summer uniforms

I was getting ready for my first trip to Florence, you know, back in the Bronze Age, and a dear friend who'd lived there asked me to take note of that summer's uniform. Huh? Yes, she said, every spring and summer there's a uniform, and I miss Florence so much, I'd feel better if I could even put this year's uniform together and wear it around... Sure enough, it was hot that spring, and almost every woman from 14 to 50(?) was wearing a round-neck tee with very short sleeves and a full-ish cotton skirt in a small floral print. Oddly, they didn't look like clones - their individualism was expressed in color choices, skirt length, hair, hat, shoes, bag, little scarf. You had to look again to detect the "uniform", which in every case fit the wearer perfectly. Lesson learned.

 As the heat wave continues, I've detected some of my friends' summer uniforms:

 Jeanne: golf shirt, short wrap skirt, oxfords. Jeanne's individual touches: she doesn't pop the collar on the shirt, because she has a gorgeous neck. During the day she only wears jewelry her children have made for her. Reason for uniform: FREE GOLF! Her kids are in a summer program 2 minutes from a course where she knows the pro from high school, and he'll call her cell if someone needs a fourth. This comes to an end in August, and Jeanne's uniform switches to an old man's shirt tied over faded jeans.

Zella: light-colored linen jacket, collarless silk or cotton blouse, dark cotton or linen skirt. Zella keeps two scoop-y silk tanks in a little bag in her bottom desk drawer for going out right from the office.

Amanda: works in a family business, her whole family dresses very simply for work for reasons of employee morale. Don't laugh, I left a job where the boss made excuses for small raises/bonuses and showed up the following week in a jacket that I knew cost more than twice my raise. Lesson: more people recognize real Armani than you think. Anyway, at the beginning of spring, Amanda makes the rounds of the usual stores to find the white cotton tee that fits her best, some years Lauren Ralph Lauren, some years Loft, sometimes JC, Target... and as the markdowns happen, she stocks up. She'll wind up with maybe a dozen, and she tosses any that get stained, torn, whatever. At the end of the summer the rest get tossed because she's bored. I couldn't do this, but she can.

Beth: scrubs.

Pat: set free from the classroom, Pat dives into loud zany prints and big hats.

Me: getting a lot of use out of lightweight long cotton skirts so far this summer. And madras pants. OK, my uniform hasn't settled in yet. I guess I'll just, um, blend in.



  1. For the foreseeable future my summer uniform will be maxi dresses. They go on easy, look chic and hide a multitude of sins- bloating from last nights hamburgers and sangria, too lazy to shave this morning, too hot for a bra (those smocked dresses for the less endowed) and the ubiquitous back of the leg lines from outdoor strap/woven chairs. They also make standing over a vent a delight! A cardigan over the shoulders for the A/C chill and I'm out the door!

  2. Hi, PTO Prep, I'm loving this summer's maxis, and totally agree about their advantages!

  3. If summer actually made her appearance here in the pacific northwest, my uniform would be (for the office) a fitted shirt, capris and flats, or (for the weekend) a tee and some cotton trousers plus sandals.

    While we're still having Junuary (that's June + January), I'm still in shirt + twinset + trousers and ankle boots mode. Urgh.

  4. Hi, Closet Crisis, we've got 100° Fahrenheit in the back yard this afternoon. Too hot to sit in the shade. How about some moderation?

  5. I really want to get a maxi dress/skirt this summer and not sure why I can't decide already. Perhaps it's the rain that doesn't seem to stop. It seems this year we will have another 3 weeks of summer.

  6. Hi, Rose, yes, it's hard to feel summery when you look out the window and only see gray.


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