On Buying Multiples

As part of my birthday spending spree this year, I bought a sweater dress in two colors. Now, plenty of people will buy a dozen pairs of identical black socks at a time. Some will even splash out on two cardigans in the same style but different colors. But two of the same dress, and a fairly distinctive one at that? OK, I’ll admit that I was a little dazzled by the $25 clearance pricetags on these frocks, but I stand behind my decision. I have spent years honing my style, I know my taste, I have the storage space, I have the money, and I enjoy abundance. So, really, why not?

A friend recently lamented her husband’s inability to grasp the wisdom of multiples, and asked me to weigh in here on the blog. I was a little surprised, since many of the men in MY life have been known to find a flattering style, purchase every available garment in that style, and then not shop again for an entire year. But as a dedicated buyer of multiples myself, I was excited to tackle the topic regardless. Especially since buying multiples is a controversial practice that many see as wasteful, financially unsound, and stylistically stifling.

And in the interest of fairness, I’m going to offer up some serious “cons” before I hit the “pros.” Although I love my multiples, I don’t believe that this practice is universally wise, nor should it be universally implemented.

CONS

  • Expensive: Should you buy those leggings in black, brown, and gray since they make your stems look amazing? Why yes, you should! UNLESS you are broke. Or don’t have the money right now, but should have it next week. Or have the money right now but really need it for gas. Buying multiples is a luxury, so treat it as such.
  • Limiting: Say you find the perfect black pencil skirt, and it’s so perfect that you buy two and store one. That way, when the first one bites the dust, you’ve got back up! Also, you are now completely full up on black pencil skirts. If you find one that’s even better, how are you going to justify buying it?
  • Bulky: I have ribbed tank tops in about 15 colors, and I utilize them for layering pretty much constantly. But they take up almost an entire drawer in my dresser and that drives me a little batso. Always be mindful of your available storage.

PROS

  • Security: Most of us struggle to find pants that fit properly, tights that don’t constrict, shoes that are both cute AND comfy. Knowing that you’ve got a staple nailed, and knowing that you can ruin that nailed-staple and still have one waiting in the wings, is a happy, comforting, serene feeling.
  • Pragmatism: In my opinion, multiples are most applicable when it comes to layering. Buying awesome tights, or long-sleeved tissue tees, or even tube tops in multiple, solid colors is generally a sound practice. You’re going to use those things as supporting players in many different kinds of outfits, so why not stock up?
  • Consistency: Many of us struggle to create a consistent personal style or signature look. And while buying 15 identical sheath dresses from J.Crew could be disastrous, buying three blazers in the same style but vastly different colors or fabrics could help create some unity within a woman’s everyday looks.
  • Creativity: On the flip side of consistency, having multiples at hand can create mini dressing challenges. How are you going to make your red blazer-based ensemble drastically different from your olive green blazer-based ensemble? (Please note that I am doing a piss-poor job of this one with my sweater dresses pictured above!)

Years ago, when I bought my first pair of Tsubo Acreas in red, I fell madly in love with them. They were comfortable, walkable, stylish, distinctive, and fit perfectly into my established personal style. So I began buying them in other colors, and if you pore over my outfits category, you’ll see that they get TONS of wear. Possibly more than any other items in my closet. These shoes are not cheap – unlike the sweaterdress splurge, which was bargainous and pure fun – but they are a sound investment for me. And someday I’ll pony up for the black patent and mushroom brown ones, too, because I know they’ll get TONS of use.

As I’ve said, buying multiples is a practice with pitfalls and should not be considered for every purchase. Even some staples are best left as singles. But implemented carefully, the acquisition of multiples can create a richer, more flexible, and long-lasting wardrobe.

UPDATED TO ADD: Winona at Daddy Likey has posted on this same topic today! How nuts is THAT?

