While men can easily repeat the same suit without anyone noticing (as former US president Barack Obama did for eight years), women often spend excess time and money searching for fresh, appropriate workplace attire.
Arianna Huffington prefers not to.
Instead, the Huffington Post founder and Thrive Global CEO picks from the same handful of dresses for every public event she attends.
“Men have a competitive advantage,” Huffington explained in October at Fortune’s Most Powerful Women Summit, where she addressed her apparel choices. “They don’t have to waste the kind of energy we waste.”
Huffington said that she’d rather spend her energy on business decisions than clothing decisions—a perspective widely shared by male leaders, like Steve Jobs and Mark Zuckerberg, but infrequently preached by powerful women.
Aware that gender biases are not easily reversed, Huffington leverages her Instagram account to publicly advocate for outfit repeating, tagging photos of herself wearing the same dresses with the hashtag #repeats.
“I’m not suggesting we go full [Mark] Cuban by wearing t-shirts all the time, or raiding Mark Zuckerberg’s hoodie closet, only that we make it easier on ourselves and dress in a way in which we can still feel chic and good about ourselves without spending a huge amount of energy, mindshare and time — not to mention cash,” Huffington explained in a 2016 Thrive Global post.
“At the core of Thrive Style is the belief that, when we’re able to reclaim all the time and energy lost to picking out clothes and getting ready, we’ll gain a serious competitive advantage.” Count me in. This morning, while applying mascara and questioning whether my shirt was too sheer, I glanced over at my boyfriend. Still fast asleep. Every morning, he wakes up 15 minutes later than I do, though we leave for work at the same time.
That means that over one year, I sleep approximately 60 hours less than he does (60 hours I could also spend at the office). All in the name of beauty labor, and the Sisyphean task of knowing what to wear to work, as a woman in 2017.