Minimalism in action.
For some reason, there is a negative stigma in our society about repeating outfits. No one seems to know where it comes from, or how long it has been around for, but I distinctly remember growing up watching Lizzie McGuire, and seeing Kate call Lizzie an “outfit repeater” in front of the whole class — the ultimate insult.
That was back in the 2000s. Today, the stigma seems even worse. Social media means we are seen more often by more people, and the images we post online remain there for a long time — so it is much more obvious when we repeat an outfit.
But why is it a bad thing? I understand it as a matter of cleanliness; but unless you are a significantly sweaty person or are rolling around in mud, most items are re-wearable without needing a wash. It is also considered a matter of originality. You might get a reputation of being lazy or not creative, but if it’s an outfit you like and that looks great on you, why not go for it again?
I think it is important to destigmatize outfit repeating for the sake of people who own some well-loved pieces that they want to keep wearing. But even more importantly, we can no longer afford to be lavish with our clothing choices.
According to various legitimate sources across the internet (this magazine included), fashion has a significant negative environmental impact. In terms of textile waste, one American will throw away 81 pounds of clothing every year on average. Since our clothes are mostly made of synthetic materials such as polyester and rayon, they emit toxic chemicals and greenhouse gases as they decompose in landfills. So throwing away your clothes is really harmful to the environment!
Donating your clothes is generally a good alternative. But what most people don’t realize is that only a small percentage of the clothes they donate gets sold in thrift shops. The amount of clothing donated to big chains like Goodwill is simply too much for them to keep in inventory, so it might get shipped off to less developed countries — hurting their local apparel industry.
In an attempt to work around these depressing realizations, and to demonstrate that you can make your wardrobe work for you without constantly having “closet cleanouts” and buying new clothes, I decided to wear one turtleneck for a whole (school) week!
I had zero comments about the fact that I hadn’t changed my shirt all week, and I didn’t feel gross about it either. I actually enjoyed the challenge of styling a single piece.
The fact of the matter is, most people will not remember that you’ve worn the same outfit before. A lot of the time, I can’t even remember what I wore yesterday. Wearing your clothing to its fullest extent not only gets you the most out of a loved piece, but it also reduces your consumption and waste. Sustainability is stylish, so get on board.
Images courtesy of Tumblr, Gizmodo and Diana Camacho.