Repeater v. Consumer

Saturday, July 24, 2010
Normally, I don't like to post outfits that are already similar to something I've worn here. But after reading this post, it makes me wonder, why not? Why is it so bad to post repeat or similar outfits in the fashion blogging world? Why should we feel pressured to wear new [expensive] clothes all the time?
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If you didn't already know, I really don't have a lot of clothes and my mind isn't capable of creating WOW-factor outfits that you've never seen before every single time (hence, the lack of posting lately.) I am a regular girl (with too much college debt) with sometimes a too little an imagination and I do wear things over and over and over again. But why is it that we still have a need to consume? Why do we allow ourselves to become prey to the sales and the smooth talkers who make us feel guilty if we don't buy something? (Or is that just me...)
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I'm not saying it's bad to consume - it's the amount and frequency of consumption and our reliability on things that consumes us. Personally, I don't like shopping - I have to be in a certain mood and in that mindset to enjoy it. And 90% of the time, I won't (or can't) buy anything. But then I go home and look at my closet and sulk because I "need" this or that. It's a sick cycle. What are your thoughts on need versus want? on consumption? I'd love to hear what you think.
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We went garage saleing and to the movies today. (Inception was absolutely mind-blowing...and so stressful.) I wanted something cool, comfortable, and breezy. I added the scarf because of the early morning chill and the cold theater. I feel like I've over-worn these three pieces together off-blog but the belt-tying and sequin flats made it feel different to me this time.
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Wearing H&M scarf (gift from a friend), Gap dress ($8), thrifted belt ($2), vintage Gucci bag ($3), and F21 sequin flats ($5).

63 comments :

  1. I couldn't possibly agree with you more. I'm definitely guilty of over consuming at times. I think I need something while I'm in the store then I get it home and don't use it nearly as often as I thought I would. I think it takes a lot more creativity to reuse the same items over and over again in different ways than to simply go to the store and buy new clothes.

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  2. I completely agree with your post! I think that being a regular girl, you aren't going to be spending loads of dough on your wardrobe, how can you? Plus, wearing things twice, or dozens of times is totally legit. Lately I just haven't been able to dress myself properly OR take the time to take the photos so no outfit posts... But after I move (this weekend ahh!) I plan on getting back in the groove.

    I totally just watched Inception today at the IMAX and it was great. I think that the hype made me a little bit disappointed but overall I loved it. I can't wait to watch it again! Ps Happy Weekend!

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  3. inception was the best film of the decade ... i like to exaggerate most things .. nothing wrong with wearing the same simialr things over and over again .. i beleive its called personal style

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  4. ha. I wear the same exact outfits over and over. Once I figure out how I like a piece worn, I don't bother to find a different way, unless I buy something that looks better.... that said I probably have a shopping addiction-- at least it's at DI?

    I like that outfit! The scarf and shoes add a little pizzazz!

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  5. I agree, it's a constant battle when you go shopping. I used to care less about it when I was a student. I would just spend my money on clothes I liked. I was more prone to impulse buys. But now I'm married and been looking for a job for months. There's things like saving for a house etc. So now even shopping at an op-shop is a battle. I think 20 times about spending $5 on a skirt when I used to easily spend $40 on a new one. I guess my priorities have changed. :) I think it's a good thing. Sometimes though, when I'm going through a really bad sulking about my closet period, my husband will graciously buy me something.

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  6. when you move to la, you should check out sun thrift in sunland, ca. it's not too far from la...and it's a gem of a store..they have 50% off on wed &sat, it's a real thrift store, not like the overpriced goodwills/salvation army's :) i've gotten a lot of great dresses, tops, and even barely/unworn shoes for 1-4 dollars:))...20 bux will get you 2 huge garbage bags full of treasures

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  7. I love your blog because of your remixes!!! And I don't really care if you wore this dress 10 times before or not. It's quite easy to look good/be stylish if you have an endless budget and new clothes in every outfit post, but that's not the point...I think most of us personal bloggers started this whole thing because we wanted to be more creative with what's already in our closet without spending a huge amount of money every season...I love what you did with the clothes you own, remixing them so often, that's what brings me back to you blog all the time :)

    PS: the dress looks so cute with the sequin flats, perfect for the day but also for a night out or something!
    And thank you so much for you lovely comments on my blog, it means the world to me!

    Love, Diana
    Songs and Fairy Tales

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  8. guilty of that as well, and salespeople make me feel guilty. hate that.

    you look so pretty :)

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  9. I totally agree with you. We shouldn't feel bad to post the same outfit over and over again. Hey, not everyone can afford to buy new clothes everyday. As long as we feel comfortable wearing what we have, who says we can't be stylish? :)

    Anyway, I like your dress here. It looks very comfy. You look pretty, too..

    http://thenovembergirl.blogspot.com

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  10. cool look!! i like your drawstring bag so much :)

    love,vdcouture

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  11. I love your purse! I guess I don't have much opinion on consuming because I really don't - I have a clothing budget and I stick to it - I wear what I wear and I think I look good - but mostly concerned about having a fun life!

