Duped by dupes? Or dedicated to them?

We have had this conversation on the forum before but Irina's recent observations about duplication in her goals thread, and the very interesting responses made me think it might be time to revisit the subject. 

I was about to respond on her thread that I "never" duplicate, or almost never. And you know...8 months ago if I had said it, it would have been entirely true. Except for socks, undies, bras, PJs, a pair of sneakers I have repeated a bunch of times, and some Blondo booties, I had pretty much nothing in my closet that was an exact duplicate or a dupe in different colour from anything else. 

Then I thought of my more recent shopping. ;)  What is going on here? I have just purchased a ton of dupes! 

Let's start with the white oxfords. I loved them so much I bought a second pair to save for when the first pair bites the dust. They are sitting in their box in my closet. But that wasn't enough. I also bought a near dupe in a different colour. (Not quite as great, but still frequently worn.) 

There is the J. Crew cotton sweater -- same sweater in white and in navy. Both frequently worn in their season, the blue worn perhaps slightly more, but definitely not to the exclusion of the white. 

The J. Crew garçonne shirt, which I now have in 3 colourways, 2 of them striped! Also all worn, though I tend to wear them in different seasons despite the fabric being the same. 

Wit and Wisdom pants....one in charcoal plaid and one in navy. Both in constant rotation. I wear each pair at least once per week, and usually wear one pair twice a week. 

Ecco booties in cream and black patent. Again, both are in constant rotation. I do not seem to be favouring one over the other in this season, although I suspect in the long run I will wear the cream more because I'll like cream in spring/ fall/ winter and the black is mostly a winter thing for me. 

Pom Pom London bags in red and silver -- identical bag. I also got a bunch of guitar straps -- same strap, different colourway, interchangeable on these bags and my Furla satchel and my Coach bag. I haven't really had time to use the bags much yet because they were my Christmas gift to myself, but given my previous experience with two older, soon to be retired backpacks (see below) I expect both will go into heavy rotation. 

The white Ecco sneaker is a repeat style -- I update it every two years. I also duplicated in silver at a sale price and put it away for next spring. 

The Blondo booties are two remaining from an original 4 pair! (The black and taupe were worn out.) These ones do not get as much wear because they are more distinctive so they are in great shape. They date from 2018/19. I don't wear them a ton any more but I do still wear them. 

My question: What the heck is going on!?!?!?!?! 

Have I become a secret (or not so secret) uniform dresser? Have I figured out a good formula? Have I lost all originality or even my senses?  This represents a large proportion of my year's shopping (plus a few older items.) 

In all seriousness, I'm not too worried about it because I'm wearing and loving all these items, which has not always been the case for me with past duplications -- I absolutely hear Irina and others of you who have mentioned that you tend not to duplicate in another colour because one will inevitably get worn more often, etc. That was always my past experience, too! 

This post is also published in the youlookfab forum. You can read and reply to it in either place. All replies will appear in both places.

40 Comments

  • Angie replied 6 months ago

    HAH :)

    Never say never, Suz!

    I am on Team Duplicate, and the strategy works well for me.

    I duplicate in three ways:

    • Same item across different colours, and patterns, and all items are in current rotation.  
    • EXACTLY the same brand new item is in a box ready to go when the current one I'm wearing is finished. I do this with footwear only. 
    • EXACTLY the same items are duplicated and in current rotation. I do this with wardrobe basics: knickers, camisoles, socks, bras.
  • Kate replied 6 months ago

    I am a serial duplicator, and I do consider myself a uniform dresser.

    I have duplicated everything from wardrobe basics like camisoles, underwear and bras, to footwear to outerwear (two Uniqlo/Jil Sander collab puffers). My duplicates tend to be the exact same style in different colors or patterns.

    Only once have I bought the exact same item in the same color. It was a pair of Uniqlo high rise curved leg ponte pants in black and in mustard. I have dupes of both, since I love that style and was afraid it would be gone in a season. Which they were. Still have 'em, still wear 'em.

  • Irina replied 6 months ago

    I never duplicate an item  in a same color unless it’s underwear but it seems as if I can’t get enough of it. 

    For example, I bought three identical Uniqlo dresses and asked my DH for help because I liked all the colors. I kept one, white with black but I know without him I would’ve kept the blue with black, too. Like when I bough two linen dresses. Just yesterday I bought two Marimekko and Uniqlo turtleneck tops. I’m planning to use them differently and wore one today already but still, have to be careful. Duplication doesn’t make my wardrobe more interesting. 

