Not repeating outfits.. Etiquette or Social norm?

Weddings or family functions were a rare occasion when I was younger. I hardly went for them and  my collection of “grand” clothes were pretty limited. As I wore my bright orange salwar for a wedding I remember someone commenting ” That is a beautiful dress, didn’t you wear it to X’s engagement?” It sounded accusatory to me and even if not I felt the second sentence uncalled for. And also amazed that a stranger remembered my wardrobe.

After that incident I started observing the trend and realized that many women around me never repeat clothes. Even if they do, they make sure people forget it before they wear it again. As I grew older and started mingling in social circles it only got worse in a new country. There seemed to be unsaid rules such as “Do not wear the same dress for an occasion where there are going to be the same set of people.” I am talking about having almost new clothes and yet having to buy new ones. Even I was caught up in this trend for a brief while before I realized it absolutely adds no value and just makes my wallet lighter.

On the other hand it wasn’t the same for the men, most would just have a couple of ethnic wear/suits that they would sport all the time and nobody seemed to care. You can ask me why I care, people have the money and so they fill their wardrobe. I care because it creates an unwanted peer pressure among adults and a stupid measure to judge people. So this is for those confused souls who probably cannot afford and/or do not want to waste money on a new dress each time they get an invitation. So..


What it is to repeat clothes?

  1. Socially responsible: There is absolutely nothing wrong in repetition. Etiquette calls for wearing appropriate clothes for an occasion which means if it is a black tie , you wear a black tie and if you don’t have one you buy one and if you have one, you wear that and go. So, you are being socially responsible by not falling prey for senseless social pressures.
  2. Not being judgmental: If I am repeating my clothes it means I won’t judge you for who you are and you are welcome to respect me back for the same.

What it is not!

  1. Showing wealth: Sporting a the latest style or a brand new dress for each occasion shows off your wealth. That is stupid! It just shows how wasteful you are.  Even if you are rich you can put the money to a better use.
  2. Good fashion sense: Fashion sense and one-time buys do not go together too. You can be fashionable, wear elegant or classy clothes and also make sure you wear them enough times before buying new ones.
  3. Stingy: No, it is not stingy . You spend for what is needed. And that party was not one of them. Period.

What if you want to fit in and yet not be extravagant?

It is only natural to try to want to fit in because that is easier that being a “don’t care” person. So here are some tips for the same.

  1. Mix and Match: If it is a skirt , then invest on just a new top or a new jacket to be worn on top of a dress. In case of Indian wear, keep it simple like plain leggings and a grand kameez or a plain top with a bright colored shawl once and chunky jewelry the next time. Sarees could be worn with different blouses or jewelry for different occasions.
  2. Exchange/borrow: If you have a mom, sister or a friend who thinks the same then exchange clothes and just invest on altering or stitching what is needed.
  3. Try a hobby: if you are the creative kind then transform a plain dress to an embroidered or dyed one for another occasion 🙂 Or give it to a friend who does that.
  4. Sell, buy or rent: You now find so many services where you can sell used clothes and buy used ones too. So if you strongly feel uncomfortable repeating then sell your old (almost new) dress and try buying a used one for around the same price. You can even rent clothes nowadays. So, that’s another option.

What if you don’t want to fit in?

Don’t! Again, if people comment or judge you for repetition that is their problem and not yours. Be comfortable with your wardrobe and your choices. Same goes to not repeating. If you love shopping for new outfits and like dressing up new for each occasion please go ahead , there is no judgement in that as well.

So do you agree or disagree with my thoughts? Do you agree that not repeating is becoming a trend nowadays? Let me know what you think 🙂


One thought on “Not repeating outfits.. Etiquette or Social norm?

  1. Agreed that it’s becoming a trend nowadays. I personally don’t find any bad in repetition. If I love an outfit I’ll definitely wear it again. If people are okay not wearing them again, it’s fine by me. I just think it’s kind of a waste.


    Liked by 1 person

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