Reams have been written about why successful people like Steve Jobs, Barack Obama and Mark Zuckerberg prefer to narrow down their wardrobe choices in order to avoid the added stress of making daily decisions on what to wear. Zuckerberg has said earlier that this enhances his productivity.

But Smriti Lamech, 39, is not buying into this science-of-simplicity-in-clothes formula. “People often refer to Zuckerberg’s uniform for work, and how it cut down on wastage of time. I’m sure that it works for those who are unidimensional that way, who are workaholics. I’m not. Work is just a part of my life. Art is a large part of it too. And art isn’t just what you hang on your walls, it’s how you live your life," says Lamech.

She classifies dressing down for work as a uniform. “I hated uniforms when I was in school. I hated how a uniform turns you into another brick in the wall, cog in the wheel. Your clothing says so much about you. It gives you the space to express your individuality. Why would you not want to use it?" she asks.

A new entrepreneur who works in the field of education as a franchisee partner for the JEI Learning Center, in Gurugram, Lamech believes in making an effort to dress well when she goes out for official meetings. “I am a casual dresser for the most part, but for work engagements, especially now that I am an entrepreneur, I must look well turned out."

Smriti Lamech with her clothes rack. Photo: Pradeep Gaur/Mint
Smriti Lamech with her clothes rack. Photo: Pradeep Gaur/Mint

For Lamech, however, putting a look together every morning isn’t that easy right now.

“My husband is working out of the country at the moment so I’m a single parent and my mornings are frantic—sending the kids off to school, getting ready for work, getting the house cleaned and the meals cooked before I lock up. Besides, I am mostly haphazard in terms of sleep timings, routines, food, etc.," she explains. Amidst all this, it becomes harder and harder to be well turned out for work. “I love splashes of colour, swathes of fabric, wild contrasts. And because I mostly wear Indian clothing, it requires a lot more planning than pairing four shirts with two black trousers," she says. Perhaps this is why people choose to wear uniform-like outfits to work, she muses.

Lamech tried the night-before routine to avoid ironing clothes or looking for the right accessories during her already messy morning schedule. “I was harking back to my childhood when my grandfather would call us in from play to make sure our school uniforms were clean, ironed, hung up, and shoes polished," she says. With her husband’s help, she designed a bamboo alna (clothes stand). Now she puts together the outfits needed for the coming week, gets them ironed, hangs them on the rack, pairing these with shoes and accessories kept together.

“I don’t plan my entire week’s wardrobe in advance. But I do plan for events that I know might be coming up. A big meeting, a party, a PTA meeting. If I chance upon something that will go well with another, I put it together and hang it on my alna," she says.

Smriti Lamech, making a case for being well turned out for work, says a little extra effort doesn’t hamper her on-the-job productivity-

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Take these cues

Don’t favour uniformizing your work wardrobe? Yet short of time every morning? Here’s how you can maximize your look and time.

■ Review the coming week’s engagements in advance, maybe on a Saturday. “I take half an hour to look through my wardrobe, find pieces I have not worn in a while and keep them aside. It also helps to check what needs cleaning, or repairs," says Smriti Lamech.

■ Mix and match and put the whole outfit together. “This means every element of the outfit, from blouse to petticoat, jacket and scarf, shoes and even handbag," says Lamech.

■ Get what needs to be ironed ready and hang all the separates of an outfit next to each other. “This exercise takes me 30-45 minutes every weekend. But it saves a lot of time on weekday mornings," she says.

■ It helps to have a rack where an ensemble can be placed together for ease of access. In Lamech’s case, it is an alna fashioned out of bamboo, with a shelf at the bottom.

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