An argument for wearing the same clothes everyday

50 Comments

  1. Thank you so much for taking the time to write this and give us your update. I’ve been doing some research on this for about an hour and this article sealed the deal.

    I already know what my uniform will consist of from now on:

    Clean white tee
    5 different colors of the same jeans
    Off white sneakers
    A blazer

    The End. Thanks!

  2. I’ve been doing this for years. I go to work in my standard model of khakis + my standard button-up shirt + my standard short-sleeved t-shirt as an undershirt; when I get home, I just change to my standard model of jeans and (in the warmer months) lose the button-up. Colors are chosen to all work together so I never have to plan my outfits and never look goofy, and there’s enough variation in patterns/colors of button-ups that it doesn’t look like I’m wearing the same clothes to work every day.

    The best decision I ever made was switching to one standard model of sock that I buy in bulk. No more pairing them up or worrying about them matching, and I just throw them out one at a time as they inevitably get holes in the big toe.

    I choose my standard models based on durability, and as it turns out that’s actually pretty cost-effective. For example, I go with very plain 100% cotton denim jeans (most jeans nowadays have some stretchy material in them which makes them far less durable.) These also happen to be the cheapest jeans I’ve ever found at like $13/pair.

    The biggest challenge for me is that the clothing industry is catering to fatter and fatter people. I’m in good shape and have been the same exact size for the past 12 years. Size Small t-shirts keep getting bigger, jeans are being made with stretchier material, button-ups keep getting boxier. I imagine they do this to make fat people feel better about themselves, at the expense of making it difficult for people who care about their bodies to buy clothes.

    1. Hi Dave, sorry for the delayed response. I only just saw your comment.
      Wow, it’s so refreshing to hear that you’ve been wearing a personal uniform for so long. It sounds like you have a solid system in place. Thanks for sharing your experience!

  3. You nailed it!! I am moving quite often and the thought of packing again clothes am barely wearing made me realize I don’t want that anymore. Minimalism is finally becoming more prevalent and my main worry was the fact that my friends and family would find it “weird” to see me in the same clothes all the time. I can’t wait to stop wasting time finding which clothes to wear and use that time for something I would consider more useful. Your explanation are helping me to get organized with my new permanent look ! Thanks you ?

    1. Thanks, Marie!! I’m so glad you’ve found the courage to start blocking out the noise and focus on building a permanent look. It’s such a great feeling to not only reduce the amount of time spent thinking about what you’re going to wear, but also establish an iconic style. You’ve got this!

  4. Hi,
    i just want to thank you for this wonderful article 🙂
    this really put a big smile on my face 🙂 I am just starting my journey to become a minimalist, but in the place where i live in and worked in, all of my plans are not that workable, but i surely started to myself, i started little by little and i am sure im helping this world a better place (even on my small gestures and effort)

    more power and thanks again.
    🙂

    1. Hi Cheng! Aw, thank you for your kind words 🙂

      Good on you for starting this journey. And as you said, little by little you’ll make a difference. I know that once we began practising minimalism, we never turned back because of how it made us feel.

  5. I love this, honestly.
    Not only does it look into how much we’ve gone beyond the purpose in terms of clothing, but it also sheds light into how over time we’ve slowly gone past the boundaries of “need” to “excessive want” in our lives. Sure there’s nothing wrong with wanting your clothing to represent your unique personality past just covering your nakedness, but once we go into the amount of waste generated by the clothing industry, the ridiculous cost of some apparel, etc, we need to start asking ourselves what exactly we’re doing.
    Very well written, definitely sharing this.
    If you have time as well, I wrote a similar piece on excesses, check it out!
    https://regardsfutureself.wordpress.com/2018/09/22/beyond-the-measure/

    1. Hi David, thank you for taking the time to read and comment. And you’re spot on about the progression from “need” to “excessive want”.

      I had a peek at your writing and love the way your mind works.

  6. Thank you for the thoughtful article. My husband and I have been evolving our lifestyle into a more minimalist lifestyle. It’s amaxing to realize the hold items have on you when you think about giving things away.

    My husband has found his comfort style and uniform style. He has three pairs of jeans, two pairs of tennis shoes, about 10 black t-shirts and about 5 button down shirts. He has one belt, and his socks and undershirts are all uniform. His button down shirts are different but all the same brand and style. But they aren’t all solid. He has solid, plaid, and stripes of the exact same shirt. They are in his preferred colors, grey, dark blue, and black. I am impressed by his ability to stick to it.

