When I read about the art director who wore the same outfit to work every day to simplify her life, I immediately thought: I should try that. I don’t typically hop aboard trends, but I liked the idea of reducing stress by rethinking my daily habits.
Matilda Kahl went with a black and white color palette, rotating through 15 of the same blouse, pants, and jacket. I chose black pants, a yellow tunic, and a cotton blazer—only one of each since it’d just be a week. The next week, I picked a different outfit.
Before I launched my experiment, some friends raised eyebrows. One asked if I’d have to do laundry every night. A coworker thought it would get boring. But when I showed up at work wearing the same outfit for five days in a row, nobody said a thing. Nobody even noticed until I pointed it out.
Turns out, social pressure is often an excuse for the pressure we put on ourselves.
A Today Show/AOL survey found that 78 percent of women spend almost an hour on their appearance every day. Kahl started wearing her “work uniform” to save time and money, but also to alleviate the pressure of having to choose an outfit each day. She told AdAge:
I no longer spend time on choosing clothes nor do I get self-conscious in meetings, which would happen occasionally before. I just keep on with my day without my mind wandering, thinking about if my skirt is too short or my t-shirt too casual. To me, that is empowering.
Kahl wrote in Harper’s Bazaar that she felt her “male colleagues were taken seriously no matter what they wore.” I’m not sure that’s true, but women do seem to worry about it more. According to the Today Show survey, two-thirds of women worry about ...1
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