Normalizing Minimalism as a Traveler
While backpacking, any new clothing purchase was a decision. That or a swap for an existing item already in my pack because there simply wasn’t space for both. Or worse, when that pack missed connecting flights forcing me to rely only upon the clothes on my back. This has happened in various countries around the globe at least once or twice. But none was as memorable as my time visiting Cuba in 2019 (pre-pandemic). 16 of 20-plus days spend gallivanting the island wearing primarily one outfit the entire trip. Needless to say, I embraced hearing people say, “that outfit again?” while reviewing photos of the journey.
Proof that you don’t need multiple outfits to enjoy a new destination. Watch and subscribe!
The breakdown of emotions centered around outward displays of beauty had me questioning my own values. Considering my seven-year background in the beauty industry (long before my globetrotting days) this revelation didn’t come easy. I say that to say that if I can acknowledge the need to normalize outfit repetition, surely the majority can too.
Furthermore, sustainable traveling is the future. And sustainable travel methods, like outfit repeating, should be at the forefront of all of our travel plans. I get it, we watch social media influencers doing their thing with outfit changes galore. But what happened to “thinking outside of the box”? Anyways, how boring if we all continued to do the same exact thing, no? As a micro-influencer, I am proud to lead by example. My feed is freckled in captures of me in the same outfit, different accessories, around the globe.
Embracing Outfit Repeating on the Road
Before becoming a full-time traveler in 2016, the concept of outfit repeating was introduced to me by a different culture. As a Volunteer in the U.S. Peace Corps, I was stationed overseas in Eastern Europe. There I witnessed a culture accept the wearing of the same outfit to work three times during the workweek. Work clothing was removed and hung at the close of each day and “house clothes” adorned thereafter. Brilliant concept, am I right?
Now, as an avid traveler and a solo female one at that, I’ve found blending in to be a stronger play than standing out. One that outfit repeating on the road helps in spades. A trick to incorporating and embracing outfit repeating while traveling is accessorizing. Think layers and reversible in regards to clothing; that t-shirt inside out and backward gives a totally different look. Pop a blazer or cardigan over that and look out!
I’m a fan of purchasing accessories like scarfs or wearable knick-knacks that support local artisans while traveling. This is, of course, in place of purchasing more typical souvenirs. Doing so also allows me to manipulate my appearance as my trip progresses. By rotating these accessories regularly on my journey, I could take any outfit from day to night in a snap. Not to mention how empowering it felt to release the holds of society’s expectations of “beauty”. Each opportunity to repeat the same outfit was an opportunity to change my mindset.