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  12. One of the reasons I enjoy your blog so much is because you DO repeat the same outfits (although I think you always manage to make them look different). I think that's real life for you: I know I wear the same things over and over again, although I am definitely guilty of over-consuming, too, and I really relate to that idea of seeing something and thinking "I NEED one of those!".

    These days, though, I find that when I buy things, I like to think I'm getting my money's worth. I just hate the thought of buying something and then wearing it once, or not wearing it at all: it seems so wasteful to me, so although I do have a lot of clothes, and I love to shop, I try my best to actually wear the things I buy, and I love coming to your blog and seeing the many different ways you make your wardrobe work for you. And I totally agree with the commenter above me - that's so much more creative (and realistic!) than parading a constant stream of brand new items!

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  13. I know what you mean, and it's hard not to feel like you have to keep buying new things especially when you run a blog. This is why I like reading yours--your style is beautiful, practical, and realistic. To be honest though, I wouldn't have noticed that you reused these pieces (besides the shoes but only because they're so great). The outfit still looks fresh and different!

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  14. I like to buy quality over quantity, but my budget as a SAHM is limited so I pick items which are classic and can be mixed up easily.

    The ability to wear the same items regularly without fear of not being fashionable is strength of mind.

    www.modelmumma.blogspot.com

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  15. I completely agree with you about the consumer, we all buy things we really don't need and hardly ever use/wear. And Inception! Amazing, best film I've seen this year!
    Nice outfit, I like this dress more every time I see it :)

    L x

    http://only-halfdressed.blogspot.com/

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  16. I agree also. I don't believe in consuming for the sake of it - it's wonderful when you really appreciate the things you have. If I'm feeling restless or bored, that's when I'm most likely to start buying things I don't really want instead of looking through my wardrobe and putting together new outfits.

    And the shopping thing I understand: I have to feel a certain way to be happy going shopping. Usually quite positive and calm, and OK about walking away with nothing if nothing grabs me. If I'm even a little bit sad, or self-aware, and I try to use it as a way of asserting myself or making an affect on the world, I have to go home and do something more constructive like writing or cooking.

    Shopping is a pretty passive exercise - there's an element of creativity when you think about how to put outfits together, but I never feel as active doing that as I do writing. I guess when you shop, you're constrained by what the retailers decide to create, and in writing the constraints aren't that obvious.

    Anyway, great post! I'm never terribly impressed when blogs consist entirely of "Omg, look what I bought!" posts, but this I really enjoy & you've articulated something many of us (no doubt) feel but don't often say.

    Siobhan

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  17. It cracks me up when bloggers worry about over-wearing an item. I follow MANY different fashion bloggers. There's no way I would be able to remember if I've seen an outfit before, once, twice, or even ten times. Especially since outfits can change so dramatically with different accessories. Style isn't about the items so much as it is about how you wear them.

    Second argument, isn't the cost per wear incentive ultimately to get items to under a dollar, or some level of deep value? For a $25 skirt, I expect to wear it 25 times or more, easily. So even for a five dollar thrift store find, there must be repeats.

    Third argument, if I want to see new clothes only, I'll read a magazine, or look at catalogs. If I'm reading a personal style blog, I'm expecting to see real human beings. Real human beings don't have new clothes every day. Real humans have lives! Lives = lived in clothes.

    Nonetheless, I don't personally post pictures of my outfits, so I appreciate that there are aspects and pressures of the experience that I could not possibly understand.

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  18. I agree with you, I actually almost stopped blogging because of the pressure to buy knew things. After a few encouraging words from other bloggers, I realized it wasn't about the clothes I wear, but how I wear them.

    The Girl in the Paper Dress

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  19. Love this look! Comfortable and classic. And I miss wearing scarves so bad.

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  20. I'm the same way as you. I always want things but when it comes time to buy I can't part with my money I always think "I can find a better deal" and things like that. I do love shopping though, even if its just looking and not buying...haha
    And I agree, who cares if an outfit you post is similar to one you wore already, it just shows that you get good use out of the money you spent on the clothes :D
    http://aclosetfashionista.blogspot.com/

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  21. I like this post of yours.

    I guess I'll admit that like you, I look through my closet and feel sad that I don't have a lot of clothes, and the clothes I do have I don't even seem to like anymore.

    I wrote a blog post about this recently, with a reminder to myself: "What matters more is not what you're wearing, but what you're doing."

    I try to remind myself that it's okay to wear the same outfits again! Also, as the months go by I seem to realize the value of money more and more. I'm definitely going to try to buy my clothes at places other than shopping malls!!

