A typical summer look for me. Goat included.

Last month I shared a journey through the recesses of my brain, or at least, the clothing and appearance-related recesses of my brain. If you haven’t read that post yet, I recommend you go there first since today’s article is the second in this mini-series. Today I’ll take you on a journey through my closet, with far less emotional toil and far more practical lists.

Now that you all know how I FEEL about my clothing, I know you want to know what clothing I wear. Right?!?

My Uniform

Given my past penchant for bizarre outfit concoctions, I never pictured myself as a uniform person. But now, with two kids, one job, nine chickens and one homestead? Uniform me up, baby. I didn’t intentionally set out to create a uniform, it just happened as I realized that I want to wear comfortable clothing every single day. In the past, I was willing to suffer for fashion. Now? 0% interest. Less than 0. Negative % interest. Here’s something I’ve learned about myself: I don’t do small screens or high-waisted jeans.

Since we enjoy all four seasons here in rural Vermont, my uniform rotates commensurately. I’ll take you through my closet for each season, which is actually the same closet because all of my stuff now fits into my side of our master bedroom closet.


1) Leggings

I wear leggings every day. I gave away every single pair of pants I owned for the simple reason that I DON’T LIKE PANTS. I have NEVER liked wearing pants because I find them so uncomfortable. I can remember in first grade begging my mom not to buy me pants. I don’t know why, I just hate how they feel. But, I used to wear jeans (skinny ones, even) because they were of the fashion. Now? Hells no.

I found two pairs of Felina leggings (unopened in their package!) at a yard sale like 4 years ago and loved them so much that I bought this 6-pack online (affiliate link). Also, not going to lie, they’ve added 6 new colors since I last bought them and, uh, no comment on whether or not I am right now, at this moment, clicking over to buy them… Ahem.

Great demo of my green Felina leggings! Not my intention when this photo was taken…

Here’s what I love about them:

  • They are extremely comfortable.
  • They have a soft waistband that doesn’t dig in, roll down or slide around.
  • They are not “slimming.” In other words, they don’t try to compress my natural stomach region. My stomach is what it is, I don’t need some piece of spandex trying to hem in my natural state.
  • They aren’t baggy or bunchy
  • They’re cheap!
  • They seem to be incredibly durable, especially in light of how cheap they are and how many times I’ve worn them over the past four years. I will note that I don’t put them in the dryer, I let them line dry.

I wear them for:

  • Fancy occasions!
  • Non-fancy occasions!
  • All the occasions!
  • Under my snowpants in the winter for outdoor recreation!
  • Doing yoga!

2) Dresses

Over my leggings I wear a dress. Every single day. As aforementioned, since I HATE pants, I love dresses. I do not wear skirts because then I’d have to coordinate a shirt with it and that is too much effort. A dress is a complete outfit all in one! Pair with leggings and you are done! I also like dresses because I feel like they translate well to different situations: fancy enough for church, comfortable enough for grocery shopping, nice enough for a dinner out.

I am not comfortable wearing a shirt with leggings because I do not like my bum riding out there in the wind (unless I’m doing yoga).

Here are the types of winter dresses I own:

  • Long-sleeved turtleneck dresses
  • Long-sleeved scoopneck dresses
  • Long-sleeve cowlneck dresses
Classic winter look for me. Also a classic look for Littlewoods…

Essentially, I own the same dress in different colors and different neck lines. All of my dresses are:

  • Knee-length.
  • A-line (flowy?) without a waist band, without zippers or buttons and without patterns.
  • I’m allergic to wool, so they’re all synthetic or cotton.
  • They all have fully long sleeves because it is way too cold here to mess around with partial-sleeve situations. I’m going to pay the same amount and not get the entire sleeve?? I think not.

I’m not opposed to patterns, but I never seem to find any that I like. Plus, with solid color dresses, I’m able to mix and match everything with my different-colored leggings and my…

3) Sweaters

Being in Vermont, I need to top my dresses off with a sweater. 

All of my sweaters are:

  • Knee-length
  • Open in the front
  • Different colors and patterns
  • Not wool

I’m able to mix and match the sweaters with the dresses and leggings for near-endless combination possibilities.

4) Long Underwear Tops

Me hiking.

On very cold days–or for outdoor recreation–I wear a synthetic long-sleeved shirt underneath my dress and/or snowpants. I’ve tried many different brands and I like this one the very best (affiliate link). They’re smooth and slim enough to go under all my dresses without being bunchy and warm enough to wear while skiing/snowshoeing.

5) Snowpants

I slip my bib overall snowpants* either over my dress or over my leggings and long underwear top and I’m good to go (affiliate link). I prefer overall snowpants because they keep me warmer and snow doesn’t go down the back. I like them roomy so that I can tuck a dress in if I want and, they provide plenty of flexibility when I’m skiing/snowshoeing.

*Note: these are not the brand I have, so I can’t speak to their specific quality–they don’t seem to make mine anymore, but mine are the same basic idea as these.

6) Winter Gear

Since we spend a lot of time outside year-round, warm gear is a necessity. I have:

  • This hat, which I’ve been wearing for at least 12 years (affiliate link).
  • My ski gear!

    Insulated, water-proof mittens

  • Down-filled knee-length coat
  • Ski jacket with down-filled undercoat layer
  • Face mask:
    • I have two and I prefer the one that goes fully over my head for skiing and the one that covers just the bottom of my face for snowshoeing.
  • Insulated Muck Boots (affiliate link):
    • If you live in a cold climate, DO NOT cheap out on boots. 

