Wearing the same outfit twice

RyanJust last week, I learned for the first time that wearing the same outfit two days in a row is, apparently, a huge faux pas, and I still can’t really wrap my head around it. I don’t know how I managed to remain ignorant of this social taboo, but it somehow escaped my notice, and so I made it to the age of 24 still wearing the same outfit two days in a row.

Before you freak out, I change any and all undergarments and socks. I’m not that disgusting. Yeesh. And if it had been a hot or strenuous day, or if I spilt something, then that outfit wouldn’t make it into the esteemed (and apparently rebellious) ‘second day’. But if the shirt was still perfectly crisp and clean, then I’d wear it again. Those other shirts can wait their turn.

This all made perfect sense to me. It was a logical pattern. Why, after all, would I not wear the same shirt again if it was still clean? If I forfeited it for another shirt, then I’d have to do something with shirt no. 1. I can’t put it away with all the unworn stuff, but it would be a waste of a wash. Being the lazy (and generally poorly organised) person that I am, there was no way I was going to try and juggle a bunch of outfits and remember which ones I’d partly worn. So instead I’d wear an outfit for two days, throw it all in the washing pile, and move on to the next one.

So it’s fair to say that my world was thoroughly rocked when I discovered that this isn’t cool. Apparently I’d been doing it wrong for the past 24 years. I’d have to rethink my system and make some sort of futile attempt to keep track of a bunch of half-worn outfits.

"Oh my goodness. Did you wear the perfectly clean and respectable shirt yesterday?" "Yes?" "Haha! What a weirdo!"
“Oh my goodness. Did you wear the perfectly clean and respectable shirt yesterday?”
“Haha! What a weirdo!”

Except I don’t really want to, because I still don’t get the ‘why’. So most people change outfits, alright. I can deal with that. If you all want to be pedantic that’s fine by me. But why do they do it? And why do they want me to do it as well? Especially when, as a student, I don’t exactly have the luxury of owning a thousand outfits. I’m pretty much limited to four. So people are going to see a repeat somewhere.

Is it borne from some sort of attempted affluence? Are we meant to all pretend that we own so many outfits we simply throw out a top after wearing it once? As if we all own butlers and wardrobes the size of a house and take our groomed poodles for walks in expensive handbags.

"Are you done for today, sir?"
“Are you done for today, sir?”
"Yes, Jeeves. Here is my shirt. Take it and burn it. Nobody can ever see this hideous thing again."
“Yes, Jeeves. Here is my shirt. Take it and burn it. Nobody can ever see this hideous thing again.”
"Sir, it's perfectly immaculate. There's no reason why-"
“Sir, it’s perfectly immaculate. There’s no reason why-“
"It's filthy, Jeeves! People have seen it! It has been touched by dirty human eyes! Burn it that the flames may cleanse it!"
“It’s filthy, Jeeves! People have seen it! It has been touched by dirty human eyes! Burn it that the flames may cleanse it!”

Where does this come from? And why do people perpetuate it?

On another note, if they don’t burn these things how on earth do these ‘single-wear-only’ people store their once-worn outfits? Am I meant to be washing everything after wearing it once? Or do these magical people have an extra ‘outfits I don’t want people to see me in again for three days at least’ wardrobe?

"But I'm still good!" "Silence, worn-once shirt! Get in this cupboard and DON'T COME OUT FOR AT LEAST THREE DAYS OR UNTIL I HAVE NO IMPORTANT EVENTS!"
“But I’m still good!”
“Silence, worn-once shirt! Get in this cupboard and DON’T COME OUT FOR AT LEAST THREE DAYS OR UNTIL I HAVE NO IMPORTANT EVENTS!”

So, mostly because I’m poor and lazy, but partly because I still don’t get it, I’m going to keep going with my system. I might try and convince myself it’s some rebellious action, but it’s really the ‘poor and lazy’ thing.

What do you think? Should I stop this filthy habit immediately or carry on? Do you wear the same outfit twice in a row? If not, why not? Let me know in the comments.

