Why I Wear The Same Thing Every Day: Personal Uniforms As A Minimalist

minimalist personal uniform


What Is A Personal Uniform?

what is a personal uniform

Identifying what’s important to us in this life is the first step towards living a life of intention. Personal uniforms are a natural way to integrate minimalist values into your morning routine. As someone who has never been that into the world of fashion, cutting out the stress of choosing my clothes each day was a transition that just made sense.

ryans tiny house

Hi, I’m Ryan

I landed on creating a basic minimalist uniform because I knew that level of consistency would work for me, but there are lots of ways to minimize your wardrobe. Identify what your goals are to create the method that works best with your lifestyle.ryan mitchell simple living expert

The idea of wearing the same outfit everyday may seem a little out there, but the benefits align with creating a life that is deliberately meaningful. Making the conscious decision to focus less on your clothing and appearance can genuinely change the value of your daily experience.

When people hear “uniform,” they often think of a required outfit, like a school uniform or the clothes you wear to work. A personal uniform as a minimalist is a different idea, because the goal is about gaining personal comfort and happiness, not about uniformity with a group.

Different from a capsule wardrobe, which is a closet made up of a small collection of versatile pieces you wear repeatedly, a personal uniform means wearing the same outfit every day. It takes the decision-making element out of getting dressed, but it’s not meant to be restrictive.

Why Wear The Same Outfit Everyday As A Minimalist?

benefits of a personal uniform

Identifying what’s important to us in this life is the first step towards living a life of intention. Personal uniforms are a natural way to integrate minimalist values into your morning routine.

benefits of a simple personal uniformMaybe you’re wondering why you’d want to wear the same outfit every day? Isn’t that crazy? Turns out, people who wear personal uniforms are actually onto something deeper.

When I started getting into minimalism for the first time, I’ll admit that wearing the same clothes every day sounded a tad extreme. But I’ve actually found the habit to greatly improve the ease of my morning and thus, my entire day. Let’s dive into the psychological, social, and emotional benefits of putting the same outfit on when you wake up each morning and taking the focus off of your appearance.

style advice“I don’t have to worry about shopping because my eye doesn’t see pink, stripes, florals, fringes — my eyes go to black and white. It makes my everyday life so much easier.”– Carolyn Chebaro, Carolyn’s Simple Life

Wearing The Same Outfit Every Day Improves Your Mood

Wearing The Same Outfit Every Day Improves Your Mood

relaxing with coffeeThere is a direct link between our clothing choices and our emotional state. Psychology says that clothes you feel good in make you feel good. Wearing an outfit that makes you feel confident and comfortable can boost your dopamine and serotonin, changing the entire course of your day.

So how does this relate to personal uniforms? When selecting your personal uniform, you want to choose clothes you feel good in, that you love, and that help you to love yourself. If you find an outfit that makes you feel like your best self, why not rinse and repeat?

Starting to wear a personal uniform guarantees that what you wear each day will make you feel good. It helps you avoid the risk of being rushed to get out the door, regretting what you put on, and feeling off all day because of that.

Wearing A Personal Uniform Reduces Decision Fatigue

Wearing A Personal Uniform Reduces Decision Fatigue

In the 21st century, there is so much vying for our attention every day. Decision fatigue, or the pressure to make too many decisions in a fixed amount of time, is a gargantuan issue. As the founder of a company, I make a lot of important decisions each day that impact myself and others. Cutting out the decision of what to wear every day makes it easier to give my work and passions my full attention.

Whatever it is that you care about most, a personal uniform can empower you to divert your attention away from a more frivolous choice like what you wear each day and focus on those things. By cutting out the brain space occupied by menial, daily decisions, we can fill our minds with more worthwhile decisions without getting overwhelmed by fatigue.

style advice“Decision fatigue is a very real thing. If I’m spending my energy making pointless decisions like what am I going to wear, what makeup am I going to put on my face, what accessories am I going to have to match with everything, I’m depleting that valuable energy.”– Shinjini Sur, The Great Kind

Personal Uniforms Influence Your Values

Personal Uniforms Influence Your Values

The habit of wearing a personal uniform is part of the much larger movement of minimalism, which places a huge emphasis on reconsidering what you let in and out of your life and evaluating what consumes you.

social media detoxThe best way to recognize if you’re consumed by something is to see how you feel without that thing in your daily life. If you’re concerned about the amount of time you spend online, take a social media detox. If you’re worried about your fast-food intake, ignore the drive thru for a bit.

