These Are My Kind of Teachers

I’ve written before about how Mark Zuckerberg (Facebook), President Obama, and Steve Jobs (Apple) used to essentially wear the same outfit every day (not the same one among them). Zuckerberg wore the same gray t-shirt every day, Obama wore only blue or gray suits, and Jobs wore black mock turtlenecks, Levi’s, and New Balance sneakers everywhere he went.

Here was Zuckerberg’s explanation:

“… there’s actually a bunch of psychology theory that even making small decisions around what you wear, or what you eat for breakfast, or things like that, they kind of make you tired and consume your energy. And my view is, I’m in this really lucky position where I get to wake up every day and help serve more than a billion people. And I feel like I’m not doing my job if I spend any of my energy on things that are silly or frivolous about my life…”

Here was Obama’s reasoning, from the same article about Zuckerberg:

“You’ll see I wear only gray or blue suits. I’m trying to pare down decisions. I don’t want to make decisions about what I’m eating or wearing. Because I have too many other decisions to make.”

And Jobs Jobs claimed he did it for the convenience as well its ability to convey a signature style.

And is these examples weren’t enough, there was also the story of the Australian TV anchor who wore the same suit every day

Well that blog post was written over three and a half years ago, and today I read about another great example of this approach to dressing, but even more strict.

Julia Mooney, an art teacher in the Moorestown (NJ) Township School District, decided she would wear the same dress for the first 100 days of the school year. And unlike Zuckerberg, Obama, or Gates, Mooney was not going to stock her closet with multiple copies of that one outfit. She wanted to wear the SAME dress every day (she does have a second dress that is identical to the first, just in case she needs it — but hasn’t had to use it yet.)

After discussing the idea with her husband Patrick, who teaches social studies at Moorestown High School, he also decided to wear the same outfit to work for 100 straight days. His outfit consists of khaki pants and a blue button-up shirt, while Julia’s outfit is a simple hemp dress, short-sleeved and gray.

The one-outfit idea also goes along with how the Mooneys try to live. The environmentally friendly, eco-conscious couple said such an approach to dressing promotes sustainability. The Mooneys wash their outfits regularly, either by hand or in the washing machine if there are enough other clothes to do a load. With three children there is usually enough items to wash.

Several other teachers at the high school are participating in the challenge as well as a middle school student along members of the boy’s family.

In addition to the simplicity of such an approach and the sustainability benefits, Julia also wants students to start thinking about how maybe we should start defining ourselves by what we do and not how we look.

I think this is a great idea, and I might try something similar. If I do, you can be sure that you will read about it here. Thank you, Julia and Patrick, for the inspiration, and for being such good role models for your students.

If you are an Instagram sort of person, Julia Mooney started an Instagram account to highlight her experiment:


And for those who may be interested, Julia bought her dress through Thought, a London-based clothing retailer. Thought believes in easy-to-wear clothes and uses sustainable, natural fabrics like bamboo, hemp and, organic cotton.

*image from Julia’s Instagram account

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