Tapestry

Tech worker minimizes her wardrobe to maximize her brain power

A couple of years ago, Desirae Odjick streamlined her wardrobe and adopted a work uniform. She says it saves her valuable time and mental energy, so she's sticking with it.
Desirae Odjick has adopted a work uniform to reduce the amount of choices she makes in a day and free up precious time and brain power. (Hello Lovely Ottawa)
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At work, today, Desirae Odjick is wearing a light, silky top and some dark, skinny jeans. Same as yesterday and the day before that. Same thing tomorrow.

That's because Odjick has created a work uniform that she wears day in, day out. It's a matter of sparing brain power for more important tasks.

"One hundred percent. I definitely wanted to reduce the amount of decisions I had to make about something that really specifically wasn't important to me."

Odjick works in the tech sector, an industry she says is populated with stylish people. Her indifference to fashion would collide with her desire to fit the part and feel confident about how she presented herself.

Desirae Odjick wears the same thing to work everyday. She enjoys it so much that she's adopted also a similar weekend uniform. (Hello Lovely Ottawa)

"On days where I was maybe overdue for laundry and on days where I had something big going on at work, I could spend 20 or 30 minutes trying on different combinations of things for my wardrobe."

Apple's Steve Jobs and Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg are famously associated with their work uniforms.

But it wasn't until Swedish advertiser Matilda Kahl wrote about her choice to adopt a uniform that Odjick really considered the idea for herself. Odjick says the piece, which was published in Harper's Bazaar, made a stir, specifically because Kahl, unlike Jobs and Zuckerberg, is a woman.

"It was interesting to exercise that flexibility to adopt a work uniform but also to see how people reacted to adopting a work uniform as a woman -- who's not traditionally who you hear about doing this kind of thing."

The initial reaction was a non-reaction. Very few people noticed, Odjick says.

It's been two years since Desirae streamlined her wardrobe and she says this restrictive choice saves her time and money. (Courtesy)

Now, two years after she started wearing the uniform, she says she'll never go back.

"It definitely has helped tremendously. I know down to a matter of seconds how long it's going to take me to get dressed in the morning because there's absolutely no choice. It's the grey shirt or the white shirt and then, same pair of pants, out the door, go. It's been huge in terms of just streamlining my mornings."

Odjick estimates the uniform saves her about 50 to 75 minutes each work week. But, she says, it wouldn't work for everyone.

"For some people choosing what they wear every day is a very important part of their day to day routine. It's an important part of how they express themselves. And that's wonderful. Power to them. If you enjoy choosing what to wear, this is not a good strategy for you. But if you're like me and it was more of a hassle than anything else, I think you really could gain a lot and you'll be very surprised at how little anyone cares or how little anyone even notices."

Odjick says the approach works so well for her that she now wears more or less the same thing on the weekends. Except, instead of a silk top, the weekend version is cotton.


Click LISTEN to find out how easy it is to create your own work uniform and how simply placing a few restrictions on your decisions about clothes can save you time and money.