    I want to make this transition but am struggling with solids, patterns, florals. I like them all and I like color. how does “mix and match” for women fit into the personal uniform Style? I need someone else’s perspective on this. I’d appreciate your feedback.

    1. Hi Lisa, your so right about the control out items have over us!

      Hmm, you and your husband sound exactly life myself and Maša. I’ve been able to stick to my personal uniform for a whole season and love it. She also has reservations about the lack of variety and combinations.

      I don’t know if I can comment at a fashion style level. My only suggestion would be to see if you can get the same cut of garment but in different colours for added flexibility and variety. What clicked for me with my uniform was how fresh my clothes are all the time because I have multiples. So even though I’m wearing the same clothes, it feels fresh because it looks nice and I have different colours.

      Try it for two weeks and to see how it feels. Don’t put too much pressure on yourself as it will require some experimenting to find your style initially. You can do this!

  7. Aravind Kumar : I just wanted to know how you bought the 10 tall tees , did you bought just 2 of it and then bought the remaining 8 ?

    1. Hi Aravind, I’m so glad you enjoyed this article! I personally, ordered of tees at once. However, I did have to send them back because I got the sizing wrong. So in hindsight, it’s not a bad idea to trial some clothes before buying multiple pairs. I must say though, having multiple copies of the same garment makes life much easier! For your reference, I built my uniform largely from a clothing company called AS Colour. They focus on quality basics and they have an ethical supply chain. All the best with your personal uniform!

  8. Hey nice article, best part that you covered story behind “steve jobs” uniform. I always wondered how they come up with the uniform which suits them because that will be going to be with us for long time and it shout suite us well. Found your article while searching for how to choose a neutral uniform.
    I am thinking to trail by buying 2 pair of same costume and then based on experience will go for getting it in more numbers.
    If possible you can post how you finalized your uniform.
    Thanks and keep writing.
    Love from INDIA.

  9. I really like this idea. Ever since I left the military, I have crave the uniformity that it provided. My service left me with severe anxiety, so when I go shopping for clothes, it can be quite the ordeal for me. It can be difficult making those decisions. It’s always difficult in the mornings when I get up and I’m deciding what to wear. Thankfully, my new job does indeed have uniforms, but I do not like wearing them. I’m trying to think of what I would like to wear every day for the rest of my life. Do you have any ideas on what would look good on a man if he wore it every day? I can’t go buying the Steve Jobs sweaters because they are over $100 each. I was thinking that the only thing in my wardrobe I would change is the watchbands for my Apple Watch, and socks. I like to wear randomly colored socks. There is no decision fatigue involved in those. I just grab a pair that looks awesome and throw it on. Just can’t think of what I would like to wear every day for the rest of my life. Although I know that if it was something that had a collar to it, I would likely wear the under armor compression shirts and white color or gray. For a top I have no idea. For bottoms I was thinking something like a nice pair of stretchy jeans that is a very deep blue color and has a lot of wiggle room. For shoes I was thinking of Adidas, that have that cool looking block on the side. Socks would be Stance or pair of thieves. Underwear would be of course under armour. Any pointers that you can provide would be wonderful. It’s just such a hard decision to make to choose the one thing that you were going to wear forever. But I want to do it.

    1. Hey, thanks for sharing your interest in developing a personal uniform. As I said in the post, I’m definitely not one to have a great deal of knowledge in fashion. Having said that, we’ve curated a large list of online ethical fashion stores. Personally, I keep my wardrobe simple. Two pairs of Etiko shoes (one black, one white), tall tees x10, cuffed pants (black and beige), hoodies. As it warms up in Australia, I’ll review my uniform for the season.

  10. Love this. I have a basic black uniform. I am a high school counselor and wear black tops (typically nice quality tops from Nordstroms) over black pants, some colored pants/jeans. I’m even thinking of one pair of high end sneakers this year to stay super comfortable. I have been teased in the past over my all black uni, but I don’t let it bother me. I’m a confident person, I know what I like, and I don’t like to be bothered trying to dress to impress. I don’t need to express creativity with my dress, but I understand others may feel that need. My individuality is expressed by me, my personality, not my clothes.

    1. “I’m a confident person, I know what I like, and I don’t like to be bothered trying to dress to impress. I don’t need to express creativity with my dress, but I understand others may feel that need. My individuality is expressed by me, my personality, not my clothes.”

      This is such a powerful statement, Tracey. Thanks for sharing your experience!

