Why Famous People Wear the Same Clothes Every Day

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We love hearing the stories of famous entrepreneurs. How did they do it? What’s their secret? How did they scale their company? What’s their motivation? And yes, even: Why do they wear the same clothes every single day?
You know the story I’m talking about: The tale of Mark Zuckerberg’s grey t-shirt and zip-up hoodie, or the late Steve Jobs’ black turtle neck and blue denim jeans.
But it’s not just the two tech giants. There are lists upon lists of famous people wearing the exact the same clothes. Every. Single. Day.
It’s fascinating phenomenon. Clothing decisions providing a window onto the inner psychological world of the most beloved creators and inventors of our time. So why do they do it? Chances are you know (or perhaps you think you know) the answer to the question.
You say: “It’s to avoid decision fatigue.” Or, if you’re one of the cool kids, “to strive for choice minimalism.”
It’s the go-to explanation, it seems. Zuck himself, in an interview has said “I really want to clear my life to make it so that I have to make as few decisions as possible about anything except how to best serve this community.”

Mark Zuckerberg (Facebook & Instagram)

Mark Zuckerberg (Facebook & Instagram)

Steve Jobs (Apple)

Steve Jobs (Apple)

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The concept of decision fatigue comes from research that says self-control (or willpower, if you prefer) is a limited resource, susceptible to depletion if you use up too much of it. The thinking is that, similar to how a muscle gets fatigued from over exertion, so too does our behavior when trying to make optimal/good/healthy decisions.

A depleted individual is somebody who has spent too much of their precious cognitive resources on previous tasks, limiting their ability to avoid temptations and impulses. With a dwindling reserve of personal willpower, the individual is prey to making bad decisions, Behaving unethically, and even stereotyping based on race. But here’s the problem. Decision fatigue, or if you prefer “choice minimalism,” isn’t actually a thing.

Mounting evidence from psychology and neuroscience is suggesting we’ve been thinking about willpower (and decision fatigue)  the wrong way. If you’re interested, here’s a nice summary discussing how the theory has been debunked many times.

Simply put: Our willpower does not get fatigued by making decisions – about our clothes or anything else.So what gives? Why the grey T’s and denim pants? An alternative explanation might be that leading founders and high performers do this as a way to structure their environment; to know they have absolute control in one area (their attire) when everything else feels uncertain.
We aren’t Mark Zukerberg or Steve Jobs. But decision fatigue affects our life. We all try to pare down decisions so that other more important decisions can be made. If simplifying your wardrobe can get you doing more of what’s important, here are some practical wardrobe combinations that might just do the trick. We have selected some of the most versatile combos for men and women from COS just for you.

Part of the original article appear on Forbes written by Nick Hobson.