Can The Steve Jobs School Of Choosing A Simple Outfit Work For Women?

Posted: November 14, 2014

If the leaders in technology and politics can don the same outfit everyday and be fine, why do we subject ourselves to the pain of deciding what to wear every day? Here’s an interesting perspective!

So, recently there were articles floating around on outfits. Outfits worn by men. Men who were CEOs and leaders. Of big companies, like Facebook, Apple, and well, the US government.

Here is one if you’d like to read, The Genius of wearing the same outfit every day: on Pulse of LinkedIn (which is incidentally a neat feature of the site, and has been awhile, but now with more folks talking about things that actually make a difference and not just news-y articles, there are a few that even entertain while at it, making it an enjoyable space).

A similar news story came out some time ago, and it was mainly about Steve Jobs. About his signature turtleneck, jeans, and white shoes. I also recall this particular line about not having to worry about your outfit every morning. I also recall something similar about another gentleman, whose name eludes me, but I assure you he was fine and smart in his own right, who had a closet full of white shirts. President Obama, too, sticks to grey/blue suits.

Steve Jobs Uniform

I loved it!

I liked the whole psychology of why they do what they do. Decisions are painful enough, do we really have to agonize about what we wear every day? Downplaying the importance of the “what” to what it does – a question of utility. As far as it is neat and presentable for the position that you are in, I think we are good to go?

Decisions are painful enough, do we really have to agonize about what we wear every day?

As a woman that just is incredulous to even imagine. For ourselves.

None of us are raising an eyebrow over that article or the news. Frankly, it wasn’t even news. It was a statement that really shouldn’t be taking so much of bandwidth from where we are, because I mean, men really only have a few choices in outfits and colours, and they couldn’t really be bothered too much with dressing anyway, so was it really that big a revelation or surprise? No, it wasn’t.

Choosing simplicity

Then, the reasons struck me. I paused and flipped roles and thought. It then made more sense. It was simple. It was brilliant. I was super envious. I thought of my mornings. The frenzy of matching the skirt to the blouse, to the sweater, to the necklace, to the earring, to the shoes, to the bag, and to the mood and the meetings of the day, and good god, we are already tired by the time we drive out of the garage!

Ok, I exaggerate, but you get the point.

Life is unfair.

Time is always short.

We only have the energy and zeal to fight one battle at a time! Okay maybe two, but we are super-women, remember? So we battle three, and four and some you can’t even tell, but we do. And we win too, most of them, eventually.

That brought me back to my daily introspection of me and everything that happened in a day, for me.

I realized that we women aren’t that far off, and we bring such intensity and fanfare in the simplest of things upon ourselves. No one asked us to match everything that we wore, or how and what we chose to wear.

It was a choice.

My experience with choosing simple outfits

I have been cycling recently. A lot of cycling, in fact. Not just recreational, but I’ve upped the ante, and now average 30-40 miles every few days a week. Yes, I am teetering on the brink of obsessive at this point. That said, I’ve been living in skiing leggings/tights, cycling pants/tights, and equally simple cycling jerseys, tee shirts, athletic wear and such.

They are mostly in black, grey, and maybe an occasional white or  pink. These cycling jerseys cost me a fortune, and that is another rant for another day. I don’t recall how, but I’ve gradually moved to owning six black leggings/tights that I can bike in. I wear them even when am not biking. Tees are still a little more diverse, but they are all pretty similar brands.

I love it!

I wear simple hoops on my ears, brush my now-short hair, and wear white/black socks, slip into my athletic shoes, and off I’m gone. Either in the trail, or the kitchen, or at the library or grocery store, I’ve become this no-fuss woman who dresses like she just stopped to pick up some tomatoes on the way back from the track!

It takes me all of 10 minutes after a shower to be out the door.

I spend the rest of the time (and whatever I’ve saved from before) on deciding what to cook, how to pick up a kid, what to pack for lunch, why my dog is being extra hungry in the afternoons, why the pear tree in my backyard is only now turning colours, what post I should be writing, which trail works great to cycle on at 11 am and so on.

See, much more important than:

“God, this blouse makes my belly look like am 6 months old”

“Wait, does this turquoise match with that blue?” 

“Pearls or silver?” 

“scarf or sweater?”

…and so on.

I’ve lost my point meandering along the way, but to gently bring myself back, I’d say what Obama, Jobs, and Zuckerburg and other intelligent men (and I bet there are many women whom we are missing) are trying to say is:

KISS: Keep it simple, stupid!

Reduce decision-making time, outsource what is insignificant in the grand scheme of things, let someone else worry about things that they are good at, so that you  can focus on what you are meant to do.

See, does that line really have anything to do with gender? Of course not! The guys are naturally a step ahead with the way their social commitments work, in how they project themselves, and women have naturally been banded into being the visually appealing, retail-hopping, gorgeous divas while handling everything else. But really, boil it all down, and it is a matter of focus and priorities, yeah?

Pic credit: Image of woman deciding what to wear via Shutterstock.

Rads lives in the suburbs of Washington DC along with her husband, three kids and

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  1. Nice read.. among women we see that Indira Gandhi had kept it simple and consistent with her dressing sense. Indra Nooyi keeps it simple too 🙂 yes it requires some time but the sooner we find our style the better, we can move on to other important tasks!

    • I agree! I think many get to that point sub-consciously, without even as a change they are aware of.. Paring down I thought was helpful. Thanks for commenting! 🙂

  2. Simple is great but dressing up and putting a gorgeous outfit together with matching or co-ordinating shoes and jewelry is fun that no girl should miss out on!
    A woman should have the freedom to choose, at any given time…what she wants to wear and how she wants to look, that’s all! Life is short, make it colorful and interesting!

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