  11. Dear Michael,
    This is a great article. I loved how you started to the beginning to bring the story to your points and how you include all different aspects into consideration. I guess I am fan of articles that merge a lot of facts with a lot of opinions and philosophies.
    It looks to me that your ‘personal uniform’ idea is something that is getting very ‘fashionable’ lately as a ‘capsule wardrobe’. I’ve been thinking a lot about this topic myself. As a consequence I started my own personal wardrobe rehab and starting to write some thoughts and experiences on my web.
    I personally think that as the clothing is for long a part of our culture and individuality expression it is not really possible to completely go back to kind of idealistic utopia. Many reasons for that. I like the way who you did not want to push to the extreme which would mean supposing that your solution is better than any other but tried to look for a solution that both serves you and can exist in modern day society.
    I think we went far in everything today, to the point that what made sense at the time completely lost its meaning today. I wonder how people who advocate or consume all that fashion think that they are expressing their individuality when they are all wearing the same and buying what it is served to them or when they are trying to ‘buy the look’ that an influencer is wearing.
    I really love fashion and I love to express my personality and creativity through my outfits. I love them to be unique and exclusive to me. I think that everyone can find their own expression by experimenting with ‘ personal uniform’ concept. It is open for each individual to choose their items, have more or less of them and most of all use them in a creative way. I honestly believe that working with less set us on a challenge to find creative ways to do more with what we have and saves us from constantly wanting an buying more.
    Since I’ve started my capsule wardrobe journey I got even more inspired and got so many new ideas of how to wear same items in a different way. It helps to pack less for traveling and even sometimes to turn a more casual outfit into a more sophisticated one that would serve me for a special occasion. The more this kind of ‘joker’ items you have in your uniform the easier it gets.

    Thank you for the lovely article. I can already see myself referencing it in my future posts or newsletters 🙂 and including it in my lists of resources for people to read 🙂
    Greets,
    Mili

    1. Hi Mili,

      Thank you so much for taking the time to leave such a thoughtful comment 🙂

      Love your passion for sustainable fashion. I particularly like your idea of wearing the same clothes but in different ways.

      I’ve experimented with my personal uniform, and so far it’s been incredible. The mistake I made in the past was not getting enough of the same items—so I would wear out my clothes quickly.

      Thanks again for connecting.

      With simplicity,

      Michael

  12. Great article, Michael. I have recently started building a vegan closet and I am trying to keep my items to a minimum. I found that I had too many geeky T-shirts that I thought would be a showcase of my interests to the people around me. Now, I feel very differently about statement shirts and I’m trying to create a sustainable wardrobe of which I could feel proud.

  13. Thank you for the inspiration and encouragement to take the uniform idea more seriously. I’ve been leaning in that direction for a while. I also appreciate your sharing some of the history of clothing and how it has evolved/devolved. Most of all, I appreciate your integrity and willingness to improve things for all Earthlings. And it was great to hear you both on Victoria Moran’s Main Street Vegan podcast! She’s one of the reasons I became vegan. Blessings to you and all!

    1. We’re so flattered Alice. Thank you for your kind words! Would love to know how your uniform develops over time. It’s cool to see that you discovered us through Victoria. She’s also an inspiration to us!

  14. This article is blowing my mind. Is this what I’ve been seeking all these years?? I have always had such a low a stakes relationship to clothing, but growing up in a traditional Latina household that is very focused on all things fashion expression, it’s been so challenging. Feel like my brain cavity has been pried open, really need to investigate. Thank you so so so much.

  15. I like to simplifiy where possible as I don’t like creating extra work for myself. I recently found a pair of green combat trousers that I fell in love with. I bought 6 pairs. This is all I wear now. I’m female. I have no interest in fashion. I don’t wear make up with the exception of when I DJ I wear face paint. I love this concept and hadn’t really considered it till now.. But I’m lazy enough to be totally up for this. I have loads of clothes I don’t wear now because I pretty much just wear my green combats and a long sleeve top with at shirt over the top. I am 40 this year so it’s fair to say I’ve had lots of opportunities to be creative with my choices of clothing but at the same time it used to stress me out, I would get very frustrated about which outfit to choose. I care not these days how I come across as long as I don’t have food all over me and I’m reasonably clean it’s all good. I think I will extract all clothing I no longer wear from my shelves… and work towards this even more now. My personality is what sets me apart from others.. I don’t really feel the need to express myself through my clothing choices. Except that I like to feel like I’m ready for anything. Thanks for a thought provoking article. And as always keep up the good work x love from Portsmouth UK

    1. Pip, what a fantastic story! Thanks for being so honest with the TMV community. I think it’s totally badass that you bought 6 pairs of the green combat trousers and you have enough confidence in who you are to not give in to fashion trends. Much respect and I hope others can gain inspiration from your laid back and practical approach.