  • Roberta replied 6 months ago

    I am afraid that in the past I went to the dark side of duplication, because I didn't always know what I already owned, and wound up with four navy skirts, for example. Now I treat duplication like the Babadook, and give it a hard stare to make it run away if I'm not absolutely convinced I need it.

    Two years ago I bought the Banana Republic knit hoodie in two colors, more or less by accident. I'm really glad now I have both of them because I wear them very often. But in my closet this is the exception to my rule/guideline of no duplicates. I really had to embrace the idea that when something I love is worn out, I thank it for its service and then look for something new and different that I will love just as much. Otherwise, an already plentiful wardrobe would be three times as big. Just one woman's opinion, of course.

  • Bijou replied 6 months ago

    I’m firmly on team duplication for all the reasons Angie mentioned. For me it is most evident in support act pieces like t-shirts and knits or for a collection, such as my Bao Bao bags or favourite sneakers. I enjoy being a uniform dresser.

  • Jenni NZ replied 6 months ago

    I do… somewhat. I always do with basics as Angie says: partly that’s because those are sold as more than one at a time, like a pack of two undies or a pack of 3 black pairs of socks. I have 3 different colours of a well-liked bra. I like the bras to have a degree of matching to the clothes I am wearing, even it’s only me who knows. Sometimes with white that’s because black would show through. I get a secret thrill out of my yellow bra though when it’s under yellow clothes!
    With clothing, sometimes it’s because it’s a BOGO situation ( I had to ask Runcarla what she meant when she first used that term- it’s buy one get one, either free or half off or similar.) I try to be careful about that and be pretty sure I would wear both or the three so that I’m not filling my closet unnecessarily and making it more difficult to get my #30wears.
    It worked well for my 2018 x2 black scoop-neck 3/4 sleeve layering tops: $18.74 each with the discount, one by now worn 66 times and one 65 times, so both tops under 33c a wear by now. I like them a lot in late autumn/early winter/late winter/early spring. Not quite warm enough for deep winter. It possibly worked well for those because I specifically chose the brand and size that I had a previous teal top in, which I knew fitted well and looked good. That one has gone now as it was well older than 2018 and I had tired of it. Would the black top still be in use if there had only been one and it had had 131 wears? It was good having two to prevent laundry bottlenecks as well.
    I will have other examples but will come back.

  • Suz replied 6 months ago

    Thank you all. Angie, it sounds like I now duplicated in all the ways you do. But in the past I would only have duplicated basics, and (rarely) a repeat item (like the Ecco sneakers) which I even more rarely might buy at an end of season sale in advance, for the next year. Now I've done that, and duplicated same item, different colourway, in current rotation. 

    Irina, I love your new dress and the Marimekko tops! You always find the best stuff at Uniglo! Those tops are very simple and easy layering items but also have some presence in themselves so they seem like an excellent purchase in your core neutrals. I fear what you allude to -- that by duplicating so much I will make my wardrobe less interesting. That may indeed be what I have done this year. But if it is less interesting, it is also extremely wearable. Which wasn't so much the case in the past 2 or 3 years, probably because I was due for a big refresh overall. Hmmm...I wonder. 

    Jenni, those BOGO situations are ones I really try to be careful of, and like Roberta, give the whole thing the side-eye, because those are the ones in the past that have messed me up. I do better, I think, when I have worn and loved something thoroughly and then seek to duplicate -- like your black tops which were similar to the teal. 

    Kate, it is interesting that it is such a successful strategy for you. And you do see yourself as a uniform dresser. That makes sense. If you know it works, it works! 

    Bijou, now this is fascinating because I would never have pegged you as a uniform dresser! Your pieces all feel so unique, or you put them together in unique ways. I love what you say about "collections." That is another way to look at it. Perhaps I have a "collection" of garconne shirts. :) Maybe I need another couple to qualify for that....