Adopting a personal uniform can help you analyze what you value most and what you don’t. By cutting out the ability to constantly reimagine your personal sense of fashion, you might learn how much you depended on your looks for happiness.

Not only does wearing the same thing every day allow you to evaluate if vanity consumes you, but it can also start a snowball effect regarding what else you can change in your life. If you constantly need to update your wardrobe to find happiness, maybe it’s time to evaluate why.

Wearing the same thing every day has helped me identify what matters most in life: my relationships and peace of mind. I’ve worked a lot on myself over the last 10 years to try to shape a life that is simpler and more stress free. This habit has given me back the mental capacity to focus on that.

style advice“The point of a personal uniform is to really focus on what’s important in your life, the people that are important in your life. It’s cliché, but once you do that, you’ll appreciate so much of what you have. You’ll show gratitude. This works.”– Carolyn Chebaro, Carolyn’s Simple Life

Wearing The Same Thing Every Day Gives You More Time

Wearing The Same Thing Every Day Gives You More Time

Wearing the same outfit everyday literally gives you back your time. Consider how much time you spend picking out an outfit, deciding what goes together, or deciding what fits with the event you’re getting ready for.

Now, imagine cutting out all of that decision time entirely. When I wake up each day, I have what I’m wearing for the day right in front of me, laid out and ready to go. It’s easy and I can start my work day quickly and efficiently, giving me more time to be creative and improve my company.

style advice“It used to take me half an hour to get ready on a daily basis That time has gone down to 10 minutes now. Thirty to 10! I got that time back, and I use it to create and consume meaningful things.”– Shinjini Sur, The Great Kind

There are so many valuable things you could engage in every morning besides deciding what to wear. Start your day journaling, eating a quality breakfast, going for a run, or simply listening to music and getting in a quality headspace before you start your work.

are you living a level 10 life

Personal Uniforms Are Good For Your Wallet

Personal Uniforms Are Good For Your Wallet

Financial freedom is a giant plus when it comes to personal uniforms. You don’t have to have some kind of shopping addiction for clothing and accessories to take a large dent out of your wallet.

I wasn’t one to spend a ton on clothes before I became a minimalist, but wearing a personal uniform has certainly improved my finances and made it easier to budget for other things besides fancy clothes.

By wearing the same outfit every day, you cut out all expenses on clothing until you’ve worn out the clothes you use in your uniform. Just think about how much you could save!

How To Make Your Own Work Uniform In Five Basic Steps

How To Make Your Own Work Uniform

A big question that minimalists who wear a personal uniform get often is whether or not wearing the same thing every day gets boring. For most minimalists, that answer is absolutely not.

For me, the freedom and reduction of stress that personal uniforms provide was well worth the homogeneity of my outfits or risk of growing tired of one look.

However, if you love the creativity of personal touches, you should know that wearing a personal uniform doesn’t have to negate your personal style and flair. In fact, it should accentuate it.
Follow these simple steps to create a personal uniform that highlights who you are.

Step One: Write Down What You Wear

Write Down What You Wear

Start by writing down everything you wear in a typical week. Sometimes, what we think we love isn’t actually what we wear most. When I was first starting out, I simply made an effort to pay keen attention to what I actually grabbed from my closet to put on and what remained untouched.

For this first step, take a couple weeks to write down what you actually pull out of your closet and put on in the morning.

style advice“The first thing you should do is adjust your mindset. The average American only wears about 20% of what is in their closet. Over time, 80% of the stuff that you have is never worn once.”– Ryan Mitchell, The Tiny Life

Step Two: Choose Your Personal Uniform Shape

Choose Your Personal Uniform Shape

Now that you’ve recorded two weeks of attire, take a look at what you wear most often. Use this information to help you decide on the basic shape for your uniform. Here are some examples of what a personal uniform shape might look like:

  • Dress pants and a nice blouse
  • Skinny jeans and a fitted long sleeve shirt
  • Jumper and a thin undershirt
  • Loose jeans and a T-shirt

You get the idea. When choosing the shape of your uniform, make sure you go with something that could be comfortable in multiple contexts. I went with a T-shirt, undershirt, and jeans for my uniform.

choosing a personal uniform shape

style advice“It’s important to have a lot of basic pieces. Then, add a statement cardigan, sweater, or blazer on top. Mixing in basic items with a few exciting pieces is a great way to keep your wardrobe versatile.”Val Kovalchuk

A popular method is to have two uniforms — one work uniform and one loungewear uniform. Doing this could give you more freedom in the types of clothes you choose.

