Barack Obama endorses a minimalist wardrobe, he wore only grey and blue suits in office, “I’m trying to pare down decisions,” he said. “I don’t want to make decisions about what I’m eating or wearing.”
Mark Zuckerberg wears only grey t-shirts and blue jeans, “I really want to clear my life to make it so that I have to make as few decisions as possible,” he said.
Certainly, Obama and Zuckerberg were inspired by Steve Jobs, the most legendary simplified dresser. Jobs famously wore black turtlenecks, faded blue jeans, and grey New Balance sneakers – he claimed the value of this minimalist wardrobe was daily convenience and a signature style.
What these successful men know and how they apply it to their dress code is backed by science. Roy F. Baumeister, social psychologist coined the term decision fatigue. Baumeister discovered decision fatigue depletes self-control which results in emotional problems and underachievement.
Controlling your style doesn’t have to be as extreme as wearing a daily uniform. But simplifying what you wear can have real benefits – you’ll create stability and ease in this area of your life.
Here’s how to start the process of building a minimalist wardrobe and simplifying what you wear:
Build Around Work
You spend most of your life in clothes you wear to work, so build your style around work – not your social life. Your social wardrobe can be a derivative of your work wardrobe.
Choose Focused or Extreme
Jobs and Zuckerberg wore one outfit; one color shirt, and one color jean – the same thing every day. It’s the most simplified dress code, but it’s also the most extreme.
We don’t recommend extreme daily dressing because most people view it as odd. A narrow, focused collection with just enough variety is the best target.
Manage Your Dress Code and Your Thinking
Simplifying what you wear requires mental adjustments. Here are 4 challenges you may encounter:
Letting Go of Old Clothes
Because you have a lot invested in your current wardrobe, you may struggle to get rid of it.
We recommend first removing garments you haven’t worn in more than a year. Next take out garments that contrast with your new style and store them until you’ve made your new dress code permanent. Both groups can be donated.
Will I Get Bored?
You may be concerned that pairing back your style will become boring. Will it be too basic? How can I add flare? Understandable concerns, but the benefits of a focused wardrobe —less time shopping, less energy thinking about what to wear and fewer impulsive mistake-prone purchases — make it worthwhile.
You’ve spent time developing a disciplined dress code designed for work, so what do you wear on the weekends? Remain disciplined with the code. Your weekend wardrobe should be a derivative of your work wardrobe.
Shopping for Your Dress Code
There are always opportunities to shop – and fashion marketers are always on the prowl. The more defined your dress code, the more resistant you’ll be to shopping mistakes. Clearly define your dress code and don’t deviate.
Keep in mind, some of the most successful guys simplify what they wear – you’re in good company…
If you have a personal story about developing a ‘simplified dress code,’ we’d love to hear from you – if it ended in success or not. Please reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.