I repeat clothes, and why you should too.

My green neoprene Zara dress gifted by my sister has gone through several reiterations, time zones and climate. It even became a dust gatherer at the Alhambra (middle).

(Somewhat) myth: Fashion people don’t repeat clothes. This is half-truth, because although there are a lot who don’t based on their never ending IG posts of one fabulous outfit after another i.e Giovanna Battaglia or Anna Dello Russo, timelines have proven otherwise. If you dig into the depths of the internet like I did for this article, you will find culprits, including the inimitable Anna Wintour wearing the same open toe Manolos custom made for her since the 1990s. So who are we to question this more than ever relevant frequent use of a garment, where going green extends to the frivolous world of fashion.

I’ve had my share of favorite outfits that I wore to shreds at every given point in my life, graduating from star closet status to lowly sleepwear. The perfect grey t-shirt that I wore with printed leggings back in the 90’s that got my classmates talking about how I was wearing the same outfit again (?!). The shrunken baby aqua blue Lacoste piqué shirt that I paired with everything (long skirts, jeans, minis) during my magazine days. I edited my closet a few months ago and took out about 60% of its contents, leaving me with items I loved to rotate and based on my #ootd posts, did I ever! From trips to events, Sundays in the suburbs and meetings, I put my beloved pieces to the test and realized that 1. In fairness, I did try to style them differently each time and 2. I would pose the same way unknowingly. Ha!

I used to have an issue about repeating outfits when we were required to wear one fierce fashion look after another, specially during fashion week. It’s both a blessing and a curse to someone working in fashion, and mind you, this was even before social media. I cannot imagine how editors deal with that issue nowadays. Now that I’m back in the industry albeit assuming other roles—telling people how to dress for what occasion for one—I am more comfortable than ever to do repeats and in fact accept it as a challenge to make a garment look new and fresh once again. (What I’m trying to wrap my head around however is embracing a uniform. I’m not quite ready to let go of my fashion moods as it’s way too much fun playing dress up).

So if you’re feeling boring sartorially and getting conscious over photos of yourself wearing the same cowl neck top, don’t fret! Do the environment and the IG fashion community a favor and get imaginative. Scour street style feeds of people you admire, look through websites of brands you resonate with, go with your gut feel. It’s way more fun and cerebral to style a piece more than once, take it with you to travels, weddings, reunions, weekends until it falls apart. By then you’ve maximised the cost per wear of that piece, and THAT is way, way cooler than buying the season’s It garment year after year.

Tips on how and which pieces to keep in rotation:

  1. Classic pieces such as black pants, chambray, white polo shirts, cotton tees. These make a good canvas for more adventurous styling via accessories or layers.
  2. Prints like stripes, gingham and florals are easy to pair with your more tame pieces.
  3. Solid colors like emerald, maroon or black with some detail go with most shades and keep it more interesting.
  4. Collect monochromatic or coordinated pieces for a cool, modern twist in dressing. You’ll get more mileage out of styling separates.
  5. Keep a variety— dresses, tops, pants and skirts so you’re never left feeling mundane.

My overlap Monki checkered pants, also from my sis, worn two ways: print on print and as coordinate, a trend I’m nuts about nowadays.

A local, inexpensive off the shoulder top (because I refuse to pay for trendy pieces) in light denim can work as a classic button down, styled with equally classic pieces.

Zara stripe pants that are comfy, roomy and quite the statement piece when worn with a sleeveless button down or a one-piece bathing suit (that helped me beat the HK heat).

My checkered Seek the Uniq dress worn the first time on our anniversary last year (left) to a recent hotel staycation (right). That was probably the 22nd time I wore it and incidentally, flipped my hair the same way.

My Uniqlo black pants that has gone to more places than I can think of and still going strong! From Baguio to Japan, same weather, different styling.

Here are some celebs caught wearing their favorites. To be honest, I love that they do it. Makes them more like you and me and not immune to fashion exhaustion.

Queen Anna in the same outfit in more than one occasion, down to the accessories. To be fair, it’s such a stunning dress why wouldn’t she?

More of the Queen sporting the same garments just styled differently every time. Spot her favorite Manolos…

Jessica Alba wearing the hot ticket sweatshirt by Philip Lim x Target collab at work and play.

(The real) Queen Rania in the exact same ensemble save for her hairstyle. Why mess with something that works?

L.C. being the practical California girl she is, even her tops are of the same cut. And red pants are a MUST HAVE in every woman’s closet.

Kim K. West doesn’t shy away from repeats. I wouldn’t either if the jumpsuit is this breezy.

Princess Kate, mother of recycling outfits, in one of my personal favorites that can also be worn separately in a myriad of ways. I’m not a fan of all her looks but the fact that she’s confident enough to do this makes her a #girlboss in my book.

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