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From Uniform to a Personal Style for Veterans

From Uniform to a Personal Style for Veterans

People have mixed feelings about wearing a uniform to work. Some love the ease of it and how you do not have to think about what to wear when you have a uniform. Others hate not being able to express their individuality.

Whatever your feelings are about wearing a military uniform there will come a day when you have to take it off—for good.

Life After Uniformed Service

Regardless of the job you performed while wearing a uniform, there will be some feelings surrounding putting it on for the last time. Having done something five or more days a week for a number of years creates a certain amount of muscle memory around the activity.

Even if your primary thought about taking off your uniform for the last time was like mine—after eleven years of Army service:

“I will never wear green again in my life!”

I loved serving my country, but I was tired of every shade of green by the end of my service and was looking forward to wearing other colors of clothing.

Create a 3-Step Uniform Letting-Go Ceremony

The next step is to choose a personal style now that you are not confined to military regulations.

How to Develop a Personal Style in Your Work Wardrobe

In this article, we are talking about creating a personal style in your work-life, but these principles can be used in your transition to civilian life too.

To help you to get organized and to remember all of the great decisions about clothes and accessories that you are about to make, I suggest that you grab an electronic device, or paper and pen to take notes that you can use when you go shopping.

I am so excited for you—I wish that I could go virtual-shopping with you.

Let us talk about shopping. Personally, I hate shopping. For this reason, I buy a lot online and have it shipped to my home. Often, without having to pay shipping costs.

Personal style is considering what is trendy this season, but more importantly, it is your unique attitude and how you express who you are in this world.

By “Who you are,” I do not mean what you do for a living, where you live, how old you are, where you went to school, your relationship status, and how many children you have. What I mean is who you are in the world in terms of what makes you, you. What is your story and how do you want to show that in your way of dress?

It sounds pretty heavy, and it is, but you can easily figure this out for yourself—use my personal style statement as a reference. 

"I like to feel comfortable in my clothes. I feel most connected to my source/God/Spirit—when I’m in nature. I am fashion conscious but not a slave to it and I like to mix accessories that show my spiritual, playful, feminine, and outdoorsy nature."

Knowing my personal style makes it easy for me to buy clothes and accessories that suit both my likes and are appropriate for the occasion—be it work, recreation or a night out dancing. 

Everyone needs some essential pieces that will serve as the foundation for your fashionable wardrobe.

Male and female clothing staples include:

  • A dark blue or black polo shirt for men and blouse for women, a black crew neck tee shirt, and a long sleeve white cotton, slim fit dress shirt.
  • A well-fitting—not too loose, or too tight pair of dark blue or black jeans, purchased in the last three years.
  • A real-leather, reversible belt that is brown on one side and black on the other.
  • White or black low-top, slip-on or lace-up sneakers, black or saddle-brown leather chukka boots for men and ankle boots for women, and black leather dress shoes.
  • A black or navy-blue, well-fitting suit and add a dress for women.
  • A plain, leather, black or saddle-brown bomber or stadium jacket—without patches or logos.


Stay away from the beloved Oakley sports sunglasses, which are not appropriate with most outfits, if your budget will only support one pair of sunglasses.

Personalized Accessories

  • Religious or spiritual affiliation bracelets.
  • A brightly colored infinity scarf.
  • Women—a statement necklace.
  • A pair of statement shoes. I recently purchased a pair of pink, embroidered statement ankle boots this Fall 2017 season. My husband’s statement piece is a pair of saddle-brown leather ankle boots.

Additional Tips

Stay away from logos, brands, and patches on your shirts and jackets. These are usually the first places your clothing will look outdated or show signs of wear. Slim fit shirts and pants can work for almost any weight and body-type now, but you also do not have to wear slim fit clothing to be on trend.

Running and cross-fit shoes should only be worn with athletic clothes. If you love the feel of tennis shoes there is a wide range of sneakers in a variety of colors and textures available for women and men.

If a tee shirt is your go-to item, stock up on plain, silk or silk-like tee shirts and say, “No thank you,” to the free tee shirt with that endorses your favorite band, beverage or super-hero.

Creating personal style and trading in your uniform for a few comfortable wardrobe pieces that you can mix, match, and build on from season to season is easier than you thought.

Now, go shopping—in your own closet, at the Goodwill, online, or at a store and create your own personal style.

Visit our job board regularly to find companies that have positions available offering veterans jobs, and follow our blog and social media profiles to get news of job fairs in your area.