May 16th, 2011
Celebrity Style, Fashion Discussion
Tag, You’re it! Are Fashion and Facebook Making us Broke?
By Claire

Hey!
So this past weekend I attended my college friend’s graduation from medical school. It was a lovely event, so I wanted to look spring pretty.
For the occasion, I hit up Nordstrom Rack and purchased an outfit I loved: a strapless blue cheetah print dress paired with a mirrored gold Michael Kors belt. I loved it so much I ducked photographers all day. When I was finally pulled into a group shot, I complied, only if the photographer agreed not to put the picture on Facebook.
Why? I wanted to wear my outfit again!

My Ashtyn Birthday Dress, January 12th

Before the age of digital cameras and social media, women could rework and re-wear their favorite outfits without worry. Sure, your friend might remember you wore the same striped tunic to both a picnic and a baby shower, but there was no record–no proof that you dipped back into your closet reserves.

At a Vivienne Westwood Dinner February 21st, wearing my birthday dress from January 12th.

There is absolutely zero shame in wearing the same thing twice or thrice. Michelle Obama notoriously repeats cardigans, belts, and dresses.

But we can’t deny there’s a slight social stigma or shame associated with the dreaded outfit repeat. For one, we’re influenced by celebrity culture, where our favorite stars are almost never spotted repeating. And if they do….the horror.


Facebook has pulled us into this ‘constantly photographed’ trend, so perhaps we feel we have to switch things up as much as celebrities do. We might buy and buy–or opt for www.renttherunway–to make sure our outfits seem fresh.
But why bother?
Can’t we just realize that repeating outfits is simply more realistic–both socially and financially?
Thx to Elaine, Stephanie, and Namik!

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62 comments

62 Responses to “Tag, You’re it! Are Fashion and Facebook Making us Broke?”

  1. Zeinabou says:

    I don’t necessarily think that we can’t repeat things. If something is your favorite why wouldn’t you wanna wear it again? Even if I had the largest closet in the world , If something works it works. There is no shame in repeating something if it looks great! There are always key pieces in one’s closet that are meant to be repeated. That’s what I be believe.

  2. Avantgarde says:

    Well if you use the same skirt (like Dawn did) it’s not that bad. I mean, you can’t wear every single day of the year different close. You want to wear that particular piece a few more times, right?

    And Aretha, how dare you to repeat that whole look? I mean WOOOW, you look like a freaking wale who is lost at a red carpet event. And no one in this world should repeat a red carpet outfit. You just can’t. Only daily life/casual clothes

  3. Avantgarde says:

    Clothes*

  4. caribbelle says:

    I had no idea this had trickled down into a facebook photo stigma. Unless I’m a celebrity and I have designers flocking to dress me for 3-5 appearances a day just for promotion I can understand wanting to switch it up.

    However, I can’t get with this. Clothes are meant to be worn and since I spend good money on my quality staples,I’m going to be repeating them often as need be. For me that’s the purpose of building a wardrobe. Maybe it’s just me. shrug

  5. Nicole says:

    Claire,

    I say do you. If I’m spending my money on something, I’m going to get my money’s worth: Point blank period!

  6. love jones says:

    shows you are fiscally responsible. as long as its not repeated the very next day, who cares! being broke is NOT flyy but having money saved while being trendy is. Most people dont notice or really even care and if so who cares! unless they are paying for your next shopping spree. Kanye’s When It All Falls Down says it all..Single black female addicted to retail and well

    [Chorus - repeat 2x (w/ Kanye ad-libs)]

    [Verse - Kanye West]
    Man I promise, I’m so self conscious
    That’s why you always see me with at least one of my watches
    Rollies and Pasha’s done drove me crazy
    I can’t even pronounce nothing, pass that versace!
    Then I spent 400 bucks on this
    Just to be like nigga you ain’t up on this!
    And I can’t even go to the grocery store
    Without some ones thats clean and a shirt with a team
    It seems we living the american dream
    But the people highest up got the lowest self esteem
    The prettiest people do the ugliest things
    For the road to riches and diamond rings
    We shine because they hate us, floss cause they degrade us
    We trying to buy back our 40 acres
    And for that paper, look how low we a’stoop
    Even if you in a Benz, you still a nigga in a coop/coupe