However, if you do want to wear only one version of your personal uniform, make sure your choice is comfortable enough to engage in daily activities but nice enough for fancier obligations. Think about what your daily life looks like and what needs you’ll need to satisfy with your uniform.

Step Three: Choose Your Personal Uniform Aesthetic

Choose Your Personal Uniform Aesthetic

personal uniform aestheticNow it’s time to think about patterns and color. Start by choosing a base color, typically something more neutral. You could go with black, white, grey, tan, or even navy. What speaks to you?

Add a few splashes of color that compliment your main palette. Maybe you choose a solid black jumpsuit with a red cardigan for a pop of color. Maybe you go with a navy shirt and blue jeans and add a brighter color shoe. Whatever brings you joy and makes you feel good, that’s where you should land.

style advice“I have a very neutral color palette, which I’ve built over the last five years. When I started my wardrobe, I had all the colors of the rainbow in there. Now I use white, grey, and other cool tone colors like a light beige. I like to add dark forest green in the winter and pale pink in the summer.”Val Kovalchuk

Step Four: Add Accessories To Your Outfit

Add Accessories To Your Outfit

clothing accessoriesAccessories are the pieces that have the most weight in helping keep your personal style present in your uniform. I’m not very into fashion myself and have had the same style for about a decade, so accessories aren’t super essential for me.

However, I know many minimalists who intentionally use jewelry and other accessories to weave semblances of their style into their uniform. For Carolyn Chebaro of Carolyn’s Simple Life, that looks like bright red glasses, funky rings, and red lipstick to make her white and black garments pop. Shinjini Sur of The Great Kind chooses to wear bright red shoes and silver hoop earrings with her black top and black jeans.

When deciding what accessories to add to your daily ‘fit, consider what your day looks like yet again. Think about what you do in a given day and if those activities are conducive to necklaces, rings, watches, scarves, or anything else. What pieces would add nice, simple touches to your look without overwhelming the overall aesthetic?

Step Five: Declutter Your Closet

Declutter Your Closet

Once you’ve settled on your personal uniform, it’s time to clean out the rest of your closet. Whether or not you should keep the pieces that aren’t part of your daily uniform is up to you. However, minimizing your closet in some form is definitely recommended by the pros.

style advice“A tip I have for going through your closet is to put all your clothing one way on the hangers. Then, after you wear something, wash it and put it back in your closet but put it back on the hanger the opposite way. Then, you’ll see what you actually wear.”– Carolyn Chebaro, Carolyn’s Simple Life

Getting rid of your extra clothing helps you to stick to your commitment to a personal uniform and really reap the full benefits of the lifestyle. However, you don’t need to get rid of all your clothes at once. That can be overwhelming.

I was pretty lucky with my personal decluttering process, as I went from a small college apartment straight to a tiny house and already had a lot less stuff. If you’re living in a huge house with closets bursting at the seams, don’t get discouraged. Take it piece by piece.

Keeping a few pieces outside your uniform isn’t a negative thing! Many minimalist beginners choose not to go cold turkey with their clothing. The decluttering process is personal, so feel free to keep some personal favorites in your wardrobe if that works better for you.

declutter challenge

How Many Clothes Should I Own In A Minimalist Uniform?

How Many Clothes Should I Own As A Minimalist With A Personal Uniform

When wearing a personal uniform, you don’t usually wear the exact same piece of clothing every single morning, just the same outfit. So when it comes down to it, you’ll probably end up buying a certain number of each article of clothing in your uniform.

For example, I own 30 of the exact same blue T-shirts and 30 of the exact same undershirts.

Take into consideration whether or not you want to go the extreme minimalist route by removing everything from your closet that is not part of your uniform, or if you want to keep some clothing pieces outside of your uniform.

Once you’ve set your uniform aside, it may feel intimidating to look at everything you have left. How do you go about deciding what to keep around, apart from your uniform?

style advice“If there’s a piece of clothing that you don’t absolutely love, get rid of it. Your wardrobe should be filled with things that you feel good in, like the look of, and that are comfortable.”– Ryan Mitchell, The Tiny Life

How Many Tops Should I Own As A Minimalist?

How Many Tops Should I Own As A Minimalist

t-shirts all the same colorT-shirts and tops are going to be one of those items that you have more of, as you’ll use them pretty often. As I mentioned earlier, right now in my own closet, I have 30 short sleeve blue shirts and 30 white undershirts, enough for one week.

You can buy one or two weeks’ worth of your uniform pieces, or buy a few uniform tops and keep a few old shirts to leave some variety in your minimalist wardrobe.

How Many Bottoms Should I Keep As A Minimalist?

