Why Billionaires Don’t Buy Expensive Clothes and What They Do Instead

Image: Philosophy Sage

The top billionaires and millionaires of the world could easily spend money on expensive clothes, but they don’t. You’ll never see Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, or Warren Buffett decked out in expensive brands, and for good reason. Because they recognise it as a needless expense. After all, wearing designer labels isn’t going to add to their success or enhance their work.

Gates spends so little on clothes or accessories that he famously wears a Casio watch which costs less than $100. It’s something that people like Zuckerberg and Warren Buffett also practise, as did Steve Jobs who for years wore the same New Balance trainers.

Why don’t they spend more? There are many things out there that billionaires don’t fork over because they understand that money doesn’t last forever. They know that it takes a lot of work to earn their wealth and that there are some things that just aren’t that important. This is not to say that you can’t afford luxuries, but you can perhaps make better decisions about the things you buy. Gates told the Telegraph, for example, that he preferred to spend on travel.

So what should you do? Zuckerberg goes for the basics to create a uniform look which, according to the website CNBC Make It, simplifies his life by giving him one less decision to make in the morning and allows him to focus on his work and the things that matter.

Gates goes for function and practicality, so he sticks to his Casio watches and simple looks of button-down shirts, jumpers, and chinos. He learned from Buffet that you really don’t need much to dress well and be comfortable, or to stay productive.

The key is in repetition. It’s all about continuing to wear what you already possess in different ways to get more out of your wardrobe and not waste money. A lot of billionaires and millionaires stay at the top in part because they live simple, austere lives, with clothes being a good place to make it a practice (Joaquin Phoenix wore the same suit to all the awards ceremonies in which he was nominated for Joker).

Sure, an expensive shirt is a nice luxury and can lift your spirits, but you don’t really need one to advance your career or add to your personal life. And you can find very good options at reasonable prices anyway in order to better manage your money.

In addition, since clothes don’t last forever many billionaires consider expensive options an unnecessary expense, as you’re probably going to need to replace them at some point.

Source: GQ India (19 July 2022)


Go for simple fashion and dress with less. Hear it from the fashion gurus:

  • “Buy less, choose well.” (Vivienne Westwood)
  • “Simplicity is the keynote of all true elegance.” (Coco Chanel)
  • “Elegance is elimination.” (Cristóbal Balenciaga)
  • “Before you leave the house, look in the mirror and remove one accessory.” (Coco Chanel)