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  • Heather

    I buy just about everything in multiples! You're right about bulk, I currently have an entire drawer just for layering tanks, but they also get more use than any other clothing item, so it's a fair trade. I think things like jeans are the most important thing to buy multiples of, once I find the right fit, I buy enough to last years! Since the company discontinued the style that actually fit, I'm glad I have six pairs. I sometimes find I buy three colours of the same top and only wear one of them consistently, during my last closet purge everything I donated was a unworn multiple.

  • Jane W.

    I have a horrible time buying pants, so once I bought 3 identical pairs of charcoal gray trousers. Now I wish that I hadn't, as my style of dressing slowly becomes more creative.

    On the other hand, I bought a brown and black pair of dansko shoes, and I wore them TO DEATH.

  • Meli22

    I have kicked myself for not buying multiples of: Pants/Jeans. The ones that fit so perfect you cry bitterly when they (finally) bite the dust. Two pairs of Jeans in particular I can think of, one really slim-cut style that was JUST fabulous and versatile and comfy, and one much less versatile pair that was just ME (no pockets on the rear, flare leg, bottom cuffed, fit so perfectly…).

    I DO buy multiples of blouses (especially when I can't choose between colors) but I find wearing them in different ways very challengeing. I HAVE lamented buying multiples of tops, especially 'unique' ones that suddenly are not so special or unique when I have more than one. I find they don't get nearly as much wear.

    I also buy multiples in staples like tanks, and have never regretted it. they are SO necessary for layering, to keep warm, and to smooth out bra lines under a thin or semi-sheer blouse. However some colors got more wear than others, and now I need to replace my white, grey, and blue tanks…

    As for the last 'multiple' that I purchase, it's not really the exact SAME item, but rather a style. I LOVE full, pleated, a-line skirts. I have several- all different fabrics and colors and different types of pleats, but in reality they are multiples of each other. Another 'multiple' I have is cardigans- a range of slightly different styles and colors, none exactly the same, but very close in style. My point with these 'multiples' is that it fits in the category that you pointed out earlier, Sal. These items build a more consistent style in my wardrobe. When a friend sees a skirt like the type I like, she'll say 'Oh that's a Melissa skirt'. My point exactly. 🙂

  • Linda

    I agree with buying multiples of basics…tees, leggings, etc. However I would never buy multiples of blazers, jeans, dresses, etc. I guess for ME basics are justified.

  • eek

    I completely agree with you. It seems like lately if I've found something I love and looks good, I buy at least 2 different colors. Unfortunately my closet is busting at the seams so storage is definitely a problem for me!

  • Oranges And Apples

    hhhhmm. I have bazillions of colourful tights, to the extent that I'm struggling to close the drawer, does that count. I also have four long sleeved black tees and lots of vests/tank tops for layering. I've accumulated them over time though and they're all from different places, because with that kind of thing the brands are all much of a muchness.

    With more distinctive items of clothing, I wouldn't buy duplicates in different colours. I'm quite easily pleased clothes wise and there's always lots of stuff out there that I like, so why would I want to use up valuable money and wardrobe space for similar things when I can have something completely different to mix up instead?

  • EvaNadine

    funny that you + winona are posting about buying multiples at the same time.
    http://daddylikey.blogspot.com/2010/03/stockpile-syndrome.html

    personally, if i like the cut of something, i will buy it in every color i like, assuming i can afford it. i do at least make the effort to space out my wearings of said items. (the top im wearing today, i actually have in 4 colors!)

  • CompassRose

    I'm in the "multiples of basics" club. I will add that it's actually HARD to find a really nice tank top at a decent price. Sure, if you wanna go pay a hundred dollars for James Perse, but there are tanks EVERYWHERE, you'd think fewer of them would be weird, or static-clingy, or too low-cut. How hard is it to get a half-metre of cotton-spandex right for fifteen or twenty dollars?

    Anyhow. Tank tops, basic t-shirts, tights (which I buy in huge batches at the end of season 3-for-1 sales) and bras, which also go on sale at The Bay at 2-for-1 seasonally, are my main multiple items. I used to buy multiples of shoes, but as my shoe taste has grown weirder, I've given that up.

