Steve Jobs, Mark Zuckerberg, Barack Obama, Johnny Cash.
What do all of these fellas have in common?
They’ve all adopted some kind of uniform or general aesthetic to their daily professional routine.
If you find yourself constantly trying to make decisions throughout the day (and often choosing poorly), you may be suffering from what psychologists classify as decision fatigue.
Decision fatigue refers to the deteriorating quality of decisions made by an individual, after a long session of decision-making. To combat this, I decided to alleviate one decision from my daily routine – my outfit. That way, maybe my brain would have one less thing to worry about and would be better equipped to take on other decisions I had to make throughout the day.
For 5 days I wore the exact same thing (a band t-shirt, jean shorts, and Keds) and here’s what I found out:
- Even though I began this experiment because I wanted to have more brain power to dedicate to important tasks, during the first few days, most of my thoughts were taken up by: Oh my god, everyone knows. Everyone knows I wore this yesterday. They probably think I went home with someone. Or that I’m lazy. Or poor. Or that I never do laundry. Ugh, look how cute everyone else’s outfits look.
- When I actually told one of my roommates that I was wearing the same outfit I’d been wearing the last two days, she didn’t even notice. The first thing I learned was that people don’t actually notice half the “embarrassing” things you’re worried about and fixating on that only takes away from your own productivity.
- I’m a pretty creative person but I’m no fashionista, so I didn’t feel robbed of my fun by not being able to pick out an outfit. That being said, I do see how someone who really likes clothes would lack that extra burst of creativity in the morning by not being able to come up with something cool to wear.
- I came home on the fourth day and stared at my closet. Being in my favourite band tee and jean shorts made me realize how many freaking clothes I have. And how many I never even wear. A good portion of my wardrobe was made up of items that I’d always defended, saying, “but what if one day I need this” – but the thing is, I don’t. This challenge really made me see that minimizing your wardrobe is 100% possible. I ended up donating a huge bag of clothes and felt instantly lighter. Also, having less items in my closet to look at when picking out an outfit definitely made the process less daunting and stressful.
- I didn’t totally feel like I had all this extra ability free to make decisions, but I did feel less pressure when picking out an outfit after I had completed the experiment. This process showed me that you should really just wear whatever you want because, in the end, you’re only dressing to make yourself feel content and comfortable. Once I realized this, I spent a lot less time fixating on my clothing and appearances in social settings and this allowed me to be more present and aware in my daily life. It also opened up the possibility of being an outfit repeater, which is definitely a time saver every now and then.