Matilda Kalh, an art director at one of the leading creative advertising agencies in New York, wears the same thing to work every day. She explains her rationale in a piece in Bazaar.
It basically comes down to three points:
- Kahl had chosen to invest her time, energy, and capital in more productive and meaningful enterprises than her workday wardrobe.
- Kahl understands that no one really cares what you are wearing, as much as you might wish or believe that they are.
- Kahl is an incredibly confident, self-assured person who can wear the same outfit every day without giving a damn about what her colleagues may think.
I know nothing about Matilda Kahl, but I suspect that I would like her a lot. At the very least, she has earned my respect. Nonconformity isn't easy, but when it is exercised in the pursuit of a more productive and meaningful lifestyle, it makes a lot of sense.
Kahl is certainly not the first person to do this. Steve Jobs made the same decision early on in his career, donning jeans and a faux turtleneck until the day he died.
So, too, has Mark Zuckerberg, Christopher Nolan, and Dean Kamen, and to a lesser degree, President Obama and Albert Einstein. All wear basically the same thing every day.
My friend and DJ partner also wears the same thing to work every day, only changing his choice of tie each day.
A workplace uniform makes a lot of sense.
It serves as an acknowledgement that physical appearance should be irrelevant when it comes to a person's career trajectory.
It brings a male-female balance to many workplaces where men wear suits every day (which amount to uniforms) but women suffer with many more options (and require larger wardrobes to accommodate these needs).
I also think it's a bad ass signal of strength. A person - and especially a woman - who is willing and able to wear the same thing to work, day after day, is the kind of person I would want to hire if I owned a company. She's the kind of person I would want by my side during a zombie apocalypse. She's the kind of person I'd want as a friend.
Am I prepared to start wearing the same thing everyday? It's a little harder for me, given that there is no central air at my school and I am required to be outdoors at times in the winter. There are days when I am teaching indoors the 90 degree heat and others when I am monitoring children outside in 20 degree weather.
I require some variability in order to be comfortable.
But a reduction in my overall wardrobe selection might not be a bad idea. Maybe 3-5 different outfits depending on the weather.
If my wife agrees, of course.