  • Jenni NZ replied 6 months ago

    I really liked what Roberta said. I had to Google the Babadook though!
    I would not be in the situation of not knowing what was in my wardrobe because I have been cataloguing it for almost 8 years and know exactly what is in it. Thus I can think ahead about whether say a BOGO deal might be worthwhile in very specific instances. I also take the clothing lists B&M shopping with me, or while browsing online can check them if getting more serious about a purchase.
    I only have one other successful BOGO purchase, from this past year, 3 skivvies where I made a special trip to a store 20
    minutes away because I still had one of 3 skivvies of the same brand from about 2007 and wanted more! I was able to buy one size down as weight loss since 2007 but still wear the now 16-year old one happily. It was black, I bought one new black, one navy, and one bright blue. All 4 got worn during the winter. I took the knitwear I planned to wear with them to the store to try on with them. They were on quite a good discount buying 3 but I thought about it hard. I thought if these lasted 16 years as well it might be good going!
    I do love Roberta’s idea of thanking something for its service though and learning to love something new as much or better. It’s how we refresh, right?

  • pirouette replied 6 months ago

    Another uniform dresser here who duplicates and triplicates all the time. I find so little I like and that fits that if I do find something I usually buy two or in some cases three of the exact same item. I know my wardrobe is boring as I also don’t like colour but it works for me and makes getting dressed and packing for holidays easy. To an outsider I look like I have a very small wardrobe but in reality I would have at least 200 items not including underwear and gear. I have a fear of not being able to find clothes that I like and no matter how I rationalise it the fear won’t go away.

  • Sal replied 6 months ago

    I don’t see you as a boring dresser Suz - I think this is working again to build up your closet after the refresh. Potentially for the next year or two whilst these items are on good shape you may add just single pieces to add to existing uniforms or capsules.

    It’s interesting to observe and see if it continues.

  • Olive Green replied 6 months ago

    My closet is starting to look full as I duplicate winners, especially when they go on sale. And before they disappear forever in the fashion churn. It works now because I have a strong idea of what works for my current lifestyle and body, which was not the case in decades previous. Experimentation does not encourage duplication. 
    I was also influenced by shopping with DH. He simply plops down in a mens wear store, buys duplicates of EVERYTHING in coordinating colours, and wallah! Shopping over for the next three years! Wardrobe that works!
    Easier for men, but not out of the question for women. 
    Yes, more boring but such an easy closet to shop.

  • replied 6 months ago

    Team serial duplicator checking in :)

    Identical duplicates- bras, knickers, socks, sleeping tops. I want my basics uniform, and not a hodgepodge of different brands and such. Unfortunately I can't always find the exact item again :(

    Different color duplicates- most other areas! It does not always work for me, cause I don't wear things equally, and sometimes the style ends up not working out well, but often it does.

    Repeat buys. My MK cognac bag and my burgundy tall boots were repeats. Cognac bag is a workhorse, burgundy boots not so much cause the heels get chewed up in my rocky driveway. If I had more space, I would probably do Angie's footwear strategy, though she walks far more than I do!

    In general, it works for me. I don't want to reinvent the wheel every time I shop!

  • Dee replied 6 months ago

    Yep I’m a duplicator, I do it with my core basics like underwear, bras and socks but I’ve also duplicated some of my tops as well but in different colours. This is perhaps where I should have put in more thought about my true colour preference and just duplicated the preferred colour instead of going with a different one. I thought I’d be providing myself with more variety but instead I often end up with a top that’s not getting much wear for whatever reason. Its not all bad because I like the cut and fabric of these items, so there’s always hope that they’ll eventually get more wears after the preferred colour bites the dust. 

  • Chris987 replied 6 months ago

    Dedicated and serial duplicator here, and happy to be so.  There are very few wardrobe categories where I have zero dups. My reason is the same as pirhouette’s:  "I find so little I like and that fits that if I do find
    something I usually buy two or in some cases three of the exact same item.".   
    Like her, it takes me a lot of shopping to find something that fits and I like, so I try to save myself even more shopping time by duplicating.  I have exact duplicates in underwear, socks, fitness gear, underlayers …shopping for them is not fun and having too many options when getting dressed is annoying (for me). I have color dups for sleepwear, shoes, jackets, tops,  coats, sweater, and jeans/pants. I even have a couple of dups in handbags. I am a classic and relatively uniform dresser so it all works. The list of finds would be too long to show!