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  22. This is why I love your blog so much. I know you have a limited closet, yet you wear items so well that it never seems boring.

    I do like to shop and find unique items. However, I agree with you that the cycle of consumerism gets tiring after awhile. I've been really trying to focus on "quality over quantity" and change my mindset to buying one nice item every couple of months instead of a quick fix from Forever21. We'll see how long that lasts ...

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  23. Not only do I try to not post the same items on my blog, but IRL I tend to avoid repeats as well...it's a sickness.

    After reading a post like this, I think, "I could shop less..." and then I notice your vintage thrifted Gucci bag and all reason flies out the window. I want one too!

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  24. Definitely too much consuming going on (and I'm one of the worse - hence the commitment to pre-owned items). I love how you rework items and I get to see favourites again. Despite your comments saying you don't have enough imagination, I think you remix beautifully and always love it when your blog pops up in my Bloglovin.

    It's a very French philosophy to have a few beautiful items that really flatter you. And I bet it's much easier to see what you have.

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  25. love this post! i'm a recent follower who is truly inspired by your efforts to show women that new isn't always necessary. keep posting chick- makes my day!

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  26. Being a college student certainly has changed my buying habits. I either try to ask my mom very nicely for clothes, or buy one or two items at a time when I really need a new outfit. I want to buy some more clothes for this upcoming school year, but I'm definitely going to try thrift stores and sales online before buying things full-price.

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  27. i love shopping. it is fun whether i buy anything or not. but as much as i shop, i surprisingly don't over-consume. that is partly because i am broke and partly because i am cheap. but if i find a good sale, i will buy a few things. the other day i got a couple of shirts for $2 each and i love them. the less money i spend on something, the more i love it. finding cheap stuff makes me feel like a winner! lol.

    http://justmycrazyboringlife.blogspot.com/

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  28. Guys will either: 1) not notice; or 2) think, "Oh, I'm glad she's wearing that...she looks so nice in it." Thoese are pretty much the only two possible reactions. =)

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  29. i dont care how many times you choose to repeat your outfit , i still love how it looks and your style in general.
    and sometimes i really want to buy more things but cant, then i just think ,why not accesorise differently? It works too.

    :)
    love your blog

    http://nerissa-gamboa-22.blogspot.com/

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  30. I do the same thing. I have to be in a certain mood and then most of the time, I don't buy anything for myself(however, I do buy something for my daughter almost every single trip). I love the outfit and the bag is BEAUTIFUL!

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  31. while i am sometimes guilty of over-consuming myself, i definitely agree with you on this point. Also, I happen to be one of those mall sales girls and i hate it. I hate trying to get clients to apply for credit cards in this economy, and i hate trying to sell them things they know they don't need. Why does it matter? I always end up leaving my selling shifts feeling guilty and materialistic.

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  32. I feel the same - I think it is much better to wear a top you love 100 times with the same pants you love than have different outfits every time that you feel okay about.

    I think with the blogging about clothes people expect to see you in different clothes or different combinations all the time, but why not wear it again if it works for you? If it makes you feel good and you look great in it - then wear it again and again. I am guilty of wearing the same outfits but why should I buy and new top if the one I have is something I love? I would rather fill the voids in my wardrobe then but multiples.

    I think you look fantastic every single post - it blows my mind seeing your clset then seeing he huge variety of outfits you put together. We all can learn a lot for you!

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  33. i agree with you... i love having basic clothes and having tons of ways to wear them differently with accessories that jazz them all different ways. so much fun and so much creativity to be enjoyed :) you are beautiful!

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  34. i LOVE all your dresses but they seem a tad short. how do you avoid everything showing? i already buy petites as I'm only 5'6" but they still touch my knees. if this is too TMI never mind, just wondering.

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  35. i don't actually enjoy shopping either. when i go into a store i just see tons of clothes that don't look like they'd look good on me. i usually find one thing that i love but it's not in my size or it's only on the mannequin. i prefer to shop online, but yeah, i can't spend money buying new outfits for posts. i love clothes so to show my appreciation of clothes i tend to wear them more than once! :)

    http://cherylclarke.blogspot.com

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  36. the funny thing about wanting more items - even when I get tons of new items, i still stand in front of the closet thinking 'i have nothing to wear' - so you are 100% right that its a vicious cycle

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  37. I don´t care if you put that ensemble on once before, it still looks beautiful.

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  38. Love this look! Such a great summer dress.

    I always feel like I need to show something new in my pictures on my blog but I think I am coming around to the idea of re-wearing outfits and not worrying about it.

    thequeenofwanderlust.blogspot.com

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  39. You are SO beautiful! I just found your blog and LOVE it! Consider me a regular reader!! ...i'm hooked :)

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  40. i always bring a scarf to the theater too!

    also, i think about the needs vs. wants dilemma quite frequently now that i blog. it's hard not to find something new you want every day when you are reading so many fashion blogs, right?