    I've sometimes THOUGHT that I should buy multiples of jeans that fit me… but honestly, my jeans seem to last me a fair bit. (Don't put them in the dryer!) I had this pair of Silvers that fit me like a dream, and which I LOVED, and deeply mourned when the crotch finally gave way (helped along by a trampoline frolic at a party) but then I found the same pair at Value Village, for a mere ten dollars, in my size – and didn't even buy them. Too flared, too out of date. They had been worn through their season, and their day was done.

  • K.Line

    I used to buy in multiples all the time but, about 3 years ago, I stopped. One potential downfall is that, if your weight changes (up or down), then you're out 2 items, not simply 1. Also, I have a very short attention span – even as my personal style is quite well-established. I need the freedom to find the next great thing. At least right now. My hatred of clutter prevents me from buying mulitples in light of this.

  • suzannesergis

    If I try on something and absolutely love how it fits, I definitely check to see what other colors are available. So, I do have multiples of a few things that I love. I don't feel like I'm wearing the same thing because of the different colors, worn far apart in time, etc.

    I doubt I'd buy an exact multiple of anything except for a pair of pants, and even then it would be only 1 backup and they would have to be the most amazing pants ever.

  • burntphotograph

    i buy multiples of j.crew jackie cardigans. every year i buy a couple new ones, but at last count i have eight… i also have a few henleys in two colors; but, for the most part i try really hard not to.

    mainly it's hard for me not to buy multiple shirts in the same color.

  • kjlangford

    I do this with sweaters, and tank tops… tank tops because I wear them a lot, sweaters because it's hard to find a really good sweater (I live in the south, so sweaters only come out to play in the stores October to December).

    While I haven't done this lately I think jeans are probably the best item to buy multiples of… but then again I have no office dress code to adhere to everyday. A good pair of jeans that can be dressed up or down is really hard for me to find, and I could wear jeans several days in one week. While many items are noticeable if you have multiples, if you're wearing the same style jean (or even the same jean), unless there are rhinestones on it (and I never want rhinestones on my jeans…) it's usually not too noticeable. I tend to wear jeans a few days before I wash, but it's nice to have more than one of my favorite pair so that I don't wear them into the ground in a year.

  • futurelint

    I guess when it comes to t-shirts, leggings, tanks, and tights I buy in multiples if I find ones that I really like… I've never bought multiples of jeans, skirts, dresses.

  • Erin

    I buy basics such as socks, tights, t-shirts in multiples, or clothes that I'm constantly annoyed at having to wash such as my favorite pair of jeans or a favorite cardigan, so when one's in the wash I'm still good to go.

  • pretty face

    That is so weird about the harmonious posting on here and daddy likey.

    Although, I can't say I'm convinced by your argument. There is simply such a wealth of clothes out there, it feels like a waste of money to spend it on the same stuff in multiples. My only exception is stuff I KNOW will wear out, and sell out. xx

  • thenewprofessional

    I definitely advocate buying multiples of basics or of small things that might be trendy (especially if they're cheap and trendy–you'll want a backup if the first one break/dies–but they have to be really cheap).

    I've got about 6 H&M long sleeve tees, 5 Target basic tanks, 6-8 Old Navy tanks, 2 old Wet Seal tees from way back when. But I also have multiples of my favorite J.Crew button up blouse (they fit just perfectly and are long enough to tuck in without being bulky), and my favorite BR trousers (which I get from the outlet on sale). But since these items are pricier, I don't buy them at once–it's just that if I need another blouse or pair of trousers, that's where I'll turn to first. I still do try them on before I buy just in case. It's nice to have fallbacks when you can't afford multiples.

