Struggle to get dressed in the morning?
One woman explains how wearing the same thing every day has changed her life
As much as they love to set and track the latest trends, people in fashion do love a uniform. Tommy Hilfiger revealed just last weekend that he wears the same shirts and chinos every day.
Phoebe Philo, for all of the painterly prints and vivid ensembles that she creates, has sported the same, sleek, minimalist aesthetic for years. And Mulberry designer Johnny Coca is rarely spotted without his signature DMs and a kilt.
In the real world, wearing the same thing every day might seem like a weird solution to offer up to the ‘what the hell shall I put on this morning?’ problem.
But for art director Matilda Kahl, whose creative role at Sony Entertainment sees her working on visual identities for artists, it started with the realisation that she just didn’t have spare hours in the day to worry about her clothes.
“I noticed that choosing a new outfit every morning, that met all the different expectations from myself and the outside world, took up too much time,” she explains.
“Not only when initially picking out clothes, but also throughout the day, as I could find myself thinking about if my skirt was too short, or if I was dressed ‘creatively’ enough to represent my title. I realised that all of these moments of self-consciousness interrupted my ability and, quite frankly, were a waste of time. So, I simply decided to delete them permanently from my work life.”
Her idea was simply to start wearing the same thing every day, settling on a uniform of a crisp white shirt with a ribbon tied around the neck, teamed with black trousers.
“I can tell you the cashier in the store look pretty confused when I asked if she had 15 extra sets of the whole outfit,” she jokes, “but all in all, choosing the uniform was a pretty pain-free process. I’ve always felt that black and white is a cool and classy look, so I knew right from the start that that was what I wanted to go with.
“It was a three week hunt for the perfect pants and blouse, but I found one with a diagonal button line which had a unique look to it.”
“My only advice is, don’t overthink it. The thought of picking out the ‘perfect uniform that you’re going to love for the rest of your life’ can feel like an impossible assignment. But it’s not about that. Try on something you feel comfy in, wear it for a month and just try it out. Remember, you can go for the same shirt in many different colors, or switch between a skirt and a pair of trousers — there aren’t any rules.”
The reaction, she says, was not judgement from her colleagues in the creative industries, but understanding — particularly from women who still struggle to choose what to wear each morning, and think her solution is genius.
“Men are usually surprised and don’t fully understand my motive when I answer their questions, but women tend to understand the underlying stress of constantly wanting to look good at work, but rarely finding the time or energy for it. After almost five years with the outfit, I haven’t got bored.”
The best part of all though, she says, is that her measures to streamline her workwear wardrobe have spurred her to have so much more fun with fashion at the weekends.
“I still have my regular wardrobe on nights and weekends, so I still do get to channel my creative urge through my clothes, too, it’s just at another time when I’m not trying to focus on my job. On Friday nights I almost jump into my wardrobe and directly go for the most colorful and crazy thing in there.
“I feel like I have a braver attitude towards clothes now — the uniform has made me take my ‘regular’ self a little less serious I guess. Clothes should be fun, right? Just not something you have to agonise about every single morning.”
Earlier this year Facebook co-founder Mark Zuckerberg posted a photograph of his wardrobe.
His sartorial choices revealed a limited collection via an update — on Facebook, obviously — in which he joked about facing a tricky sartorial choice upon his first day back in the office after paternity leave.
Matilda Kahl had an epiphany after a particularly stressful morning trying to get to a meeting on time. It started out the way mornings do for many office dwellers picking out what to wear.