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  41. I so agree.. sometimes it's just not easy to recreate all these different outfits with one item! And even when I try to find super versatile outfits. Anywya, I really love the color of your dress, it is supa awesome. :D thanks for your sweet comment, I really like your blog <3 <3

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  42. shut UP that vintage gucci bag was not $3!!!!!!! you are so cute! i sometimes find myself in such a rut like im not alowed to repeat my self or even wear the same shoes to church 2 months in a row! who cares right!

    love your blog!

    ~selina

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  43. Love your scarf! such a cute outfit!

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  44. So true. Why should we feel bad? We shouldn't go in debt just to impress. Love that article and love this simple outfit! :) Everyone says Inception is spectacular. So I guess I should see it now. ;)

    http://galwithcurves.blogspot.com

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  45. i know exactly what you mean! i'm especially low on cash and on an extremely tight budget because i put money into capital for my business. what i'm doing now is writing down all the things that i need (clothes and non clothes) so when i'm out, i won't buy anything that's not on my list. plus i'm not going to f21 until i have a steady cash flow!

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  46. you look so skinny here! and aside from that i definitely agree with the whole consumer thing - i'm such a sucker for thinking i need a new piece of clothing on a regular basis. why!?!?!?

    miss you :)

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  47. Love the whole ensemble but where do you find Gucci bags for $3.00? Lucky you!

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  48. I am completely guilty of consuming too much, but even though I know it I still do it. I love that scarf, such a cute outfit!
    Emma
    TheSidewalkIsMyRunway

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  49. ooh!I feel so guilty buying things that I really don't need. Then it'll sit there until I return it or until I wear/use it. I am a HUGE sucker for sales and clearance.

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  50. I feel the same way. I cannot post outfit pics if I'm wearing something too ordinary or not new. I think consumerism should be about filling your wardrobe and not showing off new products. I don't want something that I'll only wear once or twice...I think.

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  51. i wear repeats all the time and so should you! lol

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  52. I could go on and on about this topic, but in short I like to see what bloggers are actually wearing. Not contrived outfits. I prefer blogs to be about real life or else I'll go look at photo shoots in magazines.

    You always looks beautiful and I don't mind repetition. Love this outfit. You are one stylish lady!

    Anthea,
    Embracing Style

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  53. oh boy, i'm with you. after reading the 6 items or less article, i wanted to throw out everything in my closet and be happy wearing the same six things forever--it's a sinking feeling to think you're prey to all the weaknesses of consumerism!

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  54. hi elaine, i started reading blogs recently where the posters are doing challenges like only wearing 30 different clothing pieces for 1 month, and even one where they only wore 6 different pieces for one month. so that helps inspire me to be more creative with what i already have, instead of buying more.

    although at the same time it still is hard not to get sucked into that feeling of wanting a new dress, new skirt, etc. for me, i always want new shoes!!

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  55. Love this outfit Elaine! Love the sequin flats, scarf and dress!

    As to thoughts on consumerism...that I think will take up too much of my brain to figure out right now. :) For really, what do we really "need"? just something to cover our bodies.

    And yet there is something major to be said about adorning our bodies with beautiful garments (whether they come with a large or small price tag) and arranging them in such a way that they appeal to the artistic, creative bones that are part of our DNA. We're meant to be creative beings, and the way we dress is a means to expressing that creativity. At least, that's how I view it!

    Small Time Style

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  56. i lOVE seeing different variations of the same outfits or items worn different ways. it is much more real to me :) love this. simple and perfect :)

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  57. You know how I feel about the consumer culture. WHACK! But I completely understand on the pressures to wear something new and different every day as fashion bloggers.
    But you know what? That's not real. And one of the primary reasons I started following you and other fashion blogs is because you guys are REAL women living real lives in real clothes. I traded Harper's Bazaar for something so much better — unPhotoshopped inspiration.
    And in the real world, we do laundry and wear outfits repeatedly. :)

    www.styleusvancouver.com

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  58. I am definitely guilty of convincing myself that I need more than I do. I am not some celebrity or something...what the hell?

    I love your use of blues here. Great!

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  59. we have an almost similar dress.i'm so into comfy dresses too:)

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  60. you really don't need shitloads of new things to look stylish! try combining the pieces you already own in unexpected ways or adding different pieces of jewelry to create different looks.

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  61. What a great post! I completely agree, why should we feel pressured to always be wearing something new and exciting? You look amazing in that dress. I'm also with you on the shopping thing. I love getting new clothes, but shopping is not fun for me. I would always prefer to be doing something else and just have the clothes appear in my closet. Or at my door, via fed ex. This is why I love online shopping so much.

    xo
    Valerie

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  62. @olive Thank you for the recommendation!!! I'll definitely be checking it out.

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