  16. Some populations in China are expected to wear a genderless uniform approved by the state.
    Women in some countries are required to completely obliterate their individuality by including a face covering. Outside of a uniform being imposed by government, I think a personal or cohort uniform (such as school, religious, or spots teams) is a great idea I’ve considered for at least 20 years. Knowing others feel the same gives me courage to move ahead. Thanks for the article.

  17. I’ve been thinking about building my own uniform for a while. Love the ideas you explore as reasons why some people would gravitate towards this–self-continuity, becoming an icon, as a part of a minimalist life choice, and to help reduce waste. Building your own uniform could also serve as a method of evolving our social expectations towards gender in clothing. In other words, if you are building your own uniform, you could have more freedom to express your gender in its most full and pure form. Thank for writing this–super interested in this idea & it’s nice to think more about how history has played a role in our clothing choices.

    p.s.
    “and I’m a dude! I can only imagine how painful this would be for women”
    Please be careful/aware of how you use statements like the above. Women would not inherently experience more pain in choosing an outfit in the morning. It can be harmful to make statements like this that reinforce false narratives about gender.

    1. Angel, thank you so much for your thoughtful comment. I hadn’t considered how a personal uniform could evolve our social expectations towards gender in clothing—but I can totally see how.

      Thank you for making me aware of my statements as it relates to gender. This part of the post has been edited as it’s not our intention to create false narratives.

    2. Just because one “can only imagine how painful it must be for women” does not imply that it must be more painful. You brought that bias, the statement was only expressing how men have to “imagine” the pains that women go through. The statement works in reverse to imply that women can only “imagine” the struggles that men go through. To read “I can only imagine” to be a declarative statement requires the reader to insert their own bias on the statement.

    3. I think he just stated a fact. In reality, it is much more difficult for a woman to decide what to wear, because there are so many options, while for men the options are rather limited and the expectations are lower, not to mention all the problems that come with certain outfits (inadvertently showing cleavage, skirt shorter than expected when sitting down, uncomfortable heels, etc). No woman would feel offended for what he said, rather she would feel understood.

      P.s.: I’m a woman 😉

  18. I have been contemplating on developing my personal uniform for a while now and was unaware others where basically having the same thoughts about clothing. The primary reason for me is practicality; basically it comes down to deleting all these decisions I have to make about clothing everyday so I can focus better on the things that are more important.
    Thanks for the pleasant read.

    1. Couldn’t agree more. The practicality piece is incredibly valuable when it comes to day to day decisions. Thanks for sharing, and please let us know if you end up implementing a personal uniform.

  19. This was thought-provoking, Michael! I’ve heard the idea before of course, but you’ve really broken it down to the practicality and the details. I’m a happy medium myself – I have a personal uniform of a certain type of shirt and pants with flats most days and have the bare minimum for occasions on the weekends. But I do see where you’re coming from, the way it is now isn’t the answer.

  20. I really enjoyed the post, it’s definitely a different mind set. I do think it’s really cool to make a statement and becoming your own brand by wearing the same outfit.

  21. Hi Michael! I enjoyed this article. It is interesting to consider having a personal uniform. I agree that we have gone way too far down the road of fashion. For me though, I think that we do not all need the same uniform because individuality is the spice of life. It would be sad and restrictive for me to wear the same uniform as everyone else because it may not reflect my personal growth or mood. To allow for this sort of flexibility of expression and fun I think a small set of clothing that goes together could be just as ethical and more lively. On another topic, I really enjoyed your book. It was short and sweet and motivated me to continue the work of creating my own life. Thank you!

  22. I love the idea of this but how do you feel about clothes for specific activities such as going to the gym or while camping (two activities that I personally enjoy)? Finding a personal uniform that is appropriate for work but also translates to these activities seems difficult. How would you navigate that? Thanks!

    1. Hi Hannah, we’re glad you like the idea! Totally understand where you’re coming from and that’s why we included a response in the common objections section of the post. Here’s what I said:

      It’s undeniable that many of us have unique occasions to attend to whether it’s a sporting event, a wedding, church, funerals, etc.

      In these instances, I would keep the absolute bare minimum attire to cover these occasions, and nothing more. I would also keep them stored somewhere separate to your personal uniform so you can remain focused on the day-to-day.

      —-

      I agree that it is hard to find a uniform that covers all situations. When I think of a personal uniform, I think of what you would wear outside of specific activities.

      1. Ahh! Yes, okay. I guess I missed the sporting event part and was only thinking formal occasions there haha! Thanks for the response!

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