How Many Bottoms Should I Keep As A Minimalist

With pants, skirts, and other bottoms, think about the type you’ll need for the lifestyle you live. If you go to work in person and need dress pants or slacks, keep that in mind. If you work from home and want to lean towards sweatpants or joggers, take that approach.

number of pants to keepIn my minimalist closet, I currently have two pairs of identical jeans. I usually wear jeans three or four times before I wash them, depending on what I’m doing. I treat shorts the same way.

You may want to consider creating one loungewear uniform and one work uniform. Feel free to keep a week’s worth of the same pants, or maybe a couple pairs of pants and a couple skirts for two different uniform sets. Whatever you decide, just make sure its conducive to your lifestyle.

How Many Sweaters and Jackets Should I Own As A Minimalist?

How Many Sweaters and Jackets Should I Own As A Minimalist

neutral sweatersThe number of sweaters, sweatshirts, and jackets you decide to keep in your minimalist wardrobe is going to be contingent on weather. Obviously if you live somewhere like Florida, you won’t need as many cold weather garments as if you lived in Colorado.

Defer back to the weekly recording you took of what you wear to decide how many sweaters to keep. I live in North Carolina and didn’t need to keep a ton of sweaters in my minimalist wardrobe. Overall, I have one regular jacket, one rain jacket, three hoodies, and one long sleeve thermal shirt for colder weather.

How Many Dresses Should I Have As A Minimalist?

How Many Dresses Should I Have As A Minimalist

number of dresses to ownFor dresses or other fancy items like pantsuits, jumpsuits, or rompers, I would suggest again looking back at your outfit log to see how often you actually wore dresses in the two to three weeks you tracked your ‘fits.

If you dressed up often, maybe keep two or three dresses in your closet. If you didn’t use these items in the two weeks, consider if you really need them. If you aren’t using these pieces in your uniform, will you truly use them?

How Many Pairs Of Shoes Should I Own As A Minimalist?

How Many Pairs Of Shoes Should I Own As A Minimalist

how many pairs of shoes to ownShoes are another big one that will have a lot to do with where you live. Again, think about what you use in a week and let that inform your decision. For my uniform, I own one pair of workout shoes, one pair of dressy casual shoes, one pair of slippers, and one pair of flip flops.

Maybe keep one pair of dressier shoes for business events or fancy dinners and one pair of recreational or tennis shoes. If you’re a big loungewear fan, tack on house shoes or slippers as well. You could also add a pair of sandals for the hot summer months.

How Many Pairs Of Socks Should I Own As A Minimalist?

How Many Pairs Of Socks Should I Own As A Minimalist

pile of socksIt probably doesn’t come as a surprise that I keep 30 pairs of the exact same socks in my minimalist wardrobe. I’m a guy who knows what I like, and this is a pretty easy way to manage socks when wearing a personal uniform.

However, if you need or like to have some variety, mix it up with a few pairs of crew socks and flannel or fuzzy socks for chilly weather.

How Many Accessories Should I Have As A Minimalist?

How Many Accessories Should I Have As A Minimalist

Like I said earlier, I’m really not much of an accessory guy. The way you handle accessories in a personal uniform is entirely up to you and honestly depends on the type of person you are. If you’re looking to approach it as simply as possible, consider limiting your accessories down to five or fewer pieces.

clothing accessoriesIf you don’t feel like you can pare down your collection so drastically, keep one or two of each type of accessory. A few necklaces, a few rings, and one or two purses.

However, some minimalists make the decision to keep more than that because accessories are their main tool for self-expression — they’re a great way to make your personal uniform go further and maintain variety each day.

Should I Keep Clothes For Special Occasions?

Should I Keep Clothes For Special Occasions

One question I get asked often is: Should I keep clothes that aren’t in my uniform to use for special occasions? I do this myself, but again, everyone is different.

I own two button-down shirts for things like interviews, weddings, dinners, or funerals. When I need a full suit and tie, I just rent one. Last time I needed one, I rented it for about $75, and that included everything: shirt, jacket, socks, shoes, and a belt — it’s just easier that way. I used to wear a watch but now I just use my phone. I do have a backpack and a side bag for my work.

Again, I would suggest evaluating your lifestyle when assessing how many non-uniform specific clothing items to keep around. How often do you go out? How many times do you like to dress up in a given week?

style advice“I still dress up for special occasions; things like weddings, celebrations, or a friend’s birthday. I don’t wear my uniform for those things, and it makes those days even more special.”– Shinjini Sur, The Great Kind

Personal Uniform Style Guide For Women

Personal Uniform Style Guide For Women

And now for the ladies! Take a look at these examples of personal uniforms for women, both around the house or at the office.