Wearing all of this–with my leggings and long underwear top underneath my snowpants–I’m good to go in any weather. The only times I get cold are if it’s about -10 Fahrenheit and really windy.


You will be unsurprised to learn that my summer wardrobe bears a striking resemblance to my winter attire…

1) Short Leggings

Yes indeed, my hatred of pants extends to a detestation of shorts. This is like a lifelong hatred, so why fight it? I own zero pairs of shorts and I have zero regrets.

Through the magic of the internet, a Facebook mom’s group, and a fair amount of research, I discovered my magical summer unicorn: short leggings! I have five pairs of these in black (affiliate link).

They are super comfortable, not compression or slimming, don’t roll or bunch and reach to just above my knee. Wearing these enables me to climb, hike, sit on the floor with my kids and not flash anyone. A real priority for me. I also wear these for hot-weather yoga paired with an old t-shirt.

I wear these every single day underneath…

2) Dresses

Unsurprisingly, I wear a short-sleeved dress every day in the summer.

3) Cardigans

I have three light-weight, flow-y cardigans that I throw over my dress in the event of a petite summer chill.

4) Overalls

My overalls and sun shirt getting a workout shoveling compost

For warm-weather outdoor labor and hiking, I wear one of my two pairs of men’s overalls, which I love (affiliate link). They are extraordinarily comfortable, roomy, and have tons of pockets for keeping tools in–very handy when I’m out working in the garden or cleaning the chicken coop. I also find them way more comfortable for hiking than traditional hiking pants. I’ll never go back!

5) Sun shirts

I own two of these sun-shielding, long-sleeved shirts, which I wear under my overalls for all exercise/homestead labor (affiliate link).

6) Swimsuit/Quasi-Westsuit

I own this long-sleeved, long-shorts swimsuit thingy, which I adore (affiliate link). I wear it when swimming and paddle boarding and it is the suit of my dreams. I’m fully covered from the sun and in no danger of flashing, which as previously noted is a priority for me.

I love that it has:

  • Long sleeves
  • Is made of a durable material
  • Sown-in chestal-region foundation (no need to wear anything underneath it)
  • UPF 50+ sun protection
  • Knee-length shorts, which I appreciate for some real obvious reasons


My swim/wetsuit, which I love

The only other category of clothing I own are of the “lounge/pajama” varietal.

I have a few pairs of pajama pants and some of Mr. FW’s old basketball shorts, which I wear on the odd occasion that I want to wear shorts around the house (usually when I’m cleaning and it’s really hot). Rounding it out are some large, old, cotton t-shirts, sweatshirts and hoodies.

And…. that’s it!

That’s The Full List

I’ve gotten rid of pretty much everything else because I never wore it. I saw no point in keeping stacks of jeans, skirts and tops that I never wore. I’ve realized that I need to dress for myself because no one else cares and life is too short to be uncomfortable. I think I look put-together and decent most of the time, thanks to my simple dress and leggings combos. I’m not forging any new fashion frontiers here, but I do feel confident every day.

It takes me about 2 minutes to get dressed because I have a U-Pick-3 menu every day:

  1. One dress (short-sleeved or long-sleeved)
  2. One pair of leggings (short or long)
  3. One sweater (heavy or light)

My system removes all the guesswork and effort. I have so many other things to spend time thinking about that my clothes do not rate. I’ve also accepted that I like modest stuff, not because I’m conservative (the opposite!), but because it makes me comfortable. I’m looking at dresses online thinking, “where’d the rest of the dress go?!?” My midriff will not be on display anytime soon and I’m fine with that. I feel confident, healthy and attractive in my full-coverage outfits.

Oh, Shoes!

I almost forgot about shoes. Yes, I do wear those.


  • 1 pair of these black, canvas, low-top converse sneakers–purchased new 1 million years ago (affiliate link).
  • 1 pair of these hiking shoes–a hand-me-down from a friend who needed a different size (affiliate link).
  • 1 pair of flip flops for the beach and pool ($1 from a yard sale!)
  • 3 pairs of ballet flats (purchased from Target like 12 years ago and still going strong)
  • 1 pair of knee-high rubber boots for chicken/homestead labor ($5 at a yard sale!)
I actually got this dress at a yard sale! Paired with my leggings and some fancy boots.

I have some fancy heels leftover from my dress-up days, which I very occasionally wear, but honestly, they’re too uncomfortable. Although they are very cute, which is probably why I can’t bear to give them away…


  • 1 pair of these insulated muck boots, purchased new five years ago (affiliate link). I wear these for everything: snowshoeing, outdoor labor, going places. It’s too cold for anything else.
  • For the rare event necessitating a “fancy” shoe, I’ll wear my muck boots and pack my ballet flats to change into. Last year I did this exactly one time: for our Christmas Eve church service. My feet were so cold while I was singing with the choir that I will never do this again.


  • I have several pairs of cute boots leftover from my fancy days that I like to wear before it gets too cold OR if it’s dry outside (during the pre-snow phase).

Did You Buy all of this Used?

Nope. Nope I absolutely did not. Curious folks can scroll back through my years of Monthly Expense Reports, which include all the clothes I’ve purchased.

When I made the transition from OUTFITS to clothing, I bought most of it new. In the past, thrift shopping for myself was a treasure hunt and I wore all manner of bizarre things because it was fun! Now, I just need stuff that I like and that fits. When I found leggings I liked, I bought 6 pairs of the exact same leggings (in different colors!). When I find a dress I love, I typically buy several in different colors. I will say that I tend to buy fairly inexpensive clothing and the most I’ve ever spent on a single item is about $50.

One of my fave winter turtleneck dresses. I own it in two colors!

