As I’ve worked with clients and refined my own wardrobe, I’ve found that there are three ways that we duplicate items, and each one addresses a different need. It may seem counterintuitive, but item duplication is often a practical and cost-effective wardrobe strategy because the items are tried and tested favourites that will end up having a very low cost per wear.
Same Item, Different Colour
This is when you’ve bought exactly the same item across different colours because you love it so much. Or you couldn’t decide which colour option was best at the time, so you caved and bought both. You might even like the item enough to purchase more than two colours.
I am not in the habit of purchasing multiples of a fashion item across different colours at once, but I do purchase multiple colours over time and from season to season. I road-test the item first, realize it’s a workhorse, and want another colour up to a year later. I’ve done this with J.Crew’s cashmere Tippi pullovers, purchasing the neon pink one year and the neon yellow the next. Same goes for J.Crew’s Thomas Mason Tuxedo Shirt that I first purchased in white, and then in light blue a year after that. I loved my pony ankle strap Okala pumps so much that I got them in a cheetah pattern a few months later when I realized that I want to wear that style of shoe with everything. And my Boden cream and ink stripy sweatshirt was getting so much action that I ordered the same style in red and white three months later.
A different colour in the same style provides variety in a look that you love, which is why I encourage clients to go this route. But in the same breath I tend to discourage more than two colours because the third or fourth colour is usually orphaned. This isn’t always true, but over-duplication can be problematic. It’s often better to go for a different style altogether to ensure a better bang for your fashion buck.
Same Item, Same Colour
This is when you duplicate the item in exactly the same colour because you keep reaching for it and wear it in multiple outfits. So to prevent laundry bottlenecks, you double up, or even triple up. This item is frequently a wardrobe essential or a wardrobe basic. I often encourage this kind of duplication to clients because the item is the magical piece that allows them to create several outfits that look and feel different from each other. So in this case, although the item is exactly the same, having multiples provides outfit variety because you can wear it in many ways.
I double up on the same item in the same colour quite often, but unless the item is a wardrobe basic I seldom buy multiples at the same time. I typically have an item for a while before identifying that it needs duplication. I duplicated my white KUT from the Kloth boyfriend jeans this year because I reach for the ones I got last year more than my premium denim blue boyfriend jeans. I’m really into my white capsule this year and I’m wearing both pairs regularly.
I recently duplicated my boxy white J.Crew tuxedo shirt after wanting to wear it with everything now that our weather has warmed up. It’s “my T-shirt” and injects a good dose of modern and current into my outfits. Now I don’t have to feel annoyed when one of the shirts is at the cleaners. I also doubled up on exactly the same pony ankle strap Okala pumps because the ones I have are looking a little shabby from too much wear. Now I have a brand new pair to bust out so that I won’t be disappointed when I have to pass on the older ones.
I also purchase basics like socks, knickers, bras, hosiery and camisoles in multiples in the same colour at once because it’s practical, and I’m pretty sure that’s a common item duplication strategy.
Same Item, Different Size
This way of duplicating is a little less common, but works for some of my clients. For example, I have clients who have purchased the same style of boyfriend jeans in more than one size in order to create a different outfit vibe with each pair. When they are in the mood for a sleeker look, they wear the smaller size. When they are in the mood for a fashionable baggy look, they wear the larger size. Some clients purchase the same top in two sizes for the same reason. They like to wear the larger size with jeans and trousers, and the smaller size with skirts.
I also have clients who purchase the same item across two sizes because their weight fluctuates. That way they can always wear the size that is most comfortable with their current shape.
Do these duplicating strategies resonate with you? Have you ever over-duplicated on an item?