Matthew Gates 6m 1,517 #whatdoyouwear
The views of this article are the perspective of the author and may not be reflective of Confessions of the Professions.
Clothing and Success
It is no secret that we often see the most successful people wearing the same exact shirt everyday. Although you may catch many celebrities dressing up for the big carpet, the CEOs and even regular workers of many companies hardly give it a second thought. Sure, they may wear the same shirt once or twice in a week without washing it. Hopefully, however, they do have a lineup in their closet of shirts that look exactly the same. Mark Zuckerberg, the late Steve Jobs, and even former President Barack Obama often wore the same thing everyday, albeit, possibly different clothing, but it looked like the same thing.
There is often this stigma attached to people who do such a thing, such as they are dirty and do not care about appearance. Somewhat partially true, but it goes deeper than that. Laziness? Possibly. There are days where I get up and walk out of the house, putting on whatever I threw on the floor the night before. Never bothered to look in the mirror, though the most I did was go to the bathroom, brush my teeth, and rinse with mouthwash. Do I admit laziness? Why yes I do. Some of the time. Totally didn’t care enough that day to change my clothes. I love it and it has made life easier. After all, when I have to go sit in a cubicle for eight hours a day, where very few people even acknowledge my presence, I would like to be as comfortable as possible. There is solace in the fact that I am more focused on the things I have to do that day than what I have to wear.
On the other hand, there is absolutely nothing wrong with wanting to look good. Many women will never be caught wearing the same thing in the same week, and even some men are that way too. To each his own: I am as judgmental to you as you are to me. No, not really. I don’t care. If you put on that outfit to look cute or handsome and it makes you feel good, like you accomplished something, than all the more power to you. Getting up and not worrying about which shirt I am going to wear today is the least of my troubles.
Don’t get me wrong: I do have about four or five shirts to choose from. While I used to sort out which shirt I did not already wear that week, or which shirt I was going to wear that day, I have since narrowed my selection down to two or three shirts, with an occasional “extremely casual probably should not wear this shirt to work but totally do on a Friday” kind of shirt. Helps to throw a little bit of personality into the mix. After all, I like my band shirts, my funny saying shirts, etc. Although, I did wear this one shirt that I will never wear again to work that people were still talking about a year later: “I pooped today!” Yup, I was proud of that shirt, but not too many others thought the same, though they had went to the boss to complain about it. Yup, had to hear about it almost a year later during my review. I had almost forgot I wore that shirt! But the supervisor who was not my supervisor at the time, and had only heard about it, sure let me know!
Never again will I wear that shirt as to not cause trouble in the workplace. Knowing that I wear the same shirt just about everyday, that is work-appropriate, ensures I do not offend anyone or have to hear about it a year later, like the story I mentioned above. However, wearing the same thing everyday can certainly offend someone. There is a right place that you can do it and a wrong place. If appearance matters in your company, such as that of a fashion company, a retail store, etc., than by all means: You probably need to keep up with the standards and put on some nice outfits every single day you go to work. If you work in fashion, while I cannot tell you that every person who is in fashion wouldn’t be caught dead wearing the same thing everyday, I would certainly think they change their outfits a lot and have a great eye for design. Whatever helps anyone to feel good about themselves and the world for that day–if clothes help, than by all means, get some amazing clothes to assist you in the world and at your job.
To those who understand why they choose to wear the same thing everyday: Many of us are not lazy, we are not trying to get judgement from others. Rather, we are just focused on other priorities that are more important to us. We are probably the type of people that, after a long day out of the house, we come home, and we actually like to be naked. Since we might have family around, we control ourselves, but once we get into our bedrooms, or if it is just our spouse and us in the house, we are more likely to have the least amount of clothes on as possible. Why? Because it is darn comfortable! Clothes are a requirement by society and while I will be the first to get dressed in the presence of company (ok, not really… I know my family has seen me all too often in my boxer shorts), but clothes are the last thing that are on our minds.
The signature movie, Clueless, was a childhood movie for many of us, where many girls especially learned all about fashion. Alicia Silverstone even admitted she wasn’t actually that type of girl that she played as Cher in her movie. She actually admitted to hating having to wear all those clothes. There are plenty of apps nowadays that actually know how to mix and match your clothes, similar to computer program Cher used in the movie. For those girls that aren’t using these programs and still spending time mixing and matching outfits, the process can be time consuming, and albeit, sometimes fun, but for most people, it is just another process that takes time, and if it takes even a half hour to an hour to choose an outfit, that is half hour to an hour less of doing less of something else. This is not to say that people who aren’t successful are too busy wearing different things everyday. Of course, many successful people cannot stand wearing the same outfit everyday, and find that it is part of the feeling and experience of their success that must be part of their outfit as well. I am sure there are even some people who can recall what they were wearing during major events. These successful people who wear different outfits everyday are likely better at multitasking and extroverted.
People who are more inclined to wear the same outfit everyday are likely more introverted and are better at focusing on a single task rather than multitasking. Whichever you prefer, it is solely your preference, and may or may not contribute to your success. Wearing the same thing for some people is more comforting than wearing something different. Wearing the same thing for some people helps them focus on what they want to do in their day. Wearing the same thing everyday can also be a fashion statement for some people: Clothes do not define who I am. Just because I am forced to wear them does not make me who I am.
The media is hugely responsible for this stigma too. I wrote a confession a while ago on The Day Women Rule The World, in which I spoke about how women celebrities were trying to change the media perception of them. Male celebrities get asked about their characters and their roles. Female celebrities, on the other hand, get asked about their dresses and appearances of that specific night, with almost nothing said about their characters or their roles. The brilliant acting style of a woman and what she chose to wear the night of her nomination ceremony or award ceremony does not define who she is. If she showed up in a baggy shirt and sweats, she would ultimately be judged. Whereas a man who shows up like that might just be feeling “relaxed” that night. Fashion is beautiful and it means the world to some people, but for others: It is just what we need to do in order to go out into public. Personally, I am far more interested in a female celebrity talking about her scenes, how she memorized her parts, how she prepared to get into the role, all the training she had to go through, than what she is wearing.
The only thing left to say about wearing the same thing everyday: Make sure your shirt does not stink and make sure to wash your clothes every few days, especially your underwear and socks!