There are a lot of reasons to admire Kate Middleton. Her philanthropic work, her devotion to her children, and let’s not forget that she is a commoner who managed to land a prince basically making her life the same as that of a Disney heroine. But another reason you should admire her? The woman is not afraid to repeat an outfit. In fact, she does it all the time. She finds something that works and she wears it often. And why shouldn’t she? Just because she has a royal budget, why shouldn’t she rewear a beautiful piece of clothing even if it has been photographed?
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But apparently, most of us aren’t as brave as the Duchess of Cambridge (maybe if we all had more tiaras available to us) as according to a new survey of 2,700 professional from Thrive Global and The Business of Fashion about how the way people dress for work affects their psychology. The survey found that 49% of the female respondents reported that they have felt self-conscious about repeating outfits at work. In addition to feeling like you shouldn’t repeat outfits in front of your colleagues, social media now also “kills” outfits. That is why we are seeing so many rental clothing companies pop up. Rent the Runway to start then Le Tote, Style Lend, and Gwynnie Bee to name a few. Now you can even rent workout clothes from Routinely.
The world is encouraging you to never wear the same outfit twice even though it may be your favorite and as a result, women are spending major money on their work attire. The survey found that more than 29% of respondents said they’ve spent $500 or more on work clothes over the past six months, 19% spend $300-$499 and 20% dole out $200-$299. Just a tiny 14% said they spent less than $99.
Though men were included in the monetary results above male professionals are not facing this kind of pressure as their female counterparts. They are expected to just have a few quality suits that they wear to everything.
So women have more pressure on what they wear and are spending more on it? Yes. But according to Diane von Furstenberg women should rethink the whole repeating outfits is a sin school of thought. The fashion designer icon said repeating outfits shows you have a strong sense of style and you are owning it.
She told Thrive, “When you wear something you like — maybe you’ll even get it in different colors — you begin to have your style. I’m all for repetition,” Furstenberg says. Fashion designer Thom Browne told The New York Times recently, “I think there’s something refreshing when you see someone who has a true sense of their own style. There is a real confidence in being able to project that image,’’ he added. “I hope that’s what people see as well.”
If you look into it, you’ll start to notice that many successful people have a work uniform. Steve Jobs clearly sticks out with his signature black turtleneck. But so do Christine LaGarde, Ruth Bader Ginsberg, Sheryl Sandberg, and Hillary Clinton and, of course, Middleton. Not a bad group to be in … even if you are all dressed the same.
This article originally appeared on Ladders, a publication dedicated to breaking news, opinion, analysis and advice at the cutting edge of our changing workplace. For more, sign up for Ladders' newsletter here.