In defence of being an outfit repeater
50 shades of black please
The words, “Lizzie Mcguire you are an outfit repeater” were drilled into my teenage brain when my best friend and I discussed it after watching the film (not for the first time).
Lizzie is shamed at her graduation for wearing the same (“powder-blue-puffy-sleeved-it’s-kind-of-a-peasant-dress-but-it-might-just-be-a-baggy-disaster-of-questionable-fibre-content”) dress that she wore to the Spring Ball. Why is it so bad to be an outfit repeater we wondered? Surely it’s impossible to always wear something new based on so many factors: money, storage, logistics, and time for starters.
The impression that social media – especially Instagram – give is that people have an endless supply of clothes. The fashion crowd are pictured in constantly changing outfits: four in a day is really not uncommon. The schedule for many at Fashion Week is essentially: turn up, stop traffic (literally), get photographed, stay for a ten-minute show, and then leave and change into something more confortable.
Whereas in reality, fashion bloggers and vloggers are known for putting on the attention-grabbing outfit just to take photos, and then slipping back into their favourite pair of distressed Levi’s and Converses and continuing with their day. Fashion Weeks too, are essentially a staged illusion of stylists, borrowed clothes from designers and thousands of pictures taken in a ten-minute walk between shows for maximum exposure. Even at Vogue, while interning this summer, I expected to see Miu Miu carved heels or thigh-high Aquazurra’s strutting down the corridors, but in reality the majority of people who worked there wore flats. I saw more flatforms, relaxed sandals or trainers than I saw stilettos.
It seems that now being an outfit repeater, or favouring the everyday over the elevated, is becoming more acceptable. Now, wearing the same outfit over and over is not a cardinal sin, but a sign of consistency.
It took me a long time to accept that it was okay to not dress diversely, with a different outfit 24/7/365. At sixth-form, the sudden transition from a uniform I despised wearing for five years to my own clothes actually came as an unwelcome shock. I used to spend hours and make painstaking effort choosing out outfits for the week ahead, just so I wouldn’t repeat anything in a week. This teenage self could not have been more insanely jealous of Cher’s online outfit co-ordinator in Clueless that matched outfits for her every morning to save her the time.
I’m not saying that everyone should stop experimenting with what they wear, buying new clothes or changing their style as and when they feel like it, but that we shouldn’t shame those who feel comfortable in one particular cut of jeans and choose to wear said cut every day.
I know, for example, the areas of my wardrobe that I love experimenting with. There’s so much fun to be had with shoes (I probably have a pair in every colour, and definitely some that are multi-coloured), and coats – you can read about my sad search for 2016’s one here. And, wardrobe aside, if you are restless or bored change your hair colour and you will feel like a new person.
Experimentation aside, I know that for the main basis of my outfit, I rarely stray far from a uniform of black. And I am not ashamed at all: it makes getting dressed in the morning incredibly easy, and washing even easier (none of those pale pink accidental washing mix-ups ever happen to me).
I own four pairs of the same trousers – a friend joked I had got them “tattooed on” – three of the same dress in different colours, and so many turtleneck tops in different prints I couldn’t count, and wouldn’t want to. Occasionally if I’m feeling particularly crazy I’ll add some colour, and if I’m being adventurous I’ll wear a black dress instead of black trousers. It’s that simple.
So basically, don’t worry if anyone says to you that you “always” wear something. If you feel great in it, and you want to wear it, do so until you’re so sick of it you never want to see it again, or it falls apart – whichever happens first.
Being an outfit repeater is a good thing. It means you know yourself well, or at least you are freeing up time for other things.
Even if that’s shopping for yet another item of black clothing.