Why Do We Hate Repeating Outfits? Confessions of a Fashion Worrier

Whether you like to repeat outfits or wear something new every day, you shouldn’t be judged.

Updated
Fashion
4 min read
Deepika Padukone sporting the same Alice+Olivia white maxi dress on two different occasions – albeit with different hair and lipstick.

When I wrote the title for this story, I realised without humour how easily ‘worrier’ could metamorphose into ‘warrior’. Struggling with the OCD-like need to NOT repeat an outfit is a warrior’s fight and I will not have you tell me otherwise. In fact, if you’re anything like me, aka serial watcher of all things Carrie Bradshaw with an unhealthy love for fabric, I’m guessing that you too go from one Sunday brunch to another worrying about what you’re going to wear.

It’s a lot better now, but I have had mornings where I woke up, thought about the fah-bulous day I had planned and the fah-bulous outfit that would totally go with it – to, all of a sudden, stop short in panic: I’d worn the outfit before.

Worse still, I’d been photographed in it – which meant it was on Insta and everything!

Why must we have tags of being either an outfit repeater or a lazy dresser? (Photo Courtesy: YouTube screenshot)
Why must we have tags of being either an outfit repeater or a lazy dresser? (Photo Courtesy: YouTube screenshot)

The thought of repeating a particularly delicious short red dress would terrorise and simultaneously fill me with morbid shame at the fact that I’d give in to such triviality.

Why are we so ashamed to admit that we dislike repeating? Is it because people will tell you that if you don’t care much about your clothes, you’re a don’t-carish person who deserves all the friends you can get – but if you (yikes) give a damn about your style, you’re an uppity what-have-you?

Why the Tag ‘Repeat Offender’ Needs to Go

This couldn’t be further from the truth. The way I see it, it’s simply about what suits your lifestyle best. Perhaps you’re someone who likes easy fix-me-ups on the go – in which case, feel free to repeat outfits as often as is hygienic! Or perhaps you strive towards a more creative version of yourself, exhorting your brain to do better on every LBD, LWD – pantyhose, even – in which case, go forth rummaging through your closet, my friend!

Carrie Bradshaw inspired many a wardrobe scuffle. (Photo Courtesy: <a href="https://www.facebook.com/sexandthecity2/photos_stream">Facebook/<i>Sex and the City 2</i></a>)
Carrie Bradshaw inspired many a wardrobe scuffle. (Photo Courtesy: Facebook/Sex and the City 2)

My only problem with the whole style debate is that it is no longer personal. Some pea-brained up-and-comer at a tabloid once upon a time created the phrase “repeat offender”. What on earth does that even mean? Are you telling me you’d care about Kate Winslet repeating her taffeta-laced Oscar De La Renta, right after you heard her Oscar-worthy speech on feminism? (There’s a misnomer, if ever there was one).

The Duchess and her Wardrobe

Somewhere during my short-lived period of fashion terror (when every Saturday night plan was punctuated with looking through photographs of previous Saturday night plans to tick off ghosts of dresses past), I discovered Kate Middleton.

All was suddenly well with the world again. The Duchess of Cambridge is a lot of things – but when it comes to fashion mapping, she’s right up there with the chicest of the lot. And the woman repeats her outfits unabashedly! Kate has been photographed wearing the same thing on multiple occasions – in fact, she’s notorious for it; Zara, Stella McCartney, Luisa Spagnoli – you name it, she’s repeated it.

Kate Middleton photographed wearing the same outfit on two different occasions – during the Jubilee Tour in 2012 (L) and at Taronga Zoo, Australia in 2014 (R). (Photo: Reuters)
Kate Middleton photographed wearing the same outfit on two different occasions – during the Jubilee Tour in 2012 (L) and at Taronga Zoo, Australia in 2014 (R). (Photo: Reuters)

It got me thinking – if one of the world’s most watched women has no qualms with saying, “Hey, I like this skirt – I’m wearing it again,” what ground do the fashion police have to plop their judgemental asses on?

I am sure, of course, that if you sifted through the pages of style diaries, you would find many gorgeous women doing the opposite too – never repeating a hat/a cape/ a bootie, even. The point isn’t which side of the runway you’re on – the point is if you feel compelled by ANYONE other than yourself to repeat/not repeat an outfit.

Because compliance is the least fashionable thing you could do.

The Good Ol’ Mix n’ Match

For those of us who do not have a wardrobe the size of Carrie Bradshaw (seriously, how unrealistic WAS that thing?), here’s a thought: just pair ’em and mix ‘em.

Here’s how I played around with a pair of green shoes, for instance:

A pair of green shoes can be dressed up whichever way you like!
A pair of green shoes can be dressed up whichever way you like!

Personally, I like a bit of a brainteaser every morning, challenging my head to come up with newer alternatives to that precious green scarf. It gives me joy.

But then, that’s just me.

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