There’s nothing wrong with buying nicer, more expensive pieces, I just seem to be able to find stuff I like at places like Kohl’s, Old Navy and Target. It works for me, it might not work for you! Anytime I need/want a new dress, the very first place I check is Kohl’s, specifically the Apt 9 brand. I own more Apt 9 items than anything else and I have for years! I started shopping at Kohl’s in high school and never stopped.

For whatever reason, that brand most nearly fits my fashion sense and budget. It also seems to hold up really well over time. I’ve owned Apt 9 stuff for over a decade that still looks great. I will note that I do line-dry all of my clothing with the exception of my pajamas, socks and undies. You can tell I have a uniform when it’s laundry day and all my identical dresses are hanging up in the breeze.

I still find great items at thrift stores occasionally and there are several in our area that I like a lot. I will say that, since I only wear dresses, it’s quick and easy for me to breeze through the dress section in a thrift store. Either they have dresses I like or they don’t! I love that about my simplified style.

Will You Buy More Clothing?

Another classic winter combo

Probably. I typically buy 1 or 2 new dresses each season just for fun-sies. I haven’t bought new leggings or sweaters in several years because I seem to have plenty of those. But, I enjoy finding a new dress that I like and, I try very hard to follow the 1 in, 1 out rule. If something new joins the closet, something old must be donated.

The one thing I don’t have right now is a fancy dress. We’re going to a wedding in November (with three separate events!) and I’m debating if I want to try and find something fancy. Alternately, I might just wear my nice, black, long-sleeved sweater dress–which was a gift from my fabulous mother-in-law and is pictured above in the kitchen w/the kids–with a fancy necklace. That’s what I’ve been doing for all “fancy” events up to this point and it’s worked out totally fine. I have no desire to be uncomfortable at this wedding and I’m not sure I care enough to spend money on something I’ll wear very rarely. But it would be fun to get something glitzy… However, I really don’t like shopping, which is why my uniform suits me so well. I don’t have to go try on a million dresses to find one I like–I know my size and my style.

Will You Ever Change Your Uniform?

Probably. Who knows? I’m much more open to variation and change than I used to be. In the past, I felt like I had to make one decision FOR LIFE and never deviate. Now, I’m of the mindset that, “this is what really works for me right now.” There’s no one right way to dress or buy clothing or present yourself in the world. We’re all amalgamations of our experiences and tastes and what’s right for me right now might not be right for you. What’s right for me right now might not even be right for me in another 10 years! Enshrining that sense of flexibility and openness has really helped me to be less rigid, less anxious and happier. That and taking my Zoloft every morning.

What do you wear? What clothing makes you happy and comfortable?

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  1. This is brilliant! Thanks for sharing. I’m about to retire, and while I’ve been working from home since the pandemic started, I haven’t really let myself change out of work clothes yet. I am also aiming for leggings and a dress as my go-to choice.

  2. Love a uniform! For me in the spring I bring out the capris. 7 pair with tied waist. I have about 20 short sleeved tshirts. Mix and match every day. That’s spring/summer. Fall/winter brings blue jeans and a host of long sleeved tshirts. I have a few skirt/top combos and a few dresses to round out. Very happy with this arrangement! Sweaters and one puffy jacket, several pair of sandals and sneakers.

  3. I love the concept of a uniform for daily life. That is one aspect of being in the military I like: I never have to think about what I am going to wear. And this is coming from someone in the Navy…a service known for its plethora of uniforms. It definitely cuts down on decision fatigue.

  4. To a point a couple years ago where I just got tired of wearing clothing that was uncomfortable. I’m middle-aged now and I’m much prefer elastic waste everything. I will last a waste jeans, elastic waist capris, elastic waist Sports pants, elastic waist squirts. And I love them all. And I wear cops that I love and are comfortable happier than I’ve ever been.!

  5. Love your uniform! It makes sense! There is a cute Target Universal Thread dress on sale right now (I think) that is short sleeved with a mock neck. I bought it in olive, charcoal, and cream. This works for me because I’m a teacher and my classroom gets overheated so I can start out with a cardigan and take it off. I am really loving dresses because it’s one and done and it looks professional. I am loving the sneaker with dress trend, too. My feet have never been happier. The Felina legging brand is at Costco (you may know this) and it is my favorite of the everyday legging brand. I love leggings with pockets for exercising, though!

  6. It always pays to spell check before you send things. Didn’t do that. So it should say elastic waist skorts, jeans, capris, sports pants. And tops that I love.

  7. Thank you for sharing, it sounds really comfy! What kind of pants do you wear in the depths of winter? Leggings alone is probably not enough in January in Vermont, when you are going to drop off the kids somewhere, visit someone, go to the doctor, dentist, church, etc. We would have loved to see some photos of your actual dresses, sweaters, shoes, etc.

    1. If anyone has a source on quality fleece lined leggings I’m listening.

      When I saw this post I was hoping there would be an option that would cut through all the available crap.

  8. Special occasion dresses are the perfect thing to find at a thrift store. Such a better use of my money to spend $10 on a dress I’ll only have a reason to wear a couple of times than $100 on one.

  9. I have pared down my closet (and continue to do so) but about 1/3 of it is fancier dresses that don’t really serve much purpose in this season of my life – but I just love dresses so much! Given the rarity of need + my love of dresses, I think in the future I may just utilize a service like Rent the Runway. Not frugal by any means, but fun and probably more sustainable than a closet full of dresses.

