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  • How Badass Chick Rachel Robbins Makes Wearing the Same Thing Thrice Awesome rachel-robbins-uniform-project Full view

    How Badass Chick Rachel Robbins Makes Wearing the Same Thing Thrice Awesome

    If you glance twice at the woman working in Ticketleap (out of 2401 Walnut, the home of City Coho) and think she’s wearing the same clothes as yesterday, don’t you dare judge. She is! And it’s on purpose.

    Local badass chick Rachel Robbins adopted a trend that’s gotten press nationally: uniforming her work wardrobe. This concept isn’t anything new: Mark Zuckerberg has even explained his “joke” of a daily hoodie and jeans is 100% intentional to make fewer decisions every day. However, there’s often a stigma for women wearing the same thing twice in the same week, let alone every day.

    I met Rachel on a bus after Barcamp a few years ago and love how she’s always up to something interesting. So, it was natural to go straight to the source to ask about how this project is going.

    Green Philly Blog: The Uniform Project is such a great idea. What motivated you to start it?

    Rachel Robbins: Thanks! Last spring I read an article from Harper’s Bazaar by Matilda Kahl called “Why I wear the exact same thing every day.” The article struck a chord: I felt like I was spending a lot of time and energy figuring out what to wear and a lot of money trying to figure out what works for me, and I didn’t enjoy a minute of it.

    I had random thoughts before that it would be nice to wear a uniform, but after that article, I felt empowered to try it out. Now, I don’t spend time wondering what to wear. I get out of the house quicker, and I don’t doubt what I’m wearing once I’m wearing it.

    Gpb: Any struggles?

    Rachel Robbins: The hardest part is finding the uniform. This year I had a “warm” and a “cold” uniform: one for Spring/Summer and one for Winter/Fall.

    I’m searching for my spring/summer uniform now, and it is hard. Since I wear the same outfit every day, it has to check a lot of boxes. For the season, I want a work-appropriate dress that I can wear outside on hot days but layer when the AC is blasting in my office building. It also needs to be easy to bike to work in and machine washable.

    Other things in my life are made easier so I can go through grueling shopping twice a year. The things that I worried might be difficult haven’t been – like doing laundry or getting sick of it.

    How long have you been uniforming?

    Rachel Robbins: It will be one year in June!

    A photo posted by @UniformClub (@uniformclub) on

    Congrats on your uniform-versary! There’s an ugly side to fast fashion. How has fast fashion impacted the Uniform project?

    Rachel Robbins: To be honest, my summer uniform dress last summer was a dress from H&M. It did the job and was easy, and inexpensive to buy multiples. I found it good for testing out this uniform thing when I wasn’t sure I’d stick with it. But, I hope not to do that again – the dresses haven’t held up very well. For the winter, I stepped up the quality a lot. My uniform is something I wear every day, so it’s important to me that it’s good quality and not disposable.

    One of the best things about wearing a uniform is that I am much more conscious of the clothes I do buy. If I’m going purchase a shirt or a sweater that won’t be a staple, I’ve got to love it. I used to throw away money on $20 sale sweaters or fast fashion because I couldn’t resist the sale or ended up in the store with time to kill. I’d end up never wearing the sale sweater anyway.

    Now, I am so much less likely to get hypnotized by sales and fast fashion.

    A friend of mine (who started uniforming around the same time) is fantastic at having fewer items of higher quality. She says “I can’t afford to buy crappy clothes.”

    She spends less money because the items she buys last so long. I’m pretty thrifty so it’s hard for me to shell out a lot of money on any one item, but I’ve improved a ton on quality over quantity. It also feels incredible to have less stuff.

    How much money/time shopping have you saved?

    Rachel Robbins: So much! Once I have my uniform for the season, I do very little shopping. When I do shop, it’s a special occasion or something I want or need.

    I’m not someone who loves shopping, so it’s been a huge relief not to feel like I have shopping to do for everyday clothes. Buying enough multiples of the same outfit to last me a week has been a lot more economical than buying clothes all year long.

    wardrobes are often open to criticism, so i could imagine bizarre reactions during this project. What’s a ridiculous thing someone has said to you?

    Rachel Robbins: People’s questions and comments have been great. Most people are really excited when they hear I wear a uniform and they ask me how many of each outfit I have, what’s been surprising, if I get sick of it.

    One person asked if it has made me think about uniforming other parts of my life like what I eat. Although I had never thought of that, it might make my meals easier and healthier. But I think I require more variety in that department.

    GPB: Thank you to Rachel for giving us a sneak peek into your uniforming success! We can’t wait to see if you motivate other women to uniform to work.

    Follow Rachel’s Uniform Project on Instagram.

    Readers, have you ever considered this lifestyle? Tell us in the comments.

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    Julie Hancher

    About Julie Hancher

    Julie Hancher is Editor-in-Chief of Green Philly, sharing her expertise of all things sustainable in the city of brotherly love. She enjoys long walks in the park with local beer and greening her travels, cooking & cat, Sir Floofus Drake.

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