  • Linda

    I buy multiples of flattering T-shirts and cardigans if there are multiple colors available that I like. I wish I could say this encouraged me to toss them promptly when they start losing their oomph, but it does not. I also have three of the same H&M jersey skirt that is as comfy as pajamas–I don't think I'd buy the same print in different colors, but as long as they keep making different prints, I will keep buying them. I have some boots and sandals that I bitterly regret not getting multiples of–even in the exact same color, for when the first wears out–but it takes some time for me to determine that a pair of shoes is really comfortable for long-term walking AND that nothing better is going to come along. And by that time, it's often too late.

  • Lorena

    To me, buying several of the same feels like wearing a uniform.
    Now, there are times like for example when I bought two of the same jeans because one was to be shortened to wear with flats and the other to wear with jeans… this I can justify.

  • Angela Pea

    My multiple indulgence? Bras. I'm a "difficult" size that usually entails custom orders at inflated prices. When I find a good, supportive bra in the right size that feels great and (BONUS!) is pretty, I'll buy six at a time, stashing them away and bringing out a fresh bra as the older ones wear out and become stretched.

    Blouses, for the same reason as above. If I EVER find one that closes over the girls without popping buttons and without being enormously huge through the waist and shoulders, I buy one in every color, two in white.

    Panties, socks, tights, tanks and layering tees…those are no brainers. I always buy multiples!

  • Chelsea

    I told myself at the beginning of the year that I would refrain from buying multiples to work at diversifying my wardrobe. But… then I thought about some of my most loved items, like my jcrew (outlet) cotton cardigans. My mom bought me two last October, and they are in constant rotation. I wish I had them in all colors of the rainbow because the fit is perfect, they are wonderful for layering in this pesky bay area climate, and they don't stretch out or shrink up or any of that annoying stuff that happens to lesser quality cotton cardis. They are a little out of my price range at the moment, but believe me I'll be looking out for them on clearance to get in more colors!

    Also I would totally buy the same belt in several colors.

    On the other hand, when I hadn't really honed my personal style in college I bought too many multiples and all of my outfits ended up looking the same. For me, it's all about balance between items that work for me and keeping variety in my wardrobe.

  • missjulied

    I'm another one who buys multiple layering tanks – for me it's the Michael Stars long supima camisole. They are long enough for my freakishly long waist and provide me belly coverage and warmth when my main shirt isn't quite long enough (which happens a lot for me). I can dry them in the dryer (a lot of my t-shirts I hang dry so they don't shrink up and become too short), and they have a nice modest neckline.

    Like another commenter above, I've also bought multiples in flattering t-shirts (especially when they're long enough!).

  • angie

    I buy in multiples often! But I buy exactly the SAME colour, and put them through their paces at the same time too. I can’t stand wardrobe bottlenecks, so I have two of the same item in my wardrobe of workhorses like black turtle necks, white and black button downs, and black ballet flats.

    Unlike most, I do not purchase multiples in different colours though. Somehow, that strategy doesn’t work as well for me, as I never end up wearing one of the colours. But if I purchase the same colour, I get lots of wear out of both items.

  • Mode Devoted

    I love buying in multiples, any excuse to buy more!!!

    Have you heard of the new fashion website called dalancefashion.com? You should make a profile on it! I was reading your information and it seems like you might like it!

    Check out my blog! http://modedevoted.blogspot.com/ Im trying to get a few more followers, so if you have time please add me 🙂 I cant see where to follow you?

    Also do you have a stand/tripod to take your pics? They look great. Or does someone take them for you? Im thinking I should invest in one.

    ps Love your style

    Hannah xx

  • RoseAG

    An analysis of my giveaway bag got me off of buying multiples without a trial run. It is possible to be make twice the mistake if it isn't something you've already worn/washed a couple of times.

    Buying multiples of things all at once, can also leave you with too many items in a particular season's color or cut.

    It's great for the one season but when colors, cuts or lengths change, as they often do, then you have not one but several items that you want to replace with something more current.

    I too am a hard bra-fit, and once I get a style that works I'll buy multiples, particularly if I find a good price.

