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Celebrities Are Bringing Climate-Friendly Fashion to the Red Carpet

Celebrities Are Bringing Climate-Friendly Fashion to the Red Carpet

Claudia Jessie at the Bridgerton season 3 premiere

By the time a celebrity steps off a red carpet, their latest outfit choice has already been plastered across the Internet. The media dissects and judges their choices, sometimes listing where the items can be found to recreate the look. And if that outfit has been worn before, it’s probably in the headline too.

While Gigi Hadid and Lil Nas X don new, fabulous outfits at every red carpet event, the United States throws out 34 billion pounds of textile waste every year. Yet taboo surrounds outfit-repeating to the extent that we try not to re-wear outfits too close together, often shopping for new clothing before events.

But a recent movement by celebrities is trying to smash the stigma that surrounds outfit-repeating. So why are huge names re-wearing outfits, even when it’ll be tomorrow’s biggest news and how can we emulate their climate-conscious style in our everyday looks?

Sustainable Red Carpet Repeats

Claudia Jessie, who stars as fan-favorite Eloise Bridgerton, stood with confidence at the recent Bridgerton season 3 premiere red carpet, pairing a blue power suit with chunky green heels.

Claudia Jessie on the red carpet at the Bridgerton season 3 premiere
Claudia Jessie wore a blue power suit with chunky green heels for the Bridgerton Season 3 premiere in NYC. Photo by Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images for Netflix.

She confidently declared, “You will see me in this suit a fair amount.” And we have; a few weeks later, she swept onto The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, wearing the same Stella McCartney ensemble, this time with an updo and white t-shirt.

On the premiere red carpet, after promising we’d see the pinstriped fit again, Jessie explained that she usually buys her clothing second-hand or made-to-last. Buying fewer newly made items means less waste produced from her fashion choices.

Making the Most of a Red-Carpet-Worthy Purchase

In her November 2017 Saturday Night Live monologue, Tiffany Haddish proclaimed that the Alexander McQueen dress she bought for the Girls Trip red carpet would be seen as must as possible, just like Jessie’s blue suit.

“I don’t give a dang about no taboo. I spent a lot of money on this dress,” Haddish said, to the cheers of her audience. “This dress cost way more than my mortgage.”

Her comments on outfit repeating came after thanking anyone who paid taxes between 1990 and 1999, the years that she lived in the foster care system, and explaining how she got to where she is now.

“If another man asked me to marry him, guess what I’d be wearing? This [all-white] dress,” she joked, before also saying she’d be buried in the dress.

Haddish wore the dress at least four times in a year, truly getting enough bang for her buck.

Red Carpet Repetition for a Statement

Female public figures, especially those in politics, are typically scrutinized more for the names and brands they wear than for their opinions or work. Nikki Haley defended her choice to wear heels during a 2023 Republican Presidential debate. Hillary Clinton defended her fashion choices constantly throughout her run for president in 2020.

So while Michelle Obama and Catherine, Duchess of Wales, are forced into the spotlight because of their husbands’ lives, they use both their work and their clothing to make statements. This is especially true as they became some of the most notable outfit-repeaters.

Obama re-wore dresses by little-known designers both to bring more attention to the artists and, similarly to Haddish, for a higher return on investment in the clothing. Moreover, when asked about this, she used the question to make a statement about the inherent sexism behind ignoring when men re-wear the same non-descript tuxedo, while women are constantly asked about their decision to re-wear an outfit. For Obama, outfit-repeating means the chance to flex her style skills, pairing the same dress with different accessories for a new look.

Outfit re-wearing gave Kate Middleton the nickname “thrifty Kate” but also meant the media asked why she re-wore outfits. This gave the Duchess the chance to explain her practices of sustainability, bringing attention to sustainable dressing because of her high status. Similarly to Obama, Middleton pairs repeat outfits with new accessories.

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Making the Old New Again

Finally, for perhaps the most heart-warming reasons to re-wear an outfit, Zendaya and Zahara Jolie both bring old pieces out from the back of the closet.

Zendaya, with at least two huge movie premieres and as chair of the Met Gala, has had a year full of red carpets. That could mean a new closet of clothes just for one movie’s press tour. But she and her stylist Law Roach have consistently pulled from the archives for innovative ensembles. It allows her the chance to pay homage to people who came before her and stun in sustainable looks while she graces the red carpet.

Zahara Jolie follows in her mother’s red carpet fashion footsteps, wearing outfits pulled from Angelina Jolie’s presumably expansive wardrobe. For Jolie’s Eternals premiere, Zahara and her siblings upcycled pieces from their mother’s closet. Not only did this represent the choice to dress sustainably, but Angelina’s children also got to honor their mother through their clothes.

As celebrities become more climate-conscious, and the newest celebrities await their next paycheck, outfit repeating is becoming even trendier. Perhaps because Zendaya — one of our generation’s biggest personalities — repeats outfits, it’s cool if we do it too.

So How Do You Make Repeats Cool?

Whether you’re looking to spend less money or waste less materials, you can do what the biggest names in fashion and entertainment do — even if it’s off the red carpet. Here are a few tips to outfit repeat in style:

  1. Layer: Take advice from the gods of early 2000s fashion and layer, layer, layer. Throw on a different jacket, a fluffy sweater, or a cool pair of tights. Use these layers to make a fun summery dress a little more winter-appropriate, and open up the whole other half of your wardrobe to the season changes.
  2. Accessorize: Changing up your jewelry, your earrings, or your bags can add a fresh outlook to how your outfit comes together.
  3. Shoes! A funky boot, a pair of sandals, your white kicks, or a set of pumps not only refreshes an outfit but can make a dress or skirt appropriate for more types of events. Sneakers can bring a dress from going out to brunch next Sunday.
  4. Shop sustainably: If you do desire to go shopping for a new outfit for your next event, look at thrift stores, or even your mom’s closet. There are gems hidden beyond your typical big-box store.
  5. Don’t worry what other people think: This one is hard. We’re all victims of it. Just a reminder: Realistically, you’re the only one thinking about your ability or tendency to repeat an outfit. Even if your Instagram followers notice or care that you repeated an outfit, who cares? Wear what you want! But maybe help the planet a little bit by wearing that dress you love one more time. Your wallet will thank you too.
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