It’s all right there in the name: “Uniform.” With its latest project, Everlane is devoting itself to giving guys easy, no-fail clothes that they can wear every day. The idea, basically, is to offer up a stable of a dozen fundamental pieces that mix and match and all work seamlessly together—a kit of essentials, designed to stand outside of the trend cycle and form the foundation of your wardrobe.
Which, come to think of it, isn’t that far off from what Everlane’s been doing for a while now. Sure, the company’s stated goals when it launched were all about radical transparency and value, but the aesthetic—particularly for men—has always been rooted in subtle, quietly stylish items like a just-right oxford shirt, well-fitted chinos, and easygoing T-shirts. So, what’s changing with the new Uniform collection, which launches on September 10?
Again, it’s all right there in the name. But this time around, don’t think of the kind of personal uniform you wear to an office job or on the weekend because you want to. Instead, think of, well, actual uniforms: mechanics’ jumpsuits and chefs’ coats and army fatigues. These are clothes that demand durability. You’ve got to be able to put them through the wringer—and then through the wash—and have them come out looking presentable time and again. And that promise of not just durability but consistency is at the heart of Uniform.
Nearly a year and a half ago, the Everlane team started talking to its customers, and found that “durability, quality, price, and comfort were all the top four things that they would always request from us,” explains senior merchant Nate Peltonen. “So, durability came to the forefront for us, and we thought, ‘How do we make this come to life within our product currently?’” That, he says, was “the beginning phase of Uniform.”
The next step was beating the ever-loving-hell out of the clothing in order to replicate a year of wear, then testing to make sure everything held up. The team set certain benchmarks for specific items. With T-shirts, for instance, “one of the main things that we wanted to control for was shrinkage,” says Peltonen. “That’s the main thing that we hear [from customers].” So a testing facility washed (and washed, and washed) tees, then measured them six different ways to make sure they stayed the same size.
For the new Uniform hoodie and crewneck french terry sweatshirts, “one of the big areas that we wanted to focus on was color-fastness,” Peltonen explains. “So we tested it. We have a standard of what the original color was, and then they washed it 50 times.” The new sweats passed muster when they got to a point where a hoodie could go through that entire cycle—equivalent to, you guessed it, about a year of wearing and washing—and “look almost exactly like it did when it first went in.”
The idea of replicating a year of use wasn’t arbitrary. For one thing, every piece in the Uniform collection carry a 365-day guarantee. If it fails during that time, Everlane will replace it. But there’s also an almost-philosophical aspect to that number. When it came time to pick the dozen specific items in the lineup, Peltonen says, “we wanted to make sure that all the pieces were truly 365 days for the largest majority of guys.” By that he means mostly seasonless.
That’s why, within Uniform, you’ll find a denim jacket, but not an overcoat. A hoodie, but not a cashmere sweater. The 12 styles in the collection are never meant to rotate out of your closet and into storage. They’re supposed to be things you reach for over and over again. To that end, Uniform is always going to be in stock in a range of four core colors per piece. Seasonal colors will come and go to keep the excitement up, but you’ll always have the standbys available.
And if you’re worried about whether to buy, say, the Uniform chinos or the Everlane ones, don’t be. While Uniform is “a collection within a collection,” Everlane isn’t interested in checking the same box twice. So, when it comes to those core pieces—whether it’s a crewneck tee, an oxford shirt, or even a new four-way stretch jean—if they’re a part of Uniform, that’s the only place they live. In other words, when you’re talking about the Uniform chino: “As of right now, that is THE chino.”
It shouldn’t really come as a surprise. That kind of approach—distilling things down to their most fundamental—is right at the heart of Uniform. The collection is defined by “timeless, trendless pieces,” says Peltonen. “No matter if this was 10 years ago or 10 years in the future, there’s always going to be a chino, always going to be a T-shirt, always going to be a jean. So, we’re really, with this collection, trying to put those basic building blocks together.”