Adweek: What was your main motivation behind adopting a work uniform of a white blouse, black trousers and a black blazer?
Kahl: The main motivation was that I understood how much time and energy I’d save if I could just take out the clothing aspect of my working days. We have so many great creative challenges at Saatchi that I’d rather spend my time on that, not picking out a new outfit every morning.
Adweek: Would you say the work uniform has changed your productivity at work?
Kahl: Absolutely. It’s not until you don’t have to care about clothing anymore that you realize how much energy it actually took up before. Before I had a uniform, I reevaluated my outfit throughout the day, wondering if what I was wearing really did a good job of reflecting me as the creative I want to be. Now, when I have an outfit that I once picked out and that I’m happy with, I can lay all my good energy on my work instead. To only be judged on my creative ability at work and not how well I dress really is a real confidence boost.
But for all its benefits, you might have to overcome some initial resistance to kickstart your capsule wardrobe. In a piece for Harper’s Bazaar, Kahl talks about some of the questions she had to confront:
More distant co-workers have even asked if I was in some sort of sect—religious or otherwise…Other than the burning, “why?” the most common question I get is whether or not it gets boring in the long run. It’s a reasonable question that probably has a lot to do with the fact that office style is commonly informal in my industry. We have been given the opportunity to reflect our true personalities in everything we wear, every day—to extol our “creative spirits” in everything we do. As if all of that wasn’t enough, let’s add to the mix the extensive pressure on women to uphold a flawless appearance. Here, we ultimately end up with an unscalable mountain of high expectations. No wonder many people walk around feeling that the world owns them, when it really should be the other way around.