Wear It Twice

This I Wear | Wear It Twice

It was with great pride and great ease that I wore a silk floral dress with a beautiful deep-v back to my oldest brother’s wedding this past weekend in Brooklyn. Even though I knew this would be a day where I was photographed and that I’d have these photos for years and years to come, I didn’t shy away from wearing the same dress I’d worn the dress was to my mother’s wedding nearly a year ago (another day of photographs!). I was determined to wear the dress both because it is the most perfect dress for a Fall wedding and after I had already mentally committed to wearing the dress, I learned that it perfectly fit into the color palette. No other dress would do.

For memorable occasions, there exists a temptation to wear something new (or at least “new to you”) every time. Even during the work week, I often calculate when I last wore an outfit to decide if it’s “ok” for me to wear it to the office. An even greater fear of mine has been running into someone you so rarely see only to realize that you’re wearing the same thing they saw you last in months ago (and you wish you could tell them that you have a full closet and you’ve worn lots of outfits since!). I do think there is a very tangible social pressure to not be seen twice in the same memorable outfit.

But my point is screw that. I’m not suggesting we all wear a uniform everyday, but I do believe we are allowed to love pieces so much and resist the ideas of “more” and “new” so well that we embrace being seen in them often.

I recently heard all-around inspiring woman and White Dog Café founder Judy Wicks speaking and was surprised when she unexpectedly diverted from her advice on changing the food industry to tell the audience that we’ve got to change the fashion industry. Part of her advice was that we’ve got to wear things more than once to start changing our expectations of clothing.

I actually first had this thought when I was watching Downton Abbey a few seasons ago and realized that the characters were always wearing the same outfits. My initial reaction was embarrassment on their behalf. Then I felt indignant as if I was being deprived of more beautiful costumes to swoon over. And finally, I realized that it was likely just historically accurate, as all clothing would have been made to order and vast closets of clothes impossibly expensive even for a wealthy family. I wondered why all TV shows weren’t similarly repeating costumes, since we do wear things more than once in real life, even if we always want our clothes to appear new.

In order to change this social stigma, I have this radical idea that celebrities should start wearing the same dress to multiple Red Carpet events. I imagine it to be like Livia Firth’s Green Carpet Challenge but taking it a step further by actually wearing such beautiful responsibly made gowns more than once to show their value.

Recognizing the value of our clothes is an essential part of the solution, yet emotion plays a significant role too. I didn’t wear my dress to two weddings just because I matched the color palette. I wore it a second time because I remembered feeling incredibly beautiful in it, despite having a broken heart at the time on the inside. The dress got me through a difficult experience. It also was such an important celebration – to celebrate my mom’s new marriage – that somehow the dress felt important enough to wear for my brother’s wedding too. It had already proven it could hold up on a big day. Finally, I felt silly hiding such a beautiful dress in my closet when it was meant to be worn!

Wearing the dress for the second time meant I had to let go of worries that people would remember the dress but it also gave me the opportunity to create new memories in it. I know it won’t be the last time I wear it for a very special occasion either.

Join the movement! Tweet @ThisIWear or comment below to tell your story of wearing a memorable outfit twice. Or better yet, tag your photos with #WearItTwice to show your support!

[Dress by No. 6, purchased at a charity sale. Photos were taken before my mom’s wedding in December 2013 – no photos from this weekend’s wedding yet!]

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  3. Olivia

    I spent a semester of college in Spain and I remember my host mother and her adult daughter wearing the same pieces of clothing two or three times a week. They didn’t have a huge amount of clothes and it wasn’t a faux pas to repeat outfits. I keep that in mind when I just want to reward something.

    • Rebecca

      Hi Olivia, I agree – the Europeans have something special going on. I experienced something similar during a summer homestay in Italy. I’ve never quite figured out that aspect of the culture though – it almost feels like they have more confidence in their personal style and take better care of their clothes.

  4. J.

    In Norway women wear what we call Bunad, which is our equivalent of a guy’s tux. I wear them to all formal events and women usually get theirs when they are 16 and have them all their life. (Even the royal family wear theirs to weddings) There are different bunads for different regions. If you scroll down you can see all our official varieties http://www.norskflid.no/bunad/bunader/

    Mine is this one: http://www.norskflid.no/fileshare/filarkivroot/Bunad/Troms/Tromsbunad/Troms_helfigur.jpg

    Don’t know if that’s interesting to you or not, but I’ve at least found it really nice to know that I have this dress I can wear my whole life and that I can let my daughter or grandchildren inherit some day.

    • Rebecca

      Thanks for giving us the international perspective, J – so cool! I love the sense of tradition the dress has – and it sounds like it must be really easy to get dressed for a special occasion!

  5. Kristian

    I think you make so many valid points with this! (and I’m totally guilty of counting out how many days since I wore such and such a look to work too).

    On an unrelated note, congrats to your brother and his new wife on their marriage.

    • Rebecca

      Kristian, thanks! It was a big day for my family and we’re all really excited. And I think we must all do the work outfit count, even my boyfriend does and men’s outfits look the same to me :)

  6. Molly

    “But my point is screw that.”

    This is my favorite sentence (even in context) on this whole blog. LOVE this post.

  7. Alexa

    Love this! I always wear my formal dresses multiple times. And frankly, with a wardrobe that approaches capsule wardrobe size, I often repeat everyday outfits too.

    I know of only a few high profile women who regularly re-wear their formal wear, Queen Elizabeth, Kate Middleton, Kiera Knightley. Wait, they’re all British, hmmm perhaps that’a factor?

    But seriously, if men can wear the same tux for decades, why can’t women wear the same beautiful ball gown for years to come?

    • Rebecca

      Alexa, love the comparison to men’s wardrobes – I sometimes think they can wear the same outfit two days in a row and no one will notice (though the men in my life think differently!). And yes, something is definitely happening in the UK, though I think Michelle Obama has been doing it in the US. We could learn a lot of lessons on ethical fashion from the UK right now!

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