Could a Business ‘Uniform’ Save You Time?

On 3 December, Yahoo! published a story about Donald’s Trump latest fashion gaffe. It seems the US President-elect likes to secure his ties with Scotch tape, of all things.

The article was quick to criticise Trump’s other style choices, describing his dress sense as a ‘uniform of loose-fitting, frequently unbuttoned suits and overly long ties.

But it is, unmistakably, a uniform. One that’s been carefully curated, according to David Yi, editor of men’s beauty and grooming site Very Good Light.

“Let’s make it clear — when it comes to a presidential race, there are no style mistakesEverything is planned out methodically, [from] lapel size to tie color. So when it comes to Trump’s suits, of course the ill fit and copious jacket sizes are intentional. He wants to look larger than life.”

Trump’s ‘uniform’ may not appease the fashion gods, but it certainly makes an impact. (Whether the long-term impact is positive or negative remains to be seen.)

I don’t have a business uniform myself, though I do try to choose outfits that don’t require a lot of ironing (I have enough to do in the morning).

My only real uniform is reserved for weekends, when my default setting is activewear. (If you’re not familiar with activewear, watch this video. It explains everything.)

In my opinion, activewear is the perfect all-day option — from the gym…to coffee…to the supermarket…to cleaning my apartment. The only place you can’t wear it is out to dinner (and even that’s up for debate).

Perhaps I need a default setting for work, too. It would eliminate the 10 minutes I spend standing in front of my wardrobe every morning, desperately trying to conjure up an outfit in my head. Not to mention the accompanying shoes and accessories…

Of course, women aren’t the only ones who face this problem. I’m sure there are plenty of men out there who’d love to spend less time worrying about what to wear every day.

So now I’ll hand you over to entrepreneur and multimillionaire Mark Ford, who highlights the advantage of having a business uniform, with tips from his book, Living Rich.

The advantage of the business ‘uniform’

Ralph Lauren makes beautiful clothes. Over the last five decades, his company has grown from making a small line of neckties to a multibillion-dollar international name with nearly 500 bricks-and-mortar stores.

Yet he dresses simply.

His usual attire is a pair of jeans and a collared shirt. I’ve seen dozens of photos of him over the years. He’s always looked good — even well dressed, albeit in a casual way. Even when he’s wearing a coat and tie, he’ll often be wearing jeans, too.

Yet if I (Mark) had to describe his personal clothing style, I’d call it a uniform.

Not a uniform in a strict, militaristic sense. But a distinct and recognisable style that doesn’t really differ from day to day.

Like most people, I have a larger working wardrobe comprised of dozens of different pants, shirts and suits that give me hundreds of options every morning. Sometimes I get it right — I feel well dressed, and people say so. Sometimes I get it terribly wrong.

When you have lots of choices, dressing each morning takes time — even if you are an organisation nut like me and have all your clothing sorted. On a typical morning, I spend 10 to 15 minutes getting dressed. That’s about as much time as it took me to write this little essay.

So I’m thinking about doing the uniform thing — and even thinking about it is getting me sort of excited. Not only will I save myself 10 to 15 valuable minutes every morning, I will also reduce a bit of stress and eliminate the fear of having a bad clothing day.

I’m serious. After a lifetime of trying to look good (but different) every day, I’m looking forward to picking a uniform.

When you think about it, the traditional suit and tie was the executive uniform for more than 50 years. It’s only since that look has been abandoned that we’ve been caught in the timewasting trap of ‘new day, different outfit’ thinking.

Besides the uniform, it’s possible to dress well and feel very good about your clothes without spending a lot of money. All you have to do is follow the two simple rules from my book, Living Rich, which will improve your wardrobe and save you a fortune:

  1. Buy quality, classic clothing and wear it for years. (You can even buy second-hand if you like.)
  2. Buy cheap, trendy clothing to replenish your wardrobe every two or three years.

And, of course, never buy anything — no matter whose name is on the label or how cheap it is — if it doesn’t make you look and feel good when you put it on.


Some great insights there — thanks Mark.

I (Michelle) agree that the whole suit-and-tie thing is out. That’s why I won’t be taking my style cues from Mr Trump! Unless you’re a politician, there’s no need to dress so predictably — business uniform or not.

If you do decide to create a business uniform, get creative with it. Just because you’ll wear it every day doesn’t mean it has to be stiff and boring. In fact, that’s all the more reason to make it interesting.

That’s what I’ll be trying to achieve, anyway.

Michelle Hammond

Editor’s Note: Building a comfortable, fashionable and affordable wardrobe is just one part of living an overall wealthier — and healthier — lifestyle. Mark has spent more than three decades dispensing wisdom like this…and now he’s compiled it into the most comprehensive wealth-building program in existence…

It’s called the Wealth Builders Club, and it provides the sort of mentorship that has made Mark’s protégés so successful over the years. It includes everything from extra income blueprints (which have the potential to generate thousands of dollars per month) to investment strategies outside the stock market, plus several of Mark’s bestselling books, including Living Rich. Click here to learn more.

From the Port Phillip Publishing Library

Special Report:The Lazarus Project’ Your best chance to double every dollar you invest this year [More…]

Michelle is the Director of Wealth Builders Club Australia, a club for the ‘not yet wealthy’. Working alongside Wealth Builders Club founder and multimillionaire Mark Ford, Michelle is committed to enriching the lives of WBCA members by bringing them original, insightful ideas on wealth building, career advancement, and lifestyle.

Previously, Michelle worked as a business journalist, focusing on the Australian start-up sector.

Money Morning Australia