No, Outfit Rewearing Isn't A Trend, It's A Necessity

At the end and start of each year, the fashion gurus and quote-unquote ‘it’ girls use their fashion crystal balls to predict what they think will be in trend for the year to come. Last year we saw cargo trousers and skirts take over. Tube tops were everywhere in 2022 (I have three now and I still want more) and Uggs made a huge comeback in the winter.

Which leaves us wondering, what will be the fashion trends of 2023? What clothes do I need to rush to put in my closet even though I’ll probably never wear them again? User @victoriacasalinoo thinks skinny jeans will come back (congrats millennials).

Faux fur, fun tights, and silver are set to be on the rise this year, according to @bblana444. Shockingly, outfitting repeating is set to come back in 2023. Yes, you’ve read that right the act of wearing your clothes more than once will be a trend (my washing machine can finally be put to good use).

What does it say about the climate of the fashion industry if re-wearing outfits is not a norm but merely a trend? For a large number of people, re-wearing outfits isn’t an option it’s a lifestyle.

Fast fashion isn’t only unsustainable, it’s unaffordable

The average person can’t afford to buy a new outfit every time they step outside of their house. Not only is it expensive but it’s harmful to the environment. The majority of us have to wear the clothes in our closet for multiple occasions. Especially as the cost of bills continues to rise, who will be able to buy a new outfit for our friend’s birthday meal?

Hayaat Nankya Kagimu who is a 24-year-old model from London has re-worn clothes throughout her life. “I don’t see the point in spending lots of money buying into trends that will soon pass and I like to buy things that will last which are typically more expensive,” she says.

“For me wearing clothes isn’t a conscious choice it’s just normal to me and I try to reject the pressure to wear something new all the time to impress people,” Kagimu says.

She thinks it’s ridiculous that outfit repeating is now considered a trend because clothes were never meant for single-purpose use. “The fact re-wearing clothes is a trend shows me how lost in the influencer-capitalist society.”

Chakkana Pryce, a 29-year-old designer from London, says re-wearing her clothes is the most natural thing for her. “When I find clothes I love, I want to wear them all the time. There are so many times when I get in the cycle of wearing the same things so much that I have to force myself to wear something else. It’s like having a uniform,” Pryce tells HuffPost UK. When she buys something new she always has the intention of keeping them for a long time.

“That’s how I decide whether or not something should be an addition to my wardrobe. I think about how many different ways I could style it with my existing clothes and if I can imagine having it forever. I don’t have any interest in one-time wear pieces,” she adds.

Her love for outfit repeating inspired the creation of her brand Sharkkini.

“Sharkkini initially started out because I couldn’t find my version of a perfect bikini, a good quality classic set that I could take on every trip, so I made it.”

Pryce continues: “That same idea of creating go-to pieces has now expanded into joggers, hoodies, skirts, and more to come. Everything starts from what I feel is missing from my wardrobe then I think about how I could make that as functional as possible but still cute.”

Her hope is that everyone who owns a Sharkkini product loves it so much that they can wear her items over and over again.

Trend or not, we’re going to be seeing a lot more re-wearing this year

For these women and plenty of others, outfit repeating isn’t a trend, so why have fashion experts predicted that we’ll see more of this in 2023?

“Being in a financial recession means people are more careful with their spending, and fashion is not a necessity so people are being more creative with how they dress and outfit build, instead of spending on new items all the time,”  says Giovanna Vieira who is a head of marketing of Rotaro.

She adds that “circular and rental fashion is becoming more popular amongst younger people. Particularly as younger millennials and Gen Z gain financial power and start to make more sustainable choices to preserve the planet and their future.”

Additionally, it’s becoming increasingly difficult to find clothes with original designs, something I’ve struggled with in the past year. “A lot of what’s in stores lacks variety and originality so people may already have similar styles at home which they can re-wear or even borrow from their friends or rent from fashion rental platforms before considering to buy,” Vieira says.

Even though most people do re-wear their clothes, there’s stigma attached to doing so. “Generally, it stems from a subconscious fear that other people will perceive you as poor if you keep wearing the same clothes all the time,” Vieira explains.

You don’t want to be the person caught wearing her birthday dress at another event or the girl who wears the same top for every night out but why? “Historically when social class was more important in society, only those with a level of wealth could acquire the latest fashions or have items custom-made,” Vieira explains.

“Whether we like to admit it or not, despite the fact that social class isn’t as visible anymore, there are certain markers people go by to make judgments about it today - fashion being an important one.”

“The whole industry is built on novelty and trends as this is what they capitalise on so there’s this notion that wearing old season is ’tacky,” Vieira adds.

Developing personal style and building a capsule wardrobe

The stigma around wearing clothes from last season or beyond is slowly fading out as vintage and sustainable fashion are both on the rise.

“What we’re seeing now is that ‘old’ clothes such as in the case of vintage fashion, for example, are gaining huge momentum as people want to develop their own unique sense of style and find rare items which appreciate in value over time rather than depreciate.”

Chakkana Pryce believes outfit repeating should be a lifestyle rather than a trend, “The easiest way to do this is by building a wardrobe of staple/uniform pieces that you really love, which can take some time to do so.”

“It’s also good as it encourages you to invest in better quality clothing and not over-consume for the sake of a trend,” she adds.

I personally started the process of building a capsule wardrobe last year. At first, it felt tedious as it felt like I wasn’t buying anything that stood out to me. But, now I feel that I’ve managed to create my own personal style which is still growing. Finding outfits to wear now doesn’t feel like an impossible task as it did when my wardrobe when trend based.

“Rewearing the clothes we have at home makes it easier to get dressed - deciding what to wear can really be a chore so organising your wardrobe in a way that’s easy to outfit build can really help,” Vieira says.

“Outfit repeating also shows we have character and a strong sense of style and it’s financially beneficial as we’d spend less on items we don’t plan to keep.”

“Lastly, it’s more sustainable as a huge number of items that are discarded or donated to charities end up in landfills in Africa and South America - polluting the soil and water supplies and creating a global problem off the back of our consumerism and addiction to fashion,” Vieira explains.

With the cost of nearly everything in life increasing, the last thing we want to do is worry about buying new clothes. I’ll keep re-wearing the white Zara top I bought last year which my mum has labeled as ‘my uniform’ because I love it and purchased it to be re-worn.