Unless you’re a celebrity (in which case, I have so many questions about how you came to read this article), there is a significant chance that your wardrobe is small enough to require a few repeated ensembles. The average lady does not dispose of her dresses once she’s worn them, and as such, we must constantly be on the lookout for ways to reinvent our preexisting wardrobe options.
Here are a few simple ways to re-wear your clothing ensembles without attracting any perplexed looks or accusatory comments — and no, these tips don’t somehow necessitate purchasing more clothing.
Try these handy tricks out when you’re feeling uninspired in your outfit options, or your closet is looking a bit limited. You may be surprised what fashionable looks you can cook up.
Related-ish: How To Dress When You F**king Hate Pants
Mix and match.
Similarly, swapping out chunks of an outfit with a different outfit can make for a surprising brilliant combination. I used to only wear black knee-highs with skirts or dresses — until I realized that I could easily pair them with a nice pair of black shorts and a blouse. Don’t “assign” certain clothing pieces to specific outfits, or you’ll forget just how awesome they can be.
Let the outfit breathe for at least a week.
While you may love the ensemble you’ve cooked up for yourself, people will start to give you funny looks if you recycle the same look within mere days of showcasing it (there’s even an entire Seinfeld episode dedicated to such a situation). Besides, why focus your creative energy on one particular outfit when you can channel it into your entire wardrobe? If you’ve come up with at least one stellar look, there’s a decent chance that there’s more where that came from in your fashionista brain. If you love something, set it free. If you love an outfit, let it sit in your closet for a bit in between outings.
Alter your hair and makeup.
Your hair and makeup style can totally alter the entire mood of your ensemble. If you wear your hair long and flowing with natural makeup, the outfit can take on a slightly more romantic and soft vibe. Wear your locks in a tight up-do with some dramatic lipstick, and you’ve got a no-nonsense and utterly hip ensemble. Feeling like you’re in a slight hair and makeup rut? Well, this is the perfect opportunity to try out some new techniques — and observe how your wardrobe is transformed when you do.
Style one clothing piece slightly different.
If you’re into recycling outfits, you don’t have to repeat the same clothing pieces every single time (such a practice would get boring and monotonous, I would imagine). Even if it’s as simple as wearing a slightly different shirt under that sweater, or different color tights with that mini dress, switching up at least one item of clothing can breathe new life into your tried-and-true ensemble. You can even change up your jeans, if the outfit is slightly more casual — wide-leg versus skinny jeans can make a huge difference.
Choose different statement accessories.
This one is particularly vital to recycling an outfit. If your jewelry pieces are enough of a focal point, you can totally get away with showing off the same outfit on multiple occasions. A dramatic wreath necklace, a low-hanging pendant, or a pair of attention-grabbing hoop earrings are all excellent ways to ensure that your outfit can be repurposed based on the occasion. The best part of this trick is that it actually encourages you to expand your jewelry collection a bit.
If you have a little party dresses that you absolutely adore, sometimes it really is as simple as finding a flattering sweater to go over it. Obviously, this technique doesn’t work as well in warmer weather, but you can find light clothing options to accommodate for the warmth. With sneaky enough layering, no one will even notice that your outfit is a repeat.
Switch up the shoes.
In my humble opinion, the shoes make or break the outfit — and, as such, they’re responsible for informing an ensemble’s overall vibe. If you wear your boyfriend jeans with a button-down and some Keds, the outfit reads as casual. Roll the jeans a bit and wear them with some pointy-toed pumps, and you have a sassier and more stylish combination.
Basically, what I’m saying is, purchasing new shoes is never a bad idea (and yes, I am justifying my own addiction here).