Why I Wear Shorts and a T-Shirt to Work

My doorman (Tommy) has gotten into a habit of calling me slippers – because I wear my flip flops EVERYWHERE – they are severely worn in, and I only purchased them around 4 weeks ago.

He is right to do so – I wear my flip flops, a t-shirt and shorts almost everywhere (I am not blind to social convention, so when it is needed, I will dress the part). Now, instead of merely accepting that – “he wears what he wants” you say – ask why. Why do I wear such things? I have a couple of reasons – which might be a little more complex than you thought.

Why I Wear Shorts, a T-Shirt, and Flip Flops Almost Every Day

Reason #1

Everyone only has so much brain capacity. What you will notice is the more you focus on one area, the less you will be able to focus on other areas – it’s only natural. If your brain capacity was a theoretical value of 100, focusing 60 units of your attention in one area would mean you only have 40 units to focus in another.

On that note, concerning myself with what to wear would consume otherwise needed brain capacity. I simply would rather not waste my time or intellectual energy focusing on what to wear. It might sound a little conceited or condescending, but it really doesn’t concern me. I wake up in the morning, do things that are important to me, and then spend a total of 3-5 minutes getting ready for work.

When it comes to picking my wardrobe, that is the easiest of all. I have a pile of t-shirts and a pile of shorts – and I grab one off the top off of each. I then put on a belt, put on my flip flops, and head out. That’s it. I am not worried about what to lay out, what to iron, what clashes with what – I am taking that mental capacity and putting it elsewhere.

While everyone is else making sure their shoes match their pants, which match their shirt, I am reading a couple extra pages, thinking a couple extra thoughts, or just enjoying a couple extra moments.

Reason #2

Hunger is a terrible thing. Not that I have ever truly been starving (or anywhere close), but hunger is one of those distracting feelings – once you’re hungry, all you can think about is eating something. You lose focus, your mind wanders to lunch/dinner options, and your productivity plummets.

For me, that is the same way I feel about comfort. When I am uncomfortable, all I can think about is getting comfortable. I am uncomfortable when wearing a suit – at least, when I don’t need to be. If I had to wear a suit in to work every day, I would be uncomfortable – in other words, I would be distracted. I would think about getting home and changing. I would think about how uncomfortable I am; more importantly, I wouldn’t think about work.

Reason #3

I have come to the conclusion that what you do is far more important than what you wear. One of my favorite quotes used to be: “What you do screams so loud that I can hardly hear what you are saying.” I would modify that to be applicable in this situation: “what you do screams so loud that I can hardly see what you are wearing.” I could care less what you wear – as long as it does not damage my reputation or the company’s. If you are an all-star who completes everything ahead of time and goes the extra mile, you can wear your Spider Man pajamas for all I care. However, if you consistently underperform and under deliver, the finest suit in the world isn’t going to save you.

Reason #4

I have a work place that lets me.

I am fortunate enough to be able to wear almost whatever I want to work – but I don’t do it just because I can. I do it for several reasons – and hopefully this post has helped shine some light on a few of them. Maybe it’s time you reviewed your own personal dress policy? And maybe that of your company?

Blair Livingston


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