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Ask Lela: Wardrobe For Women Who Wear Uniforms To Work

Ask Lela Burris

“Hi Lela, I work as a nurse 5 days a week for long shifts, so when I get home, I immediately change into my lounge clothes. The only time I wear my ‘nice’ clothes are on my days off, but only if I go out somewhere. I read your post about clothing items to stop buying this year and I realized that I have a closet full of stuff I never/can’t wear. What clothes do you suggest I keep in my closet when I rarely get to wear my wardrobe?”


What To Keep In Your Closet When You Work In A Uniform

First of all, I’m so proud of you, Jennifer. You acknowledged that you have a bunch of clothes in your closet that you never wear. That is such a huge step in the right direction, and definitely a motivator to be more intentional with your wardrobe. The hard truth is, women who wear uniforms to work really don’t need the same amount of clothes as women who don’t. Sure, you may love to shop for clothes, and you may love having options, but sometimes having too many options is more of a problem than a blessing. Here’s why.

Why You Don’t Need A Huge Wardrobe

The thing about having a large clothing collection is that it makes getting ready in the mornings harder. Imagine you’re at Baskin Robbins. They have 31 flavors of ice cream to choose from. You may spend 5 straight minutes trying to decide which flavor you want, and you may try at least 3 different samples before you make your choice. Then you spend the whole time you’re eating the ice cream wondering if maybe you should have went with a different option. FOMO is real, Girl!

Now imagine you’re at a local ice cream shop that only has chocolate, vanilla, and strawberry ice cream. But those three flavors are made with high quality, locally sourced, fresh dairy. The chocolate is made with imported Swiss chocolate, and the strawberries and vanilla beans are picked straight from a garden outside the shop. You’ll immediately choose your favorite classic flavor and enjoy the extra-special nature of the quality you’re getting.

See what I did there? You can have a closet full of cheap stuff you bought on the clearance rack, or random colors and patterns that take time and effort to put together into a cohesive outfit, OR you can have some really good quality basics that you’ll never get tired of. When you don’t get to rotate through your wardrobe quickly due to a weekly work uniform, you only need the “classics” in your closet for weekends.

small wardrobe tips for working moms

What Are The Basic Closet Staples?

First, choose a color palette and stick with it. A rack full of random colors makes it harder to mix and match your outfits, leaving you obligated to have more clothes on hand. If you stick with a color palette of only neutrals and a 2-3 other colors you like, you’ll not only be able to make more outfit combinations, but you’ll also start to build your own personal ‘brand.’ You’ll appear more put-together and in control of your life, and getting ready in the morning will be a breeze because everything goes with everything!

Classic Neutrals

  • Black
  • White
  • Grey
  • Khaki/Beige/Tan/Brown

Modern Neutrals

  • Navy
  • Olive Green
  • Burgundy
  • Mauve/Blush

wardrobe tips for moms who wear uniforms to work

Detox Your Closet With This Method

I created a free worksheet that will walk you through exactly how to purge the things you don’t need, fill in gaps of basics you’re lacking, and decide what type of wardrobe is best for you. It helps you decide how many formal and casual pieces you need, and covers the basic list of closet staples you need to have on hand. This worksheet is a MUST for anyone who wears a uniform to work because it helps you really build a wardrobe that will work best for you. And it’s totally free, so just pop your email address below and I’ll send it straight to you right now!

Want To See My Closet?

I have a very minimal wardrobe and a pretty small closet, too. I did a full walkthrough that was jam-packed with tips in my Insta-Stories and it’s saved in my Highlights on my profile. You can see the video here @lelaburris on IG. 🙂

Read More:

Why You Can’t Find Anything To Wear In Your Closet

10 Clothing Items You Need To Stop Buying

Have A Question Of Your Own?

Need decorating advice? Stumped on storage solutions? No idea how to organize that awkward cabinet in the corner of your kitchen? Stop waiting for the golden answer to appear at your doorstep. You can send your questions here and if chosen, you’ll be featured in an upcoming Ask Lela segment. Free advice straight from a pro. What more could you want? 🙂


  1. Thanks for writing this quick, effective and amazing guide to upgrade wardrobes. This article is so interesting. Please share more articles like this.

    • Brad - Admin

      Thank you so much! We’re glad to help in a sort of gray area when it comes to organizing closets, and we’ll definitely share more tips like those in the future.

  2. I also think we don’t need a big wardrobe, I believe smart wardrobe is the way to go… I noted your tips definitely would apply soon!

    • Lela Burris

      So glad that was helpful for you! You’re so right and you worded it perfectly, smart wardrobe really is the way to go!

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