Wearing the same thing to work must be useful since we see Barack Obama, Matilda Kahl, Steve Jobs, Elizabeth Holmes, Mark Zuckerberg, Karl Lagerfeld, Santa Claus, and other leaders of industry adopting the approach.
The usefulness behind wearing the same thing to work is that it requires limited decision-making before you can get to the real decisions. It is also practical if working in the same work environment day after day because there is an expected and reliable comfort.
Here at Teamwork.com HQ, it is fairly certain 90% of the team will be wearing hoodies on any given day since we’re based in chilly and often rainy Cork, Ireland, so environment certainly has a bit of a say as well. We were curious about the trend of a self-imposed office uniform so we delved deeper into the concept.
In the morning, you wake up, eat breakfast, clean up, and face your closet. It is your first creative decision of the day. What is the weather? Do you have meetings? What’s clean and wrinkle-free?
Ok, let’s be real here, most of us ask ourselves what’s not crumpled up on the floor under the sleeping dog? Why not skip this part of your morning ritual in favor of auto-dressing yourself in your predetermined, failsafe work uniform?
You’re dressed without sparing precious brain activity. Unless you have paparazzi on your doorstep, chances are your outfit won’t even be documented. Instead of stressing over what to wear, just pop on your custom uniform and free up those minutes for a leisurely cup of coffee, early arrival at your desk in a calm fashion, or stopping into that bakery on your commute.
Who does it already?
Many top leaders and executives opt for a self-imposed work uniform. Mark Zuckerberg wears a simple gray tee-shirt and jeans daily accompanied by a hoodie. Elizabeth Holmes, much like Steve Jobs, favors the classic black turtleneck. Even those in creative professions have adopted this idea.
Karl Lagerfeld and Mathilda Kahl sport white shirts with black bows at the neck and black trousers. Santa Claus himself wears his iconic red suit with fur lining and black belt with a large buckle, plus the ever-present red nightcap with cheerful pom-pom topper.
Each self-chosen uniform reflects an element of personal style without being stale or common.
Personal branding and budgeting
In addition to saving time and decision-making energy, the approach avoids misinterpretation of your personal brand and can save money.
Instead of being a book judged by its cover or having your ideas dismissed because your blouse has too many ruffles or your necktie is the wrong prep school insignia, have your outfit fade into the background and your integrity and ideas take the forefront.
You also save money since you’re not purchasing clothes that may only be worn once or twice a year when they pop up in rotation.
Often a purchase that starts with “that looks nice” ends up in the back of the closet because it is too daring, too bright, or too formal for the office environment; these items are often only worn on desperate laundry days.
Create your own uniform
It comes down to choosing what you gravitate towards, what works for your body type, what appeals to you, what helps you feel professional, and what suits your office dress code.
Then take all that, whip it in a blender, and pour out a tall mug of sweet inspiration before you go shopping for your personalized uniform. Who knows, you may already have the start of it in your closet.
Stock up on several of the same items, like Santa’s red and white suit, Matilda’s iconic white blouse, or Mark’s gray tee. At least six shirts, one for each day plus a spare, which means laundry day can be once a week.
Three pants/skirts are ideal to rotate through. And a basic jacket in case it is chilly; perhaps a nice red for the North Pole’s sub-zero temperatures? Whether you choose all the same item exactly or opt for six different colored tops is entirely your choice.
The approach to self-imposed workplace apparel is not about having a stringent uniform that constricts you, but about turning to a uniform that frees you to make the decisions that matter.
Anyone who attended a school with a uniform or serves in the military will be familiar with the simplicity of this concept. The same premise as setting out your outfit the night before, you are prepared and ready to get to the real business of work with one fewer decision…one fewer obstacle.
If you were to wear the same thing every day, what would it be?
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