Home mental fitness Want to Simplify Life? Start with Clothes

Want to Simplify Life? Start with Clothes

by Marianne Navada
simply life

In the series “Object of Affection” by Architectural Digest, fashion designer Rick Owens shows us his tiny closet. He has a stack of similar shirts and shorts—all in black. Explaining his minimalist approach to clothing: 

I always kinda like sticking to a decision. So when I pick an outfit, I’ll pretty much stick to it for a couple of years.

Rick Owens | Architectural Digest

Simplifying life through clothing is not new. Steve Jobs wore the same Issey Miyake turtle neck and blue jeans daily. Albert Einstein owned the same gray suit in several variations. Former President Obama stuck to the same color palette—blue and black. And Christopher Nolan sticks to a dark blazer and a blue shirt as his daily outfit. For them, not having to think of what outfit to wear eliminates one more decision making scenario in your day. It frees up brain power to focus on what needs to get done. It’s easy to confuse fashionable with wearing the trends, but there’s something stylish about finding an outfit that you love and sticking to it. It’s a practice on commitment, appreciation, and focus.

The modern world has afforded us a myriad of choices. There’s so much available, ready to be explored, right from our phones. When we are close to making a decision, we might spend time reading what others have to say and their verdict—a thumbs up or a thumbs down? It can be freeing, empowering, and at the same time paralyzing. As soon as we make the decision, we might feel anxious and doubt a decision we just spent hours contemplating. 

Flexibility in Simplifying Life

What I like about simplifying outfits is that we can choose what parameters work for us. You don’t have to set guidelines that are as streamlined as Rick Owens, and instead start with a palette in terms of color. Nowadays, it’s easy to get distracted by the next shiny thing. Every day I get emails from brands telling me what I need today. My weakness is yoga clothes. Sticking to a color palette has saved me money and also has made me feel content about what I have. I don’t need something from the new color drop. I have enough yoga pants and sports bra to last me a couple of years.

Limitless options, constantly evolving trends, and the ability to see on social media what others have, can make us feel dissatisfied and long for more. It’s not just our clothes of course, but all aspects of life that brings out longing. It can be from home decor, careers, and our relationships. Sometimes, the answer is not to google for more information or to contemplate on that thing, waiting to be purchased, in our online shopping cart. Currently, I try to prioritize on what I really need to accomplish today, this week, or this month. It helps me on days when I feel scattered. When I think about the world’s deteriorating mental health, I believe that choices and the distraction that comes with it, partly explains why we feel isolated and dissatisfied. The mind feels busy endlessly and pointlessly.


I wrote this after struggling with the myriad choices and decisions about renovating our yard. This post is a reminder that I’ve done enough research. It’s time to make decisions and get this done. 

Commit to living.