     

  • Star replied 6 months ago

    I used to duplicate long ago and I always found the one got worn more than the other, usually the first one.  Or I would buy 2 at once thinking this is just so fab and usually it was a mistake to do so.  This was when I was in my clothes accumulating phase and shopping retail.  Now that I mostly shop 2nd hand it is impossible to duplicate.  I did duplicate a nude colour tissue turtleneck that was working wonders as underwear and guess what, the second one was not the same.  At face value it was but the one takes much longer to dry (which is a pain in winter) and with a closer look I noticed the one was made in Turkey and the one in China, slightly different material content and the one is shorter.  The retail brand must have changed their supplier the next year.  So I still wear the first one more!

  • cat2 replied 6 months ago

    I don’t really duplicate except for shoes and purses. Shoes because the styles go in cycles where some years it can be quite difficult to find something I like, and so I tend to stock up so I can make it without shopping. Purses because I am really fussy about their functionality and when I find a design that works I tend to stick with it. I have tote, satchel and wristlet dupes. I tried duplicating clothing when I first stocked my WFH wardrobe and it was fine, but I got a bit bored wearing the same cut of cargos with the same cut of long sleeve tee.

  • Joy replied 6 months ago

    I duplicate basics in the same color but a slightly different style or texture to prevent laundry back ups. Often one piece gets switched for a duplicate the same day because of spills or something getting wet. It is good for me to have a backup waiting in the wings, I have had bad luck duplicating the same item in a different color and will seldom do it any more.

  • Runcarla replied 6 months ago

    Being a uniform dresser and having reduced shopping options has resulted in lots of duplication.  However 2023 has seen a higher number of duplicates than previous years. I wonder what’s up?  


    Since I keep track of wear counts, I do see some patterns where one colour gets worn more than another (red beret) but in other cases wear numbers are fairly even (Eddie Bauer shorts).

  • Helena replied 6 months ago

    Team dupe here too, although I can't say there is much strategy behind it. Sometimes I like a piece a lot of there are several appealing colours that I feel I'll wear so I buy multiple at once, sometimes I add a different colour later, sometimes I replace like for like. Generally it's successful but not always (my recent Blondo misadventure e.g.). I'm don't need huge variation on my outfits so it's a useful strategy which I should perhaps be more conscientious about using to my advantage!

    ETA - as I put all the Finds in (not all dupes shown, but all pieces are duped!) I realize that my dupe rate has been lower recently but has been higher in the past ... I suspect that is because I've been feeling my way into an updated silhouette and doing some rut-busting that last couple of years ... however as I feel more settled stylewise, I wonder if my dupe rate will creep up again? It will be interesting to observe!

  • Peri replied 6 months ago

    Definite duplicator here, and I'm with Chris and pirouette for the reasons. I am so hard to please, and find shopping so tedious, that if I really like something I'm going to get more of it. Most of my duplicating falls in the same item/different color camp. I have basically two sweaters and I have each in 5-6 colors. One of my summer tops is so loved that I have it in 2 solids and 4 prints. In all seriousness, I doubt anyone looks closely enough at me to know these things are the same. I think people notice color and that's it. 

    For pants it's even tighter, several exact duplicates and that's all I wear. I'm very much a uniform dresser but any creativity I have goes into accessories. Who even notices if all my black pants are the same ones? I'll distract them with color and interesting jewelry.

    For regrets, I've had a few (snicker). Once I ruined a top that couldn't be replaced and I was sad for a long time. But I've also had a few cases where my dupes took the form of "just in case" backups and by the time the first one wore out I was less interested in the backup. So I think the best thing for me is to buy dupes for current rotation and not for the future.

    Suz, you are much more of a creative dresser so I can totally see how my take on duplicating would not be really the thing for you, or for many fabbers like you!

  • Suz replied 6 months ago

    Thank you all for your replies. This is really interesting! 

    It seems that many of us duplicate basics (undies, camisoles, etc.) in the exact same colour or a different one. (Angie, Suntiger, Chris, Jenni, Kate, Joy, and more. Waving to my team mates here. The reasons seem to be: we like matching undies (raises hand) and we are hard to fit (raises hand, at least where bras are concerned) and we dislike shopping for these items, considering it a bore and a chore compared to shopping for other stuff (ditto). 

    When it comes to clothing, some of you admit to (or revel in) being uniform dressers and suggest that as the reason you duplicate. Which makes sense. Either because you don't like shopping, or you like efficiency, or you like to limit your silhouettes within a season (or always), buying up dupes makes a lot of sense. 

