A recent article on LinkedIn asked what Mark Zuckerberg, Steve Jobs and President Obama have in common. The answer? They wear the same thing every day. Some of this can be chalked up to branding. Mark Zuckerberg’s hoodie presents the exact image he wants to portray. It says I don’t care about impressing others with my outfit because I am too busy working on my empire. Steve Jobs simple black turtleneck? Clean, simple lines, modern, much like the apple product itself.
(all pics in this post via Pinterest)
The branding effect can be sort of like the chicken and the egg so there is something else going on with these men too. They all have to make a lot of decisions in one day and apparently what to wear is not one they want to waste any brain power on. In a 2012 interview in Vanity Fair magazine President Obama said that he only wears gray or blue suits.
“I’m trying to pare down decisions. I don’t want to make decisions about what I’m eating or wearing. Because I have too many other decisions to make.”
He may want to narrow that choice down to one color. Research studies have actually backed up the fact that our brains can only make so many decisions within one day.
“The mere act of thinking about whether you prefer A or B tires you out. So if I give you something else that takes discipline, you can’t do it — you’ll quit faster. If I have lifted weights in a gym, later trying to lift a 30-pound weight is impossible.
One of three things is likely to occur when people have too many decisions to make — consumers end up making poor decisions, are more dissatisfied with their choices or become paralyzed and don’t choose at all.”
– Professor Barry Schwartz of Swarthmore College, author of the 2004 book, “The Paradox of Choice: Why More Is Less.”
Needless to say there was an avalanche of backlash to the LinkedIn article from women that have to make the same, (if not more), decisions in one day as their male counterparts, as well as look the part of a pulled together professional. While hoodies aren’t commonplace on any female CEO I can think of, there are plenty of women in the fashion world who preferred to go with some sort of staple or signature item. Carolina Herrera? Her signature white shirt allows her to get dressed in under 10 minutes.
Vera Wang? Her black leggings have been her uniform of choice long before the leggings became back in fashion. As she explains on her blog:
“In the end—even as a fashion professional, or fashion insider, someone who’s looked at fashion for so long, and from so many different angles—there is a uniform that works for you. And that uniform can be modified, and it can be changed, and it can be dressed up, dressed down, explored, taken more street, taken more couture, but in the end, it’s an editing process. And as you become more certain of your own vision, and your own taste and your own style, as you evolve, as a person, not just as a woman, you do end up in a uniform.”
I’m hoping all this research justifies why I HATE dinner time. Maybe I am done making decisions. Cooking food for me is not an easy process. I never really learned how, I don’t really want to and I don’t have the patience. And cooking to meet the needs of 4 different palettes? I’d rather be forced to go on another school field trip…well maybe not.
Unfortunately we all still have to eat. Every day. A big part of my problem is even deciding what we all want to eat. Sites like Pinterest are super helpful and there are a ton of blogs out there that give great ideas to tell you what to buy and how to prep for the week ahead. I am a big fan of the theme night idea. Meat free Mondays! Taco Tuesdays! You get the idea, have a theme to help you stay focused. Recently a client confessed she was having trouble getting dressed. We had edited her closet, we shopped for new clothes but she was still feeling overwhelmed and under inspired when it came time to put together an outfit. She’d been in her “mom uniform” of yoga pants and t-shirts for years, putting together actual outfits in the morning was still a new and somewhat daunting process. My solution?
Meal Planning For Your Oufits
Mondays are hard. Let’s not make them any harder. Simplify your life and go with one color. Black is an obvious choice but don’t be afraid to try with shades of navy, cream, beige. You can always break it up with an accessory or accent. Big bonus is that this typically makes everyone look long and lean.
Pick a fabric and build your outfit from there. Could be a cashmere sweater, a pair of cords, tweed jacket or a furry vest. You get the idea.
Wild Print Wednesday
Pick a print as your inspiration. Leopard (my fav!), stripes, checks, chevron, plaid and floral are just a few.
Try-it Out Thursday
You know that one thing in your closet that is little different? The one you bought cause you were attracted to it but you are not sure you can “pull it off?” Give yourself this one day a week to try a look that is slightly out of your comfort zone. This is a great way to try out a trend, wear a color you don’t usually go to or pull out that statement necklace that you set aside. Pinterest is an excellent source for seeing something new that catches your eye and using that outfit as an idea. Think of it like trying out a new recipe!
Flaunt Your Favorite For Friday
Everyone has one favorite part of their body. Some days it could be your waist and other days it could only be your feet! Feeling yucky? Pick a comfy pair of leggings and loose top and killer shoes. Love your legs? Go for the skinny jeans or a dress. Do you like your upper half better than your lower? Go for bold color, a deep v neck or a fabulous necklace. Tall? Rock the flair jean. Petite? Try a mini skirt and tights. The idea is to point out the positive.
Not feeling great about any one area? Then that’s when you go with a favorite. It could be a neon colored sneakers (that your wear to run a million errands instead of a 5K), an item of clothing in your favorite color or your go-to denim that always makes you feel good. The point is that it’s Friday! You have made at least 5,627, 863 decisions this week and what to wear on a Friday should simply be whatever makes you feel good.
*Insider Tip – Less is More
You know when you have a terrible cold/sinus/allergy thing going on and you go to the store to grab medicine only to discover there are 55 choices and you are just too damn tired to read all the descriptions? That is also what it feels like when you have too many clothes stuffed into your closet. As scary as editing your wardrobe can sound it is so much more peaceful and easier to look and choose from an uncluttered closet filled with only what you love.
*Insider Tip – Accessories are the key to happiness.
I know there are some of you who are sick of wearing a uniform. It could be scrubs, a company logo shirt or even a strict dress code. You are not without options. Learn to love your basics and appreciate that you don’t have to think about them. Inject personality into your accessories by choosing jewelry, shoes or even a handbag that fits how you are feeling when you get dressed that day. Every outfit should be put together with the mindset of what YOU like.