Why Fewer Clothes Equal More Success

 

fewer clothes

Apparently, the average person makes 35,000 decisions a day.  When I first read this I thought the number seemed outrageously high.  Yet, upon further thought, and taking into account every little seemingly insignificant decision made daily, the number sounded about right, albeit still astounding.  Whether small or large, 35,000 decisions made a day is a lot of brain processing and, no surprise, why most of us are dealing with decision fatigue.

I have already mentioned that I get overwhelmed easily by too many choices.  I hardly think I am alone with this.  Just look at services like Blue Apron for food preparation and Stitch Fix for clothing, for example.  Sure, one could argue that these services have been created to save people time, but I also believe that their popularity stems from a desire to have some decisions made for us.   Of course, being humans, we tend to outsource decisions only to make room to pile more on our plates.

Why Fewer Clothes Equal More Success

A lot has been written about wardrobe streamlining.  I have written posts on the benefits of it and have found my wardrobe capsule posts to be the most well received by readers.  Clearly, many are looking to make this aspect of their lives easier.  Not to mention the fact that the fast fashion trend, deserving of tremendous criticism, seems to be loosening its grip on the average consumer.  It now seems gauche to not be thinking more minimally with ones wardrobe.

Yet, fast fashion gaucheness aside, along with the fact that most people are burned out from making 35,000 decisions daily, there is another argument to a streamlined wardrobe — it is believed by some that wearing the same thing regularly is associated with success.

If your closet feels bloated, you feel burned out from the constant nagging of what to wear or are looking to prioritize what consumes your time, here are some things to consider in terms of why less clothing can equal more success.

You can focus on the bigger picture

When I tell people what I do, they often assume I’m some sort of fashion obsessed person who lives, drinks and breathes fashion.  I didn’t start my business because I was fashion obsessed, despite being in this industry for over 20 years, I started it because I wanted to show women how to be productive with their wardrobes so they could move on and put their efforts towards things that mattered.  This is not to say I don’t appreciate a gorgeous outfit, a beautiful pair of shoes or a well put together woman, I do just as much as the next person.

The whole point of having great style is so you can represent yourself well in the world you live in.  This isn’t about creating the perfect outfit for an Instagram post or being the person who always has the “right” pieces in her closet.  By tailoring down your wardrobe to something that is workable for you and you feel great wearing allows you to focus on the bigger picture of your life.

Less time wasted

I have experienced many times in my life where I have had to be careful with my spending.  I didn’t have the luxury to just go out and buy something when the need called for it.  Instead, I had to be inventive, creative and sometimes just accepted that I needed to make do.  In the world we live in today, there is a belief that more options will give us more freedom and liberation.  I believe the opposite to often be true.

I often equate this to a fine dining experience versus eating at a diner with pages of options.  The more options we have the more paralyzed we become.  How much quicker and easier is it when we have three options to choose from instead of pages of choices?  I don’t have children, but have heard when posing choices to a child you say to them, “Which of these two do you want?” not, “what do you want?” because you have to limit choices with children.  I think you do with adults as well.

If you limit your options, you save time and, hence, can focus on what’s really important.  No surprise why some of the most successful people in the world are known for wearing the same thing all the time.

One last word about less time wasted.  We must not forget the time it takes accumulating clothes, cleaning, tailoring, organizing, storing, etc.  Less time is wasted when all this is minimized.

Less anxiety

Sometimes we feel like our wardrobes need a shake up.  An evolving style is what it means to be human and to grow.  However, when I look back over the years of how I dressed, while there are plenty of surface changes simply due to my age and the changes in trend, my core style, and what I have been drawn to, has never really deviated.  It has always been classic, more sophisticated and more understated.

This is not to say you won’t or shouldn’t take risks, but fighting the current of what is natural just for the sake of change can be unnecessarily anxiety producing.  And who needs that, especially as you get older?  I called this wearing a ‘you’niform instead of a uniform, which means to find your own signature style.

Sticking with a look that makes you feel confident can have obvious effects on your success.  No wonder so many successful people stick with what works.

You look serious and have your priorities in order

An simple iconic look can come across like you are serious about what’s important and have your priorities in order.  Look at how the media perceives those who are fashion obsessed.  Usually they are seen as the bubble heads who don’t know who the current president is.  As a fashion professional, I find the stereotype somewhat insulting, but also often find that those outside the industry, who do get obsessed with fashion to, sadly, live up the perceptions all too often.

Wearing a similar look regularly gives off a message of serious goals, maturity, clear priorities and in a role as the “protagonist,” as writer Alice Gregory points out in this article on wearing a uniform, and that both children and adults crave continuity.

You spend smartly

The days of spending less and getting more are over.  Value isn’t seen any longer in how much you have, but in how much value you have in the things you own.  It’s not impressive to have a closet full of cheap deals or clothes you don’t wear.  By wearing a look or a ‘you’niform it sends the message that you don’t burden yourself the expense of owning too much.  Instead, you choose value over quantity, buy less and get more and exude a practical confidence that you know who you are, you value yourself and know what is important.

Dressing for success isn’t about wearing the right things or what others tell you should wear.  It’s about knowing yourself and creating a look that exemplifies it.  If that means wearing the same type of look everyday, then so be it.

 

  • jeanette sclar

    This is one of the most articulate discussions on wardrobe philosophy I’ve read! I’m not able to live by a strict capsule wardrobe myself (my artistic vibe is too strong a siren) , but, at 70, I definitely wear a you-inform.

    • Wow. I’m totally flattered by your comment. Thanks so much!!

  • Jeannean Jenkins

    Loved this article! I have 3 distinct wardbrobes all of which are streamlined, but have been made to feel guilty for it! Now I understand this suits my current lifestyle and to just go with it! Thanks for the insight!!!

  • Ckmeagher

    Hmmm. We had to move out of our place due to a reno so I had to pack very strategically for work. Didn’t want to think too much about what to pack, so I brought a variety of dresses and cardigans, plus basic accessories. Let’s see how it works out!

  • Deb Durham

    Amen, sister!! My sentiments exactly. Friends look say my barely 4 foot wide closet and can’t believe it holds all my clothes! I love the idea of fewer but more quality choices.

  • AJ

    I’ve read many articles about capsule wardrobes and minimalist wardrobes, but those ideas never sounded appealing. Finally, your article put a new spin on these ideas and made a lot of sense to me.

  • Jacqueline Weldon

    This article makes me feel good as far as my sense seems to align with Brigettes. This is reassuring! My working wardrobe is rather simple (and I do invest in staple high end pieces that work for me and kill them after they are worn to death) – this does make it easy when you feel like life is going at a hundred miles an hour…..my working clothes are easy to align each morning and dressing doesnt impeded my life too much. It allows me to spend more time on things like exercise – which is a real struggle to fit in!