How to Avoid the Outfit-a-Day Trap at Work


What do you normally wear to work? If your company requires a branded uniform provided by a rental service, you are all set. Otherwise, you probably wear street clothes or business casual workwear. You might also be tempted to fall into the outfit-a-day trap.

For some reason, there are those in our midst who feel the need to change up their work clothing every day. They cannot fathom wearing the same outfit twice in a single week, let alone on back-to-back days. While wearing something different every day is certainly possible, it might not be wise.

If you find yourself in this trap, know that it is not necessary. You can get out. Short of a directive from your employer, there is no requirement for you to have a separate outfit for each workday. No one will even care if you repeat. Really.

Limit Your Clothing Budget

There are a lot of little things you can do to avoid falling into the outfit-a-day trap. The first is to purposely limit your clothing budget. Let us just pull a number out of thin air. Let’s say you propose to spend no more than $200 annually on work clothing.

As long as you stick to that number, you will automatically be limiting the number of pieces you have to work with. You will have no choice but to repeat. You might try different combinations, but your clothing volume will remain static over the course of that year.

Limit Your Storage Space

For some people, limiting the budget isn’t the right way to go. They can still avoid the trap by limiting their storage space. After all, the temptation to buy new clothes might not be as strong if you have nowhere to put them. Limit the space in your closets and dressers. If that means you have to take up some of that space with other things, that’s fine. You will discover you suddenly have more storage space for non-clothing items.

Avoid Seasonal Shopping

You can go into any clothing boutique and find new fashions for each season. Visit Salt Lake City’s The Stockist clothing boutique and you’ll see new arrivals at least four times per year. In other boutiques, you will get micro seasons as well. That means new arrivals 8 to 10 times per year.

Seasonal fashions are one way that designers get us to buy more. If you want to avoid the outfit-a-day trap at work, avoid seasonal shopping. Just don’t do it. Only go shopping when you’ve thrown away worn-out clothing or otherwise disposed of clothing you no longer wear. Another way to look at it is this: every new item that comes into the house means another item going out.

Design Your Own Uniform

Some people looking to avoid the trap find that the only effective way of doing so is to design their own uniform. Maybe you work in an office in which business casual is acceptable every day of the work week. So you decide on a pair of khaki slacks and a navy-blue shirt. That will be your uniform. Buy several pairs of matching slacks and an equal number of shirts and you’re good to go.

You have more than one set, but each one is identical to all the others. Gone is the temptation of having to come up with a new outfit every day. Dressing in the morning is more efficient, too. Bonus!

The outfit-a-day trap is pretty common. You don’t have to get caught up in it. Just by implementing a few commonsense practices, you can keep your workwear in perspective.

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