The Interesting Reason Successful People Wear the Same Thing Everyday

March 7th 2016

Taylor Bell

It's a fashion philosophy that Steve Jobs was known for and Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg swears by. Wearing the same outfit every day to work may seem like a faux pas, but it could actually make you a more productive and effective person.

When you skip out on the often laborious task of deciding on what new outfit to wear in the morning, you brain is more rested and better able to concentrate throughout the day, according to the Daily Mail.

In general, decision-making can be quite taxing on the brain.

According to Daniel Levitin, a professor of psychology and behavioral neuroscience at McGill University in Montreal, anytime you make a decision the brain has to use energy.

"If you're making a bunch of little decisions, like do I read this email now or later? Do I file it? Do I forward it? Do I have to get more information? Do I put it in the Spam folder? That's a handful of decisions right there, and you haven't done anything meaningful," Levitin told CNN.

"It puts us into a brain state of decision fatigue," Levitin continued. "Turns out, the neurons that are doing the business of helping us make decisions, they're living cells with metabolism, they require glucose to function, and they don't distinguish between making important decisions and unimportant ones. It takes up almost as much energy and nutrients to process trivial decisions or important ones."


As we are bombarded by decisions constantly throughout the day, this can be "overwhelming and prevent us from being present enough to do our best work and live our best lives," according to an article by Lifestyle Design Visionary Lori Rochino for the Huffington Post. Therefore, cutting back on the trivial decisions you have to make — such as deciding what to wear and even what to eat — can save your brain energy and make you more equipped to make bigger and better decisions.

There are Consequences to Wasting Your Brain's Energy.

According to the New York Times, once your brain expends all its energy, you're less likely to process complex decisions, such as compromises and trade-offs. This make you more susceptible to make bad decisions.

As New York Times' John Tiery pointed out.

"Decision fatigue helps explain why ordinarily sensible people get angry at colleagues and families, splurge on clothes, buy junk food at the supermarket and can’t resist the dealer’s offer to rustproof their new car. No matter how rational and high-minded you try to be, you can’t make decision after decision without paying a biological price."

Successful people such as Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg lives by this principle. In an interview with Business Insider, the billionaire talked about why his minimalist wardrobe serves him the best.


A photo posted by CNBC (@cnbc) on

"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 this community," Zuckerberg told Business Insider.

"I'm in this really lucky position, where I get to wake up every day and help serve more than a billion people," Zuckerberg continued. "And I feel like I'm not doing my job if I spend any of my energy on things that are silly or frivolous about my life."

President Obama keeps it simple, too.

In an interview with Vanity Fair's Michael Lewis, President Barack Obama also talked about the benefit of sporting just a few clothing options.

"You’ll see I wear only gray or blue suits," Obama told Vanity Fair. "I’m trying to pare down decisions. I don’t want to make decisions about what I’m eating or wearing. Because I have too many other decisions to make."

How Successful Women Minimize Their Wardrobes

For women, it may be hard to embrace wearing the same ensemble everyday, given that being a fashionista is often celebrated. However, many successful women industry have embraced a simplified outfit.

For example, Matilda Kahl, an art director for an advertising agency in New York, gained national attention when she wrote in Harper's Bazaar about the experience of wearing the same thing to work every day for three years.

"The thought of reclaiming the driver's seat can feel overwhelming, but even small changes can make a huge difference," Kahl wrote. "The simple choice of wearing a work uniform has saved me countless wasted hours thinking, 'what the hell am I going to wear today?' And in fact, these black trousers and white blouses have become an important daily reminder that frankly, I'm in control."

Kahl added: "Today, I not only feel great about what I wear, I don't think about what I wear."