Women’s Lounge Wear Uniform Examples

Womens Lounge Wear Uniform Examples

With women’s loungewear, you want to feel cozy and confident at the same time. Consider these ideas to strut from the comfort of your home.

womens loungewear personal uniform

Women’s Work Uniform Examples

Womens Work Uniform Examples

Again, the goal here is to cultivate a professional look that empowers you to be your best self at work. Glean some inspiration from these combinations.

womens work personal uniform

Women’s Style Uniform Accessories

Womens Style Uniform Accessories

Women’s accessories could include a whole range of options to spice up your uniform. Consider vibrant colored glasses, a handbag, or even chunky jewelry.

womens personal uniform accessories

Personal Uniform Style Guide For Men

mens style guide

What examples of personal uniforms work best for men? We’ve laid out some simple combos we think you’ll like to lounge or work in.

Men’s Lounge Wear Uniform Examples

Mens Lounge Wear Uniform Examples

It’s important to have quality options for what to wear around the house. You want your loungewear uniform to be comfortable — something you can relax and move in.

mens lounge wear

Men’s Work Uniform Examples

Mens Work Uniform Examples

With a men’s work uniform, look for pieces that are basic, yet professional. Keep your eye out for neutral colors and a crisp fit.

mens work personal uniform

Men’s Style Uniform Accessories

Mens Style Uniform Accessories

Wearing accessories can make your simple uniform go further. Consider a nice watch or a leather work bag to bring your style uniform to the next level.

mens personal uniform accessories

Famous People Who Wore A Minimalist Uniform

celebrity uniforms

They say great minds think alike. The personal uniform lifestyle has been adopted by a plethora of great minds and notable personalities. These celebrities have each put their own personal spin on the concept of wearing a personal uniform.

steve jobs uniform

Steve Jobs

Probably the most recognized personal uniform wearer, Steve Jobs chose to dress in a classic black turtle neck, jeans, black socks, and white New Balances every single day. The Apple CEO would cut this small decision out of his daily routine in order to focus on running one of the world’s largest corporations.

mark zuckerberg uniform

Mark Zuckerberg

We all know this guy will do whatever it takes to make his world more efficient. Zuckerberg sports a gray T-shirt and blue jeans as his personal uniform of choice, explaining that his reason is to reduce the number of decisions he has to make in a day.

barack obama uniform

Barack Obama

Even former presidents have gotten on board with the idea of a personal uniform. President Obama is rarely seen in anything apart from a blue, black, or grey suit. Running the entire country comes with a lot of high order decisions — might as well cut out some of the smaller ones.

simon cowell uniform

Simon Cowell

The stress of picking an outfit each morning is a no from Simon. This The X Factor and American Idol judge oscillates between two simple looks: a black or white T-shirt with jeans and a white button-up shirt with jeans or slacks. The reduction of decision fatigue likely gives him the mental capacity he needs to decide which musical contestants go home each week.

giorgio armani uniform

Giorgio Armani

It’s an interesting twist to see a renowned fashion designer get on board with wearing the same thing every day. Armani’s reasoning for the navy-blue attire? Armani feels that wearing a personal uniform instead of flashy clothing allows him to perform his best creative work.

michael kors uniform

Michael Kors

Michael Kors is another example of a famous fashion designer who limits variety in their own wardrobe. Kors’s uniform consists of a black shirt, jacket, jeans, dress shoes, and classic black shades. He is often seen in all black both indoors and outdoors, all the way down to the shades. Maybe it’s symbolic.

ryan mitchell uniform

Ryan Mitchell

As for me, I keep my uniform incredibly simple. I decided that I like this shirt and this color a lot, so why not simplify my life and buy 30 of these shirts in the same color?

It was an easy decision because there was no decision. I’m comfortable each day because I like the clothing. I have more time, less stress, and feel freer.

Your Turn!

  • Would wearing a personal uniform improve the quality of your life?
  • What pieces will make up your own personal uniform and why?
  1. This is great article. You have broken the process down really well. I think at the end of the day, as you say, you must follow what feels good for you.

  2. Jeans and more jeans! I need variety in my tops though, both for weather and for self-expression. However, I do not find this burdensome at all, having decluttered my closet to only what fits me and what looks good on me. So there are no wrong choices!

  3. This is a fantastic article. I’m going to have a work (summer and winter), and a work from home (summer and winter). I love this idea.

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