  10. I don’t know if you’d be into it, but pre pandemic I was really into Rent the Rubway for weddings. It was a fun little treat to find a fancy dress to wear for a special event without buying it (knowing I’d likely only wear it once, since we don’t do many fancy things)

  11. With Covid and most weddings behind me, I have started to use Rent the Runway for fancy dress if I want something “new”. Yes, it is more expensive per wear vs. buying a dress and keeping forever – but I also don’t have this dress staring back at me from my closet every day! Plus, you pick 2 sizes when you do Rent the Runway so it takes away some of the sizing anxiety.

  12. I’m really enjoying this series! Uniforms are such a great way to handle feeling good in your clothes but not having to think about it too much during hectic chapters of life.
    If you want a decently priced fancy feeling comfy dress with cool pattern choices and pockets, you could search on eBay for a Boden dress in your size (they do UK sizing so a little weird), and look for the ones that are kind of a jersey knit material. (This is weirdly specific, but I always filter to US results only since they are a British brand, and I’m not trying to pay for international shipping when I’m trying to buy cheap pretty clothes.) As a fellow mother of two, a secondhand Boden dress with boots and leggings is a go to for cold weather fancy-ish occasions!

  13. Rent the runway! Not the most frugal but I have a ton of fun “shopping” from my couch and it makes me feel glamorous for special occasions.

    1. They wear nearly 100% hand-me-downs/used stuff I find at yard sales/thrift stores. You’re totally right–I should do another post in the series on the kids!

      1. That would be awesome 😊 My kids are exactly the same age as yours (each just a few days older than yours), so I could definitely learn from you!

  14. I think we must be twins in our hatred of pants, shorts,and wool!I also love me a good legging/tunic combo and is my go to in the Fall/Winter.Summer and Spring are all about the dresses. I live in So Cal so it is a must.Just throw on some cute shoes and jewelry(if needed) and you are good to go. After 3 kids and menopause I can no longer tolerate anything tight around my stomach and refuse to be un-comfortable. At 54 I don’t really care so much about what others think and I’m not going to sacrifice my comfort for fashion anymore.

    1. And as I’ve got a bit older, I realise that there is every opportunity to look great AND be comfortable. That’s the thing. There is no need – not ever – to be miserable and uncomfortable in any outfit. I also despise tight waistbands!

      I now wear skimmies under all dresses (unless I’m wearing leggings) and this is purely because of Mrs F’s very clever tip. Bizarrely, though I’m not exactly slender, my legs are not at all plump, BUT even as a very young, very slim person, that chafing-thigh thing was AWFUL and put me off dresses and skirts (I come from a very hot climate) for a long time. It must be my build, because I know many people with not-skinny legs who literally never have experienced this issue!

      Anyway, being comfortable and looking nice are not mutually exclusive. I love bright colours and patterns, florals and sequins (when appropriate, obviously!) and have a weakness for bright handbags that are… not cheap…

  15. I love the idea of an at home uniform, I am 5 years of retiring and find myself wearing the clothes that I am comfortable in, love leggings, not a dress girl. But also firm believer in everyone to their own. Thanks for sharing Mrs F

  16. I absolutely love this! and your new attitude of well maybe this will work for now and that’s okay it does not have to work forever. I ordered some of those leggings right off the bat as I have been needing some more and do not have favorites that I love. I love this simple approach and honestly I think that I need a lot more of that in my own life.

  17. Okay, I’m heading to Panama in a couple weeks and couldn’t click “Add to Cart” on that wetsuit fast enough. It’s SO cute! And love that it sounds so comfy so you can just *have fun* in the sun, as opposed to worrying at all about your body (so real). Thanks, Liz! Great post. Now I need to see which of your T-shirts I can fit into my budget…

  18. I am happy to know I am not the only person with out pants in the world. I live in caraibes, I have dresses and underwear. That’s it . No pyjama, no yoda pants, no nothing. Just lots of dresses in cotton and colorful prints or solids. I buy then second hands when in Europe or the states. I have a coat and 2 cardigan when traveling.

  19. Love this article! I am about to go back to work in a professional office in person for the first time in a few years (and the first time in post-kids body), so I have also gotten a uniform. I had sets of suits made (pants, skirt, dress, jacket) in 3 neutral colors, and got 6 identical tops and 6 sweaters in different colors. Now I know everything fits and looks professional, and I can get dressed in 30 seconds without worrying about clashing. Maybe someday I will have more bandwidth to bring back creativity into my wardrobe. But that day is not today, and that is fine by me.

    1. When you’re ready, look for printed tops in similar colors of your suits. It adds a pop of color and dimension rather than just a outfit of solid colors.

      I usually dress in a solid and print. Rarely do I dress in all solids.

  20. I have a question for you and your readers: do folks who live in areas with a lot of ticks (e.g. rural Maine) have recommendations for tick-resistant clothing? What items have you found to be most effective? Have you found an affordable source? I haven’t seen anything 2nd hand, which is how I usually shop; but I’m willing to invest in a few effective pieces. I did buy a pair of leggings.

    1. I wear my overalls anytime I’m in the woods as well as my long-sleeved shirt and a hat, which helps cut down on ticks.

    2. I spray Permethrin from a bottle on my hiking clothes and shoes- I think it’s meant to last at least 5 washings? And I change as soon as I come inside.

  21. What material are your leggings made of? I love the comfort of dresses with leggings but the static drives me nuts. My dresses are usually slightly below the knee and I prefer cotton dresses.

  22. I’ve learned that thrifting, while fun, just takes up so much time to find what you want, so I’ve come to terms with buying some things new. I have a handful of brands that fit me well, so I search out those on Poshmark. My “uniform” is usually Carhartt leggings and t-shirts… they’re a little pricey, but I like wearing them on the farm because they’re durable, fit me well, and comfortable.

