Why A Capsule Wardrobe Could Improve Your Productivity

Written By Sarah Mourtos

Your alarm sounds, you wake up, brush your teeth, and decide what to wear for the day. This is how a standard morning looks for most people. Upon reflection, it seems simple, and almost confusing why the hours between 6-8 am have become a time of dread.  We brush off the fact we can’t function properly with the phrase ‘I’m not a morning person’. But what if becoming early risers didn’t have anything to do with a primal disposition to loathe mornings. It was instead about the choices we make, or in this case, the ones we don’t. 

In an interview with Vanity Fair, Barrack Obama revealed that during his time in office, he only wore blue or grey suits. It was a conscious effort to eliminate the small decisions so he could supply brainpower to the important ones. Obama isn’t the only successful person who uses this tactic, for example, look at the late Steve Jobs and his black turtleneck, jeans and sneakers, or Mark Zuckerberg and his grey t-shirts. Founder and Editor-in-chief of the Huffington Post, Arianna Huffington, has been known to encourage women to repeat outfits in the workplace. “Men have a competitive advantage, they don’t have to waste the kind of energy we waste,” she told audiences at Fortune's Most Powerful Women Summit.

These sartorial choices aren’t because everything else was in the wash; it’s to lessen the effects of decision fatigue. It’s well studied in psychology that the human brain has a finite amount of decision-making ability. After a certain point, the quality of our decisions deteriorates along with our willpower and patience. The small choices we make in the morning like what to wear or whether to buy a latte or short black can deplete our brainpower and affect our productivity. Ironic, isn’t it? Usually, coffee is meant to have the opposite effect.

Kate Davis and Anisa Purbassair talk about ways to overcome decision fatigue in their podcast Secrets Of The Most Productive People. They recommend completing difficult tasks first, getting ahead for the week and meal prep on a Sunday, and simply establishing a daily or weekly routine.  Creating a capsule wardrobe is another way to help decision fatigue, as choosing an outfit can be a daily struggle. 

If you are a regular around these parts, I can say with great certainty that you’re familiar with the concept of a capsule wardrobe. For those who need a reminder, it’s an edited collection of clothes that always remain in style. There are no one-wear-wonders in this closet. Pieces like a great fitting pair of straight leg jeans, a tailored black blazer, and a midi slip dress form the foundation of a capsule wardrobe.

There are plenty of reasons to downsize your clothes to just key pieces. It forces you to be a sustainable shopper and solves the common problem of only wearing 5% of your wardrobe 90% of the time. Most importantly, it makes your mornings easier. Unlike our decision-making abilities, a handful of curated pieces makes for an infinite number of outfits. You can get dressed with the confidence that everything will look good together, and in turn, are making one less decision for the day.

Maybe we can all become morning people after all. It just starts with the perfect capsule wardrobe. 

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