Picture this. You part with a small fortune on an amazing frock for an upcoming event. It serves you well on the night. The next day though, it disappears into the abyss of your closet. You only recall its existence when you receive another party invitation. But then you’re faced with the dilemma: you can’t possibly wear it again. Can you? What if someone notices? But you did drop a significant amount on it, so deep inside you want to wear it again to get your money’s worth. You probably even justified the purchase on the basis of ‘cost-per-wear’, without having actually conjured up other ways to wear it.
Photos by Karen Woo
As much as this is a vanity problem in a first world country, it is nevertheless a real issue. Having worked in the fashion industry as a buyer and boutique owner, I myself struggled with this ‘problem’. 2 years ago, you would not have seen me in the same outfit twice, let alone in the same dress! This was also aggravated by the fact that I’m a blogger who documents her ‘event dressing’. But as I’ve gotten older and wiser, I realise that there’s more to life than worrying about recycling outfits. I mean, we recycle everything else, why not outfits?
One thing I learnt over the years is that no one actually remembers what you wore at the last event. Sure, bloggers and people in the public eye face more scrutiny, but trust me on this one: most people are too self-absorbed to notice. I certainly don’t remember what my friends wore the last time we attended a wedding together. Last year I wore the same dress (heavens forbid!) to 2 events, and guess what? No one cared/remembered/noticed! Since then, my skin’s grown thicker and I’m quite comfortable ‘re-using’ outfits.
Another thing is that it’s really fun styling the same dress in many different ways. Take this brocade Karen Millen dress for example (I was sold on those cute pockets!) Worn on its own, it would shine at a cocktail event. But worn with a turtleneck underneath, it looks almost work-appropriate. I was sold on those cute pockets! You could also try a blouse or shirt for similar effect. If you want to dress it down or add some street cred, just throw over a denim or leather jacket. And while you’re at it, why not try pairing tights or skinny jeans underneath? The possibilities are endless.
So there you go, once you get over the psychological hurdle, wearing the same dress is actually quite fine. It increases your creativity, works your closet harder, and justifies your original purchase even more! See? Frugality can also be fabulous. Tell that to your fellow first-world citizen!