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Deal Divas

Stephanie Hayes, Katie Sanders, Kameel Stanley, & Keyonna Summers

This chick makes wearing a uniform seem cool



Uniformproject In fashion, as in life circa 2009, sustainability is in. Consumerism is out.

But you knew that already.

What you might still be searching for is inspiration in a time that is seriously lacking much, a way to make your style mark without spending beaucoups doing it. For that, may we introduce you to The Uniform Project.

Featured in The New York Times Magazine on Sunday, this nifty little Web site features the vision of Sheena Matheiken, a creative director for a Web design company in New York who has pledged to wear the same little black dress every day for a year. (Well, she has seven of the same exact dress, so she won't be grossing her colleagues out by going unwashed.) Boring, you say? Not even close. A few clicks through her clothing creations thus far quickly prove that this experiment is a far cry from the drudgery conjured by typical uniform wearing.

Already this month, she has altered the basic look of her LBD using a vintage red summer hat with matching shoes and white knee socks; blue vintage belt, shoes and harlequin socks; head scarf and handmade bow pins; vintage cowboy hat, acid-washed vests and boots; vintage hat and doiley-turned-collar; thrifted gold chains and tattered gold tights and, well, you get the picture. 

Not everyone could pull off these looks. You might hate a lot of them. But that's not really the point. What Matheiken calls a "creative challenge" -- she's also using the project to raise money for schoolchildren living in the slums of India -- is worth trying to emulate. Building your wardrobe around timeless, properly fitted investment pieces that can be glammed up or mellowed out with different shoes, hats and accessories is a great way to extend your options -- and your personality -- without forgoing your rent.

Try starting this strategy on a smaller scale. Force yourself to wear your staple black dress (Deal Diva Letitia and I have the same one!) in as many fresh ways as possible, one week pairing it with red flats and silver jewelry, and a couple weeks later wearing it with kicking heels and funky bangles. You'll feel like you own a lot more outfits than you actually do, experiencing the euphoria of consumerism without the embarrassment of being so 2005.

~ Deal Diva Colleen

(Photo: The May 19th outfit, which Sheena Matheiken dubbed "candy striper meets Minnie mouse.")

[Last modified: Thursday, May 20, 2010 5:18pm]


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