Don’t you feel especially validated when you see celebrities doing something that would otherwise seem incredibly mainstream for us mere mortals? That’s how we feel about the rising trend of celebrities outfit repeating on the red carpet. The world of celebrity is progressively catching on to the rest of the world’s efforts towards sustainability and eco-friendly fashion. More and more we are seeing A-listers opting for sustainable choices when it comes to red carpet looks. Whether that be in the form of the old fashion faux pas “outfit repeating” or selecting pre-existing vintage looks–either way this is an overdue and welcomed evolution.
A-List Outfit Repeaters
There are a whole slew of celebrities and socialites who don’t mind practicing the common taboo of outfit repeating in the name of sustainability and conscious fashion consumption. Sure, outfit repeating your favourite casual look or even a mid-level formal ensemble isn’t the worst thing in the world. However, outfit repeating on the red carpet or at a highly publicized event would have been considered social suicide in the past. So as a nod of appreciation (and encouragement) here are some of our favourite offenders.
Helen Mirren has been known to outfit repeat on occasion… or six. Throughout the 2010’s, Mirren was seen wearing the same floral Dolce & Gabbana dress to six events — the Hitchcock premiere in 2012, Empire Film Awards in 2013, the RHS Chelsea Flower Show in 2013, the Prince's Trust Celebrate Success Awards in 2013, the Roundabout Spring Gala in 2014, and a Tony celebration in 2015 . It’s safe to say she has gotten her moneysworth out of that frock at this point.
Arguably, the biggest red carpet of them all–The Academy Awards– is surprisingly the biggest stage for famous outfit repeats. Oscars veteran Jane Fonda re-wore an Elie Saab gown she previously wore to the 2014 Cannes Film Festival to the 2020 Academy Awards with a discounted coat she declared would be the last piece of clothing she ever bought .
No stranger to the awards circuit, actress Laura Dern has worn her black Armani Privé dress at both the 2013 Oscars Vanity Fair After Party and at the 2020 Oscars Vanity Fair After Party, but with a new accessory: an Oscar for Best Actress in a Supporting Role (Marriage Story).
Of course, rewearing is only the offense of female celebrities. In 2020, actor Joaquin Phoenix was making the rounds of the awards circuit for his acclaimed performance in Joker, for which he won a Golden Globe, BAFTA, SAG Award, and Oscar. An outspoken environmentalist and animal rights activist, Phoenix chose to wear the same black Stella McCartney tux to all these awards shows, plus the Critics' Choice Awards .
Stella McCartney was a perfect fit for Phoenix, as the company never uses leather, skin, fur, or feathers. The brand also uses a tool called the Environmental Profit and Loss (EP&L) to measure its impact on the environment, including "greenhouse gas emissions, water use, water pollution, land use, air pollution, and waste," according to the company's website .
So maybe not all outfit repeats are purely for sustainability or convenience purposes. The best example of this is actress and comedian Tiffany Hadish’s long-standing gag of the now infamous white Alexander McQueen dress. Haddish has now worn this dress on six occasions, all for very public events and for the sake of the great ongoing joke. The second time Haddish wore this dress was for her hosting appearance on Saturday Night Live where she joked, “I don’t give a dang about no taboo! I spent a lot of money on this dress. This dress cost way more than my mortgage. This is a $4,000 dress! I’m gonna wear this dress multiple times!”.
And that’s exactly what she did! Not only did she bring the dress out for two more sketches that night, but she also wore it to present an award at the 2018 Academy Awards, then again at the 2018 MTV Movie and TV Awards, her appearance on My Next Guest Needs No Introduction With David Letterman in 2019, and her People's 2021 Beautiful Issue photoshoot. We hope this comedy queen has inspired others to intentionally ditch the old faux pas and wear what you want!
As a unique alternative to a direct outfit repeat, we often see celebrities get creative with their rewears and modify the look to fit current trends, changing bodies, or to simply make it “new” again. At the 2018 Oscars, actress Rita Moreno re-wore the gown she wore when she won her first Oscar in 1962, featuring an adapted neckline.
