When you picture success, you may think about the great accomplishments of people like Mark Zuckerberg or Steve Jobs. You’ve likely read articles about how these successful people get inspired and stay productive. One thing you may not have noticed was that some of the most influential people in the world take a minimalist approach to style.
Your style can communicate who you are and what you stand for before you ever open your mouth. Since we know that we never get a second chance to make a first impression, many of us spend lots of time agonizing over what to wear. We want to be successful, and we’ve been taught that we have to dress for success. Looking great doesn’t mean reinventing the wheel every day, though.
Some of the greatest minds of our time have adopted a minimalist wardrobe
You probably can’t picture Steve Jobs without thinking of his go-to outfit: a black turtleneck and jeans. When you think of Mark Zuckerberg, your mental image is likely to be him in a pair of jeans, a grey t-shirt, and possibly, a hoodie. Barack Obama is always in a blue or grey suit. We imagine them this way because these influential people have committed to wearing the same outfits over and over.
People who choose to wear the same thing over and over value simplicity and minimalism in their clothing choices. Taking the decision-making out of getting ready in the morning is an intentional move that influential people make to save time and energy. We humans can only make so many decisions per day before we suffer from decision fatigue.
Mark Zuckerberg’s fashion philosophy
Mark Zuckerberg, founder and CEO of Facebook, put it most succinctly. When asked to explain why he wears the same clothes every day, he said:
“I really want to clear my life so that I have to make as few decisions as possible about anything except how to best serve this community.”
He explains that spending his time and energy on frivolous things prevents him from putting his energy into his company. Mr. Zuckerberg knows that if he spends 30 minutes every day deciding what to wear, he loses three-and-a-half hours per week that he could devote to his work or his family. Think about how much time you spend picking out your outfits.
You can take a page out of Zuckerberg’s book
The average person makes a whopping 35,000 decisions per day. Many of those decisions relate to mundane things like what to pack in your lunch or which shirt you should wear. The more time and energy you spend on the mundane, the less you have to devote to the extraordinary.
Having a minimalist wardrobe doesn’t mean that you have to sacrifice style. You can still look professional and put together, without fretting over fashion. By limiting the number of choices you have to make and choosing versatile pieces, you can design a sharp-looking hassle-free wardrobe for yourself.
Essential looks for a minimalist wardrobe
Depending on where we work and how we spend our time, there are certain outfits that we should have in our closets. If you can nail down some quality go-to pieces in each of these categories, you can do away with the closet full of decisions you have to make every morning.
At Lifehack, we’ve put together a list of essential looks, and we’ve identified some great pieces to help you pull them off.
1. Smart Office Casual
Looking sharp doesn’t mean that you need to have a different suit or set of accessories for every day of the week. Dress professionally without coming off as too formal with these items. This is the perfect look for the office.
- Tommy Hilfiger Men’s Dress Reversible Belt with Polished Nickel Buckle $21.02
- Zachary Prell Granite Soft Knit Blazer $398.00
- BENGAL Leather Satchel by Ted Baker $449.00
- Williams Cashmere Men’s Crew-Neck Sweater $37.84
- Men’s Knoxville Plain Toe Gore-Tex Oxfords $143.00\
- Goodthreads Men’s Slim-Fit Wrinkle-Free Dress Chino Pant $30.00
2. Laid Back Executive
A quality polo shirt and a pair of chinos enable you to look put-together and casual. This look is perfect for those less-formal meetings and casual afternoons out.
- G-Star Raw Men’s 5620 Deconstructed 3d Low Tapered Cerro Stretch Jean $120.00
- Men’s Twin Tipped Polo Shirt-m1200 by Fred Perry $52.99
- Leather Backpack by Jack Spade $398.00
- Conway Sneakers by Vince $225.00
3. Ready for the Gym
Going to the gym is about getting results and being healthy. There’s no need to get fussy about fashion if you have a few solid and functional garments.
- Surge Short 7″ by Lululemon $85.00
- Tech Short-Sleeve Shirt by Under Armour $14.99 – $46.99
- A-PIE Fashion Breathable Sneakers Mesh Soft Sole Casual Athletic Lightweight $14.99
- Barnaby Tapered Joggers by Jack Wills $85.63
- Under Armour Resistor 3.0 Lo Cut Sock $21.99
- Assert Convertible Duffel Bag/ Backpack by Lululemon $163.58
4. Street Smart
For casual everyday wear, there’s no need to waste time rifling through t-shirts. If you are interested in emulating Mark Zuckerberg’s style, these are the types of items he wears on a daily basis.
- 501 Original-Fit Jeans by Levi’s $39.99
- Modern Fit Tee by Woolrich $22.45
- Raven Hoodie by All Saints $104.36
- Men’s Basket Classic B&W Fashion Sneakers by PUMA $74.95
5. Finishing Touches and Accessories
To add some flair to your outfits, consider a few simple accessories. Many of these work well with several of the outfits we’ve put together. Having versatile accessories ensures that you can look your best without having to spend too much time digging through extensive collections.
- Herschel Men’s Roy RFID Blocking Wallet $24.99
- Venture Navy Leather Bracelet by Links of London $225.00
- Expedition Scout 40 Watch by Timex $38.50
- Major II Bluetooth On-Ear Headphones by Marshall $85.95
- Bleu de Chanel cologne by Chanel $225.00
Keep it Simple and Practical
Wardrobes can quickly become expansive, but if you take time to curate your collection and identify versatile pieces, you’ll be able to put together a look for any occasion.
Featured photo credit: Anthony Quintano/ FlickR via flickr.com
|||^||New York Times: Make Better Decisions by Knowing How Decision Fatigue Works|
|||^||Independent: Mark Zuckerberg on Why He Wears That Same T-Shirt Every Day|
|||^||Thinking Business Blog: You Make 35,000 Decisions A Day: How to Ensure They’re Excellent|