    What I notice about duplication is that it can offer a certain amount of comfort. At the same time, it can also facilitate gentle experimentation in those of us who are perhaps less adventurous.

    Particularly as silhouettes shift -- when you find a new item that works really well for you, if you see it again in a colour or pattern you also like, that can promise both a certain amount of safety (this one fit and looked good so that one will as well) and a certain amount of experimentation or fun (oooh, I've been looking for a top in that shade for ages...or oooh, that will work with my other pants, etc.) 

    Peri, thank you for your kind comment.  I think of a truly creative dresser as someone like our Jaime, who dresses briliantly from thrift, or Jonesy, who has an amazing hi-low style, or Brooklyn, who goes the distance to boss her clothes around and who plans ahead in terms of what she is trying to accomplish. I think I might be on my way to that as I continue to refine my own style, but I'm not really there yet. :) I am still more of a "what's available at retail" that generally fits my style parameters kind of dresser. (I'm not trying to put myself down here; I like my wardrobe and like how I wear my clothes! Just saying it's a process or maybe a creative journey and I'm still in the beginning stages (10 years into starting to put effort into it, LOL.) 

    Carla -- yes, what is up with all our recent dupes?? Maybe it is because we needed a major refresh this year? From the photos, it looks to me as if you have duplicated core essentials, either in another of your core neutrals or in one of your key accent colours (so one becomes a kind of completer piece). I've done something similar -- I buy in two key neutrals (the sweaters, the pants, the footwear). Or I buy and rebuy a style that just plain works really well. I mean, I go in with the goal to dress as a garçon -- how can I resist a garçonne shirt when I adore button front shirts anyway, when I haven't updated my capsule of shirts in a long time, and when I love love love the cut of this one? Anyway. All of this makes sense because although my wardrobe is nowhere near as tight as yours, I think we go about building our closet in a similar way and we share a classic style gene. And, quite crucially, we are at a point where we both know our style pretty well. 

    Helena, it makes perfect sense to me that you might duplicate less as you dip your toes into a style shift/ new silhouettes. It goes with your personality and your approach -- you've been cautious and don't want to overspend on dupes until you feel more secure. I think in most cases, your dupes work really well for you. 

    cat2 "the same cargoes with the same top" -- yes, this is the fear, right? I learned pretty early on in my WFH life that I get more bored by wearing the same silhouette all the time than I do by wearing the same colours all the time (much as I love colour). So I need options in silhouette. This does lead to a larger wardrobe, though, because you often need different tops to work with different bottoms. Sigh. 

    Star, you make a really good point about second hand shopping. I intend to shop more second hand this year myself, but I realize it is because I may be looking more for completer or statement items. Which makes it easier. I hope it's not cheating! 

    Chris, it makes perfect sense that you would duplicate when you find something that fits and that you like. There are risks, too, though -- at least fo me -- the main one being a sense of boredom with what you have. 

    Dee, I'm not surprised you duplicate -- I think your duplication mirrors mine and Carla's, because we start from similar style sensibilities. 

    Suntiger -- wow, you have some beautiful dupes! I'm not surprised you bought the exact same MK bag. As cat2 said, function in purses is so key and when you find a shape and a functionality that fits your style -- grab it! 

    Olive Green, you raise a really good point -- it really only makes sense to duplicate if you know your style and your needs extremely well. Sometimes maybe we get caught up in this -- if we have duplicated well in the past, but forget that we are now living a different lifestyle or in a different climate, we might get fooled. 

    Sal, you are right -- it will be interesting to see if I continue to duplicate as much I suspect not, for the next while. 

    Pirouette, that is so interesting -- the fear that you might not find what you need in future. I wonder where that is coming from? But it is great that you feel you always have something you can wear and you can pack easily, etc. A wardrobe that works for you! 

    Jenni, it makes sense that Roberta's comment about thanking the item would resonate for you. You used to have trouble letting go of items but now you have figured out a way to do that and feel less bad about it. 

  • Jenni NZ replied 6 months ago

    Ha, Suz, I hope that will help! See my own thread about having trouble editing!

