.
But what if your imagination is finite and needed elsewhere? Not having to put together outfits and accessorise them is suddenly a real luxury. An appealing luxury. A luxury I’ve embraced. And while I’ve not gone full-on black turtleneck and jeans (I intensely dislike both items), I have found a simple formula for an outfit that works for me.
A little background. I am 52, barely 5’3″, and chubby. I do not possess the gene that gives a person an innate sense of style and the ability to accessorise. I do not like lacy, frilly, or fussy clothing. My Kibbe type is theatrical romantic, which explains why I don’t look my best in separates. I do not follow fashion trends. I will not, under any circumstances, wear heels. I will not, under any circumstances wear trousers or jeans or shorts. I am not glamorous. I am also not a slouch. When I say I like an effortless outfit, I am being literal. I don’t care about being Instagram-worthy, but at the same time, I like to look like put together.
So what to wear with all of these caveats? Dresses are great, but they don’t really offer interchangeable options other than adding a cardigan. To keep my wardrobe versatile and interesting, I’ve made the foundation of my wardrobe a pinafore dress.
At the moment, I have four, and since I work a four-day week, it’s the perfect number. All of them are made from a medium-weight cotton needlecord fabric and lined, and they work brilliantly nine months of the year because I can pair them with different tops and tights depending on the weather.
All of my tops are crew neck cotton jersey, so they’re super comfortable and wash well. I have several solid-colours, a couple of stripes, and two prints which gives me a huge number of outfit combinations. I wear them with either matching or coordinating tights to increase the number further. Add in two pairs of knee boots and a pair of brogues, and the outfit combinations become almost infinite.
I believe many people have a uniform without realising it. My mom always wore shortsleeved cotton mock turtlenecks and jersey trousers. My dad is a fan of chinos and a button-down shirt. My husband almost exclusively wears black Levis. Essentially, I think everyone instinctively knows what they like and they tend to wear slight variations of their preferred outfit. Except Steve Jobs. He was just a bit weird.