How a capsule wardrobe can inspire focus during long-term remote work

By Kaleigh Moore

November 11, 2020
We all make hundreds, if not thousands, of decisions every single day. As a result, many people (myself included) find themselves dealing with decision fatigue, a term coined by psychologist Roy F. Baumeister. What is decision fatigue? It’s the idea that daily decision-making depletes a source of mental energy, of which there is a limited supply each day. And unsurprisingly, decision fatigue can have major negative impacts on a person’s productivity.

I recently decided to eliminate one decision I had to make each day as a hedge against decision fatigue. I created a capsule wardrobe that eliminates the need to decide what I should wear during the workweek.

Even though I work from home, I still regularly have to appear on camera for video calls, so it’s important for me to look put together. But I don’t want to spend time and mental energy every day picking out clothing items that would allow me to accomplish that. This means I need a go-to collection of comfortable clothing that’s also camera-ready (even if it doesn’t technically qualify as business casual, which I’d wear to in-person meetings).

For the 42% of the U.S. labor force that is, like me, working from home full time right now, this is a new necessity of the pandemic. As we work from home and strive to be our most productive selves, a no-brainer selection of clothes—that is both versatile enough to be comfortable but still appropriate for video—is one way we can free up some mentally taxing decision-making energy.

Benefits of a work-from-home capsule wardrobe

Curating a simple and effective capsule wardrobe has not only been great for helping me make one less choice each morning, it’s also allowed me to build a collection of clothes that will last.

Another bonus is I made an effort to curate an eco-friendly wardrobe, made with sustainable fabrics, like this pair of leggings, for example. The fabric they’re  made from is extremely warm and durable, while also being moisture-wicking and breathable. I pair them with these antimicrobial long-sleeve crew tees, which are also environmentally friendly and made with biodegradable viscose yarns from wood pulp.

Here are some other perks of creating a capsule wardrobe.

    Allows you to focus on product quality over quantity: Curating a collection of high-quality items that are easily paired up (like these simple matching sets) means you might spend more money up front, but the items will be more likely to stand the test of time.

    Helps you pinpoint the fit and fabrics that suit you best: Figuring out which materials best meet your lifestyle needs means more versatility and less changing clothes throughout the day. For example, at least two or three times a week I end my workday with a run. Because of that, among the necessities for my capsule wardrobe were pieces that could transition from loungewear to activewear, like Glyder’s joggers and prAna’s Frieda top.

And the biggest takeaway I’ve gleaned from using the work-from-home clothing capsule so far? Increased “brain space.” Knowing I have a curated wardrobe at my disposal, I’ve streamlined my workday and my priorities.

If you’re thinking about creating a work-from-home capsule wardrobe of your own, keep in mind that you might need to do some experimentation before you find the exact collection of items that best suit your daily needs. The pieces you include will also likely evolve as the seasons change.

So don’t buckle under a world of choices in your remote-work environment; save yourself the decision fatigue and narrow your clothing choices down to a capsule collection.

Kaleigh Moore is a writer and consultant for companies in the SaaS industry.

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