  • Julie replied 6 months ago

    Apparently I am uniform dresser and hard-core duplicator, for many of the reasons mentioned by others. I have exact duplicates of my favorite jeans and my favorite summer linen pants and if all my basics and tees. But a quick survey reveals 2 of many other essential -for-me wardrobe items, usually one gray and one blue of the exact same item...it is quite something when viewed all together! Everything gets worn. I think it helps me not be overwhelmed by options?
    Was just thinking about trying to find an exact duplicate of my bathing suit...

  • Irina replied 6 months ago

    I think that for me it works to duplicate when items are purely functional. From November to April I daily wear a pair of Uniqlo fleece lined sweatpants and a cashmere turtleneck. I have 3 of each in different colors. This is my pool/evening walks uniform. 

    I also realized that I duplicate jeans - a hard to find item. Make sense to me. 

  • Ket replied 6 months ago

    I think you're onto something. I know you encouraged me to get more of my green bohemian rockabilly dress in other colors ;) Which I actually have done. I love the outfit. Mixing up the colors but keeping the same look will be fun. I am looking for new secret uniforms myself. And I do think they involve dupes, to some degree or another. 


    I also can't tell you how many times I've kicked myself for buying only one of a beloved item. When it wears out, I cry because there are usually no more to replace it. 

  • Jaime replied 6 months ago

    Duplication doesn't really come up that often for me, but it does occasionally. I would not hesitate to dupe a pair of shoes that have proven their worth (and have done so in different colors). I would also happily dupe a successful pair of jeans or even basic top. And certainly bras and the like. Yes, I would say I am a duper.
    (And thank you for the shout out Suz, I am blushing.)

  • SarahD8 replied 6 months ago

    This has been a super interesting discussion! Thanks for starting it, Suz. What I find most interesting about your original post is that last year was a big wardrobe refresh year for you...but upon examination you bought a lot of duplicates. That is not what I would have expected! (I am not saying it was wrong of course..and as you note you are wearing the items a lot so the proof is in the pudding...but it does seem counterintuitive. Hmmm...)

    I am a BIG duplicator.

    If I find an item that works for me I will often buy it in multiple colors/patterns. I own several examples of the same sweater in multiple colors, and I've purchased about half a dozen of J Crew's pintuck popover over the years. It is a surprisingly feasible strategy if you shop secondhand *online*. I think the reason I'm drawn to this strategy is that I have a high affinity for color and pattern mixing, but a low affinity for proportion play. So if I find an item that is a good shape/fabrication/proportion for me then "same thing but different color" works well for creating variety.

    I don't always wear all iterations of an item evenly, but as mentioned on Irina's thread that doesn't necessarily bother me or seem like a "failure" to me. After all, most of us don't wear our clothes evenly no matter how we divide them up into categories...it's ok if some items are less versatile.

    I have also purchased a couple of especially beloved items a second time when the first one wore out (e.g., my burgundy patent Blondo boots, and my yellow sunflower sundress). As well as things like heattech items and undies, I will occasionally have two of the exact item in rotation at the same time -- e.g., Eileen Fisher skirt leggings (which I also own in multiple colors!). I have not bought a second copy to hold in reserve when the first wears out, as Angie does with footwear...but I'm considering it!

    Oh and then there are the canvas plimsolls that are such a staple for me in summer...I have bought them in two different colors, and have purchased each color multiple times!

    Pitfalls of duplication:
    -two different colors of an item may have slightly different cut or fabrication, and one doesn't work as well.
    -the style name/number is the same but they change the fit or fabrication over time.
    -if I realize after a time that some characteristic of the item falls short for me...well now I have multiple garments with the same drawback.

  • Zaeobi replied 6 months ago

    I duplicate exactly in underwear and footwear (comfy wireless bras, FitFlop sandals and wider fit shoes) because I'm not too adventurous in those categories anyway.

    I colour copy (lol) my underlayering tops though - most of my basic long sleeved tops, 3/4 sleeves and turtlenecks are from Nomads or Seasalt Cornwall, whereas my essential versions (the tissue thin ones) are from Intimissimi and Yoox. Does that technically count as a change in silhouette too? Now I'm confused, lol! I've repurchased over the years.

    I have yet to track wears but I'm sure some colours get worn more than others - but it's worth it to me because that's how I add interest to my looks (texture & shine usually come from my accessories, though I'm improving with my outerwear capsule these days lol).

