Repeating Outfits is Not A Crime

A Tribute to Outfit Repeaters (Who Are Actually Doing Fashion Right)


April 27, 2018
Read Time: 6 minutes

Because outfit repeating is neither a crime nor something to be ashamed of



Several lessons can be learned from the subtle mom-shaming incident involving Filipino actress Iya Villania and her son Primo. After posting a photo on her Instagram in March announcing the coming of baby #2, Villania was asked this question by a random stranger on the internet: “Why is he (Primo) always wearing the same clothes? persevering face emoji


Villania, an all-around awesome, no-frills kind of woman, wonderfully approached this with a sense of humor. “As long as those clothes are washed and clean, I don’t see what the problem would be. This is a funny concern. Kids grow out of their clothes fast so I like to keep it basic,” she quipped. “If you want to buy him clothes then, by all means, go ahead. face with tears of joy emoji

When it comes to social media, judgment cloaked in faux concern and then packaged as an innocent question isn’t a novel concept, but this particular incident is telling. One obvious takeaway is that friend, foe or stranger on the internet, people tend to give a damn about things they have no business fussing over. Another is that scrutiny over a ridiculous “crime of fashion” such as outfit repeating is alive and well. Lastly, there’s the fact that even children, apparently, are not exempt from this kind of judgment.


The stunt pulled by said stranger on the internet would baffle any level-headed person. It’s mystifying how this line of thinking—that wearing the same set of clothes reflects badly on one’s upkeep—could even exist. The washing machine is a mainstream contraption, isn’t it? Everyone knows clothes are meant to be laundered and worn again, right? Yet as individuals who get dressed up each morning, we ourselves are privy to the negative connotation of repeating an outfit. We go through the motions all the time: “Wait, how long ago did I last wear this? I need to space this out, so people don’t notice,” “was I with this same group of people when I wore this the last time?” or “oh no, but I already posted this on my Instagram.”


Repeating outfits is basic (the good kind), practical and smart. Why is it perceived, then, as a poor means of representing oneself? Well, we have societal pressures to thank for that; it’s the subconscious need to keep up appearances. And these pressures are at an all-time high.


We are hounded on the daily by the impression that keeping up appearances is everything. Through Instagram tiles, we are shown perfect lives of jet-setting, super happy, super fashionable people who seem to have an endless supply of trendy clothing. Even ordinary people have become extra mindful of things like “personal branding.” Having an aesthetic is everything. Putting together different looks every time is a thrill. This has become the new normal.


Behind closed doors, of course, there’s the reality: brands loaning clothes to personalities, celebrities being taken care of by their own stylists, Instagram stars being sent items by brands and millennials going broke trying to keep up with certain lifestyles. But who cares about what’s real when perception is reality?


It’s high time we stop thoughts like these in their tracks and not only go back to basics but celebrate them. Here, we make a case for outfit repeating, proving that those who do commit this fake fashion crime are actually doing fashion right.



Outfit repeating means not giving a fuck.

The pressure to conform? No, thank you. You need not scurry to find your unique sense of style in order to hop aboard the individualism train. In this day and age of obsessing with staying on top of trends, repeating outfits is, in itself, a way of marching to the beat of your own drum. If an outfit is comfortable, makes you happy and makes you feel great, wear it, wash it, wear it again…and again.


Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, in the same Luisa Spagnoli skirt suit in 2011, 2014 and 2017. Photos Getty / Chris Jackson, Joseph Johnson, WPA Pool



Outfit repeating is about buying less but buying better.

Quality over quantity—always. When you shift your attention to “the what” from the “how many,” your attitude towards shopping changes drastically. Instead of merely accumulating, you begin investing.

via Wardrobe NYC



Outfit repeating paves the way for a signature look.

In beauty, there’s Ariana Grande’s high ponytail. In fashion, there’s Alexander Wang’s all-black outfits. In tech, there’s Steve Jobs’ black turtleneck, blue jeans and New Balance sneaker combo. A signature look, of course, is derived from being consistent. Enter: outfit repeating.


Alexander Fall 2017 ad campaign



Outfit repeating isn’t a radical way to boycott fast fashion, but it’s a start.

When you make do with what you already have, you eliminate the need to buy—and keep buying—from brands that negatively impact the environment.


via on Instagram



Outfit repeating goes hand in hand with making smart fashion investments.

A little black dress, a white dress shirt, a plain white tee, a straight-cut blazer, blue denim trousers, an A-line skirt, a black leather handbag, a flat boot, an everyday flat shoe and a black pump heel: the 10-piece wardrobe from which dozens of looks can be created.


MANGO Black Shift Dress, P1,995

ZALORA Essential White V-Neck Tee, P649

UNDO CLOTHING Francine Blazer, P2,495

DOROTHY PERKINS Ivory Collarless Shirt, P1,595

ALDO Kaye Flats, P2,695

CIGNAL Eloise A-line Skirt, P1,695


COTTON ON High Rise 90S Stretch Jeans, P1,599

KASHIECA Tie-Waist Tapered Trousers, P798



Outfit repeating trains you to think long-term.

How do you get the most out of each outfit? By wearing it more than once, of course. Unfortunately, most women who flaunt a memorable, statement-making outfit wear it once and then file it away into their wardrobe (as if making it a point to forget it). Classics can make just as big a fashion statement. Plus, you get more bang for your buck.



Outfit repeating lets your styling abilities shine.

Foundations that are simple allow you to get creative with accessorizing, changing up hair and makeup and switching things up with your shoe choices.


Keira Knightley at the Finch & Partners’ Pre BAFTA Party in 2008 via Yahoo! Style


Keira Knightley before getting hitched to James Righton in May 2013 via British Vogue


Keira Knightley at the 2013 SeriousFun London Gala. Photo Stuart C. Wilson/ Getty Images Europe



Outfit repeating, in a way, is a test of confidence.

Wear the clothes; don’t let the clothes wear you. The same principle follows when bumping into someone wearing the exact same thing. Don’t shrivel up projecting the image that you’d rather be invisible. Stand tall, mind your posture, have fun. Sometimes confidence makes all the difference.


Rita Moreno wears her 1962 Oscars dress to the 2018 Academy Awards. Photo Bettman/Getty Images, Frazer Harrison



Outfit repeating is what successful people do. (No, really.)

There’s a science to this: repeating outfits rids people of decision-making fatigue and simplifies morning routines. Barack and Michelle Obama, Mark Zuckerberg and Arianna Huffington are just some of the successful folks who firmly believe in this.


Michelle Obama in Prabal Gurung Spring 2010 via Fab Magazine


Besides, recycling never looked so good.



Art Alexandra Lara

Notify of
1 Comment
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments


Subscribe to our Newsletter

Don't miss a thing

Stay up to date to the latest news and articles.