Barack Obama. Mark Zuckerberg. Michael Kors.
Each of these men are great leaders and they share at least one fashion rule: they each notoriously wear a uniform.
Odd, isn’t it, that the leader of the free world, one of the most brilliant tech minds in existence, and one of our generation’s foremost fashion designers would wear a uniform to work? It goes without saying that they could afford any article of clothing in any amount they could possibly desire. Instead of taking advantage of the resources they have, though, they have each relegated themselves to a uniform.
Obama, Zuckerberg, and Kors cite the same reason for abiding by this fashion rule. Obama, who said during his presidency that he would only wear navy or black suits, explained that he simply did not want to have to decide what to wear or what to eat each day because he already has too many other decisions to make. Fair point, Mr. President.
Zuckerberg said the same: with the exception of a few special occasions (including his recent testimony in front of Congress), the Facebook founder wears a grey shirt to work every single day.
I first noticed Michael Kors’s uniform during his stint as a judge on one of my favorite tv shows: Project Runway. He wore a black blazer, black shirt, and jeans every episode. It’s his take on this topic that I enjoyed learning about the most. In an article he wrote, here, he encourages people to experiment with new styles as much as they can. He admits to wearing a uniform to avoid decision-making fatigue, but says he experimented with a quite varied array of clothing including zoot-suit pants and leg warmers before he settled on his uniform.
These men raise fair and logical points. So, you may be wondering, what is my workwear uniform?
I don’t have one.
Obviously, I’m not nearly as busy as any of the aforementioned; however, I do understand the challenge of having tons of decisions to make each day and wanting to be able to put the full force of your mental capacity into each decision. Why, then, do I not have a uniform?
I like playing dress up.
There are some days when getting dressed is a challenge. Everyone has encountered that dreadful day when the dry cleaning or laundry hasn’t been tackled in a while, leaving few outfit choices. We’ve all been thrust into a frantic panic every now and then while searching for outfits after waking up for work an hour late… or two.
Whatever the case may be, we all have a few trying days; however, I cherish the slight feeling of giddiness that tingles up my spine when I walk to my closet in the morning and slip on my favorite teal dress. I can’t help but smile occasionally when I take a brief glimpse under my desk at my new pearl-embellished loafers fitting perfectly to my feet. I like being able to take advantage of the versatility available to me via the choices of pants, skirts, and dresses hanging in my closet. And who wants to give up wearing a red power suit or power dress every now and then?
I simply cannot (read: will not) don a uniform to work. I think it is a fantastic idea for some, but it isn’t something I’ll willingly do anytime soon. That’s not to say it’s out of the question later in my life, but today isn’t the day.
For those who are considering a transition to the “work uniform,” try starting with something simple like a white top and black bottoms. This leaves a bit of wiggle room for your uniform. You can alternate between a black skirt and black pants (try the Editor). You can do a button-down shirt or maybe a white boat-neck blouse like the one here. Plus, you can easily accessorize however you’d like. There isn’t much that clashes with a white top and black bottoms.
Whatever your choice may be, it’s nice to have the perspective of some great leaders in today’s society. This time, though, I’m not following their example.