  7. BOOBOO says:

    1ST pic all ladies look chic and adorable! Lov the chick in the grey n black:)

    Ur right Claire!! Once some1 puts in on FB, u don’t wanna wear it again:( even if it is a revamped lik Dawn.
    Mrs. Obama makes it work! adding a belt, accessories and shoes can change it up.
    I jus wore a Bad AZZ fit similar to the post of Cassie (what to wear to a concert) to the Jeezy concert n i do not wanna wear it again. It was ALL over FB thanks to my cuzzos!!! Im sure ill wear the pieces again just not together..

  8. artsylee says:

    Uh, I can safely say that I don’t care about being photographed in the same outfit more than once. As an artist I’ve worn the same paint stained, ripped jeans at different events too many times to count. It’s about my mood on the day, convenience and availability of funds.

    I always say to the people who say it’s a shame to repeat outfits: If it’s such a big problem for you that I do it, perhaps you should make a deposit to my account. Failing that, please keep it moving, thankyouverymuch…

  9. Shar says:

    This definitely speaks to a lot of people I know…myself included. Facebook albums has become the enemy lol.

    Just this weekend as well, my friend did not want to be photographed in a dress because she had already worn it for two special occasions in the past and it of course made its way to facebook.

    Thank goodness for the un-tag feature?

  10. Kris says:

    I love fashion, but I can’t make it my priority. I have more important things to worry about.

  11. dyshaun says:

    0_o Claire this is too funny. ctfu

    I wish somebody would rememba what i wore back when! Imma be filing all kinds of “orders” LOL!

  12. I have to admit I am one of those ones that will NEVER wear the same thing the same way twice!!! I do repeat items but I try to make them look different every time. I’m also a careful thinker about what I post to FB, but I can’t stop others from posting… So I just make sure I looked good and keep it moving! Thing is I have a blog that I post my day to day styles on and I feel myself apologizing to my audience when I repeat something! Once I saw June Ambrose repeat something I took a lot of pressure off myself… Like if she can then so can I! Lol! Great post, I didn’t think other people thought as I did about this! :)

  13. zy says:

    I could really care less about being photographed in something more than once. I tend to repeat pieces of my outfits with variations to tops, pants, etc. I’ll even wear an entire outfit more than once, though most likely, never in the same week/month. it’s part of life, clothing is meant to be re-worn and since I’m not a millionaire (though even if I were, I’d still repeat things I like) and don’t have a stylist, I’ll wear what I want…when I want. lol my only issue comes when I see people wearing the same damn thing in EVERY pic (looking at Megan Good’s pics while typing this), give things a chance to rest before wearing them again.

  14. Derricka says:

    I’m surprised Meagan Good was not included in this post. She is notorious for repeats…NOTORIOUS.

  15. Gaby says:

    Why r ppl worried the American vogue editor wears the same dress all week during fashion week…French ppl buy a couple staple quality pieces & wear them over and over…I think it’s Americans need for excess…cluttering our lives. I’m personally deleting stuff in my closet that I don’t LOVE, and it’s made me dress better.

  16. T1K says:

    It happens to me, why lie? I do sometimes worry about “do I have a picture in this on FB already?”..

  17. LivvyV says:

    Why buy something if your not going to wear it more then once. I don’t believe that you can’t re-wear something. It recreating the exact same outfit over and over again that is consider shameful to some. Me I don’t care. You love it wear it, but change the shoe or the earring put on a blazer or a belt. Just change a few things can create a whole new outfit from your favorite piece. I’m not rich and even if I was I wouldn’t buy something that I can’t wear more than 4 times or more than 2 different ways.

