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I wore the same outfit twice and nothing happened 


Written by Sara Leeds

Picture this: You’re walking through a crowded high school hallway, headed to your locker before class starts. Everyone’s smiling at you, and you wave right back. So fetch. But slowly you get this inkling that they’re staring at you a little too long. And why does everyone keep checking their phones and laughing? Finally, your best friend pulls you by the arm into the bathroom. “Um, did you really post a picture wearing the same outfit as last week?!” 

You shoot up out of bed in a cold sweat. Phew, it was just a bad dream.

Perhaps this example waxes dramatic, but if you’re picking up what I’m putting down you’ll agree that fearing the “Outfit Repeat” is as preposterous as my story.  

The reality is much of the fashion industry is thriving on this fear. There’s a narrative that once an outfit is worn, especially for “the gram”, it’s faux pas to be seen in it again. The reason this mindset is so problematic is simply our global climate emergency. We have a fashion waste problem [64% of the 34 billion garments produced each year end up in landfill] that grows with our desire to wear and not repeat.

Branded social media culture has perpetuated this narrative. New collections are constantly launched with thousands of SKU’s. As Zara climbed the fast fashion ranks twenty years ago, they were seen as revolutionary for offering hundreds of new items a week. Today, Asos adds as many as 7,000. The most viewed haul video on Youtube has nearly 40 million hits.

This narrative assures you that your fear of outfit repeating won’t even dent your wallet. Those who churn the most product do it at bottom feeder prices. Sidebar – this is not a fast fashion shaming article. Shopping sustainably is often a privilege. Repeating outfits and lessening our rate of consumption is accessible to all of us.

You’re about to be a very fabulous outfit repeater in five very easy steps:

Step 1: Find your favorites in what you already own and get in the habit of wearing them in different ways.

Fun fact: it takes just 21 days to form a habit. Bhavini Patel (@bhavpat) who dedicates her styling to exclusively thrifted looks, likens the practice to art masterpieces. “If putting a certain garment on your body makes you feel limitless, why wouldn’t you want to wear that confidence again and again? Van Gogh’s “Starry Night” is still a work of art even if it’s been seen by hundreds of millions of spectators’ eyes.”

Step 2: Rent or borrow the items you’ll likely wear once, like special occasion pieces or a style that’s more adventurous than your go-to’s.

Step 3: Shift where you get your influence.
Yes, we love to see what Kylie wore to Delilah last night. But normalize Jane Fonda, Tiffany Haddish and Kate Moss wearing incredible outfits again and again. Heidi Kaluza (@the_rogue_essentials) distilled it perfectly, “surround yourself with content, media and messaging that celebrates outfit repeating and critically examines that current state of the fashion industry. True style lives outside of the lens of consumption.”

Step 4: Shop for items that can be worn multiple ways.
From the most essential white tee to Simonett’s endlessly versatile Nanu top, a quick search on Pinterest or Instagram will inspire the ways you can re-wear any piece.

Step 5: Be a trendsetter. 
If you’re posting outfits on the reg for the clout, there’s no greater clout than for being a trendsetter. Outfit repeating is a trend that’s popping off. Get in on the ground floor and be remembered for it.

Sara Anne Leeds is the Founder of Rhymes With Orange – helping people get shit out of their closet sustainably and tell stories for small, sustainable brands. You can find her @sherhymeswithorange and shoprhymeswithorange.com.

Sources: “Why are haul videos so popular on YouTube?” – Bite the Gram; Fashion Waste Industry Statistics – Edge Expo; “Pretty Little Thing, Shein, ASOS and The Rise of Fast Fashion” – The Atlantic


                                                                                                                               

      
                                     
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