Matilda Kahl is Creative/Art Director for one of New York’s biggest ad agencies, and she wears the same clothes to work every day.
In a recent piece in Harpers Bazaar she detailed her reasons for streamlining her sartorial approach. After “one of those typical Monday mornings” with an important meeting on the horizon, Kahl was engaged in the style struggle that faces many of us each day.
“I started to try on different outfits, lacking any real direction or plan…questioning each piece that I added or subtracted from my outfit. I finally chose something I regretted as soon as I hit the subway platform.”
Kahl began to question why she was bothering with this rigamarole while many of her male colleagues just wore the same thing each day and didn’t appear to be agonising over whether their attire was appropriate.
“The solution to my woes came in the form of 15 silk white shirts and a few black trousers. For a little personal detail, I remembered my mother loved to put bows in my hair as a kid, so I chose to add a custom-made black leather rosette around my neck. Done. During the colder months, I also top my look off with a black blazer. I shopped all the pieces in one day. It burned a hole in my wallet to say the least, but, in the long run, it has saved me—and will continue to save me—more money than I could imagine.”
The notion of a uniform is, of course, no major innovation but for a creative woman with an interest in fashion it actually seems quite novel for Kahl to have taken up such a homogenous look.
Last Autumn, Mashable published a piece entitled “Why Zuck and other successful men wear the same thing every day” the article quotes Facebook founder, Zuckerberg as saying;
“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.”
Personally I can’t STAND the thought of wearing the same thing every day. It’s noon on a Monday morning and so far the funnest thing I’ve done today was pick out my outfit. (If you’re interested it’s peep-toe ankle boots, black culottes and a grey tee-shirt.) I get so much pleasure out of planning outfits it’s perhaps verging on pathetic. I never understand when people say they aren’t interested or can’t be bothered. I love masterminding outfits. It is basically my favourite thing to do. I realise all this makes me sound kind of shallow, but I see clothes as a great form of self-expression and a chance to be creative every day.
However, I do accept that cutting out the “What will I wear?” question could potentially increase my productivity but really the only reason I am remotely productive is to buy clothes (and support my family etc). I’d be left with all these extra hours with nothing to channel my new-found time and headspace into, thus defeating the point of the exercise.
Though Kahl maintains that she is far from bored in her black trousers and white shirt. She says her uniform gives her a sense of control, and she also cites the “extensive pressure on women to uphold a flawless appearance” as another motivation for rejecting a daily “outfit”. Ironically by donning her uniform Kahl shows a spirit of non-conformity.
Main image via Instagram