Your Style Girlfriend

    Dress French: Why You Should Own Fewer Clothes, and Wear Them More Often

    14th May 2013
    I wore the same pair of jeans three days last week.

    One day, I paired my high-waisted, black Naked & Famous skinny jeans with wedges and a button-up. The next, with gray heels and a white sequined top from Madewell (a steal after Christmas at half off!), and the day after that with a blazer and scoop-neck tee.

    At no point did I hear, “Um, Megan…didn’t you wear those jeans yesterday?”

    Because as much as we all like to assume the world revolves around us and our sublime wardrobe choices – no one actually thinks about what you’re wearing as much as you do.

    I noticed this phenomenon when I lived in France my junior year of college. My French friends always looked chic, though I knew none of them had many extra euros to spend on clothes. Was it just because I lived in the south of France yet couldn’t bring myself to give up my navy blue Penn State sweatpants? You know, the ones every girl in college had, the ones with the animal mascot’s paw prints on the butt? Yeah, those.

    Sure, that was part of it.

    One friend would bust out this très chic leather blazer for class..maybe once on Tuesday, and again on Thursday. Always in different outfit combinations. Another had a pair of tall boots that looked great tucked into jeans, or worn with a skirt, or dress.

    Am I suggesting you invest in riding boots, a leather blazer, and high-waisted skinny jeans? No, but I am saying that if you want to wear that blue OCBD twice in one week – once under a sweater, once with jeans and sneakers, go for it. Women will notice that you look nice, not that you’re repeating basics.

    This doesn’t mean I’m letting you off the hook for putting thought and care into your outfits each day – quite the opposite really. I think it’s better to repeat clothes in your closet – really great, quality clothes that you know you look and feel great in – rather than rack your brain to pull together a totally new outfit each day of the week.

    Tell me: What quality basics gets repeat wearings in your wardrobe each week?

    • ilyac

      Pants I tend to repeat pretty often, especially my go-to blue jeans (slacks not as much). And sweaters in the winter as I just don’t have that many.
      About 2 months ago I cleared out a good bit of my closet a lot, getting rid of a lot of things that either I never wore, or that just didn’t fit and were not worth altering. Now I find myself re-wearing a shirt here and there, and your right, no one really notices if you wear the same thing twice in one week. So long as everything is clean and neat (and maybe not the SAME outfit from yesterday), it’s all groovy.
      Now that my closet is down to things I like and fit, I’ll figure out what works and what doesn’t, and maybe prune a little more later on.

      • Style Girlfriend

        Yep, you get it!

    • average joe

      I agree. I only have one pair of jeans from BR that I wear out. And I’ve been doing that for the last year and a half. No one ever says anything about wearing them multiple times

      • kellen owenby

        I’m the same way. Jeans are one of the easiest articles to get away with wearing everyday!

    • average joe
      • Style Girlfriend

        Well, I do love a man who’s confident enough to rock a DB blazer. What do you think of it?

    • Jim Alrutz

      I’m pretty sure I wore the same pair of dark wash jeans nearly every day of winter this year. Not only did no one ever call me out on it, but I continued to get compliments on my appearance just because of nice shirts, nice coats and sweaters, and a couple of great pairs of shoes.

      I’m not suggesting everyone go to this extreme. I have the advantage of being an undergrad where any kind of effort puts me miles ahead of the pack. Plus you need a pair of backup pants when those get soaked in rain/snow. But if something is as basic as basic gets, people probably won’t care how much mileage you’re getting out of it.

      • Brett2142

        Yeah I’ve worn the same pair of jeans since it was too hot last summer. I keep thinking I should get another pair for my rotation. I asked a fairly fashionable girl I know if she ever noticed this and she said no.

        • Style Girlfriend

          That’s definitely a good litmus test!

      • Style Girlfriend

        That definitely helps, but I’m sure you did look nice in your (well-worn) jeans!

    • kellen owenby

      This is all about investment. It allows you to spend your clothing budget on a few quality pieces instead of on 10 ill-fitting poorly made shirts. In the past year, I have really started doing this. I have one pair of jeans (imogene + wille) that I wear pretty much everyday with an Oxford Cloth Button Down. I change out the shoes, colored laces, add a sweater or a denim jacket, and no one I work with has ever said anything about me wearing the same thing all the time…

      • average joe

        I really really want a pair of imogene and willie’s. They’re about 4 hours from me and I’m debating on whether or not i should make the drive so I can try them on vs ordering on line.

        • Style Girlfriend

          Let us know if you end up making the sojourn!

        • kellen owenby

          My groomsmen took me to Nashville for my bachelor party, and bought me a pair of I+Ws. It’s worth it to go there and do a fitting. I went on a Friday night, and they were done being tailored Saturday afternoon. It’s definitely worth the drive. Also, you get to hang out in Nashville. So, double bonus!

      • Style Girlfriend


    • Jarrod

      J. Crew Slim Fit OCBD’s in white and blue take up 4 days of my week, sometimes, as I rotate through my colorful Bonobos chinos *humblebrag*

      • Style Girlfriend

        Nice! I have something brewing on OCBD’s – every guy should own at least a few

        • kellen owenby

          love them!

        • Kevin

          OCBDs are the best shirts ever in the history of shirts or history.

      • kellen owenby

        I’m not sure how the thrifting is where you live, but in ATL, I’ve picked up 5-6 J. Crew OCBD’s in the past 6 months. They fit perfectly (and last forever)!

    • Dan from Wisconsin

      I have two pairs of jeans: one for regular use and one for slight dressing up. So, in other words, I wear the regular-use ones ALL THE TIME and no one says anything because, really, who’s paying attention?

      I also wear the same shoes all the time and no one cares.