  • RoseAG

    An analysis of my giveaway bag got me off of buying multiples without a trial run. It is possible to be make twice the mistake if it isn't something you've already worn/washed a couple of times.

    Buying multiples of things all at once, can also leave you with too many items in a particular season's color or cut.

    It's great for the one season but when colors, cuts or lengths change, as they often do, then you have not one but several items that you want to replace with something more current.

    What I'm more likely to do is to buy similar items over several seasons. I love cotton tanks from Penny's. So that's where I'll go if I'm looking for a layering tank. I own a couple of pairs of Dansko sandals. They're expensive and I can buy them without worrying that I'm taking a big risk because I know I like them.

    I too am a hard bra-fit, and once I get a style that works I'll buy multiples, particularly if I find a good price.

  • Christy Sews

    Oh I love this subject! I'm a multiples girl. Sometimes I worry that I look like a lunatic, but seriously, over the years I've learned that when I find something that I love, multiples is the way to go. But I do have ground rules. Once a year, I buy t-shirts. This year, they came from Old Navy and Gap — every color they had. I also did the same with knit tanks and eventually ribbed knit tanks (I bought one first to see if I liked the ribbing (I'm particular about that). I also buy cardigans in multiple colors, as well as black tights. I do this once a year, as needed. I have also been known to buy shoes in multiples if I love the fit (2 black, and then the other colors). Many of my tops are multiples, as well as some trousers and a couple of dresses. I usually only do this with basics. Since I live in v-neck and scooped neck t-shirts in the summer, and layer like crazy so I can wear my surplice tops with abandon, I consider these things to be good investments. And yes, I love variety, so mulitple colors in sweater sets so I can mix and match with abandon. But I never do that with clothes that are either distintive or trendy. I consider it to be a waste of money. It took me years to decide to do things this way — long enough for the items that I love to be discontinued from stores. (Grrr). Oh yeah, and I do this with bras because yes, they do discontinue them over the years. I'm sure my husband thinks I'm crazy, but once I find something I like, and it's a wardrobe basic, then I want it in multiple colors so I can stretch their lifespan rather than wash the heck out of them, which is what happened in the past and then they wouldn't last past one season. Now that I think about it, I also sew in multiples when I find a pattern that I love and have determined that it will become a basic due to (a) the ability to carry me through 3 seasons, sometimes 4 and (b) is very versitile. Or maybe I just like a lot of choices in the morning — it's anybody's guess at this point.

  • Kimberly

    Basics such as tanks, layering tees, tights, etc. – yes I buy lots of multiples. However, I don't buy dups of anything else. I never feel that in love with anything to own it in multiple colors, plus I like lots of variety.

  • Anonymous

    I buy certain items in multiples. I found a perfect style of J. Crew trousers on sale, so got them in two basic colors (grey and brown). I'm not a morning person and the less decisions the better. I also have three of my favorite sweater, a black cropped chunky cashmere Theory sweater. First one bought on e-bay, second TWO (!) randomly found at consignment stores. I have already worn a hole in the first one and would be having a breakdown if there weren't two understudies in the wings.

    I did buy a second pair of fabulous expensive jeans once, which I never wore and ended up consigning due to weight gain (BLAH).

  • Heather – Dollarstorecrafts.com

    I definitely buy multiples (especially in layering pieces like tanks, long sleeve tees). Really, if you find something that fits well and makes you look and feel great, you're almost dumb not to take advantage of it! (Of course, I'm not a fashionista at ALL). Thanks for the tip on your favorite shoes! 🙂

  • Lemondrop Marie

    Very thoughtful post on the pitfalls of purchasing in multiples- which I have done in haste and repented in leisure. But there are some staples like your tanks that are such a great basic staple to depend upon that I am always grateful to have when I need them. I've learned that I am most often thankful for the basics rather than the unique items that seem like a fab steal at the time, because I am too fickle to get the best cost per wear from two of the same!

