Same Shirt, Different Day: Freudian Explanation?

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Last Thursday, I wore the same shirt to work as I had on Wednesday. This shouldn’t have happened: I’ve got ten shirts and a sophisticated rotation system. Yet there I was, a trainee lawyer at a City law firm, dressed in the same shirt two days in a row, writes TheTraineeComplex

When I find myself in a situation like this I turn to the ideas of Sigmund Freud for answers. Seeing the legal world through a Freudian lens gives me an interesting perspective on things. Slips of the tongue become significant, metaphors say more about the speaker than the subject, and life just becomes that little bit better…

One of Freud’s greatest insights is that many of our actions are unconscious, each with its own motive and meaning. Innocent explanations like forgetfulness or carelessness are inadequate. Instead, we need to think about why we really did something and what it truly meant to us.

So why had I wanted to wear the same shirt for two days?

Maybe it was a desire to rebel against the London dress code. I’d talked to a banker the night before who’d explained the strict enforcement of a dress code. It was my way of expressing my freedom and saying ‘I can wear what I want’.

Or it might have been a convoluted attempt at self-sabotage. I had an unusual amount – even for a trainee – of manual labour and photocopying to do that day: ‘I hope they’ll take pity on me and send me home.’

Perhaps, though, it was just my way of saying something else.

‘Same shirt – different day…’

TheTraineeComplex is a trainee at a top City of London law firm. His blog is here.