Design your life to include more money, health and happiness with less stuff, space and energy.

Design your life to include more money, health and happiness with less stuff, space and energy.

Want to Simplify Your Life? Try a Uniform

My high school hallways were like a fashion show catwalk. With my classmates carefully scrutinizing my outfits, I made sure my clothes were up to date, that I had the right sneakers, the right cuffs on my stonewashed jeans, the right collar shape on my Gap button-downs and so forth. I carefully rotated my wardrobe to make sure there were no repeated outfits in a given week. I didn’t want anyone to think I didn’t care.

While no one ever accused me of not caring, no one cared that much either. All the anxiety, time spent assembling the right styles, laundry–all of it was for naught. I hovered through high school enjoying low-to-medium popularity, no portion of which was attributable to my clothing.

Most people just don’t care that much about what we’re wearing. In my experience, people will notice if our clothes aren’t clean, if they’re falling apart or if they are majorly out-of-date. They’ll notice if what we’re wearing is well made or fits us well. But people won’t care if the nice, clean, stylish thing we wore on Monday is the same nice, clean, stylish thing we wore on Friday.

The world is filled with a profound number of choices, but studies show that having fewer–not more–choices may be the path to greater happiness. Few places provide a greater opportunity for strategically eliminating choice than our clothing.

Rather than boring and imposed fashion, a uniform can be a great way to simplify your life and even express your style–there’s a reason Steve Jobs, one of the foremost design gurus of the last 100 years, wore the same outfit day in, day out.

With a uniform, dressing and life become much simpler and speedier, and with the right uniform, no one will accuse you of not caring.

If you are interested in creating your own uniform, here are a few tips to get you started:

  • If you don’t have a uniform, or don’t know what it would be, start with your favorite clothes as the basis of your uniform. This should be stuff that that fits you well and you feel comfortable wearing. The idea is to have a wardrobe of only your favorite clothes. If you don’t have favorite clothes or don’t don’t care about fashion, ask someone you trust to help select your uniform.
  • Try to find versatile clothing that will work for several different settings. For example my Outlier pants, a staple in my uniform, work for casual and dress occasions.
  • If you can’t make one thing work for several occasions, create separate uniforms, e.g. a work uniform and a casual uniform.
  • When you find something you like, buy multiples. Get a few colors of the same item if you’re worried about looking the same all the time (but remember no one cares).
  • Even if you don’t wear the exact same thing every day, choose high quality clothing staples like a particular skirt, pant or shirt. Choose classic cuts in muted and complementary colors that you’ll be less likely to tire of and that work well together. Ideally, every item in your wardrobe should look good together.
  • Add variety and style to your uniform by wearing accents like colorful undershirts, shoes or jewelry.

Do you have a uniform? Let us know your suggestions in our comments section below.

[This post originally appeared on this site on April 12, 2013]