I’ve been considering the decision process around deciding what clothes to put on each day. On the surface, it’s like, think first about my day: Will I have to impress anyone today? What’s the weather supposed to be like? Am I coming straight home after work or going somewhere first? (If so, is it happy hour, rehearsal, or the grocery store?) Do my feet already hurt? Can I manage a sweater today, or am I having hot flashes?
Then, I go into my closet, grab some stuff that matches (usually), try to remember if I’ve already worn it this week (and if so, whether I care), choose my footwear, and I’m out the door.
That’s the easy version. It’s the one that happens pretty much on autopilot, pre-caffeine. After doing some variation of this for 30 years, it usually goes off without a hitch.
But there’s actually a series of many small decisions that have to be made, in sequence, and one could be forgiven for concluding that some days, it’s just too much to handle before the sun rises. I tried to chart mine, and I must say here that my hat is all the way off for those of you whose paid employment includes graphically capturing logical sequences, because it doesn’t come naturally to me. That said, here’s what I came up with:
And this doesn’t even include everything. For example, I left out which bra to choose. Gotta wear a lighter-colored one under a light-colored top.
The black-or-gray subroutine is the same no matter what happens in the first column. The choice of base color triggers some if/thens, such as choice of sweater color, but it’s the same without regard to whether I’ve chosen skirt or pants.
The footwear part of my chart isn’t quite right, either. If I wear pants, I’m wearing socks and clogs, but for skirt or dress I’ll wear boots. At least in winter, which it is now. (The summer what-to-wear chart is different.)
I left the hosiery subroutine off my chart: If pants, then socks. If dress or skirt, then tights. If tights, then black or gray? And then, which boots depending on which tights?
The jewelry decision depends on the clothing. If I wear black or gray, I usually choose silver. If I wear tan or cream on top, I sometimes, but not always, go with gold. If navy, usually silver.
I could have used a decision support tool this morning – I had chosen dress –> gray, and blindly grabbed clean tights out of my drawer, not looking as I put them on. But – ERROR- they’re the blue:
Blue! When the rest of my getup is gray and black (black and gray duster, silver jewelry). The tights were supposed to be black. They looked black when I grabbed them. In fact, the dress was supposed to be black, too, but I got into my closet and saw the gray dress first. It’s exactly like the black one – both knit dresses from Old Navy that layer well with dusters and cardigans. (Which is another part of the dress-or-skirt subroutine I ought to add.)
TL;DR >> Stray from the decision tree at your own peril.
At least my boots match. This one time, I had two pairs of shoes that were the same, except one pair was black and one was brown, and you can probably guess based on that setup what happened. Suffice it to say, I kept my feet under my desk as much as possible that day.
No wonder I’m worn out by the time I get to work. I have already made about a hundred decisions by the time I park my car.
Perhaps titans of business Steve Jobs and Mark Zuckerberg were on to something, with their daily uniform that does not require wasting energy on a series of inane choices before breakfast.
There is no need to break fashion ground in the office.