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Why successful peoples’ wardrobes are repetitive, simple

There’s a scientific reason successful business people wear the same outfits repeatedly and do the same things over and over again – minimalist wardrobes are good for the brain.

Dressing like you own the closet of a cartoon character

I have a lot fewer clothes in my wardrobe and I’m happier for it. Not that I had that many to begin with but it makes perfect sense that I can save time and devote my energy to bigger decisions than having to worry about what shirt-jacket-pants combination I need to put on.

An article in Business Insider explains that “Wearing the same thing day in and day out helps both men and women avoid what psychologists call decision fatigue.”

The more decisions, the less strength your willpower has

Of course your head can implode when you’re trying to get dressed in the morning and not duplicate what you wore the day before. According to a recent article in the New York Times, It doesn’t matter if you’re deciding which shirt to wear or if you’re mulling over a second piece of cake. Your willpower is like a muscle. And similar to the muscles in your body, willpower can get fatigued when you use it over and over again

Every time you make a decision, it’s like doing another rep in the gym. And similar to how your muscles get tired at the end of a workout, the strength of your willpower fades as you make more decisions.

The solution? Simplify!

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Decisions, decisions

As President Obama told Vanity Fair in 2012, “You’ll see I wear only 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.”

Says Roy F. Baumeister, a social psychologist at Florida State University, “It’s the same willpower that you use to be polite or to wait your turn or to drag yourself out of bed in the morning. Your ability to make the right investment or hiring decision may be reduced simply because you expended some of your willpower earlier.”

What’s old is new again

But getting back to what you wear every day, In the 1970s, London boutique owner Susie Faux coined the term “capsule wardrobe” to describe a minimal wardrobe composed of 30 to 40 high-quality, versatile items that will meet your needs for a given time amount of time. Wearing only a fraction of your closet is supposed to reinforce the idea that you can be happy with less. Plus, you’ll save money in the long run buying fewer, quality clothes and skipping the mediocre items.

Building the capsule was surprisingly quick and painless. It was as simple as choosing my favorite clothes and packing everything else in a spare suitcase. Your own mileage may vary but a partial list below tells me I’m on the right track:

  • Solid white T-shirt
  • Solid white shirt
  • Dark blue jeans
  • Camel chinos
  • Grey V-neck sweater
  • Navy blazer
  • Brown leather loafers
  • Brown leather belt
  • Grown-up coat

You can find more at Restart Your Style.

I quickly found that choosing what to wear to work each day became infinitely easier, simply because I had so few clothes to choose from. Come to think of it, if I use the same template regarding my friends, what I eat and how I shop I’ll have a lot more time in general to do the things that really matter.

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Now where did I put those socks…?


Written By

Nearly three decades living and working all over the world as a radio and television broadcast journalist in the United States Air Force, Staff Writer, Gary Picariello is now retired from the military and is focused on his writing career.

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