  18. yusufswifee says:

    so glad I’m not that fabuolous…I will rewear and rewear an item. Hubby usually has to intervene. He claims that my coworkers probably place bets on my monday or friday suit…

    I do try to routinely go through my closet and give away items I haven’t worn so I won’t just be “wearing whatever is on top”. I also think if it’s a trendy item it is more noticeable.

  19. Jaz says:

    I rewear all of my clothes. I really dont have the patience to be concerned if I have been photographed in that outfit

  20. sun.kissed says:

    This topic is so relevant! A friend of mine brings up not wearing a dress because she’s already worn it and there are pics on facebook. Even though I look at her like she’s crazy, I feel her pain. I would never not wear something I want to wear because there are pics on facebook. It’s only an issue if we make it one. I think the more self-conscience person is more concerned with it than others.

  21. Anonymous says:

    This is why we buy clothes, is it not? We buy them to wear them over an over again, otherwise what would be the point of purchasing them. I get in the world of celebrity, their pictures travel around the world in “milliseconds” so they may not necessarily want to be seen twice in something. But everyday people not wearing something twice makes no sense to me. Even with celebrities, I find it refreshing to see the “human” side to them and that they may actually like a certain piece enough to wear it more than once. Also someone mentioned how the Europeans view fashion and they probably do have what some would call “investment pieces” but if you just like something to like it, then wear it many times. It’s your prerogative to do so.

  22. Anonymous says:

    Now Aretha…….ReRe……girl! I don’t know what’s scarier the outfit, with ostrich feathers or the wigs. In her case, most of what she wears needs to be “retired” ASAP!

  23. kaliente says:

    YEs ppl go broke for fashion!!!!! I’m not one of those ppl but i think ppl forget that celebs rarely pay for their clothes…they are walking billboards! i believe you should only do what your budget allows!

  24. Myssdee says:

    I can see repeating a shirt, dress, shoes, blouse, cardigan, or pants a piece at a time. But if you did the whole look (i.e. Aretha), then that is kind of laziness (I kid…lol)

    With all due respect, your clothes don’t define you. The style within your persona does. I have seen people on my Facebook repeat outfits many of times over the years. Funny how they are MORE successful than the people who don’t repeat their outfits. It kind of says that they are more driven into their careers than their fashion because its just materialistic.

    I do have the same fear of repeating an outfit that I have in my Facebook photos but hey…I am only human.

  25. FROST says:

    I will quickly repeat an outfit, styled the same way and everything because if it works and I love it, why not?

    I think if you’re too worried about what OTHER PEOPLE think of you repeating something, you’re infringing on your own money and happiness. Don’t do that! :)

  26. Gemini says:

    I don’t think there is nothing wrong Michele Obama wore the belt again but with a different outfit. Little things like that are fine nobody notices and it’s not like u wear constantly were people can identify u in that previous outfit u wore for someone’s graduation, birthday or whatever.

  27. Kapri_H says:

    I was a repeat offender on Facebook (wore the same black dress on two different occasions), and received a snarky comment from a friend. Something along the lines of “ooh, lets go shopping so we can get you a new little black dress!” *jaw drop* I do believe that a lot of people try to portray a look or lifestyle on Facebook that is an exaggeration of their reality. It’s petty, but it is taboo to be seen in the same thing on FB. I’m not a club goer, but I’ve heard it’s also taboo to wear little $10 dresses to the club. But if you’re only going to be seen in the dress ONCE, why not? It has to suck to purchase a new, pricey outfit, and you can only be photographed in it ONCE.
    But um, outside of the virtual world–I will wear the same jeans twice a week, the same dress every week. I have no shame! Maybe because I’m a stay at home mom and the only people who see me on a regular basis are my husband and child. The hostess at Ruby Tuesday won’t know I wore this Sunday! However, if I was back in the workforce, I would be cautious of how often I wore an outfit.