    The dresses I’ve been wearing to weddings the last few years have all been thrifted, Goodwill or Poshmark. I’ve learned the key to shopping for used dresses online (with no returns) is to know what shapes and fabrics fit you. A-line/empire waists and plunging necklines are a no for my body type, but wrap dresses will almost always work.

  23. For the wedding, why not keep your eyes peeled for a suitably glamorous (even with a few sequins or sparkly bits) pashmina or unstructured blazer in a pretty colour that you love? You could borrow one of course, and thrift stores may well be the perfect place to find such a thing. Put that with your dress and maybe a coordinating bag / shoes / hair clip or whatever you have / can readily get easily, and you’re good to go. A smarter alternative to leggings – which I LOVE – is a pair of tights that are opaque and sort of ”velvet touch” in type, they just look more glam and of course can be worn and worn for years.

    It’s a way to wear black to a wedding that isn’t ”plain black” but is just as comfortable and doesn’t involve enormous cash outlays for one event. You have great style and we must see what you ended up wearing when you have a chance to show us!

  24. And as I’ve got a bit older, I realise that there is every opportunity to look great AND be comfortable. That’s the thing. There is no need – not ever – to be miserable and uncomfortable in any outfit. I also despise tight waistbands!

    I now wear skimmies under all dresses (unless I’m wearing leggings) and this is purely because of Mrs F’s very clever tip. Bizarrely, though I’m not exactly slender, my legs are not at all plump, BUT even as a very young, very slim person, that chafing-thigh thing was AWFUL and put me off dresses and skirts (I come from a very hot climate) for a long time. It must be my build, because I know many people with not-skinny legs who literally never have experienced this issue!

    Anyway, being comfortable and looking nice are not mutually exclusive. I love bright colours and patterns, florals and sequins (when appropriate, obviously!) and have a weakness for bright handbags that are… not cheap…

  25. If you decide to spend a little more money, I highly recommend Seasalt Cornwall for dresses. I really like the dresses I have from them. Plus, for people who are still wearing tunics, they have lots. Excellent quality.

    Yay for having a uniform!

  26. My work shifted to jeans every day with the pandemic. Totally simplifying my wardrobe. Jeans + short sleeved dress shirt + scarf/shawl/sweater = done. I’m an accountant; I don’t need to look glamorous.

    Simple Isn’t Easy is a book by Olivia Goldsmith (yes the one who wrote the First Wives Club) that discusses the uniform idea and how to get there step by step. Always worth a read when life changes seasons.

  27. I find jeggings are comfy and I can wear with things I already own. I like your leggings idea, and especially how you wear them, I am older and the last thing I want is my derriere hanging out. I may try some of your ideas. I generally shop at the Salvation Army, many times I find nothing, but then the bonus is I spend nothing. I have one right around the corner and enjoy just going in there to look – and I end up finding a lot of what I am looking for over time.

  28. I like a “uniform” for work (something similar to a capsule wardrobe – saves so much time in the morning). I’m trying to move away from wearing jeans for work- my employer has a casual dress code so I can wear what I like, but I want to have some clothes that I only wear for relaxing and not feel like I should be working when I wear them. My uniform tends to consist of a jersey top/dress, trousers or skirt (or leggings with the dress), and (if it’s not summer) a handknit cardigan or pullover. Long boots (the Clarks ones with built-in Gore-Tex) for winter with the skirts or leggings. Fitflop trainers at all other times. I make some of my clothes and it feels empowering to wear something I’ve made to work. Sometimes people notice the handknits but nobody has noticed the hand-sewing so far (partly because I wear a lab coat and probably because nobody pays that much attention to what other people are wearing- which is a reassuring thought in itself).

  29. I did not deliberately set out to have a uniform, but soon found out I have one in retirement. Capris and a top or shorts and a top most of the year (I live in Florida). In winter jeans and a top, but only elastic waist jeans. Even most of my capris and shorts are pull-on ones. Don’t need zippers rubbing against my tummy.

  30. AMEN for uniforms! Even my teen says I have one. I have a bunch of Kohl’s Croft and Barrow or Sonoma brand 3/4 length scoop neck tops for Fall/Winter (I’m in GA so it’s never overly cold), and their short sleeve, v-neck tops for Spring and Summer. I even comb over eBay for colors and patterns from other Kohl’s locations not local to me! I pair them with leggings (thank GOODNESS for them and no more buttons and zippers). Capri length for Spring and Summer and heavier, “jegging” types for Fall/Winter. It’s so easy when you have a wardrobe like this and essentially just have to grab a top and bottom!

  31. Same with the uniform! I have a very similar uniform to yours. It is so sad you’re allergic to wool! Even merino wool? I bet you would love wool& dresses if this weren’t the case. Can you wear dark tough socks? Those are my favorite!!!

  32. I also have a “uniform” everyday and I love it. I wear jeans, t-shirts, and a zippered sweatshirt if it is chilly. All of my jeans have to be soft and comfortable. I also have nicer jeans that I wear on weekends with a top and a sweater but I have only 3 outfits like that. I work at a thrift store sorting through donations so I need comfortable, easy to wash and durable clothes. There is a YouTuber I watch (The minimal mom) and she talks about the season of life and how certain things make each season easier. A uniform makes mornings a breeze!

