06/10/2016
So sue me.

Words by

Anastasia McInerney

You have the perfect outfit planned, curated, purchased and ready to wear. You know which earrings will match, which shoes will look perfect, and exactly how you’re going to wear your hair. 

You know all this, because you’ve worn this exact same outfit before. Last week, in fact.

You’re outfit repeating, but last week’s bday bash was with an entirely different friendship group, so there’s no real need to curate another look. You’ve even saved on washing by spritzing on a little extra perfume and running out the door. Y’know, water restrictions and all that.

What a time to be alive.  

Alas, I speak of a time I never lived through. Growing up in the digital age, I haven’t experienced the joy of being able to repeat an outfit without the inner shame of having committed a fashion crime of the greatest degree. 

Nowadays, within minutes of putting on an outfit, your girlfriends have already posted it to Instagram and received countless fire and love heart eye emojis. Your best friend has seen it, your high school mate showed her sister, and the new gf of your ex has already sent a screenshot to her friends.

I hear you trying to convince yourself otherwise.

“It’s fine,” says your inner dialogue, “if no-one posts anything on Insta.”

Wrong. Don’t forget, you’re also featured on someone’s Snapchat, somebody else is live streaming to Facebook and now there’s a Polaroid on some random guy’s fridge. 

It’s a 21-Century tragedy, but instead of every character dying, all that dies is your reputation. 

I know, I know. I hear your inner dialogue again. 

“No one *actually* cares that much.”

So why has it been instilled in us that society does?

Looking at the situation logically, repeating an outfit is the most rational thing to do. You purchase a garment that you love and you wear it. It’s not a throw-away-after-one-use type deal. We’re talking clothes, not condoms. 

Problem is, outfit repeating also doesn’t feed into the idea of mass consumerism. You know, the idea ingrained in us that you must have the most recent version of everything, be it an iPhone 7 or the new Yeezy drop. 

Shopping vintage still has an enduring appeal, but only because you’re doing just that. Shopping. You’re still feeding your hunger for the new.

Same goes for dress rental. Despite being a more sustainable alternative (both financially and environmentally), the rent-a-dress culture is only bolstering the wear-once trend. 

Sure, you’ll look great in the 205 selfies you took. But you’re buying into a market that feeds off the underprivileged costumer and starves the designer, and I think that’s worse than wearing a dress 10 times over. 

Instead, save up your cash and choose pieces that you can outfit repeat ’til the grandkids are circling your feet. 

First up, you’ll avoid the trap of trend-driven impulse purchases (if we ignore @baddiewinkle for just a moment). You knew you were never going to wear those thigh high boots, but you bought them anyway, didn’t you?

From an ethical standpoint, the benefits are obvious. Outfit repeating is clearly a more sustainable option. Sadly, we can’t all afford to buy ethically-produced garments that ensure fair practice at every step of the chain, but we can all wear what we already own. 

It also means that our clothes don't end up in land fill somewhere. If it’s sitting right in your wardrobe, it’s not choking some fish in the sea. 

I’m sure your dad or uncle could do with some spare rags anyway, so wear your clothes to death. A few holes, and it’s suddenly *distressed*.

So what if somebody does care if you repeat an outfit? To hell with them. They’re obviously jealous of the fact that you can wear the same killer black jeans and still get complimented on them EVERY.SINGLE.TIME. Or you can send them this meme

You might not be ending global warming by wearing the same thing over and over again, but at least you’re helping to break a trend that just isn’t doing much for the consumer. 

Save your money, the hours you waste trawling through Asos and the extra time in the morning you spend choosing an outfit. Sleep in, rock the top you wore the day before and own it. 

And hey, if you’re brave enough, post it to social media. You do you, boo boo. 

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