  28. kay says:

    Is that Tina Turner’s wig Aretha has on her hands??

  29. Nraw says:

    Celebrities get clothes for free and are able to borrow things from designers (because celebrity obsessed sheep will run out and buy it). So trying to model your life after these people is just plain stupid. It’s one thing to want to treat yourself to something new for a special occasion but, to obsess about being photographed wearing something because you want to wear it again and believing that if you get your picture taken you can’t is extra stupid. I wish woman were more secure with themselves so they would not have to be slaves to celebrity culture which is as fake as can be. ((Not every celebrity is rolling in money, they just have people who are paid to make them look like they do. Always remember that kids)) I think people who run out and buy certain things just because x celebrity was photographed wearing it are the definition of pathetic.

    Also, Facebook is running peoples lives now? Seriously? Wow.

  30. LawyerChic says:

    Everytime I say I need a new dress or outfit my mom says, “stop putting them on facebook and you wouldn’t!” Its true I know I do it myself. I hate recycling dresses I know have been on facebook, but the older I get the least I care. Unless somebody is going to buy new clothes everytime I need them I’ll repeat as much as I feel comfortable with!

    I’m still a lil iffy on recycling outfits I wore on major occasions or events, but I’ll definitely repeat pieces and not care at all!

  31. LawyerChic says:

    @ Love Jones Kanye summed that up so beautifully didn’t he??

  32. tdiggs says:

    I have no problem rewearing things…but I won’t lie. If I am going to be around the same people, I avoid wearing the same dress. I just switch it up!

  33. Brittany says:

    I know friends and family that have this mentality. But Puhleeze, I will repeat an outfit in a heartbeat. I don’t prescribe to this idea and I don’t care if I’m photographed in “repeat outfits.” Clothes are meant to be worn more than once. Its also fun to shop your closet and remix looks so you don’t feel like you are wearing the same thing repeatedly.

  34. I always wondered about a lot of bloggers who post daily looks like are they going for broke to keep up with other bloggers and not wear the same thing twice? Now I have absolutely no problem wearing something more than once. I don’t post pics of myself on my facebook so I don’t have that problem of being tagged but clothes are meant to be worn. I always rework my clothes and if I put a look together that was just looked too good I will wear the entire look again(not the same place of course) I’ll feel like hey more people have to see me in this.

  35. tasha says:

    I will forever wear my fave pieces over and over. That is why they become staples verse trendy items. I dont see social media make me broke. I am a smart shopper. Plus I hardly take pictures anyways lol

  36. terilili says:

    Ugh. Seriously? Do people really care enough to facebook stalk someone and then hold it against them that they wear the same outfit more than once? I refuse-REFUSE-to choose my outfits based on how many people might have seen me wearing them on facebook. SO ridiculous. WHO are these people who care?!? I would never judge someone for repeating an outfit (in person OR online). WHO CARES!

  37. Anim says:

    your absolutely right! sometimes I think I’m famous and people will keep tabs on what i’ve worn.

  38. lovethisblog says:

    We give social media too much power. Disarm the authority we give it (sorry to go all militant on a fashion site ;) but you get my point lol). The average person repeats outfits. I think people understand that. I don’t look at photos and say, “she wore that dress 124 days ago to another event.”

  39. dash-me says:

    I agree with those above..nothing wrong with repeating, as long as you change it up each time with accessories, different combos, etc. It’s all about being creative with what you have instead of breaking the bank to impress others.
    Dash Me is a company that allows you to exchange clothing, shoes, and accessories, within your local community. We’re based in Chicago. Check out our website –> http://dashmeexchange.com

  40. ladyshellz says:

    I agree, repeating a skirt, cardigan, or whatever else is more than ok it’s a must, especially if you’re a college girl like me. I mean i think that’s the whole point of having a good wardrobe is mixing and matching up your pieces to create a fab outfit. I personally think it’s smart and i don’t think a celeb should be punished publically for repeating hot clothes.

