On turtlenecks, focus, and minimalism

Vanessa Friedman, writing for the New York Times, Why Issey Miyake Was Steve Jobs’s Favorite Designer:

Even more than his Levi’s 501s and New Balance shoes, the turtleneck became synonymous with Mr. Jobs’s particular blend of genius and his focus: the way he settled on a uniform to reduce the number of decisions he had to make in the mornings, the better to focus on his work. It was an approach to dress later adopted by adherents including Mark Zuckerberg and Barack Obama. Also his ability to blend soft-corner elegance and utility in not just his own style but the style of his products.

I have always been fascinated by this minimalist aspect of Steve Jobs’ life.

We get to read and learn a lot about him as the genius Apple leader, from the iPod in the fish tank anecdotes to free lunches with Scott Forstall, and I religiously watch a video featuring one of his inspired speeches every now and then, including this very quotable answer about product design.

But his personal side, where we can somehow guess the way he thought about things, what he liked as a person, seem even more interesting to me, like this famous picture of his living room, featuring only a lamp and a stereo.

Those who have known me for a while already know that I like minimalism, as in a “better way to focus” way. At some point in my life, when I lived in Paris, all the furniture I owned was a mattress and a clothes rack. Not because I couldn’t afford a chair, a desk, a bed, or a nightstand, but because I liked the idea of owning the least amount of things: it basically meant that moving in to a new place required a simple Uber ride.

Regarding my wardrobe, even today, I try to limit the number of choices available to me. The smallest the number of brands from which I buy clothes, the better. And if you are not a new reader of this blog, you already know that, in the same approach, I try to uninstall most of the apps of my device to better focus on what matters the most to me and find a definitive balance; my own black turtleneck of sorts.