For the past three years, art director Matilda Kahl has been wearing the same outfit to work every single day.
“I just wanted to save some time and energy,” she explained to Business Insider.
Kahl was tired of running late in the morning, reevaluating her outfits, and stressing about whether or not her clothes were appropriate for different events or meetings at her creative advertising agency.
For someone in the creative field who must make many decisions throughout the day, she longed for one less choice to make.
“During the weekdays, I have so many creative challenges at work to keep my mind stimulated that I don’t feel an urge to express myself creatively through what I wear,” she said. “I finally had enough.”
After one particularly memorable meeting where she realised her male work colleagues never face as much sartorial stress as she did, Kahl decided it was time for her own work uniform — something that could look professional, fashionable, and classic when worn every single day.
“I was looking for something that was simple, yet wouldn’t feel too anonymous,” Kahl explained to us. “After a few long days hunting for the right top, I fell in love with the white blouse for its diagonal line of buttons and the cuts in the sleeves. It felt personal but wasn’t too attention drawing.”
Kahl bought 15 versions of the silk white top as well as six pairs of black trouser pants so she wouldn’t continually have to do laundry. She also included a black leather blow around her neck to add her own personal flair to the ensemble.
The outfit was a success, with hardly any of her coworkers caring what Kahl was wearing. “I’m happy to say we don’t talk about it much, which was the whole idea behind the uniform,” she said. “To take focus away from the wardrobe and lay it on the work instead.”
In April of this year, Kahl wrote an article for Harper’s Bazaar about her decision to implement her own work uniform for the past three years. Her story soon went wild online.
“The response has been overwhelming since Harper’s posted the article,” Kahl told us. “I never thought the public would think it’s such big of a deal, but wearing a uniform as a woman is apparently more provocative than I could ever imagine.”
She also didn’t realise how big a change the outfit would have on her own life as well.
“Nowadays, I never have to rush through the process of putting together an outfit, so the whole experience has become a lot more enjoyable,” she told Business Insider. “It has really made me more appreciative of the clothes I own — they feel more special now when I don’t wear them every day.”
Of course, Kahl also has other clothes aside from her black and white weekday wardrobe, and loves to wear her more creative outfits on the weekends and week nights.
“I still wear all the colourful skirts and patterned sweaters that I own, as often as I can,” she said. “I’m also very into dresses, as they are feminine and fit most occasions.”
As for whether she’ll keep doing it, Kahl isn’t sure, but sees no reason to stop yet.
“If I wake up one day and feel like start spending time on picking out an outfit every morning of the week, I’d have no problem with giving it up,” she said. “The uniform is here for me, I’m not here for the uniform.”
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