Why #OutfitRepeating is the New Power Dressing

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Do you dare repeat an outfit?

A woman trying on pairs of shoes

In recent news, Australian television has become the battleground of a sartorial gender battle. Over the last few days, the media and its online community have surrounded breakfast show host and Huffington Post editor-at-large Lisa Wilkinson’s outfit. Nope, not her journalistic achievements, but a maroon and floral cut-out ensemble that she dared to wear twice over four months. Yes, Lisa made headlines as an #OutfitRepeater.

This is not the first time a Channel 9 anchor’s clothing has served as a socio-political statement. Casting our minds back to 2014, Karl Stefanovic – arguably one of Australia’s most prominent news figures – wore the same bright blue suit for an entire year, on screen, and no-one noticed. The anchor did so as a form of protest after growing tired of the criticism co-host Lisa Wilkinson copped for her threads on a regular basis.

And the last few days have proven nothing’s really changed. Originally reported by the Daily Mail, Lisa was quick to retort on social media:

She has also responded in an article for Huffington Post, “from this day forward, perhaps my greatest legacy to the annals of female news broadcasting history will likely be that I dared to wear the same outfit two days in a row on national TV.”

But it’s not just women in the public eye who feel the pressure to dress in order to impress. In an article written for Harper’s Bazaar US, former Saatchi & Saatchi art director Matilda Kahl wrote about her decision to wear the same outfit every day for three years. A decision that came after an anxiety-ridden morning staring at her wardrobe (sound familiar?), which meant she entered an important meeting, late and unprepared. Her solution? A work uniform: 15 white silk shirts, a few black trousers, and a black leather rosette for added flare, as a bid to take the wheel back against the pressure she felt to look a certain way.

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A post shared by Matilda Kahl (@lilltrill) on

It appears there could be a new power-dressing page in the zeitgeist, with Arianna Huffington also using her high-profile to encourage women to stop “labouring under the cotton-silk-rayon-make-up-and-heels ceiling.” This led her to launch Thrive Style, an initiative aimed to help women have more time for productivity and creativity by closing the ‘style gap.’ She’s also spreading this message through social media, taking selfies of outfits she boldly repeats with a #Repeats tag. “I don’t hide my repeats, I celebrate them. When I’m getting ready for an event, I don’t spend time agonising about what to wear – I pick out one of my frequently worn favourites and call it a day.”

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