"If a princess like Kate Middleton can re-wear her clothes, I think we all can!" - Tracee Ellis Ross

Actress Tracee Ellis Ross attending the  Chanel Haute Couture Fall/Winter 2018-2019 show as part of Paris Fashion week.
Actress Tracee Ellis Ross attending the Chanel Haute Couture Fall/Winter 2018-2019 show as part of Paris Fashion week.

Living the life of the rich and famous often means you get the privilege of having several walk-in closets filled with clothes you’re likely to wear only once.  

It’s very seldom that we see celebrities wearing the same outfit twice, but there have been moments when some stars – particularly women - have actually broken away from this unspoken fashion rule and defied the expectations that Hollywood has placed on them.

Just earlier this year this year, Girls Trip star Tiffany Haddish showed up to the Oscars wearing a dress that she has worn twice before – and that includes her appearance at the official Girls Trip premiere.

According to Time.com, Tiffany said that she “doesn’t give a dang about no taboo” and that the Alexander McQueen dress was an expensive dress that “cost more than her mortgage.” 

We stan a queen who goes against the tide and acknowledges that the dresses that celebrities wear are expensive, and as such, should be worn more than once.

But Tiffany isn’t the only one who has worn the same outfit twice. Duchess of Cambridge, Kate Middleton is well-known for repeating her outfits, while Kim Kardashian and *shock* *gasp* even Anna Wintour has been spotted wearing the same #OOTD twice.

WATCH: Celebs who've been spotted wearing the same outfit more than once

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And now, Tracee Ellis Ross is adding her voice to the fray by advocating for more celebrities to wear the same clothes twice. In a recent interview she actually jokes that she never really understood the point of articles that showcase what celebs are wearing, insisting that they should rather have angles on the many ways you can wear something.

She adds that expensive clothes are actually an investment so it makes sense to wear an outfit that you’ve spent a lot of money as often as you can.


To some this might not be a big deal, but given how social media has become so much about keeping up appearances it is actually pretty radical for celebrities to take this kind of stance. 

Think of online visibility and social media. 

I mean, have you ever been reluctant to post a picture on social media because you're wearing the same top or dress you wore in another post a few weeks ago?

Yeah, me too.

But lately I'm just really not bothered. So much so that there's a pair of pants you'll find on my Instagram feed at least once a month. Or is it twice?

Who's counting anyway?

Uhm... our followers it seems.

It appears as though there's always been this tacit agreement between us and our followers, which states that repeated outfits compromise your online credibility.

It's a trivial, yet totally relatable concern to most of us.

Are we afraid that online strangers are going to think we're broke, don't have enough clothes or that we have limited sartorial creativity?

I mean, it's almost like washing machines and laundromats don't exist anymore.

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It probably has a lot to do with the hyper-visibility which social media breeds - the more often people see you, the more they expect from you. You've set a precedent and now there's no turning back.

Which is probably why the pressure of not repeating was previously a concern exclusive to celebrities only.

I'm sure you're familiar with recent stories in the media about a TV personality which has been spotted in the same dress on more than one occasion.

Sometimes it's admiration, but usually they're just throwing shade.

New York Daily News even has a gallery dedicated to Kate Middleton's outfit repeats. The opening image has the following caption; "Kate Middleton loved this dress so much, she wore it twice!"

Twice. Groundbreaking.

The gallery goes on to make use of the word "recycling" - we often see this misused word in these kind of articles.

READ MORE: The Enhle effect - How to repeat an outfit without 'repeating' it

It's fair to assume that celebrities can afford a plethora of high-end items and products or at least have more access to such possessions than the rest of us. But it's also not fair to expect them not to ever repeat their own clothing - designer or otherwise.

It was just the other day when local TV personality Boity Thulo posted a picture of herself in a dress she wore on the red carpet in 2014 and again this year. The caption was pretty much a disclaimer that she's repeating the dress, complete with the hashtag #RepeatOffender.

Probably an attempt to beat the shamers to it.

So when headlines read "recycled" to refer to someone who has merely repeated their own clothes, it implies that clothes aren't bought to be worn over and over again. As if they are as disposable as their tags.

And even if you're not in the spotlight, why should you worry that onlookers are keeping a tally of the number of times they've seen you in that pink dress?

Perhaps we feel somewhat stifled by our own social media lifestyle projections, where an app like Instagram is a space in which opulence and extravagance are both celebrated and aspired to.

And a repeated look is therefore a contradiction.

But I totally disagree... for obvious reasons. Repeat-shaming is rather shallow to say the least.

It's no wonder your favourite washing powder brand is currently running a competition which encourages repeating a specific item of clothing and posting it on Instagram.

Clothes aren't cheap these days and they deserve to appear on your social media as many times as you wish regardless of whether you paid R2000 or R20 for the item.

It's all in the styling after all.

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