    Marie @ Lemondrop ViNtAge

  • Marianna

    I only buy multiples of shoes. If I find a comfortable shoe in my size, I stock up. I have a ballet flat that I found at Nordstrom last summer in three colors — and I wear them all the time because I can wear them for 12 hours pain free. It's worth it for me. I don't buy multiples of clothes, though. I prefer variety (I'm on a tight budget!) I'd rather buy two different things than two of the same.

  • Garnet

    I'm another one that does this same thing with bras. It's very difficult for me to find ones I like, that fit. This paid off about a year ago. I found the most perfect bra ever, bought three, went back about three months later and found out they were on clearance. Which only means one thing. So I bought the two that were left in my size.

    They're perfect. And I can alternate wearings, so they'll last longer!

    I don't tend to do this with anything else, though. Except gloves. I have the same basic cashmere-lined leather gloves from the same brand in three colors. They're very nice.

    Garnet

  • Anonymous

    Everybody I know buys multiples in things like underwear and bras, socks, tank tops and t-shirts. Those are basics and everyone needs more than one anyway.

    What do I wish I could buy multiples of more often? Shoes. I'm hard to fit and hard to please, with feet prone to owies. However, as a commenter pointed out above, it takes time to figure out what works for you. At the moment, I live in Dr. Martens and Converse with insoles added for extra support. Another plus is they don't really change their styles.

    What have I regretted buying in multiple? SOCKS. I must be the only person out there who has sock issues and all too often, I've bought a package, worn and washed them, and hated them. You can't donate socks either; at least they're cheap but I feel bad about the waste.

  • kristophine

    I definitely bought a range of Wet Seal's super-tight t-shirts to wear as undershirts, and right now my only regret is that I didn't get more of them when they were six bucks a pop. I wear them constantly.

    Lately I've been struggling with a stocking-up dilemma, though. I bought a pair of boots in brown that were fun and yet not super-casual, and it turned out they were incredibly comfy to walk in. I bought similar pairs from the same maker, but lately I've been thinking about getting the same boot in either black or brown. They're more expensive now–sometimes by a factor of three–but I love them so much. I'm poor, too, so I wrestle with it. What if, by the time this pair bites the dust, that's no longer what my style looks like? But I need shoes and boots I can walk in, badly, because that's how my lifestyle works. So tough to decide!

  • daddylikeyblog

    Well Sally, this coincidence is a little strange/amazing! I actually thought of you as I was writing my post last night, I was like, "This seems like a Sally-esque topic–I hope I'm not subconsciously plagiarizing her." But apparently we were just on the exact same wavelength! Now I wish there was a way to blend our comment sections to showcase a full cross section of opinions.

    Seriously, this is hilarious.

  • Audi

    Actually, Lipstickeater also posted a very profound commentary on buying multiples: http://lipstickeater.blogspot.com/2010/03/it-takes-two.html

    I try to avoid buying multiples in anything except for basics (tights, layering tees, tanks, etc). No matter how much I love and adore something, or how fabulous it makes me feel, the day WILL come when I grow tired of wearing it, or tired of just seeing it in my closet. And if I've got two of the item I'm doubly bummed that it's not getting worn. Only a couple of times have I known I'm going to wear an item so much that I need it in more than one color.

    But on a deeper level, I sort of enjoy the uncertainty in not knowing what will come along to take the item's place once it gets worn out. I've owned many items where I thought, "I'm going to weep bitter, salty tears the day I can't wear this anymore," but the day never really comes because I find something even better before it happens. So I have learned to embrace the eventual loss of the favorite item knowing that there will be new favorite things to take its place.

  • Linda

    Surely bras and other underwear don't count! Does anyone really NOT buy those in multiples? What kind of lives are you leading that you need noticeably different underwear styles every single day? LOL. I do need to test-drive them for a while before duplicating though.