      • Style Girlfriend

        Are your day-to-day jeans and your “dressed up” jeans from different brands? Or are your dressed up jeans just nicer because you wear them less? Curious!

        • Dan from Wisconsin

          Yeah, the day-to-day are cheapos I got from Target (I forget the brand). The better jeans are Gap 1969; they’re already nicer but also nicer because I wear them less.

        • kellen owenby

          I have one pair of Gap Selvedge jeans (that I got for $30 on sale) that I only wear on occasions that I want a really dark crisp denim. Then I have another pair that are really worn in and a pair of Imogene + willie’s. I’ve had the crisp pair for over a year and have probably only worn them 5-6 times. It works for me!

    • Francis

      As a guy with an oddly shaped body (5’9″ and deceptively chubby), I’ve always had trouble finding clothes that fit just the way I want them to. This, combined with the fact that I’m on a grad student budget that doesn’t allow much for shopping or tailoring my entire closet, has made recycling shirts and jeans a virtual necessity for me. Luckily, my collection of jackets and shoes helps to provide variety.

      Whatever the case may be, it’s good to know that no one is paying much attention to how often I cycle my shirts haha.

    • Mr. Everyday Dollar

      You can do so much with a minimized wardrobe!

      Shirts – a white and a blue OCBD, a white and a light blue collared shirt, a blue or black two-tone Gingham with one lighter tone, and a striped shirt (light grey stripes works with anything). After you’ve covered these basics, maybe throw in a Chambray shirt and a Madras.

      Sweaters – Black, camel, navy and grey V-necks.

      All those shirts above? You can wear them by themselves or under those V-neck sweaters and look pretty darn good either way. V-neck sweaters are the do-anything and super versatile part of your fall and winter wardrobe. Dress them up with one of the collared shirts or dress them down without. There’s a ton of combinations you have now.

      Pants – a few pairs of chinos (I dig the Alpha Khaki) and 511/514 corduroys. Keep to versatile colors like brown, khaki or grey. A pair of Levi’s 511/514 in a dark wash.

      Shoes – Chuck Taylors in Black and Clark Desert Boots in Beeswax. Super versatile and like Scotch, get better with age.

      • Style Girlfriend

        Yes! Love the Dockers Alpha khakis!

    • DanPatrickFlores

      “When did society decide that we have to change and wash a t-shirt after every individual use? If it’s not dirty, I’m gonna wear it”

      Definitely wearing a white OCBD with jeans and my white Jack Purcells tomorrow, thank you.

      • Style Girlfriend

        What’s that from??

        • Nick P

          Pretty sure he quoted lyrics from “I’m Ready” by Jack’s Mannequin. Check it out!

          • DanPatrickFlores

            Yup, good catch!

    • Kiel

      I wear my jeans for…weeks. I love how they look and feel when they’re really worn in, and I get sad when it’s time to wash them. I justify this by giving them air out time. I usually hang them out as soon as I get home from the office (and change into my house uniform). I also usually rotate with another pair of jeans every couple of days.


    • HelloNurse

      The day anyone starts keeping tabs on my jeans is the day someone notices that I really only wear one pair of jeans…

    • Steven Sharpe

      I have a denim shirt that I adore and wear it buttoned up of layered with a tee. I also have slim corduroy trousers that fit me so well that I want to cry. I try to not wear them all the time but I’m not having much luck haha!

      • Style Girlfriend

        Sounds sharp!

        • Style Girlfriend

          Oh my god, I just saw your last name is Sharpe. I swear I wasn’t going for a pun! Promise :)

          • Steven Sharpe

            Hahaha thanks! I see it as a fortunate coincidence :)

    • Michael Fitchko

      I do this a lot, a prime example being my single pair of jeans (really dark wash 511′s). I literally wore them out to the bar last night with a t-shirt and boat shoes, and again this morning at an interview with a blazer, button up and cole haan wingtips. I pretty much do the same thing with boardshorts over the summer. I’ve mentioned them before, but Lightning Bolt’s Pelican boardshorts easily go day to night.

    • MSB

      About 10 years ago, on a gentlemen’s bet, I wore the same pair of chinos to the office for 3 months. I finally gave it up after I went on vacation, considering the streak broken. Nobody noticed at all.

    • Matt Reeder

      Spot on! Out of everything in my closet, I probably only have 5 or so of each item that are regularly in rotation: shoes, pants, shirts, sweaters, jackets, ties. The rest is all there to make me realize how much I prefer to wear my favorites.

    • Enrique Ollero

      I repeat items all the time. I can’t say that I’m a minimalist in terms of what I own (though I have purged a lot recently), but I do get a lot of use out of what I have, even with some of the more unique items. A different shirt/tie with a sweater one day and a blazer the next can make colored pants fresh and relevant two work days in a week. Unless I sweat profusely in a dress shirt or get it really dirty it goes back on a hanger for another day. And there have been plenty of occasions where one pair of jeans has gone from day to night multiple times in a row – especially when traveling. I won’t be cutting down to a minimalist wardrobe anytime soon, but nothing save for underwear and socks are ever one-and-done for me.

    • TJ

      I try to have such variety in my wardrobe but I really do kind of like this idea of repeating. I keep thinking that people will notice but really, most people don’t care enough about fashion to notice. I will definitely try this idea.

    • Eric

      Wore a pair of light gray cords all winter, probably 4 days a week. Love ‘em.

    • jbird669

      I wear the same pair of khaki chinos twice a week and I have for years. No one notices, other than I look good. :)

    • Janka

      I wear the same pair of raw denim most days of the week. They can be dressed up (sportcoat, wingtips), dressed down (white tee, chuck taylors), or somewhere in between (cotton buttondown, desert boots). Can’t go wrong.

    • deal withit

      Chabray button down (the seams start to fray after 2 years of thorough wear, bummer), boat shoes and black denim pants

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