Activism, Fashion, Hot topics, Sustainability

Want To Be More Sustainable When It Comes To Fashion? Let’s Normalize Outfit Repeating

normalize outfit repeatingThis article was written by The Zillennial Zine’s fall editorial intern Lauren Sanchez. Find her on Instagram at @lauren.sanchezz. If you would like to share an article with The Zillennial, send us an email at

Since when did wearing the same clothes and repeating outfits become such a bad thing? While we can’t pinpoint the exact date and time when the stigma surrounding outfit repeating came from, discourse amongst social media platforms has taken fashion and outfit inspiration to a whole new level. The popularity of the “outfit of the day” videos on social media combined with $1000-plus hauls of new clothing, has led people to pay more attention to what others wear. And because of that, people are more influenced to spend money to obtain the same tops, pants and accessories to add to their wardrobe even if they have a full closet.

While there is nothing wrong with wanting to buy new clothes or participating in retail therapy (trust me, I’m guilty of this!), fashion trends come and go so quickly that by the time you find a shirt that is in style, it goes out with haste. Topics like fast fashion and overconsumption have also been skyrocketing in the fashion world and contributing to the stigmatization of outfit repeating and how staying in trend is a better option than being a fashion outcast.

But why is there a stigma around outfit repeating anyway? Let’s dive into how this stigma has manifested itself in mainstream fashion and why it is TOTALLY okay to wear the same outfit more than once.

The Effects Of Fast Fashion And Overconsumption On Fashion

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According to, fast fashion clothing sales have doubled from 100 to 200 billion units a year. However, the average number of times an item is worn decreased by 36% and continues to decline. People are spending more money on clothing and less time wearing an item. In a Business of Fashion report in 2019, research has shown that one in three young women consider a garment worn once or twice to be “old” and one in seven consider it to be a “fashion crime” to be photographed in the same outfit twice. 

With this toxic mindset surrounding image and fashion, people have been buying clothes at increasing rates. However, the process and production of making such clothing for people to buy have also increased global greenhouse gas emissions. The industry alone releases 1.2 billion tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere and releases 10% of the worldwide greenhouse gas emissions annually, becoming the third-largest polluter, according to the World Economic Forum.

In the fashion industry, customers are enticed to buy affordable, on-trend clothing. Because of overproduction, low-quality textiles and low recycling rates, the fast fashion industry has become an environmentally problematic industry. And when we participate in short-term trends, label things that were once fashionable “cheugy” and don’t continue to wear the items we bought, we are actively harming the environment by not being smart with our fashion choices. Especially on apps like TikTok, Pinterest and Instagram, it makes us incredibly susceptible to advertisements on new clothing items or releases that we “must” have, even if we recognize that they are not necessities for our wardrobe.

Focus On Building A Capsule Wardrobe With What You Have Already

For those who might not be familiar with the phrase “capsule wardrobe”, it’s meant to describe a wardrobe that is interchangeable and timeless with multiple pieces that can be used to create endless outfit combinations.

In building a capsule wardrobe, not only are you saving money by not buying clothes that might go out of style in the next month, but you are actively making a more eco-friendly and sustainable decision when it comes to fashion! Also, in creating a capsule wardrobe, you can finally declutter and tidy up your closet from the stuff you don’t wear to the clothes you simply can’t part without.

Doing an audit of your current wardrobe will definitely help at first. Looking at the clothes, shoes and accessories that you know fit and know how to style will help you plan out outfits in the future. And for whatever no longer fits or you simply don’t like anymore, you can donate to thrift stores and/or clothing drives to keep the sustainability trend going.

A capsule wardrobe can have as many or as few clothing items as you like but generally revolves around 30-50 pieces. Some basic clothing essentials to include that will never go out of style are neutral tees, black pants, one to two pairs of jeans, a cardigan or jacket for layering, a fancy/nicer looking top or dress, a pair of boots and sneakers. And if you happen to be missing a few items to create your staple style, don’t be afraid to shop second-hand at thrift stores (another great way to be environmentally conscious!) and/or ask your friends to closet swap some items with you. Thinking sustainably when it comes to fashion is always the way to go and encouraging others to do the same is one step closer to normalizing outfit repeating and helping the environment.

Normalize Outfit Repeating, Period!

Outfit repeating with the clothes you already have in your closet is one of the best ways to be eco-friendly and contribute to environmental solutions. And while shopping for new clothes may be fun and exciting, shopping with good intentions and only for the items you know you will wear for the months and years to come will be better in the long run.

Even celebrities are taking part in normalizing outfit repeating! For example, singer-songwriter Sabrina Carpenter has been wearing the same outfits throughout her “emails I can’t send” tour and many have praised her for reusing the outfits. And this video of Conan Gray calling out the people who make fun of him for wearing the same shirt more than once goes to show that what people wear is none of our business!

Outfit repeating should never be stigmatized and the fact that people shame others for it is incredibly weird. Wear whatever makes you feel comfortable and helps make you look your absolute best – you do not have to cave into the trends or society to be stylish! It’s time to start normalizing outfit repeating and wearing them with pride – and in doing so, you’re making a difference for the planet.

Should we normalize outfit repeating? What ways/tips do you have for others to live a more sustainable fashion lifestyle? Let us know in the comments below!

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