Of course, we can’t mention outfit repeaters without mentioning the queen–or should we say Duchess–of the rewear herself, Catherine the Duchess of Cambridge. We all know royals have all the money in the world to build a wardrobe so vast they would never have to rewear an outfit in their lifetime. However, we also know that the modern royals are keen to shift the old narrative of wastefulness and opulence to a more conscientious and sustainable approach. The Duchess of Cambridge has been known to grace a red carpet with a rewear from time to time, and similar to our last example, has even shifted a design ever so slightly to make it work for multiple occasions.
A way to get around a direct outfit repeat is to appreciate a past look by opting for a vintage ensemble. This popular practice has created even more momentum in the resale market. Shopping vintage for the red carpet is not only a sophisticated ode to fashions of years past, but also a great sustainable choice.
We can’t talk about vintage appreciators without mentioning the queen herself, Zendaya. With almost too many instances to mention, Zendaya loves her vintage looks and with every designer wanting to dress her, she has her pick of the crop. Most recently, Zendaya rocked a vintage Bob Mackie look for the Time 100 red carpet early this June.
Zendaya credits it all to her stylist, Law Roches, who is a vintage collector himself. Roach consistently works to create stand-out moments on the red carpet using archival fashion. An article from Fashionista explains, “With Zendaya, specifically, he's often taken the opportunity to pay homage to iconic women and events in fashion history, like with the 1982 Yves Saint Laurent Haute Couture gown once owned by Ebony Fashion Fair founder Eunice Johnson for the Essence Black Women in Hollywood Awards, or the purple and green 2003 Versace from the BET Awards, which was originally worn by Beyoncé.” 
Earlier this year, Zendaya wore a red-and-green Balmain couture gown to the NAACP Image Awards. Designed by Pierre Balmain himself, the dress dates all the way back to 1956  and we are honestly drooling over it!
Bella Hadid recently wore two vintage Versace looks for the 2022 Cannes International Film Festival. For one premiere, Hadid wore a 1987 black peplum dress designed by Gianna Versace himself. She paired the first vintage look with a second for the Cannes Anniversary Dinner wearing a Versace dress from their Fall 2001 Ready-to-Wear collection.
And the list goes on from there! We’re so encouraged to see this practice picking up serious steam over the past few years. To see all the other celebrities that are selecting pre-worn looks, check out this list here.
What are You Waiting For? Get on the Rewear Train Yourself!
Now that you’ve seen celebrities successfully pull it off, it’s not so taboo to be an outfit repeater yourself or opt for vintage/resale options for your next event.
Dressing sustainable doesn’t always mean eco-friendly materials and niche brand choices. Sometimes sustainable fashion is as simple as utilizing what is already in your closet or purchasing pre-existing clothes through means of shopping vintage or resale.
And we have you covered there! Lux Second Chance is so proud to not only bring you your favourite designer accessories, but we now offer apparel on our site as well! Take this blog as inspiration when you’re scouting out your next look for a special occasion and start shopping at www.luxsecondchance.com to find your next designer resale look!
- Kristen Harris, “Olivia Rodrigo Wore Britney Spears' 2003 VMAs Dress In Her "Brutal" Music Video, And 18 Other Celebs Who Rewore Old Red Carpet Outfits”, Buzzfeed, February 1, 2022. https://www.buzzfeed.com/kristenharris1/repeated-red-carpet-outfits
- Celia Fernandez, “Joaquin Phoenix wore the same tuxedo to 5 awards shows this year”, Insider, February 11, 2020. https://www.insider.com/joaquin-phoenix-stella-mccartney-tuxedo-awards-show-2020-2
- Ana Colon, “Zendaya is an Absolute Dream in Vintage Bob Mackie”, Fashionista, June 9, 2022. https://fashionista.com/2022/06/zendaya-vintage-bob-mackie-time-100-gala-red-carpet
- Stephanie Eckardt, “Zendaya Goes for True Vintage in 1956 Balmain”, W Magazine, February 28, 2022. https://www.wmagazine.com/fashion/zendaya-naacp-awards-vintage-balmain