Steve Jobs

Steve Jobs, Mark Zuckerberg, Albert Einstein, Barak Obama, Dean KamenKarl Lagerfeld, Carolina Herrera, Tom Ford, Marc Jacobs, Vera Wang, Micheal Kors, Tom Wolfe, Stanley Kubrick, Andy Warhol

What do all these accomplished people have in common? They are not pursuing the latest fashion trends and basically wear the same thing all time.

Hong Kong government statistics show we create 293 tons of textile waste per day. While this is in itself astounding, what is even more vexing is how counterproductive it all is. The purpose of this consumption is ostensibly to make us feel more confident and create a memorable impression. Ultimately helping us find love, success and live the good life. Unfortunately, the pursuit of the latest trends has two huge drawbacks. 

Efficiency

Albert Einstein, the man with undeniably the greatest allocation of human brain power ever to exist on earth, wore the same thing all the time because he didn’t want to waste any of it deciding what to wear. According to Michael Lewis, Barak Obama also does it for the same reason “I’m trying to pare down decisions. I don’t want to make decisions about what I’m eating or wearing. Because I have too many other decisions to make.” He mentioned research that shows the simple act of making decisions degrades one’s ability to make further decisions. What does this mean for us mere mortals? Should we be wasting our significantly more limited brain power on the trivialities of what to wear? How is it we consider creativity, innovation and problem solving to be keys to success, yet degrade our own mental capacity on a daily basis?

Confidence and Personal Branding

While the rest of us pursue the latest fashion trends trying to “express ourselves” and stand out from the crowd, what are the fashion designers themselves wearing? Uniforms. Dope pushers don’t take dope. According to this fashion insider “When you wear something that just feels right, you are confident. And it is also great to have a trademark look. It makes you memorable and distinctive.” The irony is not only that most successful purveyors of fashion trends encourage us to express our “personal style” by constantly “updating” our wardrobe with mass produced items, but that they do so while wearing the same thing all time themselves.

The worst thing about chasing the latest fashion is how counterproductive it is. By constantly changing our wardrobe, we are not only creating massive amounts of waste (not to mention wasting our money), but are diluting our personal brands, reducing our intellectual and decision making capacity, and ultimately distracting ourselves from what it is we are truly trying to achieve in life.

At the end of the day, it’s not about what you wear, but what you accomplish.