    I suppose it comes down to *how* you add interest to your looks - I use jewellery & scarves, so my clothes & shoes are boring (in comparison). E.g. those who use funky toppers but classic underlayers are likely to duplicate those (Joan Rivers comes to mind). Or those who don't wear foundation but own lots of lipsticks in different shades and finishes? Just my theory :)

  • Ginger replied 6 months ago

    I have always duplicated a lot, at least for the same item in different color. I'm very particular, so if the fit and purpose is a winner, it just makes sense to get the colors I know I will use. I duplicate tops when the colors are good, but also cardigans, Prairie Underground long hoodies, and casual shoes.  I'm up to 8 (!!!!!) hoodies! But that is dependent upon what shows up on ebay for a good price. I have more Emmy cardigans than that, but they are different models.

    Technically I duplicate with my big skirts as well; I have over a dozen I've made in different materials, from linen to velvet, with only 2 patterns. 

    But I've had plenty of duplicating fails in the past. What I make myself do now is consider how I would use each item. It doesn't matter how much I love that boat-neck Boden tee, I'm not going to reach for the navy one. And I am picky about blue tops with blue jeans, even though blue is one of my best colors.

    What about colors that are used more than others? That actually doesn't bother me, unless they are actually splitting wears. I don't expect all of my clothes to get equal wear. But I try not to get multiples of identical colors that aren't significantly different in cut or weight.

    I don't really do other kinds of duplication!
    - I tried only once to duplicate a pair of shoes exactly. Turns out they changed the model and they don't fit quite the same. They're fine and I'm glad to have them but I also don't wear the originals as much, so there wasn't really the need I thought there was.
    - Sometimes I duplicate basics but it's an accident. I tried to duplicate a particular bra but the one I got was end-of-the-line clearance. I have some duplicate underwear but that's just because I buy in sets. So I end up with multiple white, beige, and navy.

  • Ginger replied 6 months ago

    SarahD8, I should have just agreed with your comment! I'm totally with you. Some things I buy new (Boden and the Nordstrom tees mostly) but so much I get from ebay. And although I'm picky with color combinations, I love both color and variety so I thrive with plenty of options. Sometimes finding the "glue" colors is the trickiest part.

    "I own several examples of the same sweater in multiple colors, and I've purchased about half a dozen of J Crew's pintuck popover over the years. It is a surprisingly feasible strategy if you shop secondhand *online*. I think the reason I'm drawn to this strategy is that I have a high affinity for color and pattern mixing, but a low affinity for proportion play."

  • Suz replied 6 months ago

    Very interesting comments, everyone -- thank you! Ginger, what I'm noticing is that duplication seems to work best for those, like you, who know their own style very well, have a strong sense of what cuts they prefer, and also love colour and get variety that way or via scarves and accessories (as Zaoebi and SarahDB also mentioned.

    SarahDB, you are right — on first glance the word “refresh” and the word “duplicate” don’t seem to go together, which is sort of why I started the discussion. But on reflection, they are not so discordant. Because the “refresh” part had mainly to do with a major shift in silhouette and proportion. I went from wearing mostly slim straight bottoms (with some wide leg crops) to pretty much all wider, looser bottoms, some of them full length. That in turn required different shapes in the top — few slightly oversized, slightly shorter sweaters and toppers and looser shirts.  

    I still wear jeans (but a different cut); I still wear knits (some exactly the same, I.e. classic tailored to fluid fit, some slightly oversize). And I still follow the same basic outfit formulas, I guess.

    Jaime, you probably have some duplicate jeans, or at least the style is a dupe, right? BFs?

    Ket, what colours did you get in the dress?

    Julie, wow, you are vying with me for the title of Queen Blue! LOVE all those blues and I want to duplicated your duplicates!  :)

  • SarahD8 replied 6 months ago

    Oh that makes sense re: the relationship between refresh and duplication, Suz. Maybe you figured out the essentials for your new style direction, and then set about duplicating them so that your wardrobe as a whole would support that direction?

    And Ginger, you are confirming that even though our styles/outfit formulas are quite distinct, we have a similar approach to our wardrobes and personal style in many ways. I feel in good company with you!

  • Suz replied 6 months ago

    Yes, that's it, exactly, Sarah. I think I just didn't have the essentials before for my new style direction. Now I have enough that I can get busy making outfits and mixing them with older items. 

