April 13, 2009

Monogamous Dressing

Although I have all these great new items from bday gifts and recent sales, I've spent the last few days wearing the same Marc by Marc Jacobs Claudette dress, modifying the details of the outfit with hosiery, footwear, jewelry, and bag pairings. Repeating pieces in quick succession is something I do with regularity. It isn't that I get lazy or fall into a clothing rut. It isn't for lack of fantastic options. Instead it is for the love of a new or rediscovered garment. I become fiercely loyal. I become a monogamous dresser.

You can see that the outfit I've worn the last three days is essentially the same. And if I realized in advance that I was going to blog this subject so soon after repeating this dress, I would have probably put forth more effort into mixing new colors and shapes in the cardigan, in the hosiery, even in the shoes. But even with the minor changes, the outfit felt fresh enough to pull off reruns.

Are you a monogamous dresser? What are your criteria for pulling off repeats in quick succession?

When I know I'll be encountering a range of different audiences, I behave as a secret dirtbag. I really enjoy repeating outfits, and do so often, but I try to do so strategically, based on what I know about my own social routines. This way I ensure that my clothes and accessories get the mileage that make them worth having, while maintaining the illusion of not being a dirt bag who wears the same dress for a week. Sure, there are the occasional situations where social spheres inadvertently overlap, and people see you wearing the same thing two days in a row, but usually it isn't a problem, even in a small city like Pittsburgh.

Tips for Monogamous Dressing:
*Wear a slip and/or an undershirt underneath the piece you are going to repeat (saves you some laundering time and $).
*Mix new layers over and/or under the garment to add dimension, while changing the overall silhouette of your outfit.
*Don't just switch up pieces for pairings. Switch up color palettes.
*Rotate the shoes, bags, jewelry, and other accessories you pair with the outfit to prevent boredom (for yourself and those who see you regularly).
*Plan to do this strategically. Know your contextual audiences well enough to make predictions about who will see you in various settings.
*Air out your garment in between quick, subsequent repeats when you don't have time or the desire to dry clean or launder. Don't tuck the repeat clothing into your closet. Hang them in the open and go easy on perfumes/fragrances.
*Avoid this dressing tactic if you will be in smoky situations or places with strong food smells for extended periods of time.
*Lastly, be ready to defend the fact that you DO repeat and that "this old dress" is indeed one your forgetful loved one has seen before. I swear, not a repeat day passes without Chris remarking about my "new" clothes.

8 comments:

Jay Fanelli said...

On a semi-related note, I find myself buying multiples of the same basics: dark/blank/solid t-shirts, black AA track jacket, dark jeans, rinse, repeat. So I need to be careful about wearing the same charcoal (or black, or navy blue) )t-shirt two days in a row. It may be too late, but I think I have a "Jay uniform."

Jesspgh said...

Ah yes... beloved multiples! I blogged that very subject a few weeks ago. I just got an ebay order of more American Apparel tri-blend deep v's, myself.

But if you are changing up the shoes, the tshirt color, belt, or manbag, it won't seem like a uniform, especially if your audiences don't always overlap. Sure, Michelle will see repeats but that is bound to happen among domestic partners.

Dream Sequins said...

I completely relate to this. I think it's a very French way of dressing. Buy something of good quality that you love, and wear with different accessories. It's cool that you posted photos to show how the changing of accessories changed the look in subtle, but ultimately dramatic ways!

erinm said...

jess, not only are those outfits completely adorable, but look at that stam! *drooling over here*

Jesspgh said...

Dream Sequins, I hadn't thought of it that way but this is a French way of dressing. A few staple pieces you adore, altered and kept interesting through accessories. I love it! I also blog roll'd you. Thank you for reading!

Thank you Erin!! Stam hobo and Stam patchwork both were paired with the dress. :)

grunge-queen said...

What a great idea - love it! I don't do exactly what you do but I do tend to wear "uniforms" - ie: similar clothing just different pieces. In the winter I typically don long wideleg jeans and booties, turtlenecks and funky statement-piece jackets (easy and keeps me warm, though cuffs of pants get salt-stained). In the summer I flip pretty much exclusively into easy-peasy dresses that can be pulled on lickity-split ... but I have so many I can wear a different one every day!

Jesspgh said...

I love the idea of a uniform and agree that it is similar in intent to monogamous dressing. But it is definitely more versatile if you hope to change the actual garments with more regularity. I love your screen name, btw!!

Jesspgh said...

P.S. that was addressing Grunge Queen. :)

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