Wear what you like, it can be liberating
I am just back from a retreat - a wellness and spiritual holiday in the lap of nature. Before heading for vacation, of course, I had to pack and it is something that I don't really enjoy doing. Packing is a taxing exercise, at least for me.
However, things were a little different this time. The detox had begun even before I started. There was actually no need for me to take much for this holiday. The retreat provided guests with a white short tunic and pyjama-style uniform as well as slippers.
In case you felt cold, there were shawls in the room to keep you warm and cosy. Also, there was a brightly coloured duputta (scarf) in the room, in case one wished to go to the temple. Think of it, it was really all that you could need, except may be a set of workout clothes and a swimming costume for the week you are there.
It was calming to not think what to pack. But a bit of a fashion girl that I am, I was anxious if I would get fed-up with the same kind of clothing everyday, so I did stow a few extra kaftan dresses, just in case (which, by the way, I never used.)
We started early every morning at the retreat for yoga, morning walk or a mediation session. And the ease of not thinking what to wear made it way easier for me to get up earlier than usual. Getting ready in the morning was less of chore. In fact, it made me wonder how much time I waste every morning deciding what to wear.
My retreat experience has made me reorganise my wardrobe and it has dawned on me that there is nothing wrong with having your "personal uniforms" so to say. It is easy to do.
In fact summer is the best time to start experimenting with this style. Since life is at a fairly slower pace than usual I suggest you try this clothes-cleanse. First throw everything out of wardrobe on to your bed, then organise your clothes to fit your lifestyle.
You could stack your work-wear together; your weekend-wear in one pile; and your special occasion wear in another section. Then within each lifestyle put ensembles together that work. Imagine the amount of time you'll save when you have to get ready.
A lot of successful people globally have sort of personal uniforms. Think of Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg. He is known for wearing his grey T-shirt (just for the record his tees are not ordinary ones at around $300 a pop. They are from Italian menswear brand Brunello Cucinelli).
Even style maven Anna Wintour is a kind of defender of personal uniform style. She sticks to her tired and tested - coloured designer dresses, sunglasses and mules.
I don't think I could wear the same thing every day like Mr Zuckerberg but having a signature style really is a sign of confidence. It says I know who I am. Moreover, relying on fashion staples can make shopping and getting dressed much more fun, easy and efficient. You could always pair your style with different pieces or accessories to pay tribute to the season's top trends.
While I have only been following this system for two weeks now, I do find I have more time at hand in the morning. Moreover, I never think why I am wearing this! And even the nagging thought, "I have nothing to wear" that so many of us get before planning for a special night out is spared. So here is my summer style tip -create your own style manifesto, reorganise your cupboards and your approach to your clothes. You will find it empowering and liberating at the same time.
Sujata Assomull is the Consulting Fashion Editor at Khaleej Times