A few years ago, I began to intentionally wear the same outfit every day—a dark grey T-shirt and khaki pants. At first, I tried it just as a one week experiment. I wanted to see what people would say and how I’d reflect on this experience.
Every day, I wondered when people would finally say it: “Enough Joshua! Why are you wearing that again?” And if they didn’t mention anything, were they secretly thinking it?
Even though I was voluntarily wearing the same clothes, I felt pressure to change them. Most of us are trained to look for a new outfit every morning—I was no exception.
Societal norms and habits are potent influencers of our purchases, and they weighed heavily on me. Clothing brands actively produce seasonal and “sub-collections” to constantly “refresh” stores. Enter one of these stores today, and you might not recognize it next week. You could build a wardrobe and have it turnover every month, season, and year.
Because of our conditioning, I imagined everyone looking at my recycled outfit and judging me for it.
However, one week into my experiment, nobody mentioned anything.
And in that silence, I was liberated.
In reality, most people were too caught up with their own demands to recognize this repetition—a perfect example of what social psychologists call the “spotlight effect.”
These societal norms could be broken, and I could be freed of these assumed expectations.
Whether you’re thinking about minimizing your wardrobe, adopting a life uniform, or simply wanting to consume less, here are five reasons why you should try this one-week experiment:
1. Reduce decision fatigue.
We cannot escape decisions. Even in our dreams, we’re thinking about what to do next. Every option drains us. Decisions with larger consequences take more of our energy, too. When tired, people make more short-term, instant-gratification decisions. Conspicuous consumption becomes more common amidst this fatigue. While it might seem small, adopting a more universal, uniform outfit might provide you greater decision-making power for the day.
2. Recognize what looks good on you, repeat.
Since I’ve adopted a minimalist lifestyle, I have looked for basics that work across situations. My most frequent outfit these days tends to be a nice-fitting black T-shirt and casual khaki pants. By wearing one thing for a week, I was tested. Would I get bored? Did this really look good on me? Interestingly, I recognized what clothes were most important to me. Finding your “look” can take time, but realizing what you feel confident and comfortable in is empowering.
3. Minimize your wardrobe.
Minimalism is about focusing on what matters most, while ridding the rest. It quickly applies across situations; especially, for clothing. Over the years, I’ve actively applied this philosophy avoided replacing items. Slowly, I’ve centered on my most important items. My closet is smaller and neater than ever before. And when I look for something to wear, I effortlessly see my favorites.
4. Embrace forever fashion.
I value the quality of friendships more than anything. It goes without saying, but I’ll choose quality over quantity any day. By adopting this same mentality for clothing, you can evaluate what articles are most important to you. Similarly, when you go to buy new items, imagine its place in your closet years from now. Will you still want it? Trendiness is challenging to chase, and provides an infinite opportunity for spending. Instead, focus on quality goods that can last years and, potentially, by brands who encourage you to repair and recycle before you buy new.
5. Bask in the glory of easier laundry and more time.
A week later, I threw my shirt and jeans in the laundry for a much-needed wash. By consuming less throughout the week, I had less to clean. Again, I could focus on what’s most important: time with my family. Rather than washing, drying, and folding clothes for half a day, I could play, read, and listen.
There are various examples of famous people who’ve adopted a minimal wardrobe and there are good reasons why successful people are choosing to wear the same thing every day. Steve Jobs might be the most iconic of them all. At presentations, conferences, and pressers, he could be seen wearing his black turtleneck, blue jeans, and circular eyeglasses. He wasn’t successful because he wore the same outfit at all these events, but for an exceptionally busy person, this was one less decision.
By wearing the same thing every day, you’ll better realize what’s most important to you. And you’ll quickly discover it’s not the clothes you are wearing.
This article originally appeared on Forbes