– Ryan

22 thoughts on “Wearing the same outfit twice

  1. Ryan, I will rescue you from your peer-induced shame and put my hand up as well. I too also wear my clothes at least twice before they hit the wash basket (nb: unless really sweaty, had something spilt on it or has too much cat hair on it). Although, I would never EVER wear something two days in a row…. and you have now got me to thinking, why? Do we secretly think that ‘people’ are pointing and whispering behind our backs that it’s somehow dirty or makes you part of a lesser class? Does this indeed stem from an affluence perspective? Perhaps there should be a compulsory* uniform at University and then all the students would look the same and no-one would know if you had worn your hoodie all 5 days in a row! You have given us all something to think about! PS: The two day system works really well if you leave the “I’ve already worn this once” clothes inside out. You can then see which ones are ‘crispy clean’ and which ones are ‘didn’t get dirty, can wear again’…… 😀 *paid for in fees

    1. You are truly a master of this system! Inside-out. Incredible. You’ve done well. Lucky you don’t have to burn anything.

      On the ‘why’, I did genuinely wonder if it was a hangover from a period where more clothes meant greater affluence (and a greater position in society). That is, there was a time when people were doing well to own three outfits at all, so to see someone in a different outfit regularly would suggest that they were incredibly wealthy. This might have carried over as a social practice; changing clothes daily is an indication that we are very well-off and respectable. Of course, I could be totally wrong about this. I’m not a history major.

      Needless to say, it has me pretty stumped.

      – Ryan (even though it says I’m Ellen on the left)

  2. Looks like I have had this all wrong for almost 25 years now also. I might wear the same items, 2-4 days, depending on what was achieved during the use of it. Though, most of the time not in a row, I would wear it, hang it, use it later in the week or the next weekend. I hope work clothes don’t apply to this rule… 5 days in a row.

  3. LOVE this post!!!

    My dad always said that you can get 4 wears out of a pair of undies. The right way. Backwards. Inside out the right way and Inside out the wrong way. Haha. I sure am glad that is one thing I have never tried to prove him right on!… and I hope he hasn’t done that!! In all honesty, I also wear clothes twice before they hit the wash! You are not alone.

    1. Woooo! Solidarity! Clearly we’re the logical thinkers. We’re no sheep.

      Although I hope you don’t take offence if I don’t try out your dad’s advice. That’s maybe a little far.

    1. Hang them on a chair? How many chairs do you have in your bedroom?! Or do you just drape them around the dining room? Because that somehow seems a lot less hygienic.

  4. Super funny, love the stick figures. When I was younger I thought it was fine to wear the same thing twice as long as it wasn’t stained or smelly. But it was pretty disgusting to the kids at school. So I pretended to be like everybody else and change my clothes up every day even though my mother couldn’t afford to buy me a lot. I have recently decided to dress in traditional clothing for Muslim women which means that I have downsized most of my clothes. Since im a poor college student I cant afford to buy a new wardrobe so im going to be practical and confident enough to wear perfectly clean clothes twice in a row. I figure if someone notices then their looking in the wrong places. I never notice if someone repeats clothes because I look at their face and not their body.

    I sometimes wear the same shirt in a row of two days and the same jumper or hoodie in a row for a week at home! (As long as not much sweat) Cause no one will see you hehehe… I don t get why people change clothes everyday- It kind of annoys me somehow cause it makes me feel Im the only one doing this. So everytime I see someone wear clothes the same way as me I feel like they are really easy to talk to and stuff, like feel more comfortable around them Lol (Not lots of these people around though :'()

  6. I feel you and I was brought up pretty much the same way. As far back as I can remember in grade school, when I used to get home the 1st thing I did was take off my school clothes, hang them up and put on my house clothes. Unless they were dirty or torn they were good to go for another school day. It was eerily ritualistic but at the time we were low income and no way my family could afford the expense of owning and washing various sets of clothes. I’m in a private college now with a strict dress code (shirt & tie, dress pants, shoes) and apparently some of my old practices have held over. I won’t wear the same outfit twice in a row but whatever I wear on Monday I’ll wear again on Wednesday and I’ll wear Tuesdays outfit on Thursday , then on Friday I’ll wear a fresh outfit that I’ll probably mix and match at some point during the next week. Oddly enough, I’ve never thought about it until reading this article and started wondering if this was ok behavior. At school, I don’t pay much attention to what anyone else is wearing so I don’t know who else is doing it, if at all. Not even sure if anyone else is even concerned. Everyone’s nose is stuck up some book and when we do stop to talk to each other, our attention is on each others eyes, not our clothes.

