‘I have NOTHING to wear’
We are all obsessed with the idea of discarding what we’ve already got in our wardrobe under the pretense of ‘having nothing to wear’, and buying a new item every time we attend an event. Let’s be honest, Christmas and NYE and all the festive celebrations that go alongside them are seen as a perfect excuse for splashing the cash on various new glittery ensembles. Wanting something new for a party is all well and good, but be honest, when considering whether to buy an item or not the majority of us aren’t thinking about how many wears we’ll get out of it – both over the festive period and the years to come! Party outfits especially are tied up with the mentality of one or maybe two wears before it’s decided that the outfit has lost its novelty and is shunned to the back of the wardrobe. Research carried out by AX Paris showed that 72% of women will get one wear out of a dress bought for a social occasion and 1/3 would even cancel a night out if they felt like they had nothing to wear.
Where has this irrational fear of wearing the same thing twice come from?
My theory is that it stems back to ideas surrounding the importance of dress for both men and women in the public eye. For a long time the clothes that we adorn ourselves with have been tied up with wealth and prestige. Social occasions like parties have always been an important opportunity to show off our ability to acquire the latest fashions, show that we own more than one expensive outfit and as a result give the ‘right’ impression of ourselves to others.
This idea seems to have been accelerated by celebrity culture and their relationship with mass-media photography and paparazzi. No matter what the event, the focus is always on the outfits of the attendees. Celebrities are also expected to make a statement, making their clothing choices more memorable. Anyone in the public eye who dares to be seen in the same outfit twice gets called out and shamed in blogs and magazines across the western world. This then influences the masses and as a result so many of us are made to feel that we also have to follow the ‘only wear it once’ rule. Plus, with social media now documenting our every move, we are all constantly in the public eye and photographic evidence of all our outfit choices is shown through a serious of photos on our various social media accounts.
Marketing also plays on our inherent self-consciousness and through fashion advertising and magazine rhetoric we are all assured that we will feel more confident in new clothing. This is crazy when Bernardo’s discovered that at least 33% of women consider clothes ‘old’ after wearing them fewer than three times.
They also found that the average woman typically spends £64 per month – or £768 per year – on clothes and most of these are left languishing in wardrobes unworn. Seeing this all added up makes the whole thing seem even more ridiculous. The whole pressure to be seen in something new and deciding last minute that you don’t like the look of anything in your wardrobe often results in panic buying options then changing your mind and wearing an item you’re not 100% on, or the item being unworn but losing the receipt and therefore not being able to return. Also, buying an item with a plan only to wear it once means that often we are less likely to invest in the item and therefore are more likely to compromise on quality and ethics. The item loses value to us which fuels the throwaway attitude that has such terrible affects on the environment.
We can be seen in the same thing twice!
We have to keep remembering that clothing, no matter how cheap, has value. The carbon footprint left by the mass production needed to fuel this mentality is staggering. Real people, working in factories often in awful conditions, are physically creating these items that we treat with such disregard. Plus, we are all personally wasting so much of our money on clothing!
But what’s the point in it all? In the end, the majority of the world would not judge someone else for re-wearing a previous item or even a whole outfit, especially if that it’s one that they look really great in.
Showing that you’ve thought about your outfits and invested in pieces that you love and really represent who you are should be what is sought after! Investing in an item that you have fallen in love with and will last means that you are much more likely to attach value to the item. The end result is that you will feel great wearing it. This is the same result as finding clothing that really suits you instead buying something on a whim which you may change your mind about completely the next time you go to wear it.
If you really are conscious about re-wearing, remember that clothing can be styled completely differently using accessories, or an item can be transformed through different outfit combinations or up-cycling to the point where nobody would ever notice it had been worn before. Or, like many celebrities such as Keira Knightley, you can stick two fingers up to this ridiculous taboo and wear something you love as many times as you want to!
When purchasing a new item, consider whether you will get at least #30wears out of it. Spend your heard earned money on transitional items that you can dress up or down, rather than a dress you’ll wear once, probably in a drunken blur, that will never get an outing again. Also, don’t forget to invest in quality not quantity and choose more consciously made items where you can because it will be worth it both for you, the people who made it and for the environment!
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