It used to be easy. Work was a Monday through Friday, 9-5 activity, and dress codes determined what you should wear. The world has changed, though. Nowadays, office cultures encourage connectedness at all times.
When Co-founders of Oliver Charles, Jack and Slater, moved to the Bay Area and started careers at fast-paced tech companies, work-life and social-life rapidly began to blend, leading to a feeling of always being “on.”
“It’s a high-stress environment. Every day I’d spend 12 to 14 hours in and around the office. It wouldn’t always look like “work” as I imagined it growing up. Co-workers and I dressed in casual clothes instead of suits, and we’d regularly have impromptu happy hours at our desks or go to nearby restaurants at the end of the day,” says Jack. “While this was all fun, the social pressures of being at work still existed. Eventually, it starts to take a mental toll.”
There’s a name for this mental toll; decision fatigue, which leads even the most sensible people to be short-tempered, dress inauthentically and generally feel exhausted. As social psychologist Roy F. Baumeister says, “good decision making is not a trait of the person… it’s a state that fluctuates”.
We make thousands of big and small decisions every day, and the first big one is, “what to wear?” Whether we realize it or not, our choice of clothes has physical and mental consequences. To manage decision fatigue, people either subconsciously or consciously develop personal uniforms. For instance, Steve Jobs iconically wore black turtlenecks with blue jeans and Mark Zuckerberg consistently wears grey t-shirts.
“When we started developing our own personal uniforms, we were challenged by our existing wardrobe. Whether it was attributed to synthetic materials trapping odor, cheap clothes falling apart, or just feeling uncomfortable, we quickly realized that most of the clothes in our closet weren’t built for repeat wear,” says Jack. “So, we started Oliver Charles to create the perfect garment for the modern personal uniform.”
Over the last year, Jack and Slater spent months researching materials, like khullu (“coo-loo”), a super fiber that’s more thermoregulating than lambswool and cashmere and world-renowned for its antimicrobial properties.
“Using khullu and 3D-knitting technology, we knew we could create the go-to item for a personal uniform – a durable sweater for any occasion that looks as good as it feels,” says Slater.
On September 17th, Oliver Charles is launching its signature khullu sweater on Indiegogo. The first 50 backers of the project will get 40% off the retail price. You can sign up here for a text alert when they launch.