  33. My work wardrobe is a logo shirt from Lands End (I get to choose style and color and I currently have seven shirts) and a pair of slacks. I bought navy, tan, gray, and black slacks, plus a fun dusky purple for casual Fridays. Two of the slacks were bought new, the rest were bought second-hand. Slacks don’t bother me at all, especially since all of mine have some stretch in the fabric. I buy slacks and pick out work shirts with an eye to mixing and matching them. I have a few pullovers and cardigans for cooler weather, and all but one were bought second-hand. The one bought new was a company purchase with a logo. At home I wear jeans on occasion or cargo pants in cooler weather, shorts or crop pants in hot weather with tee-shirts, either long or short sleeved. I also have a couple of second-hand lightweight cotton knit dresses for just wearing at home in hot weather. I can make a dash to the store in them, but I wouldn’t wear them to an event or gathering.

    I wear second-hand dresses to church, and I have a small selection of them for both cooler and warmer seasons. I wear them with hosiery. Yes. I am used to wearing pantyhose and tights, and they don’t bother me.

    I know at some point leggings will go completely out of style and they will get harder to find. At that point, I wonder what women will wear, since I know a lot of women who are strongly attached to their leggings!

  34. A response re: fleece lined leggings…
    I have had, and still have, Athleta brand fleece lined leggings. They are not inexpensive but really hold up and have not pilled. A new brand this year for me is Title 9. I cannot speak to the longevity but their quality is generally excellent. They are not sausage casings! 😉

  35. I recommend checking out Rent the Runway for a dress to wear to the wedding! I have rented dresses from them a few times for weddings (especially a fancier wedding) and have had good results. They send you two sizes for the price of one. It’s not “cheap” but it’s sustainable in that you’re essentially borrowing a one-time use dress!

  36. This is my exact uniform. I am a nurse so I have 4 uniforms. Leggings and dresses all the time. I love a few good sweatshirts and sweaters. A comfortable pair of black Merril’s for winter and Birkenstocks until it snows. I have not bought anything new in a long time. I do have a question about the leggings. Do they fit snug in the crotch? My problem is so many leggings do not fit snugly or stay up in that area.

  37. Yes yes yes. I wear the same thing everyday for work: dress, leggings, sweater, with rotating shoes depending on the season and then maybe one accessory. Now I’m thinking I ought to do that for my life outside of work. I just have so much that I never ever want to wear.

  38. Okay, I love the dress/leggings combo but my first attempt failed a couple of winters ago because the dress stuck to the leggings. Any advice to overcome this, oh resourceful FW hive?

  39. 100% in favor of the uniform. I’m a teacher. At work I wear a solid or plaid top with khakis. Summers are t-shirts with cargo shorts.

  40. I also LOVE Apt. 9 brand at Kohls and am so very sad that they do not have it anymore. Their replacement is Nine West which is similar but not the same. I have found some Apt. 9 at a local consignment shop that I am very happy with.

  41. Love this! I have similar feelings towards pants – hate them. Same with button down shirts. They never fit me right, and I’ll be pulling and tugging at them all day – so I haven’t worn them in years. I have a capsule wardrobe/uniform that I based around the colour navy (because I look like a corpse in black). My wardrobe is pretty minimal, but I look smart and put together. My uniform is like yours dress, cardigan, leggings or tights. Jeggings with tunic tops, boots. If you know what you feel good in, what colours and silhouettes suit you, it saves so much time faffing around in a shop trying things on. I only buy a few things a year, but I can be in an out quickly.

  42. My uniform is Duluth Trading Company NoGa pants in black, navy, or gray, and a colorful print pullover cotton top. In the summer I wear capri length NoGa and short sleeve print pullover. I’m in the south so when it’s colder I can just top with a hoodie.

  43. I prefer dresses for going into the office – JJill only! I’m 63 now and only within the past 5 years discovered “slip shorts”. It’s what Liz calls legging shorts. I despised the traditional slip and wear my slip shorts now without fail. Pants are not comfortable around my waist unless they are elastic waist (too much weight around my middle). I own a few pair of black leggings and denim jeggings. Shoes have to be Merrell or Teva or Born -had a terrible bout with PF in both feet about 10 years ago. No more cheap shoes. Or stocking feet in the house – I have graduated to “house shoes”.

  44. Hooray for uniforms! I’m an artist and work out of my home studio. I live in California and I wear jean capris and a Lands End tank top year round. The jean capris are 10 years old and probably need replaced next year. I’ve been buying the Lands End women’s tank tops for years, I have them in every color, and at least once a year they go on clearance and that’s how I choose what colors to buy for the year. For teaching I use my nicer pairs of jean capris and newer tank tops. For gardening, canning and hiking I wear my older sets. I’d much rather spend my time choosing colors, etc. for my artwork than what I wear each day! (I do get tired of people asking me if I’m cold. I’m thinking of making a tank top that says, “I’m old enough to know I’m cold and put a sweater on.”) For swimming, which I do daily May-October, I wear Lands End swim tank tops (I take the underwires out, ouch!) and swim board shorts. If you buy them on clearance at the end of the season they’re a deal! And they last for years. Even for day to day use.

  45. Your approach to dressing reminds me of Katy Bowman’s work around “movement friendly” clothing. She’s a biomechanist, and really promotes the idea that your clothes shouldn’t restrict your natural range of movement in any way. She’s also a big fan of the dress over leggings combo! Recommend checking her out for anyone who’s interested in a science-based approach to clothing and footwear.

  46. Are these leggings breathable? I love wearing leggings but rarely do because by the end of the day my legs feel like they suffocating lol.

  47. I have owned the Felina stretch pants since your first post Liz. I literally live in them all winter long! They last and they fit great! I’m only placing another order now so I can do the gray days set.

