Because you aspire to be a progressive minimalist like me, I’m sure you’ve heard about the growing trend of wearing the same wardrobe every day. You might call to mind the image of Steve Jobs, and his black mock turtleneck, jeans, and white shoes.
More recently, Mark Zuckerberg became well-known for this trend, and I’m a lot like Zuck. So, I’d like to explain why I’ve made this choice, and why my broadcasting of this choice makes me insufferable.
My life isn’t easy. I’m a 27-year-old, single white male with a college degree (that my parents paid for), working in the Bay Area. Most people might suggest that, at this stage in my life, I have endured very little actual hardship. But what they don’t know is that my parents are divorced and I’ve spent very little time examining the effect of that event on my life. I do like to bring it up on dates from time to time, though, to show women that I’m grounded in the hard realities of life. Also, my daily work commute is tough!
I work in the technology field because it’s so creative and I’m a creative guy. Also, you can use other people’s money to fund huge endeavors that don’t actually have to make money for a long time. And when outsiders point out that a lot of these ideas don’t seem to really meet a societal need (happens a lot, actually), you can write them off because they don’t understand innovation. People told Zuck that, and Steve always said he was in the business of creating things people didn’t know they needed yet.
In the Bay Area, we don’t talk about “innovation” anymore. Such a lame buzzword, ugh. We work on “disruption,” which historically is a word that means something horrible, but it’s good here. Usually, the stuff that everyone says no one needs is actually disruptive.
Anyway, these types of projects I work on naturally require a lot of creative focus, since we spend so much time looking for ways to solve things that typically aren’t problems. And my daily creativity has a limit, like any good thing.
So, when I read about Zuck wearing the same thing every day to cut down on “decision fatigue,” saving that precious mind space for more important things, it immediately resonated.
Gone are those precious morning minutes in front of a calico coat rack of plaids, stripes, solids, and chambrays. Before I even darken the door of my closet, the decision has already been made. It’s freeing, really.
Never mind that hubbub about fashion as “creative expression.” These lines of code are woven much the same way a blouse might be, except this code changes the world!
Also, please disregard the shallowness of my gesture, and it’s low motives. I could have sworn of brands that don’t practice ethical labor treatment or sustainable materials. I could have fasted from purchasing new clothes for a year and instead donated that amount to a family in some part of the world whose minimalist wardrobe is a by-product of their geographic predisposition toward poverty.
Nope! Instead, I now pay $72 for heather gray T-shirts because the fit is just perfect for my slimmer frame.
I think a lot about how people must feel when they notice my (well-fitting, bespoke) consistent outfit each day. I hope I’m inspiring them to think about conserving their focus as well. We all have the ability to be disruptors, I think. But you gotta hustle!
Recently, I had to attend my grandfather’s funeral. I didn’t know him very well (he lived like two hours away, lol), and so I wasn’t super amped to go in the first place. It was the same weekend as this content conference I’d heard a lot about. “Content” is a new word for media that’s basically disposable and designed with psychological tricks in mind; it holds your attention long enough on a website so the site owners can justify selling an ad there. The conference is about “viral hacking,” two other words that also used to mean something grim, but they’re good now too. I guess that’s disruption at work!
Anyway, my mom was pretty insistent that I go, so I went and I wore my daily outfit. When I got there, she was all “you look like you’re going to a baseball game” and really harping on it, so we went to Stein Mart and I bought a sportcoat.
I say all that to remind you — it’s not easy making a choice like this. That sportcoat was $150, and I could have bought two more tees for that, so it’s a real hit. Just like any brave choice, you’re going to face some resistance. But push through.
Sometimes, your life is actually so shallow that you need to manufacture drama in order to justify a sense of accomplishment. In my case, putting on that tee shirt and jeans each day is a real act of courage, in a time where the meaning of a word like that is surprisingly flexible.