  • lisa

    I buy multiples in leggings, basic white tanks, layering camis, and tees, but I never buy more than two of anything at once, and if it's something less than basic like a distinctive top, they have to be in two different colours. Whenever I shop and I'm tempted to buy multiples, I ask myself, "Would it piss me off if I only had one of these and it just happened to be in the wash?" If the answer's yes, I'll buy two. 🙂

  • The Waves

    I have bought some things in multiples, mostly basics like t-shirts, tights, tees or Converse. I have bought two of some more interesting items as well, but have noticed that I only tend to wear one. These days I buy mostly second hand, so multiples are hard to come by! 🙂

  • Work With What You’ve Got

    well, you know I'm on board. Some color,differant colr, whatever. I buy multiples!~

  • text machine

    to me, this issue begs the question how much is too much. I have to admit, the vibe of "if you're feeling good, buy more!" sends off immediate warning bells for me.

  • Coco

    Hmm…I buy multiples a lot less than I used to, but I probably should pay attention when I actually like a pair of jeans.
    On the other hand, I buy stuff and purposely put it away, so I will always have something "new." Yes, I am weird like that.

    P.S. Now I want those Tsubos!

  • Kelly

    I buy in bulk for things like plain camis or favorite undies. I used to buy t-shirts, sweaters, whatever in bulk because I didn't really care about creating interesting looks, and cared more about just looking good on the whole, so I didn't care if I looked good in the same way every single day. But in the past few years I've been so bored of the-same-cardi-in-five-colors thing and try to limit myself to one thing in a particular style. I did recently buy three t-shirts of the same exact style, two of which were the same exact color. I bought one, loved it, then saw that they had gone on mega sale and I couldn't leave the other two behind. Even BF said "I love that shirt, get another one in the same color so if you rip the first one you still have one left!" – obviously one of the many reasons I love him 😉

  • Make Do Style

    I rarely buy more than one of anything because I like to buy quality and that costs so in my world less is more. The only multiple I buy are M&S knickers!

  • WendyB

    Great minds think alike — did you see Daddy Likey's post on stockpiling?

  • jennine

    ooh, sometimes i think i should get multiples, but my thinking is that i want each piece to have a specific function in my wardrobe. except for things like leggings and tanks. i don't know, i guess i tend to buy because i like something rather than how practical it is… one day, i'll get practicality!

  • Alice

    Great post! One day I sumbled across the perfect cardigan – chunky, but still on the flattering side, long enough to wear with leggings, it was a perfect basic for my wardrobe. I got only one in black as I thought it was too much buying it in different colours, even though it was cheap and I had the cash. I regret this decision until today…

    I ended up wearing that cardigan all the time until it was so old that I had to throw it away. I wish I had a backup now.

  • Nina (Femme Rationale)

    when it comes to basics, i'm all about multiples. i'm extremely picky when it comes to tees and tanks so when i find a style that fits me well, i'll stock up.

  • FashionTheorist

    For things like layering tees and tanks and socks (I think I have six different pairs of thigh-high stripey socks from Sock Dreams. What? They're a wardrobe staple!), I'll buy multiples of the same style in several colors. It makes sense: the black-and-plum stripey socks will go with outfits that the tan-and-walnut ones won't. But for more distinctive pieces – jackets, shoes, dresses – I actively feel uncomfortable owning the same style in multiple colorways. I'm not entirely sure why.

  • Rosie Unknown

    I bought a pair of jeans this summer in Sweden, and I should have bought every cut and colour possible, since it is impossible to find high waisted jeans that are incredibly tight in the butt in Maritime Canada. But I didn't have the money at the time, so I couldn't.

    On the other hand, I have the same shirt in three colours, and wear them all a lot, because they were on sale for like 2 bucks, and they are perfect.

    So I guess what I'm saying is that I definitely go for it in staples when I can.

  • kelly

    Old Navy ribbed tank tops. I have over 20 of them in all different colors. They fit so well, have the perfect scoop neck, hide the bra straps, slim fit and best of all they stay long after being washed and dried. They are pretty much my uniform with skirts in the summertime!

