One quarter of female working Brits would prefer a work uniform, so let's make one

·Contributor
Workwear
Too much choice is taking up too much time [Photo: Pexels]

The average UK women will spend the equivalent of 81 days of her working career choosing what to wear.

According to new research, anyway, but you could have guessed that through personal experience.

While the greatest fashion decision a man makes in the mornings is what shade of shirt to wear, women are confronted with an endless array of choices.

Different skirts, trousers, blouses and shoes of varying cuts, lengths, materials and height. Not to mention accessories and makeup that compliment each of them perfectly.

Woman
Was the yellow bold or ‘distracting’? [Photo: Pexels]

A study commissioned by Dorothy Perkins found that nearly one in ten women have lost sleep over making this decision, with one in five women having got changed on their lunch break after a change of heart.

Which means it’s wasting rather a lot of our time and emotional energy.

So it’s hardly surprising that lots of women – a quarter, in fact – would much rather give up this dull exercise and have one clearly-specified uniform to wear instead.

The problem is a hangover from women’s relatively-recent entrance into the workplace; while men have sat in offices and had a uniform to match for years (a suit), women have fought to slot into the professional settings they’re in today.

Only we weren’t given anything to wear.

Woman at computer
We’d much rather get on with work [Photo: Pexels]

Cue a century of flitting between feminine dresses and masculine, Thatcher-esque tailoring which has left the woman of 2017 with far too much choice in work wear.

While “far too much choice” may sound like a luxury, we’re not talking about dressing for a night out here. Work is not a luxury, and we don’t want a luxurious amount of time to get dressed for it.

When there’s enough strain to perform at work as it is, time spent dressing appropriately is yet another job to do – and like with work tasks, there’s a great deal of pressure behind it.

How we dress says a lot about us whether we like it or not. Men are unfortunately more likely to be judged for going against the grain even slightly when it comes to their clothing, but at least there’s a grain in the first place.

Suit
A much more straight-forward choice [Photo: Pexels]

If a man wears a loud pair of trousers to work, this might be deemed inappropriate as it doesn’t fit the clear uniform specifications; neutral-coloured shirt, trousers, shoes and (extra smart), a tie.

But these are at least clear specifications.

In comparison to women anyway, as women don’t have such specifications and have to stab in the dark instead.

For a woman, picking an outfit that isn’t ‘wrong’ or gives out the ‘wrong’ message is total minefield, and with a vast selection of different cuts, lengths, materials and heights available are a vast selection of potential mistakes.

But unlike men, we don’t have a ‘neutral’ uniform to revert back to when in doubt.

Man in suit
Imagine how much more time you’d have in the mornings [Photo: Pexels]

These mistakes can be costly too; according to research one in four women has been cautioned about what she’s wearing at work compared to just one in nine men.

And of these women, a third were deemed a “distraction” to their male colleagues.

These women feared that their skirts were too short or makeup too heavy, but on the other side of the spectrum, other companies chastise women for not being done up enough.

So it’s hardly surprising we’d much rather ditch the whole farce altogether and be given one thing to wear.

Which is why it’s about time women designed their own work uniform.

Not a re-hashing of men’s work wear, not what we’d wear at home but in grey, but something completely new.

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