How To Save Your Brain For Work: Wear The Same Outfit Every Day

By Alexia Elejalde-Ruiz
Chicago Tribune.


With a busy job and two young kids, Amy Zinck has many mornings when, as she puts it, “mirrors are not part of my life.”

Luckily, she has little need for them.

For much of her career, the Chicago resident has gone to work wearing a self-prescribed uniform that has made her morning routine a think-free 15-minute affair.

No staring at the closet. No pile of discarded outfits. No regrets as she walks into the office that she is overdressed, underdressed or mismatched to tackle whatever comes her way.

Rather, Zinck, 47, reliably dons a pantsuit, usually black, though she also has gray and brown and if she “goes crazy” she may wear a skirt, she laughs, with a classic top and her hair pulled into a low ponytail. Her signature flourish is a scarf.

Removing the daily wardrobe headache frees up not only precious time, she said, but also her attention.

“If you’re worried about what you’re wearing, you’re not very present,” said Zinck, vice president of Chicago-based Terra Foundation for American Art and director of its Paris office.

Successful people have long extolled the professional virtues of having a personal uniform, with Steve Jobs’ black turtleneck and Mark Zuckerberg’s gray T-shirt and hoodie as famous examples. But recently the spotlight has been cast on women, who are less commonly associated with sartorial sameness.

Elizabeth Holmes, founder and CEO of health care tech company Theranos, told Glamour in an interview published in March that consistently wearing a black turtleneck gives her one less thing to think about so she can focus on work.

In an April essay in Harper’s Bazaar, Matilda Kahl, art director at advertising agency Saatchi & Saatchi, revealed that dressing pressures caused such angst one morning almost three years ago that she has since worn a daily uniform of black pants, a white silk blouse and black leather bow around her neck, prompting some co-workers to wonder at first if she had joined a cult.

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