We get it. No one wants to be seen wearing the same outfit every day. It makes you look boring, flat, and uninspired. However, according to industry experts on Business Insider, if you look at the planet's long history of successful entrepreneurs, such as Vogue's Editor-in-Chief Anna Wintour and Theranos CEO Elizabeth Holmes, you'll find one thing in common — they wear the same thing every day.
Before we begin, let's make one thing clear: "same" doesn't have to mean wearing the same clothes. We're talking about patterns, textures, and accessories (more info here) that you'll be wearing so much they'll practically be wardrobe staples. Plus, it'll be useful not only for your office image but mental health as well. Keep reading to find out why.
Helps build your personal brand
Much like how McDonald's is distinctively yellow and red or how Apple feels like it's part of an exclusive club, picking the certain outfits and sticking to them builds an image of you. Woman Within has these straight leg pants which exude a very relaxed vibe, and wearing similar outfits will make you seem like a casual, laidback person overall. But if you'd rather have a more serious image, then wearing Lark & Ro's classic button blazers might be more your style. The important part is to wear the same outfit every day — so people associate you with it more.
Opens extra time in the morning
Business consultant Masha Maskina has talked about how employees are easily stressed, and "[change] only adds to the anxiety level." Sure, she was referring to adjusting to a rapidly shifting job market. However, this tip can also apply to clothes. Instead of stressing over what to wear in the morning, wear the usual, and use those extra minutes to make yourself some breakfast or go over the day's agenda.
Make one less decision everyday
Decision fatigue is real, and it's more taxing than physical fatigue. The more choices your brain has to make, the more tired it gets. And if it's exhausted, it'll be more difficult to make decisions. For example, instead of thinking things through, you'll be tempted to "get it over with" and make reckless decisions. Making extra choices, even harmless ones like picking out an outfit, wears you down over time. Save yourself the trouble with your very own "uniform."
Minimizes your wardrobe
Every year, more than 15 million tons of textile waste is generated in the U.S. alone, and it's mostly because people buy clothes that look "nice" but will rarely wear. Not only will you be doing your part to help the environment, your closet will appear less cluttered too. The habit of fixing your wardrobe carries over to other tasks like stacking documents and filing records. Being organized is more than a habit—it's a lifestyle.
Feel good in whatever you're wearing
Another great thing about having staple outfits is that you'll never have to worry if they pair well or not. Are you the type who goes into the office with a pinstripe shirt and toe pumps? Floral prints and belted pants? Orvis' Gingham jackets and high boots? If you've tested a particular combination once, liked it, then you'll always feel good about wearing it.
With all that being said, wearing the same outfits to work everyday doesn't have to be boring or meaningless. In fact, it may just be the thing you need to enhance your productivity and feel better on the job. But of course, there's no harm in wanting to dress up and express yourself through style. At the end of the day, comfort is what's most important.
During a recent meeting on Microsoft Teams, I couldn't seem to get a single word out.
When I tried to chime in, I kept getting interrupted. At one point two individuals talked right over me and over each other. When I thought it was finally my turn, someone else parachuted in from out of nowhere. When I raised and waved my hand as if I was in grade school to be called on (yes, I had my camera on) we swiftly moved on to the next topic. And then, completely frustrated, I stayed on mute for the remainder of the meeting. I even momentarily shut off my camera to devour the rest of my heavily bruised, brown banana. (No one needed to see that.)
This wasn't the first time I had struggled to find my voice. Since elementary school, I always preferring the back seat unless the teacher assigned me a seat in the front. In high school, I did piles of extra credit or mini-reports to offset my 0% in class participation. In college, I went into each lecture nauseous and with wasted prayers — wishing and hoping that I wouldn't be cold-called on by the professor.
By the time I got to Corporate America, it was clear that if I wanted to lead, I needed to pull my chair up (and sometimes bring my own), sit right at the table front and center, and ask for others to make space for me. From then on, I found my voice and never stop using it.
But now, all of a sudden, in this forced social experiment of mass remote working, I was having trouble being heard… again. None of the coaching I had given myself and other women on finding your voice seemed to work when my voice was being projected across a conference call and not a conference room.
I couldn't read any body language. I couldn't see if others were about to jump in and I should wait or if it was my time to speak. They couldn't see if I had something to say. For our Microsoft teams setting, you can only see a few faces on your screen, the rest are icons at the bottom of the window with a static picture or even just their name. And, even then, I couldn't see some people simply because they wouldn't turn their cameras on.
If I did get a chance to speak and cracked a funny joke, well, I didn't hear any laughing. Most people were on mute. Or maybe the joke wasn't that funny?
At one point, I could hear some heavy breathing and the unwrapping of (what I could only assume was) a candy bar. I imagined it was a Nestle Crunch Bar as my tummy rumbled in response to the crinkling of unwrapped candy. (There is a right and a wrong time to mute, people.)
At another point, I did see one face nodding at me blankly.
They say that remote working will be good for women. They say it will level the playing field. They say it will be more inclusive. But it won't be for me and others if I don't speak up now.
- Start with turning your camera on and encouraging others to do the same. I was recently in a two-person meeting. My camera was on, but the other person wouldn't turn theirs on. In that case, ten minutes in, I turned my camera off. You can't stare at my fuzzy eyebrows and my pile of laundry in the background if I can't do the same to you. When you have a willing participant, you'd be surprised by how helpful it can be to make actual eye contact with someone, even on a computer (and despite the fuzzy eyebrows).
- Use the chatbox. Enter in your questions. Enter in your comments. Dialogue back and forth. Type in a joke. I did that recently and someone entered back a laughing face — reaffirming that I was, indeed, funny.
- Designate a facilitator for the meeting: someone leading, coaching, and guiding. On my most recent call, a leader went around ensuring everyone was able to contribute fairly. She also ensured she asked for feedback on a specific topic and helped move the discussion around so no one person took up all the airtime.
- Unmute yourself. Please don't just sit there on mute for the entire meeting. Jump in and speak up. You will be interrupted. You will interrupt others. But don't get frustrated or discouraged — this is what work is now — just keep showing up and contributing.
- Smile, and smile big. Nod your head in agreement. Laugh. Give a thumbs up; give two! Wave. Make a heart with your hands. Signal to others on the call who are contributing that you support and value them. They will do the same in return when your turn comes to contribute.
It's too easy to keep your camera turned off. It's too easy to stay on mute. It's too easy to disappear. But now is not the time to disappear. Now is the time to stay engaged and networked within our organizations and communities.
So please don't put yourself on mute.
Well, actually, please do put yourself on mute so I don't have to hear your heavy breathing, candy bar crunching, or tinkling bathroom break.
But after that, please take yourself off mute so you can reclaim your seat (and your voice) at the table.