I went to my friends’ wedding last weekend, hosted at Shiplake College in Henley-on-Thames. The venue was incredible, the weather was beautiful, the speeches made us weep, and there was a BBQ to boot at the bride’s parents’ house the following day. Just lovely.
I bought this dress in 2010, £95 from Monsoon for the first wedding I’d ever been to, which was my cousin’s. I felt a bit late to the I’ve been to a wedding crew at the crinkly old age of 19. Since then I’ve worn it to (at least) three more weddings and an opening night for an exhibition I put on.
It was Heidy Rehman (who I recently interviewed here on Susty Girl) that told me that when Kate Middleton wore the same dress twice, it was an act regarded as “thrifty” – and other celebs have been similarly been “caught out” donning the same gown they’ve been snapped in before. Thankfully, Heidy’s come up with the #WearItAgain hashtag to promote the idea of – good god – wearing something more than once.
As Emma Watson said, wearing something at least 30 times is a sustainable purchase. For a glam dress – if you don’t go to a ton of posh dos – that’s actually a lot. Luckily, I plan to keep this dress (and whip it out again and again) for a long time.
But surely that’s not easy, right? In the filtered, curated realm of social media, why on earth would we want to be seen wearing the same thing? (Sad, but true).
The good news is that half of the weddings I wore this dress to were with different friendship/family groups in different parts of the country, so the dress is new to them. In the ones where it was two friends from school getting married, they were a couple of years apart, so 1. No-one cares 2. No-one would remember what I was wearing the last time. If I’m wearing that dress once every couple of years, it still feels like an occasion!
But the main thing about wearing this dress whenever I can is that: I LOVE it! It fits well, it’s glam but comfortable and you can pull out some embarrassing dance moves without fear that a wardrobe faux pas will ensue. A navy shift dress is fairly timeless, and not too risqué. I have other dresses that are super slinky (that you’re always pulling down at the back) or strapless (so you’re always pulling it up at the front). Of course, if you’re more generously endowed in the boob department than I am, a strapless or low cutting dress might be your perfect companion. I also have a cream dress that is attracted to strawberries and red wine… navy hides a multitude of sins. You might be more of a pillar-box red kind of girl. Rock it!
Those black heeled booties (in the top photo) are also ones I drag out again and again. They were £35 from M&S – by no means crazily expensive, but pretty well made, and I just think they’re adorable, so I always love wearing them. Contrary to all of these pictures, I’m pretty casual and slobbish, so I don’t wear heels or dress up very often – so when I do, I feel special even if it’s the same old clobber.
Honestly though, this dress harbours a lot of memories with friends over the years. Just looking through pictures above makes me feel all nostalgic. Some of my best days (and nights) have been in this dress, which makes it pretty special. It has loads of stories to tell. Who knows, maybe it could be passed down to my babies one day.
Want a love-me-long-time dress? Here’s some tips to finding the one you’ll wear again and again:
- Invest wisely
The main objective is to find something that makes you feel like Beyonce but without concern about your boobs/butt falling out, tripping over yourself or generally wanting to hide in the restroom all night. Extra points if you can wear it to multiple functions. Sometimes you can look a million dollars in something yet feel like a total toad if it’s not your style – and it’s likely you won’t wear it again. Classic shapes are good so that your dress doesn’t date, and it’s worth investing a little more dosh in it: no need to go too crazy, though. £95 for the dress above might be a little more than finding the latest bodycon on ASOS, but it’s hardly outrageous in the wallet department. It’ll likely be a brand that’s a bit more generous with the fabric, and better made – so it’ll last longer.
That said, my go-to Little Black (Karen Millen) Dress was from a second-hand store for a mere £22, which was probably around £150 new. There are certainly bargains to be found! As an aside, this dress isn’t quite apt for a wedding ceremony *slinky* – great for a night out, though.
- Treat it right
If it says dry clean only, then dry clean it only. This is the case for my dress above as it has a lot of intricate sequin work on the front. That said, if dry cleaning is a pain in the a**, consider buying a dress that you can wash at home.
- Same dress, different look
Mix up your look with different accessories. For example, my dress above could be teamed with silver or gold jewellery. If you’re heading to a (hot) foreign land, you might trade heels for grecian sandals. Also, do your hair differently – if it was straight last time, try curly next time, or what about a cute side bun?
- Wear someone else’s
Really like to wear a new dress each time? Head over to the charity shops in the affluent part of your town – you’re bound to find something in perfect condition that someone’s only worn once or twice. If you’re really that way inclined, you could wear it once and return it back to the same shop. More money for charity, eh? If you’re into your designer labels, you can also rent a dress for the night. Or – emergency time crunch – raid your friends’ wardrobes!
I’d love to know what you think. Is it socially acceptable to wear the same dress for lots of occasions? Do you have a go-to outfit or like to wear something new? What are your thrifty tips? Leave a comment below 🙂