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repeat outfits

normalize outfit repeating

normalize outfit repeating

When I work with clients or give talks, I talk a lot about the concept of repeating outfits, but I haven’t blogged about it too much (well, except for here, here, and here).

One of the biggest complaints I hear from new clients about why they need help is that they feel like they’re always wearing the same few outfits. To which I usually respond, why is that a problem? Where did we come up with this idea that we have to always be wearing something different? For every event, every work day, every school dropoff? From the impression I get from other cultures, this is mostly an American construct, which makes sense - we’re indoctrinated to think we need new stuff all the time, so we definitely need new and different outfits all the time.

mindful closet: normalize outfit repeats

I feel like this is one of the easier perspective shifts we can do which results in a vastly easier time getting dressed.

It’s simple. If you have an outfit you like, rewear it often and DGAF about who notices.

Think of how much time and energy you’ll save. As with a lot of the concepts I espouse, this is something that works for some people and not for others. If you enjoy coming up with new combinations and trying new looks and get joy out of the time you spend doing it, great, go for it! This idea is for people who are sick of worrying about it. 

I promise you, other people will not notice. If they do, SO WHAT?? So they will notice that you have worn clothes you OWN more than once. Great! Maybe it’ll get them to shift their perspective too. We need to normalize this. I posted on Instagram and Facebook recently about Arianna Huffington’s efforts to normalize repeats, which is what made me realize I hadn’t really blogged about it. She says, "Men have a competitive advantage. They don't have to waste the kind of energy we waste." 

I had a good friend tell me recently that it was always easy to find me in a crowd because I’m always wearing some version of the same outfit and usually with the same necklace. I took that as a compliment!

Do you feel comfortable wearing the same thing often? Why or why not?

(photo: Celeste Boyer)

buy better. buy less. wear more often.

buy better. buy less. wear more often.

I recently read a great article applying Michael Pollan's food advice (eat food, not too much, mostly plants) to clothes: Buy better. Buy less. Wear more often.

Most people are uncomfortable with all three of these statements, but let’s focus on the last one for now: wear more often.

I’ve noticed that people feel that if they were photographed in something and it appears on social media, they don't want to wear it again. Can you wear something again if it’s been in a photo on Facebook? Or maybe you're worried that people will notice you're wearing the same thing every week.

One of my most repeated outfits (Eileen Fisher  tank , AG  Jeans , Nine West boots  similar ). Photo by Celeste Boyer.

One of my most repeated outfits (Eileen Fisher tank, AG Jeans, Nine West boots similar). Photo by Celeste Boyer.

Here's my response to all of that: first of all, people won't notice - everyone else is as worried about theirselves and consumed with their own thoughts as you are. Second of all, if they do, their problem - they should find something more important to be concerned about. Third: if you buy more simple and neutral clothing, workhorses, it'll be less noticeable.

This last point can be really helpful. 

If you wear a pink sequined jumpsuit twice a week, that might not go unnoticed. But what if you often wear a white tee and jeans? Doubt anyone's going to notice, especially when you pair them with a scarf one day, a necklace another, under a pink cardigan the next... 

Michael Kors has been quoted as saying about women’s wardrobes: "70 percent of the clothes you own should be meat and potatoes. 30 percent should be icing and fluff—that's color, pattern, shine, and accessories. Too many women get the proportions the other way round, then can't figure out why they can't get dressed." So not only does focusing on the meat and potatoes make getting dressed easier, but it also makes it easier to repeat items often. 

Lastly,  I love the concept from Lessons from Madame Chic (whether it’s true or not) that if a French woman notices that her friend is wearing something she’s worn before, she’ll say “I have always loved that dress on you” instead of judgmentally noting the repetition.

If you take the last part of the advice seriously - wear more often - then the other two parts (buy better, buy less) become easier. If you know you’re going to wear something many times, you’ll be more comfortable spending more and searching for better quality.

P.S. I've blogged about repeating outfits often

on repeating outfits

on repeating outfits

I've gotten into a pattern of only photographing outfits when they're something new or different or I have to get more dressed up than usual. Rest assured, I am still repeating outfits most days. If you find something that works and you feel good in, why not? There are usually enough small variations so that they're not exactly the same. Here are a few recent ones.

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Not surprisingly, many repeat outfits involved striped tops, skinny jeans, and boots. Above: thrifted striped tee, thrifted Gap faux fur vest, thrifted Indigo Blue jeans, Steve Madden Intyce boots.

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Thrifted Forever 21 dress, thrifted Indigo Blue jeans, Old Navy boots (no longer available).

And here are a few more, previously photographed, but also getting repeat action.

repeat outfits.png

Have you been repeating outfits this winter? Anything that makes getting dressed easier is a positive in my book!