Earlier this fall, I conducted an experiment. I wore the same black dress to work every day for a week, mostly just to see if anyone would notice. The result?
No one noticed.
You can also do this experiment in reverse if you don’t want to commit to one outfit for an entire week. Pick a random person that you work with (or that you see regularly, for those of you who don’t work in a traditional office environment). Try to remember what they wore today, and yesterday, and the day before that. Do you remember? And, if you do remember, what would you think if they came in tomorrow wearing an outfit they’d already worn this week? I’m guessing that you probably wouldn’t care at all.
It’s liberating to realize that nobody cares about you.
That sounds harsh, but I mean it. Before I began my capsule wardrobe journey, I had a rule about not wearing the same outfit twice in a month, lest anyone at the office think I was a lazy outfit repeater. Variety for variety’s sake seemed like a decent enough ethos to get dressed by, but it led to a lot of impulse purchases, sloppy outfits, and general anxiety about finding something “different” to wear every morning. I had so many clothes, but I was never totally satisfied with my style (in fact, I was usually deeply unsatisfied).
Things changed after my little dress experiment. Instead of being afraid to wear the same thing to work every day, I embraced it. Now, my outfits typically fall into one of the following three categories:
- A plain black dress (with black tights if the weather calls for it)
- A pair of black pants and a white or beige top.
- A pair of black pants with a black top
Instead of making me look boring, I think that having a personal uniform actually gives me a defined style that other people notice in a good way. If I show up to work in a great outfit and someone says to me “that outfit is just so you!” I’m doing it right.
Having a uniform also means fewer decisions to make every day. Decision fatigue is a real thing, and people are making more decisions on a daily basis today than ever before in human history. It’s exhausting! What do I want to wear today? What should I eat for breakfast? What music should I listen to on the train? What app should I browse while I’m on my commute? What email should I answer first? Where should I go for lunch? All these little decisions add up, and if you make enough of them, you don’t leave a lot of brain power left for more important tasks. This is science. I am sure I read it somewhere.
My uniform keeps me feeling stylish and comfortable, and it also protects me from the anxiety spiral I used to feel when trying to find something creative to wear every day. If you want to define your own uniform, I recommend filling out Caroline of Un-Fancy’s capsule wardrobe planner, or trying out Lee of Style Bee’s defining your personal style workbook. These were both really helpful activities for me.
That’s all for post 5/10 of my 10×10 blogging challenge. A great big thanks to all of you who have been following along!