They say to dress for the job you want - if that were true for me, my dream job is to be a farmer, or at least the kind of job where shorts all year round is a requirement. The clothes we wear say so much about us - how much money we have, what subculture we belong to, how much we like Metallica.
I’ve always been insecure about the clothes I wear. I used to spend most of my paycheck every week on shirts, hoodies, and shorts, throwing my hard earned dollars away to fast fashion and clothes that would fall apart after a few months of regular wear. I wanted to fit in - I wanted to be cool, fashionable. But no matter how hard I tried, it never worked. Deep down, what I really wanted was to be free from the insecurity, free from the ‘fashion’ cycle, and to try and free up some room in my brain to worry about other, more important things.
So, about a year ago, I donated all of my clothes to charity and bought four plain black t-shirts, two pairs of shorts, one pair of pants, one sweatshirt and one pair of shoes - and that’s what I’ve worn ever since. Sure, I’ve upgraded some of my clothes to better quality, more sustainable brands, but I’ve essentially been wearing the exact same thing, day in and day out, for a long time now. I’m basically a cartoon character at this point.
It was strange at first. So much of our personalities are tied in to how we present ourselves, and for me, I feel like my flavour went from a Coke to a La Croix. I was worried I would be boring, forgettable, and that people would think that I was just some gross as dude that wore the same thing every day and smelt like shit. But if wearing the same thing every day is good enough for Henry Rollins, Steve Jobs and Donald Glover, it’s good enough for me.
And it totally worked. No one has ever noticed (or at least, they haven’t said anything about it) until I’ve pointed it out to them. That early morning anxiety of “oh fuck, what am I gonna wear today” was gone. I get up, I put on whatever is clean, and I go about my day. It hasn’t all been peaches and cream, though. Even though I don’t buy any clothes outside of my ‘uniform,’ that doesn’t stop me from spending hours online, searching for the perfect shirt or most sustainable pants. My clothes now are a lot more expensive initially than they used to be, because a good quality pair of pants made from sustainable materials and not made in a sweatshop somewhere are a bit more pricey than some awful Nike shit (with the added bonus of not being made by literal children being paid $0.61 an hour).
Now, I’m not trying to say that expressing yourself through your personal style is a bad thing, or that the entire fashion industry is made up of evil corporations trying to capitalize on your insecurities or anything. We just need to be more intentional with what we wear - choosing brands that aren’t actively trying to destroy the planet, prioritising comfort and function over whatever is ‘cool’ at the moment, and embracing the effortless style of a plain black shirt.