  41. binks says:

    I never got the rule of not repeating outfits. I mean really how vain and superficial can one be of wearing something once and never again. If I love a piece and especially if I spent good hard earn money for it you best believe I will wear it more than once. So I never got the big deal of anybody doing it. And I find it funny that a lot of people always rag on celebs for “not doing anything useful with their money” or “spending it stupidly” or “spending way to much for…” but when they do decide to be fugal and repeat something someone usually say something snarky about it so it is like you can’t win for losing. But at the end of the day do you

  42. KBS says:

    I’m not a photo-hog or FB junky or one who gives a damn what someone thinks, so this doesn’t apply to me. However, this reminds me of a story I saw in the NY times I think, where people were challenged to wear only 6 pieces of clothes for a week. Claire, I would be really interested in seeing something similar for a fashion bomb challenge. Maybe a prize to the winner.

  43. This post has some truth in it. But regardless of how times are now. One should be able to rock an outfit they rocked previously within a decent time frame. Besides how one rocked an outfit previously will be different on how you rock it on the next occasion. Why buy clothes if you cant get a few uses out of it…Hell yeah do it!!

  44. esme says:

    lol, no i do not care about this. i’m not that into facebook in the first place and i am not a celebrity. i don’t have a celebrity’s disposable income nor do i have their connections to get a constant stream of free and borrowed clothing. i spend good money on the clothes i do have and i will wear things over again and just try to style them in a different way. you have to do the best with what you have access to.

  45. dareyna says:

    Love! this article claire this is so true im sometimes hesistant to post certain pictures I take because I already have a pic up with the same blazer or something. But like you said in the article it’s more realistic for us to repeat pieces just remix them up differently. We all have our favorite pieces that we just love wearing. dope article! :)

  46. a.l. says:

    Like others have said, even if I was rich and a celebrity I wouldn’t think of wearing something only once. its ridiculous and frivolous and makes no sense to me. If I spent money on it that means i like it. If i like it that means i want to use it. its elementary my dear. I might not want to wear it in the same way every time but i will wear it over and over again. and when i grow tired of the individual piece i may make it shorter, cut the sleeves, and rework it completely until i really am tired of it.

  47. I feel like this all the time. I’m so glad you posted about this, because I was seriously wondering if people (mainly celebrities) ever have these concerns. After seeing some notable fashionistas rocking the same ensemble over again, I’m sure my game is tight. I ain’t going broke anymore. Just mix it up and tell the haters “peace”!

  48. Daisy says:

    What’s really interesting about this whole debate is how fashion experts always emphasize the “cost per wear” theory, which states that if you buy something that is good quality- read:expensive- it will last a long time and after wearing the said item often, the cost per wear will be low. However, since social media now dictates how often (some) folks will wear various items, this will propel those people to continuously spend money on clothing.

    Since I spend a lot of money on my clothes, I will definitely wear them more than once and I will post various pictures on social media sites if I believe I look hot in the photos. Like the other commenters mentioned, I believe you should jazz up each outfit, but I refuse to spend money that could go into my retirement or savings account on stuff just to impress others. I have a couple of DVF wrap dresses (the vintage ones) from 2007 that I plan on rocking this summer, and I dare someone to say something about it to me!

  49. Caramel_Mimi says:

    yaaaaay! We have the same bday! Lol…

  50. TicaPica says:

    WHAT?!! i am notorious for repeating outfits, even when i am forced to get new ones, it’s tough to let go of clothes i love! if i have a fave dress, top, pants, i will wear it to death, profess the life-changing impact it’s had on me and refuse to move on to something else until the seasons have changed or it’s all disheveled! i don’t care who documents or photo’s me in it, or even if i see somebody else wearing it looking better than i do!
    clothes are about making ME happy, not subscribing to petty societal vanity! if you see me looking happy and confident in the same outfit i wore last week and take issue with it, then the problem is with you!

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