I wore the same thing for 30 days and descended into madness

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A black t-shirt, jeans, and blue Vans. This is what I decided to wear every day, for an entire month.

Why? Because everyone and their mother says picking a “forever outfit” will change our lives for the better.

Countless articles and high-profile people swear by the “cartoon character” closet, claiming it reduces decision fatigue, freeing up the extra mental real estate we need to re-invent calculus (or at least not forget our wallets) and resist the consumerist will of “Big Tank Top.”

Reputable publications like Time and Forbes promised me “freedom and rescue” from my possessions” and urged me to “bask in the glory of easier laundry and more time.”

More time living and less time separating lights and darks in our inevitable march to the grave?

I was ready to “bask in the glory”

Notable “forever outfits”

I was also ready to smash the #patriarchy (for reference, here’s a list of some high-profile people in the cult of “forever outfits” — hint: they’re all dudes). 

Plus, as someone who comes from a buttoned-up Midwest work culture, an excuse to wear a tee and sneaks every day seemed like the dream.

The plan was to do this for 30 days. But after 3 weeks, I just couldn’t take it anymore.

Below is a captain’s log of the events, and my descent into madness.

“The Old Vans and the Tee:” A captain’s log

WEEK 1: There are no medium, black v-necks in this whole d*mn town

Day 0: Was I naive to think that between Target, Old Navy, and Marine Layer, I’d be able to find a black v-neck in my size? Apparently. For now, I’ll make due with a lone v from H&M and hand wash until I acquire reinforcements.

(Everyone knows you don’t have to wash jeans more than once every 7-infinity wears).

Day 1: Hello world! This is the first day of the rest of my life. *rides cable car to work, singing Billy Joel’s “Uptown Girl”*

Day 2: Can I go every other day washing my t-shirt?

Day 3: Nope.

Day 4-7: Handwashing my shirt every night is not the “glorious” laundry experience I was promised. Also I take back what I said about jeans.

“Whatcha thinkin’ about?” “Oh, just how sweaty my shirt is…”

WEEK 2: Time to order new shirts.

Day 8: No one in my life noticed that I’ve been dressing like a sim for a week. Also, what does Steve Jobs wear in the summer? Steve Jobs must’ve walked very slowly and never taken the bus.

Day 9: Sick today. Working from home in my pajamas. I have never been more relieved not to put on jeans.

Day 10: Armed with 2 new black v-necks, I am ready to take on the world.

Day 11-14: Still no comments about my appearance. We’re all just dust specs on this ball of clay hurtling into infinity.

WEEK 3: All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.

Day 15-20: All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.

Day 21: Today I am hosting a conference and in front of 900 people. Also I am weak. I will flip a coin to decide whether or not to abandon my life of simplicity.

Day 21 UPDATE: I ignored the coin and wore a dress.

HOT TAKE: I don’t care if picking out an outfit uses some extra brainpower

 

Am I weak-willed and consumerist? Probably.

Contrary to the articles I read, wearing the same clothes made me feel like absolute sh*t.

I started to dread getting dressed in the morning. I’m not the dress and heels type, but I missed the variety and the way a different outfit — even just a new t-shirt — could change my outlook for the day. I felt… boring.

When I started, I thought my friends, coworkers, and acquaintances would immediately notice I was wearing the same clothes. But they didn’t. Or at least, they didn’t say anything.

It’s possible I just haven’t found the right formula. Maybe a v-neck and jeans just isn’t my “forever look.” Maybe it’s a wrap dress and heels, or a turtleneck and gold chain. Or maybe it’s just whatever I feel like wearing that day.

Do I advocate for throwing away things you haven’t worn in a year? Sure. Am I for spending more on a few, high quality items, instead of loading up on clothes that disintegrate in the wash? Absolutely.

But as with any lifestyle advice, I’m firmly in the camp of “everything in moderation” — including moderation itself. My clothes make feel like an individual. Why would I want to lose that?