Dressing for success, using the exact same outfit

Dressed for success
Dressed for success

It's a struggle most women know well: What to wear to work today? Trying on numerous outfits — and not liking anything in your closet — can make for one hectic morning, but one woman has figured out how to opt out of it completely.

For four years, Matilda Kahl wore the same white shirt and black pants combo while working as an art director at Saatchi & Saatchi. Now, she can't imagine dressing for work any other way. In fact, she plans to dust off the uniform once she begins her new gig this year. Kahl recently moved to Stockholm for a new job but declined to shares more details about the position.

Matilda Kahl in her office "uniform."
Matilda Kahl

"I did it because I realized how much time and energy I could save during my workdays by just taking out the clothing aspect," Kahl told CNBC in a May interview. Her preference was to focus her creative energies at work, instead of on getting ready for work.

Because women spend a king's ransom on clothes — women's apparel totaled $120 billion in the U.S. just last year — Kahl's unorthodox idea is one that could make retailers break a sweat if other females follow her lead.

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Rather than investing time and money in an extensive wardrobe, Kahl now owns several of the same white shirt and black pants for her work wardrobe. It all happened because she was running late to a meeting one morning.

"It was a pretty mundane day to start with," Kahl said. "You wake up. You're in the mood of choosing something to wear, but you end up looking like some clothing hurricane, throwing on and off stuff. I finally put something on that I immediately regretted on the subway platform.

When Kahl finally reached her office, "I see a bunch of co-workers walking into a meeting that I was supposed to be inside already. I was late. My sweater was inside out, and I was just standing there thinking it shouldn't be this hard."

She recounted her journey on, and the story went viral with over 120,000 shares. What she thought would be no big deal sparked a firestorm of debate — among both men and women alike — about the importance of expressing yourself through your wardrobe.

Kahl isn't the first to take the guesswork out of dressing. Many innovators like Albert Einstein, Johnny Cash and Steve Jobs were known for wearing their signature looks without fail. Yet initially, Kahl's former co-workers were very confused about why she was wearing the same outfit every day.

"One person at work told another colleague of mine … I really think she's in a sect or some kind of religious group," Kahl joked. "She must be. I can't see no other reason for why anybody should wear that."

Another strange reaction? Her old boss thought she wasn't being paid enough and needed a raise.

While she enjoys her "work uniform," Kahl said she loves to dress up in dresses, patterns, hats and crazy shoes. She shares her weekend outfits on Instagram, where she has more than 22,000 followers chronicling her sartorial exploits.

"Yeah, that's my time to shine," she said.