    1. It seems like you’ve got it down with that system. But as you said at the end, from the discussions I’ve had about this and the responses to this post, one of the uplifting things about this whole thing is that it seems people rarely realise when you do repeat an outfit. We seem to spend more time worrying about what we’re wearing than about what anyone else is.

      1. There’s nothing wrong with wearing the same outfit twice. That’s how I was raised because we were a low income family and today I’m in my 40’s and still wear the same clothes sometimes more than twice before washing them, not in a row but I think that never wearing the same outfit twice is stupid and a waste of money .anyone who does that is so worried about what everyone thinks of them. They have a very LOW self esteem. This is just my opinion. I’m way better off than my parents were and even if I was rich I still wouldn’t change clothes everyday and never wear them again. I wonder what they do with them

        1. I disagree that it would mean very LOW self-esteem. It all boils down to where you came from and grew up. It’s also a cultural thing so don’t generalize. You should know better. 😊

  7. In a tropical country like the Philippines it is a REAL faux pas. You run the gamut of sweat, pollution dust, and vehicular exhaust each day and I’m sure you can’t find fault with their looking askance at people who wear clothing that hasn’t gone through the washer two days in a row. Filipinos might not say anything to the person’s face (those-who-cannot-stomach it probably will) but they would make sure to stay away. This hygience habit won’t get you any friends. It offends people’s sensibilities, really. If you happen to make any, friends, that is, then you will be told what to do, and you will do as told, if you want the friendship.

  8. I live in a tropical country and it’s not common to see people wearing the same clothes in a row. It’s probably because it’s very hot and humid and sweating is inevitable so wearing the same clothes the following day is not hygienic. Personally I don’t like to wear the same clothing without washing it clean first. You’re clean after a shower and then you put on the same clothes you wore the previous day doesn’t sound hygienic to me.

  9. You’re not alone bro. I always wear the same clothes for 2-5 days in a row. That’s because they are normally still clean. I only change my clothes when they get worn out. I don’t ever consider clothes as a mark of personnality or a indicator of how you think. I kinda always wear the same sweater (always),because i like it of course. This doesn’t mean that i’m poor,nor that i’m filthy, it only means (for me) that i don’t have any interest(at all) on clothes nor on what people think about me or say about me. Keep doing what you’re doing and always remind yourself that clothes are nothing more than a human invention essentially made to prevent other people from seeing us naked, and also for heating us, and NOTHING MORE!
    Sayonara my friend.

  10. work clothes no because i tend to do physical stuff plus that would feel awful wearing that twice on a couple days off yes i wear the same clothing twice i do not see the problem in that if i am not sweating my ass off

  11. I am from a tropical country and if you live there, no one will ever dare to wear the same outfit due to the fact that it is so hot you’ll sweat a lot so part of our hygiene is to shower everyday or twice a day and never repeat an outfit. Now that I live in Europe, I still do not wear the same outfit and I shower everyday whatever the season is, because that’s how I grew up. I won’t feel comfortable not taking a shower and wearing the same outfit. So, culture is also a big factor.

  12. Okay- I too wear my clothing multiple times before washing but mix and match is the KEY!! ( and I do have a chair- to drape these “used/worn clothes” so they don’t mingle with the “cleans”. I will wear the same jeans for a week with a different top. (no one seems to notice). I will wear a shirt twice in a row- if I can accessories different- for example white shirt worn with jeans, white shirt under a blazer, white shirt under a sweater. Capsule wardrobes are all the rage! It’s a thing! Having a only a dozen articles of clothing and 30 plus different “outfit” combinations. So rock it!

  13. It’s a cultural thing. In America, one simply does not wear the same outfit two days in a row. I think it stems from an obsession with cleanliness. In Europe, the practice is much more common.

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