  • lucitebox

    The vast majority of my in-town, non-work clothing is vintage. It's pretty difficult to buy two things that are the same in the vintage arena. (Though I have done it!)

    In addition to being a vintage fashion dealer, I'm a dog walker. During the daytime, I wear "work clothes." It's essentially a uniform that changes with the season and consists of things bought in multiples.

    When I veer into buying current trends, I feel like my clothes tend to look dated later (sometimes even in one season!), so I try to be careful to buy quality items with classic cuts OR dirt cheap and on-trend.

    My favorite "work clothes" multiple? Levis, of course. I buy the same three pair over and over, all the same rinse and size. When they wear out or start looking too light, I replace them.

    Other favorite– Converse Chuck Taylor low top. Always three pair and always thrown away because after one season, they're so grubby, they're unfit for a hobo.

  • Kristen

    I have a multiple addiction. I think it is because I love color so much; I can't decide which of two I like best, so I get them both.

  • roryborealis

    I do this, mainly because I tend to stick to basics for everyday and change up my accessories. So when I find jeans that are both comfy and flattering, I buy several pairs. Likewise for black tank tops (a wardrobe staple). I'm not sure my favourite sports bra or underpants count–the ones that are sexy yet practical and do not ride up ever no matter what ridiculous situation I may find myself in. Whenever Patagonia has a sale on those, I stock up.

    Very timely post. I was just weighing the pros and cons of splurging on yet another pair of Frye harness boots with my tax return cash. I already have them in black (both mid-calf and ankle-height) and plum, and wear them constantly to the point that one pair is almost always in need of re-heeling. (I walk a lot.) I'm loving the way the vintage chocolate and dark brown crazy horse leathers look, and I own not a single pair of brown boots, so…

  • Sara

    I rarely buy multiples at all but ironically I just did yesterday! I found this adorable ruffled mini at target and a) it was $16.99 and b) I envisioned the look so differently between the two colors I purchased that I figured it really was more like buying two different items.

    I usually reserve multiples for basics like t-shirts or things that aren't distinctive because I like to have a lot of variety. I'm not a difficult size to fit so worrying about something being discontinued generally isn't an issue for me. I once bought several pairs of the same jeans and now I regret it because I feel that I can't justify a new style/purchase because I have 3 pairs that fit just fine. I don't feel guilty about buying multiples of pointy-toed low-heeled black pumps. I just store the extra pair until the one I'm currently wearing bits the dust. I am also guilty of buying mutiples of J Crew's jackie cardigan…I just bought my second but since it's a different color I don't feel like it's a true mutiple.

  • jesse.anne.o

    I totally buy multiples – and I think the colors of those 2 dresses are so drastically different, it's like 2 different dresses, even though the cut is the same!

    I have multiples of 2 American Apparel skirts (and I wear them allllll the time – 2 of the tulip fleece skirt, 3 of the pocket a-line skirt).

  • Eliza

    I almost never buy in bulk, since my storage is limited, and my budget even worse. However, I did recently buy a second pair of my favorite sandals on ebay, just because they were wearing out. I pretty have pretty much lived in them for the past three summers, and it was starting to show. The replacement pair was only $15!

  • All Women Stalker

    I do this a lot but only for basic stuff. Examples: tank tops, tights, etc. Interestingly, I have never found shoes or dresses that merited a multiple purchase 🙂

  • Valerie – MN

    I buy multiples most of the time when I like a item (esp. shells, tees, jackets, shoes, some purses). I love the variety and choice of mixing/matching a lot of colors to perk up a dress suit or slacks. One day it occurred to me why I do this: my mother did this when I was younger because it was hard to find quality clothes to fit a plus-size, tall girl at that time. So, she bought multiples when something worked well with my shape. If something works for me, I enjoy buying and using the multiples often. I seldom do it in jewelry unless the piece looks totally different in another color.

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