    Yes, I have invested in Lululemon leggings and love them. I think they’re worth every penny. But they are not perfect for everyday situations and the Felina pants probably give you more wear for the money! Seriously people, get these pants!!.

  48. I agree with a “uniform.” I work from home which has been a lifelong dream. I have video calls most days and I only have to worry about my top. Fortunately, we have a casual dress code. I wear a plain v-neck t-shirt and those longer shorts that you talked about in your article. I mostly run around barefoot, but the shorts and bare feet will probably change into longer leggings and socks in the winter time!

  49. I stopped wearing anything black years ago even though I liked its functionality. This simple move did wonders for my everyday mood. My ‘uniform’ now is stripes, dots and solids and then everything goes together. I just don’t feel as comfortable in florals and patterns. Comfort is priority for sure.

  50. Just an FYI that Costco also sells the Felina brand leggings and tank tops. I have not tried the leggings as I love my Eddie Bauer running pants for my day uniform, but I have been wearing their stretchy tank tops as under layers for years.

    Sometimes we have found that Costco versions of name brands are of a different (usually lower) quality but these tank tops have worn well for a number of years. If you can get them on sale, all the better.

  51. Thank you for the leggings link. I love J. Jill’s leggings but they’re expensive. I switched my wardrobe to leggings (long in winter, capri in summer) paired with tunic tops during lockdowns. And now that I’m working in the office occasionally I bought knitwear pants – no more uncomfortable dress pants! (I stopped wearing heels years ago.) My office was business casual pre-pandemic and initially I was a little concerned that knitwear would not be at the level of business casual. But I’ve seen a few people wear shorts so I think I’m fine. Down with business casual!

  52. Really like the leggings/long sleeve dress combo you have going on there! Thanks for giving me some ideas. The only thing I would change about your wardrobe is to add some real sneakers – like Asics. The difference is the gel sole. You may think they look ugly or garish but they are much more comfortable than Converse, guaranteed. I’m slowly transitioning my wardrobe from office wear since I now work from home. Ditching the uncomfortable heels, boots and ballet flats for a decent pair of sneaks has made all the difference in my foot health. Even my toenails are growing better than they have in years.

  53. I love this glimpse into your wardrobe! I’m in the process of thinning my closet, but am trying to wear things out because I have gotten in a donate-replace cycle that I want to break. I’ve gotten rid of things that don’t fit but have pieces that I haven’t worn in years, so I’m taking them out of the closet and wearing them. At the end of the day, I either slot them into my wfh rotation, or box up for donation next month.

  54. In retirement, I have resorted to sleeveless, mid-knee A-line type dresses for the summer. I have one good pair of capri’s to wear out to dinner etc, and a few nice sun dresses as well.
    I wear one pair of sandals or Tom’s on my feet. My winter wardrobe has lapsed into flannel Pj pants and a long sleeved shirt. I have 2 long flannel dresses that I wear out with leggings. I have one dress that I can wear to weddings are nice dinner out. I didn’t have much in play clothes when I retired. Now I have more play and less dress. I like to thrift local. I have found great buys on name brands over the years!
    You look nice regardless of what you are wearing, Liz.

  55. I buy fleece lined footless tights from Marshalls and wear them under everything from Oct-March. Usually a two pack goes for $7.99.

    In terms of fancy dresses, you may have luck finding some on Amazon at a great price. No one bought them during the pandemic. I bought the dress for my son’s bar mitzvah off Amazon for $28.

  56. Canada shock…Felina suede finish tights Two Pack $42. Can. Plus shipping, plus taxes, over 50. So frustrating at times! I have two of the dresses one short sleeve, other long sleeve, but cannot find that style again, maybe later. In winter.

  57. Ahhhhhh…. jeans! I HATE wearing jeans! I only have the one pair that I wear from time to time since I don’t own many pairs of pants, but I find them so uncomfortable. And I love dresses, I could live in them forever and always. Too bad my shape is not flattered by leggings because I would do just like you!

  58. I too hate regular pants that button and have turned to elastic waist pants (I need dress pants for work and Kohl’s and other dept stores sell elastic waist dress pants WITH POCKETS which I love and buy all of them in my size in multiple colors… I even wear the on the weekend they are that comfortable). I also like stretchy, elastic waist jeans from Seven-7 I get at BJ’s/Sam’s/Costco (not to be confused with Seven for all Mankind, which is a pricey brand) which I can generally find once a year and have to buy as a cat of mine always destroys my clothing due to a syndactyly paw (cute, but annoying to lose clothes to fabricpulls).

    One thing you don’t mention is insoles to shoes, which I really want to point out. As someone with flat feet and a host of foot ailments (been going to a podiatrist since I was 22) I wholly recommend getting good shoe insoles to use in whatever shoes you wear! I buy online and either replace the insole completely with the good one I bought, or find a half insert and use it in shoes I can’t take the original insole from. This enables me to buy used shoes, like used, good quality leather boots on ebay/Mercari, since I am adding my own insole anyways (so it doesn’t matter if the insole is worn out). My insoles are never more than $40/set and they mean the difference between me having serious pain or minor soreness the next day after lots of walking. Too many shoes that come out now have terrible arch support, and even flat-footed people need a hard arch! Changing insoles has also enabled me to keep shoes longer, since I can change the part that really matters (the part supporting my foot) and the physical shoe is still good to use.

  59. Love this! I too embraced the leggings and dress combo and haven’t look back ☺😅 and also add some comfy sneakers for the day. Thanks Liz for this timely article!

