BLOG – Kate Middleton sparks change. There’s now no shame in not buying new.

Later this month I’m attending a wedding. I’m going to wear a dress I’ve worn before. In fact, it’s a dress I’ve worn many times before.

People are appalled.

‘Everyone’ says that they always buy something new to wear to a wedding. Women unanimously say that they would never, ever, attend a wedding in dress that they’ve worn before.

Kate Middleton and Princess Anne are both famous for recycling outfits. They are the queens of demonstrating that you can go to a wedding – or a special event – wearing a dress that you’ve worn before.

Choosing what to wear, and what not to wear, is a daunting task regardless of your role at a wedding. There are lots of rules. The golden rule is don’t wear white. Some say don’t wear black. Don’t upstage the bride. Better overdressed than underdressed. Modesty matters. But, there is no rule, not one single one – anywhere – that says you have to buy something new.

– Why do we have an ‘Unwritten Rule’ about wearing new clothes to a wedding?
– What’s the deep-seated psychology behind this shopping behaviour?

Here’s what I think…

Firstly, an invitation to a wedding is an opportunity to go shopping. A chance to grab a friend, your mum or a gang of girls and head to the shops. It’s an excuse to buy things without feeling guilty. Because we can’t wear a dress that we’ve worn many times before.

Secondly, weddings are a reason to overspend. We can buy a new dress, new shoes, a hat and a new bag without justifying our excessive spending to our spouse, partner, family or friends. The opposite also applies. We can justify our over-indulgent shopping trip on the fact that we have to go to a wedding. ‘Wedding clothes shopping’ works both ways.

Last, but not least. My Gran, and most of her generation, lived in fear of debt. Years ago, in the days before credit cards, store cards and instant credit, people saved their money before they bought anything new. Back then shopping excursions were rare. A wedding was one of the few times you bought new clothes. My Gran always bought a new dress, a hat, a bag and shoes for a wedding. She bought the ‘best’ her money could buy. Perhaps, buying new for a wedding is a throwback to years gone by?

There’s now no shame in not buying new. Kate and Anne have shown us that you can take a dress that you love and reinvent it with a new bag, hat or shoes. You can take control. Life is too short to worry about wearing a dress that you’ve already worn before.

I’m Rachel Smith and I’m Underspent. I didn’t buy anything new or 2nd hand in 2014 and saved $52,680 (38% of my salary). I quit impulse shopping and saved my money. I changed my spending and transformed my savings. It started as a lifestyle experiment, but it changed my life, so I kept on going. I’m the Author of Underspent and I’m teaching people how to break the habit of impulse shopping in 7 steps through my Underspent book, free monthly challenges and my weekly blog.

The Underspent book is available in paperback ($12.99 or £7.40) and e-book, iBook and kindle formats ($2.99 or £1.70) in all online and high street/shopping centre book shops or buy a signed paperback copy ($12.99 + P&P) direct from me via my website I’ve purposely made the Underspent book affordable. Email me about Bulk Orders (it’s a great resource for your staff, clients and customers) OR you selling my book at your bank/business/office/shop/café and you receiving 50% of the profits.

Photo Credit: Hello Magazine