7 Fashion Icons & Their Uniforms

In the fashion industry, where wearing the same thing twice is a major faux pas some of the most iconic fashion elite have gone the way of wearing their own uniform.

Uniforms: they represent sameness, belonging to a greater whole. Yet, the people who have created their own uniform and committed to it are some of the most colorful and eccentric people. Steve Jobs had his hundred Issey Miyake turtlenecks. I had heard somewhere that Hillary Clinton wore pantsuits during her 2008 campaign so people would stop asking what she was wearing and listen to what she was saying.

In the fashion industry, where wearing the same thing twice is a major faux pas some of the most iconic fashion elite have gone the way of wearing their own uniform. What does that say about the rat race of trends? If the creators and documenters of fashion do not indulge in the whims themselves are they the Sam Malone (the sober bartender on Cheers) of trends… or are they just creating as many options possible and telling us to grab onto what works for to create our own iconic looks?

I’m not really sure, but it’s certainly food for thought. Here are some of the most obvious and most creative fashion icons:

Karl Lagerfeld:


Karl has wears Dior jackets. Actually they are two different kinds. So it just looks like he’s wearing the same thing every day. In Harper’s Bazar, he detailed his uniform:

“My latest uniform is actually two looks—a special jacket with tails made by Dior, but not what you wear for weddings. I have them made in tweed and things like this. Then I have another jacket I love from the new Dior men’s collection that I bought five of, so people think I wear the same thing every day, but in fact it’s never the same thing. And then I wear jeans…”

I never thought of Karl being a denim lover.


Diane Pernet


Diane Pernet, fashion editor, blogger of A Shaded View on Fashion and Film Festival  has had a long and rich career in fashion. She has quite the signature look with her long black dress, veil, cat-eye sunglasses and amazingly high hair. In SOMA magazine she put it most eloquently the reason for her uniform:

“I suppose it started when I was a fashion designer for my own brand for thirteen  years. I took the decision to wear black in the same way that Givenchy or Maison Martin Margiela took to white lab coats. By dressing in a uniform you do not compete with what you create. I stopped designing long ago but kept to the uniform. It evolves with time but basically has become my signature.”



Alexander Wang



By far, the youngest person on this list… Alexander Wang at the ripe old age of 30, has already coined his signature look. The ultimate casual black (or white tee shirt) jeans and sneakers. It’s amazing how simple and bared down his uniform is considering how innovative his work is for his own lines and for Balenciaga.

Isabella Blow


If you could call a hat a uniform, Isabella Blow would be the Queen of Uniforms. She herself convinced she was “ugly” used hats to overcompensate for her insecurities.  Most always wearing a Philip Treacy, she was the most fearless of the fashion elite, wearing the most avant guarde hats, even Lady Gaga can only imitate.

“Fashion is a vampiric thing, it’s the hoover on your brain,” Blow once said. “That’s why I wear the hats, to keep everyone away from me.” ~Quote via Fast Company

Tom Ford


Quite possibly the sexiest man alive, newlywed designer, Tom Ford  is one of the most innovative designers today. His collections are year after year, sexy, tasteful, classic and yet never boring. He himself is almost always wearing black and white, his own designs, and always crisp and clean…


“I hate when people say, ‘Oh, you’ll have that for 20 years,’” Tom Ford told Details. “Even if I’m wearing a blue cashmere sweater 20 years from now, I want it to be a fresh, new one.” 

Grace Coddington


Yet another fashion uniform of black and white… is there a theme here? Perhaps so… it seems the fashion uniforms can be quite monastic. Maybe there is a fashion religious order? Who knows. Well, if there were a fashion bible, Vogue would be it. Grace Coddington would be Mother Superior (maybe Anna would be the Pope?) Anyway, aside from a few time where she strayed in blue Celine, she’s pretty much stayed true to her black and white.

 Bill Cunningham

© Noa Griffel 2011

If anyone were to actually be a monk, it would be Bill Cunningham. In the Bill Cunningham documentary you get a glimpse into his life. Living among file cabinets and a few wire hangars to hold his blue French workman’s jacket. While  he’ll sometimes wear a blue sweater, or a blue coat with his khakis, he always, always wears this combination as he pedals the streets of New York on his bike.




jennine7 Fashion Icons & Their Uniforms

Comments 11

  1. DWJ

    I have surprised myself lately. I’ve been buying new clothes due to significant weight loss (yay walking the dog!) and I’ve been gravitating towards black and white and then a cardigan or shoe in a bright pop of color. Maybe it is because I’m getting older and want to simplify things? But I’m definitely find that a uniform is so much easier and it makes getting dressed in the morning that much quicker. I let my accessories (and lipstick) make the bigger statements.

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      Hi D!
      Oh wow, that’s funny you say that, I’ve been noticing I’ve been gravitating to black and white (and denim) as well. Maybe it is getting older, or maybe it’s just honing in your style. Like you’d rather get nice pieces that won’t say “2010″ if you know what I mean!
      (and congrats on the weight loss! especially if it’s from doing something fun like walking the dog!)

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  2. save. spend. splurge.

    Isn’t it a bit ironic that these fashion folks that design different things each season, wear the same thing over and over again?

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      I’m not sure… perhaps, but maybe it’s more like what Diane Pernet said about not competing with your collections? Or maybe it’s about branding themselves?

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