There has been some renewed press as of late about how some of the world’s wealthiest and most powerful personalities have taken to wearing the same thing everyday. This list includes President Obama, Steve Jobs, Mark Zuckerberg, and Amancio Ortega (founder of Zara and the fourth richest man in the world). For some it is a way to develop a personal brand identity and for others it is a way to simplify their lives.
President Obama and Mark Zuckerberg have developed their minimalist, albeit quite different, wardrobes in order to simplify the decisions they need to make during the day. When asked about his fashion choices at a recent Facebook question and answer session Zuckerberg stated, “I really want to clear my life to make it so that I have to make as few decisions as possible about anything except how to best serve the community”. Obama, arguably even more than Zuckerberg, is faced with taxing, world changing decisions, on a daily basis and has stated he aims to reduce the number of mundane personal decisions he needs to make each day.
Other people may choose to wear a uniform either to stand out or blend in. Steve Jobs is best known (fashion-wise) for his faded dad jeans and black turtleneck worn at every Apple product release since the Vietnam War. This became his iconic personal branding and was as much a statement of not caring about fashion as it was a statement about using clothes to define yourself. Steve was just way ahead of the normcore trend.
Another billionaire, the founder of fashion retailer Zara and the fourth richest person in the world, Amancio Ortega, often wears a uniform to the tune of a navy blazer, white shirt, and gray pants, always without a tie. He wouldn’t return my phone calls, but I presume he wears his uniform to maintain a blank canvas, where Zara’s designs are the showcase of his fashion focused efforts.
I would like to think that the decisions I make in life are as important as some of the world’s most powerful people and that choosing my outfit for the day would use up too much of my extremely limited time and invaluable brainpower. Alas, I am fairly certain that the free world would not crumble if I had to choose between a blue shirt or a white shirt, but the idea of simplifying one’s wardrobe can apply to anyone by developing a personal uniform of clothes that suit your daily occasions in a style that you are comfortable in.
My current day consists mainly of looking after our 10 month old son, which from my point of view shares a number of similarities with running the world’s most powerful countries and companies. For one, my sleep is frequently interrupted by my subordinate who requires my calm guidance and firm decision making. My daily tasks revolve mainly around supervision to ensure the safety and security, imparting my wisdom of the world by deciding when it is a time for play, a time for peace, and even a time for war, and a large portion of my day is spent cleaning up other people’s messes.
Wearing my 1 Outfit uniform certainly has helped me save time and I’m sure it has averted wardrobe disasters related to mismatched layers or clashing colors chosen in a fog of baby-induced sleep deprivation. While I doubt that my life will ever require extreme streamlining so I can maximize my wakeful brain activity, wearing a uniform has given me more time, however short, to focus on the most important thing in life – hanging out with my little dude. I may not be a billionaire, but damned if I can’t dress like one.
I did step out of my 1 Outfit for the second time this year in order to dress up on Halloween. I chose to dress up as another uniformed billionaire, Mr. Bruce Wayne.