  60. I’m firmly in the “I love my Levis” category; classic, straight fit & I wish they made women’s jeans from the same fabric as men’s because stretchy fabric wears out so much faster (meaning I can tear out both knees in less than two years). I hate leggings and own zero pairs. So: 2 pairs of Levis, 1 pr sweatpants bought so I could get dressed after shoulder surgery, 3 prs casual/dress pants for work in school, 14 sweaters, 6 plain long sleeve shirts, 9 button up shirts (4 of these are hefty corduroy LLBeans in different colors), 5 short sleeve shirts, 5 skirts, 3 sundresses, 5 pr shorts (cotton Old Navy), 4 long sleeve & 10 short sleeve graphic t-shirts, 1 swimsuit, 9 pr pajamas/nightgowns, 1 fleece robe (21 yrs old), 1 flannel robe (27 yrs old),1 bra (yes, really–wash and hang to dry overnight), 12 pr undies, 20 prs socks, 1 pr silk long underwear, 1 long down coat (70% off from Lands End 10 yrs ago), 1 windbreaker that’s a 15 yr old hand-me-down from my son, 1 raincoat with a removable wool lining (another oldie here–24 years and still looks great!), 1 winter beanie, 1 pr shearling lined leather gloves, 1 pr fleece gloves, and moving on to shoes: 1 pr hiking boots, 1 pr snow boots (hand me down from daughter), 1 pr tall leather boots with a low heel ($10 at a consignment store 12 years ago), 1 pr leather clogs, 1 pr running shoes, 1 pr birkenstock sandals, 1 pr wool slippers, 1 pr crocs, 1 pr rain boots. I had a beautiful high-end designer cocktail dress that I gave to my daughter so she can get more enjoyment out of it, but I paid $60 for it from a consignment store 25 years ago and wore it 15 times so at $4.00/wear I definitely got my money out of it 🙂 Currently the running shoes are the only thing for which I paid full price (which really hurt and almost made me not buy them but I have very difficult feet to fit). Everything else was on sale significantly, and much of it came from resale shops. Oh yeah–1 tote bag, 1 quilted duffle bag, 1 wheeled carry-on, 1 insulated lunch bag (hand me down from my son), 2 backpacks, and 2 large LLBean tote bags (1 of which is 40 years old 🙂

  61. I’m still one of those types who works in an office.
    But a few years back I decided I’m a dark pant + synthetic material pattern top uniform or in the summer I go synthetic material pattern dress.
    It is quite life changing you pick something you like and just go with it, as another commenter said it just stream lines the mental process so so much, it is unbelievable.

  62. I too shifted away from jeans, especially working from home. They were part of my ‘work uniform’ prior to covid.been then I was happy to shed them when I came home from work each night.
    Now I still have some in my closet but fewer and may reduce more after this winter. I am so much happier in non- denim pants, most of which have an elastic waist, though not all are fully elastic.
    My biggest issue with leggings is that most have no pockets at all, and frankly I need pockets…even a small one that can hold my lip balm as a move from room to room. It drives me crazy not to have pockets on pants or leggings or shorts. I have a few pair of leggings/leggings without pockets and they are rarely worn. Only if I have a fleece, sweatshirt or sweater that has a pocket.
    I have taken some older Land’s End starfish straight leg pants or cropped pant and cut/hemmed them to be ‘short leggings’ BUT they have a small front pocket and I wear them all the time in the summer. LE (and others) should add at least a small pocket on all leggings at any length. You don’t have to use it and it alone doesn’t create a lot of bulk. I am not even talking about a pocket big enough to fit a typical cell phone, though I know others might like this, I just want something small.

  63. I hate leggings because I don’t like anything tight or close to my skin – I like loose clothing, always have, even as a child, possibly because I am very thin and anything touching my skin irritates it. I like dresses in the summer but our Canadian winters are so cold (and exceedingly windy on the small island out in the Atlantic Ocean where I live). I have to sometimes wear 3 or 4 layers to stay warm, even indoors. I am also a senior so the old body needs all the warmth I can give it.

  64. Aaaah Mrs Frugalwoods ….you are as the English say a woman of my own heart !!! Since the pandemic ….having beforehand gone for Indian shelwar and baggy holey ( scuse the pun )black jumper everywhere ….I now love leggings. ….all hand me downs from my hubby …so that they not tight and ugh .. specifically from Lidlls cotton maternity ones !!! …yes other half doesn’t care either !! There are three pairs …now all been puppified ….IE ….very holey …so I darn them with bright colours and enjoy my masterpiece ….but I know others think skinflint poor old girl can’t afford new ones !!! Frugal thrills for moi !!! Then match them with denim mini skirt …I have no idea why the pandemic led me here with baggy lightweight tops …but it makes me extremely happy to wear my rags as I call them !!! Fashion maschion I really don’t care either up the frugal dougalls and thankyou for so much inspiration and wisdom Sarah

  65. Yes!! Same here. Love dresses and I’m especially comfortable in jumpers or sundresses with t shirts underneath. Plus or minus leggings and cardigans, and that is perfect for me.
    Definitely worth the money to get this plan started.

  66. I am right there with you on the leggings and knee length dresses. I used to love wearing jeans, but lately they’re just uncomfortable. It also seems like shirts are getting shorter so I started doing like you and buying the midi dresses or knee length dresses just like you said for extra coverage. I got tired of leaning over and feeling a draft! I have been trying to do an overhaul of my wardrobe and you have given me some ideas with the overalls working outdoors and in winter time to with the coveralls. I’ve been gradually getting rid of items I just don’t wear, and saving the items for my adult daughter to go through and what she doesn’t want we donate the items. I’m glad I read this article it was helpful.

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