Fashion spotters in Paris had a case of déjà vu last weekend. The newly engaged Kirsten Dunst stepped out to a party for jeweler Chopard, wearing a figure-hugging white frock and a mussed updo. If the look seemed familiar, it's because it was the exact Lacroix minidress that Kirsten worn to the Vanity Fair Oscar party back in 2004. (It seems amazing, but that was 13 years ago!)
Sure, there were a couple changes to the look. In the course of a decade plus, the actress has swapped out her short shag haircut for a sleek updo. And, she traded in her wine-red pumps for black ankle-strap kicks. But it's undeniable that the dress has held onto its appeal while hanging in storage.
Kirsten isn’t alone in her penchant for doubling up on a favorite look.
Famous fashionistas including Kate Middleton and Michelle Obama regularly put their favorite outfits on heavy rotation. “Gone are the days of never being caught in the same outfit twice. Especially if it's one of your go-to, make-you-feel-fabulous ensembles,” says celebrity stylist Toni Ferrara. “We’re becoming a fashion-conscious society in the respect that we are investing in key staple pieces that can be worn multiple times in multiple ways.”
Case in point: Keira Knightley loved the pink Chanel dress she wore to the BAFTA awards in 2008 so much, she also wore it to her civil wedding ceremony five years later. Then, she sported the style again at a charity event.
Keira was quoted in Elle as saying: “Every time I've worn that dress I've had a fantastic night, and if you've got a dress where you've always had a fantastic night, it's worth having another fantastic night in it.” (It’s worth noting that—though praised for being frugal in addition to chic—Keira also had a custom Valentino dress made for a secret second ceremony. That one went for about $63,000.)
So is it a fashion do or don’t to regularly repeat what you wear? Hollywood stylist Anya Sarre, style expert for KTLA for the Oscars, admits it’s a little bit of both. “As a stylist, I like to say that if a celebrity has been seen in something and it’s been worn well, you’ve done it. Move on. As a person, I like to say reuse, repurpose, recycle!"
Okay, so the average person doesn’t want to wear and toss something, but why would a frequently photographed celebrity choose to repeat a look? It may be all about that PR spin. “Obviously, she doesn’t have to do it on purpose," Anya says. "[But] it makes her [look] more like the average woman who has to make do with what’s already in her closet.”
So are there limits to how often you can repeat your fave dress? While the one-and-done culture has trickled down from Hollywood and social influencers, both stylists agree that if you feel fabulous in it, there’s no reason you shouldn’t wear your favorite dress over and over again. “I don't think there is a rule on how many times an outfit can or should be repeated,” says Toni. “At the end of the day, your style is personal. It's about how you look and feel, and what best flatters your figure.”
Toni advises investing in great staples to begin with, like a well-made blazer, dress, jeans, and blouses. “Fashion is now more about empowerment. I've invested in this great blazer, and I'll wear it multiple times.”
As for Kirsten’s look last weekend, Anya says she would have repurposed it with drastically different hair and makeup, and maybe even switched the pumps for booties. “It honestly boils down to accessories,” she says. “Try boots instead of a heel. Add a little fur vest."
But in the end, everyone doubles up. “Just because Kirsten, Michelle Obama and Kate Middleton were spotted in the glossies duplicating their looks, doesn't mean they are the only ones," Toni says. "They were just the ones who were photographed."
The Lookbook is Bravo’s celebration of personal style. We keep you up to date on the inspiring looks from trend-setting stylistas, test and report on the most-coveted fashion and beauty products, and offer solutions to all your style-related conundrums. Like us on Facebook to stay connected to our daily updates.