Following ‘capsule wardrobe’ like Jobs or Zuckerberg doesn’t prove anything

One may ape Steve Jobs and Mark Zuckerberg and wear the same clothes to work daily, but that will not necessarily make one as successful as them

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Are you also a fan of the ‘capsule wardrobe’ like many others across the world? Do you also believe in maintaining a collection of interchangeable clothing items only, so that maximum number of outfits can be created with minimum items? Do you think wearing the same outfit to work every day, just like Steve Jobs and Mark Zuckerberg will make you as successful as they are? Let us see what our HR leaders have to say.

Jobs, the founder of Apple, and Zuckerberg, the brain behind Facebook, are not the only leaders known to wear the same outfits to work daily. Barack Obama did so too. And yes, they were / are successful individuals. But if you think it is their capsule wardrobe that brought them success, you are mistaken.

Those who have tried the practice have realised in no time that wearing the same outfit to work daily does not really impact their productivity in any way. In fact, if the expectations from this routine are too high, the disappointment in terms of productivity remaining the same may actually lead to stress. People obsessed with copying successful personalities and their ways often end up seeking help from counsellors or psychologists to understand why the practice does not work for them.

“Just because Steve jobs and Mark Zuckerberg were successful with this practice, copying them will not make one a successful person”

Nihar Ghosh, HR leader & consultant

Decision fatigue

There is no dearth of those advocating the capsule wardrobe and its benefits on social media. In reality, however, does this practice really help people succeed in life?

Well, to understand that, we should first understand why successful people adopt a capsule wardrobe in the first place. It is because they were overcome by ‘decision fatigue’, which studies claim is a mental stress issue.

Science states that whenever the brain makes a decision, it consumes some amount of energy. As per studies, the human brain makes about 186 decisions in a minute while driving, and over 2000 decisions on any normal day. Cognitively healthy individuals may not be stressed out with this level of brain work, but the cognitively weak people will definitely be. Their brain may drain out early, which may result in less productivity by the end of the day.

Generally, as the day progresses, our brain tends to get tired. Then how are people able to work late into the night and deliver great results? On sheer will power, of course. If one desires, one can stay active throughout the day.

Are sartorial decisions stressful?

Is there a relation between maintaining a capsule wardrobe and decision fatigue? Well, many psychologists admit that choosing an outfit for the day is not really one of the most stressful decisions in life. In fact, making a choice takes just a few seconds as long as the person is not too conscious of appearances!

“Some people simply dress to impress”

Amit Chincholikar, CHRO, Tata Consumer Products

Therefore, not having to choose an outfit for the day does not really save much time, nor does it eliminate stress. Stress can be triggered by different activities and depends to a great extent on the duration of these activities.

For instance, psychologists cite the example of driving. On Indian roads, where a drive to work takes at least half an hour, the process of driving is definitely longer than the time taken to choose an outfit to wear to work. Therefore, to ensure less stress, Indian professionals who drive to work can opt to skip driving and travel by public transport instead. Wearing the same outfit to work daily will have no impact on their stress or productivity levels, but choosing public transport over driving to work can definitely improve their stress level.

All the HR leaders that HRKatha spoke to agree on this. Wearing the same pair of trousers to work has no correlation with performance or leadership style. Almost all HR leaders have encountered such people at the workplace, but their sartorial choices have never had any impact on their productivity at all. “Taking up this practice does not guarantees success. It has no correlation with work,” asserts Ravi V., former VP-L&D, Reliance Industries.

Maybe for people like Jobs or Zuckerberg, choosing an attire for the day was more stressful than driving a car. And by eliminating the very need for this decision on a daily basis, they addressed the factor that caused them stress. However, for a person who does not get stressed by decisions related to outfits / appearances at work, elimination of that decision will not really improve productivity.

“People are different. What works for one may not work for another. If maintaining a capsule wardrobe does not really work for somebody, it is pointless to continue the practice,” states Reetu Raina, VP & global head of talent management, Amdocs.

“Wearing same clothes everyday does not guarantees success. It has no correlation with work”

Ravi V., former VP-L&D, Reliance Industries

Blindly aping successful people may not give any concrete results. “Some people simply dress to impress,” points out Amit Chincholikar, CHRO, Tata Consumer Products.

Human resource leaders advise that following a practice blindly, just for the sake of it and changing oneself are not the right choices. Trying to ape another person can actually end up stressing one and making one feel less energetic.

Success is like achieving happiness. People are truly happy when they being themselves and are doing things that give them pleasure and satisfaction. Similarly, meaningful actions are more likely to result in success rather than adopting a frivolous practice such as a capsule wardrobe.

“Just because Steve jobs and Mark Zuckerberg were successful with this practice, copying them will not make one a successful person,” quips Nihar Ghosh, HR leader & HR consultant.

“If maintaining a capsule wardrobe does not really work for somebody, it is pointless to continue the practice”

Reetu Raina, VP & global head of talent management, Amdocs

A good night’s sleep, a healthy diet and an active lifestyle can do wonders for a person’s mental and physical well-being. It is a lot more important and significant to the achievement of success than what one wears or does not wear to work.

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