  • Roberta replied 6 months ago

    This wonderful thread has really made me examine all the possibilities of duplication! For example, I keep looking for the perfect orange sweater. Right now I have two orange cable sweaters, and two orange hoodies in my closet. If that is not duplication I don't know what is. I also must admit that I have four pairs of Eddie Bauer shorts in different colors. Because that's all I wear in the summer, and one pair would obviously not do. The Babadook is in the house!

  • Ket replied 6 months ago

    Oh Suz... get ready to hear me sing at the top of my lungs! I got a muted plum/orchid and gorgeous muted yet sensational wine red. The colors ended up looking pretty much like the stock photos, if not better. (When does that ever happen?!)  I am sharing photos of them soon, hopefully today! So stay tuned. I didn't do any outfit photos with the dresses. But the colors are sensational, and I think you will heartily approve :D 

  • April replied 6 months ago

    My wardrobe has many duplicate basics, of course, but I have also developed a system for footwear.

    I buy two of the same pair (same or different colors) that I'm hopeful about and wear one pair for a few days.  If it doesn't make the mark for walking, standing, stability, comfort etc. I return the other, which has usually never come out of its box.  

    My feet are *so* fussy and problematic that this strategy seems essential.  

    I also duplicate crossbody bags - same style, different colors.  Since I often wear one all day, it's important that they be extremely lightweight.  Thanks to Angie and other forum folks who recommended Kipling!

  • Jonesy replied 6 months ago

    Late here, but had to chime in. I definitely duplicate, in terms of the same item in different colors/fabrication (not necessarily the exact same item). I have multiple versions of the same cut of Nili Lotan pant, for example, because pants are hard for me to fit and I love the cut of them. And I just bought a trench coat in a warm olive (a total HEWI for me that I'd been looking for for years) and loved it so much that I duplicated it in a gray/brown check once it went on further sale. So I guess for me, HEWIs are especially likely to get duplicated, which makes intuitive sense: Once I finally land on something I really want and can use, I want to maximize! But I do need to be careful not to go wild with duplication, or I'll split wears too much.

  • phoebe replied 6 months ago

    Items that are important components of this seasons uniform get duplicated exactly and either are worn immediately or held in reserve.

    Exception, I have five different colors of the same lightweight down jacket, bought within approximately seven years.

  • Laurie replied 6 months ago

    Intended to be timely in my answer but got hung up trying to collect items from BR, ON, etc to add, without success. (Anyone else having trouble?)

    You know I'm a duplicator/triplicator/more. I talked about this recently in a comment to one of my own WIW posts.  If I find something I like, I immediately order more colors.
    I realize that I am totally a uniform dresser. That's ok. But I do not have to have so many duplicates, of so many things. As I mentioned, it goes back to the days when it was hard to find clothes and shoes that fit, so I jumped on anything that worked.

    Some of the things I duplicate:
    Active wear -- e.g. Lululemon Align Joggers in navy, black, olive.  Old Navy jacket in navy, bone, eggplant.  ETC ETC ETC ETC
    Inexpensive fun finds - the Old Navy faux suede motos from years ago that I have in 5 colors.  The Old Navy cross back rib knit dresses that I have in 4 colors.  Bought at great discounts, and worn more in some years than others.
    Shoes - Clark sandals? 2 colors  Comfortiva sandals? 3 colors.

    I have gotten smart about duplicating some items second hand, when I know exactly what I want but this does occasionally backfire when the materials have slightly changed, and the fit is different. I have had more success than fails lately, and get great use out of my Northface and Patagonia gear bought on eBay for example.

    I said in that earlier post, it's a bit of a compulsion. I need to work on this.....

  • Suz replied 6 months ago

    Laurie -- so interesting. It seems as if most of your dupes are (at least in theory) practical. But I guess at a certain point we are splitting wears so much it becomes a question of whether we are using the clothes. 

    Phoebe, I am currently wishing I had done what you did with the down jackets. I want some to layer under coats and the current versions are less fitted, and/or  not in the colours I like. Grr! 

    Jonesy, I want some of those Nili Lotan pants! Seeing them on you and Janet (albeit you are both a lot taller than I am) -- I just love the style and don't blame you for duping! 

    April, the strategy of duping bags seems really smart to me...but then, I just did exactly the same thing with several crossbodys for exactly the same reason! 

    Ket, so glad you got those dresses! Yay!

    Roberta, I will be thinking of the Babadook every time I seek to duplicate from now on! 

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