I’ve been reading a lot about Steve Jobs recently. Jobs famously wore the same “uniform” to work every day: black turtleneck and jeans.It’s a common trait of the highly successful: you save the mental energy you’d spend picking an outfit for other more important tasks.
But there’s one question you need to ask yourself before you do the same thing.
Are you a billionaire? If not, don’t do it. Everyone’s just going to think you own one set of clothes.
Steve Jobs wears the black turtleneck, day after day? Genius. Steve JOHNSON does it? Everyone thinks, “Man, Steve’s one black turtleneck must smell like garbage.”
Your performance reviews aren’t going to go the way you think they should. “We’re giving you a raise!” “Yes!” “…in the form of a Macy’s gift card. You gotta pick up a few more dress shirts, man.”
If you’re already very succesful? I say go for it. Until then, no one’s going to marvel at your genius. They’re going to pity your inability to afford more stuff. You’ll have to go around the office explaining yourself. “Hey, just wanted to check on the status of tomorrow’s meeting. Oh and also this is not the same black turtleneck I wore yesterday. It’s different. I got a deal at Target, 100 black turtlenecks for $50. They actually said they’d just give them to me because no one buys black turtlenecks anymore.”
Oh, that’s another Steve Jobs habit you shouldn’t copy: if you do decide to wear one thing every day, make sure it isn’t a black turtleneck. I’m sure there was a valid, well-thought out reason behind it when he did it. But all I can think is, “What if it was 95 degrees out and the AC breaks?” Everyone else is taking off their suit jackets and he’s pretending not to care. “I’m smarter than all of you! Now, on an unrelated topic: does anyone have a heavy towel I can use to wipe this up with?” Did he wear it outside the office too? I’m picturing him playing beach volleyball in the black turtleneck and a speedo.
A better idea for non-genius billionaires: get FIVE sets of clothes. Assign one set to each day of the week. That way you still save that mental energy, and if anyone questions you on only having five different sets of clothes? Congrats. You’ve got a stalker and should alert the authorities.
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