Reader Request – To Hoard, Or Not To Hoard


I’ve been known to buy repeats of items, whether it’s in different colors of the exact same item, or as a backup for when my first one wears out. It doesn’t happen often, but it happened recently with the little Old Navy striped sweater. I hunted down a second one when it went on sale for $8 in stores with the intent to keep it as a backup. I posted about my backup sweater on Twitter, and some people thought I was nuts. Some people agreed it was the prudent thing to do. And one person just wanted to know how in the world I decided it was time to hunt down a repeat.

So, here’s my attempt at explaining my thought process behind the madness…

Why hoard buy duplicates?

  • Clothes and shoes wear out. Even if you take excellent care of your items, after years of heavy wear, those things are gonna start looking funky. Cotton pills. Colors fade. Pant hems shrink.
  • Styles, designs, colors and fits can be seasonal or discontinued. Even if your all time favorite t-shirt is made every year by a company in the exact same color, it can fit totally different if you buy it again a few years down the line. Designers change their sizing and fit every so often, and I’m sure we’re all familiar with the “brand x size 0 from two years ago is two sizes smaller than the size 0 in stores today” photos and complaints. Most items, however, are only available for a short season.

For example, my favorite pair of wine colored peep-toe pumps are dying a slow death from scuffed leather and loosening glue, despite being sent to the cobbler several times. I’ve been on the lookout for a new pair, but I can’t quite find the color and style I want. Oh, how I wish I could find another replacement pair!

How do I decide to buy duplicates?

  • Excitement level. If I’m super excited about an item, among some other things listed below, I’ll consider buying a duplicate. But I have to be really excited. This is usually because:
    • The fit is great.
    • The color and style suits me and my existing wardrobe.
  • The item has high potential to wear out. Cheaper quality items are likely suspects.
  • The cost is low. I’m not going to buy duplicate Chanel handbags…that’s just crazy.
  • The item is a classic style & color. If the item is trendy and will be out of style by the time my first one wears out, what’s the point of having another?
  • Forward thinking sadness. Some items I purchase and love so much, so quickly, that I actually think about how sad I’m going to be when it gets icky and old. <– hint: this is the biggest sign

When do I decide it’s time to buy duplicates?

I only buy duplicates if I can find the item for cheap. This can mean:

  • The item is on super duper sale.
  • I have a great coupon code.

In the case of the Old Navy sweater:

  • I loved the fit, color, style, and way it works well into my current wardrobe. I got excited when it arrived and wanted to wear it every day. Uh oh…now I’m thinking about how sad I’m going to be when it wears out!
  • It’s a classic style, but considering I’ve been on the hunt for this style for a while, I don’t expect to find another in a similar flattering fit anytime soon.
  • It’s 100% cotton, and I know cotton will eventually pill from wear/washing and look icky.
  • Old Navy clothing is not the highest quality, so I expect this sweater to wear out quicker than if it were from a more expensive brand.
  • It went on sale for $8!

At a mere $8, I was happy to hunt down a duplicate. And I did.


What do you think? Buying duplicates…crazy or clever?

Join the Conversation


  1. says: PetiteJD

    Last year I bought two pairs of the gap jeggings and I’m wishing I would’ve bought more because they are much lower quality this season and those ones fit me perfectly. I wear them so much that one pair already is worn in at the knees and has a little hole on a pocket. So tragic.  I’ve also doubled up on suits that fit, but I try to get at least different colors.

    1. I hate when items lose their quality after a season or two! So sad to hear about your GAP jeggings! I’m super impressed with the Paige Verdugo, if you’re looking for replacements. I know they’re no where near as affordable, but maybe with the holiday discounts you might be able to snag a pair at a reasonable price. The fabric is the thickest of any jeggings I’ve seen so far. Suits are a great idea, especially for those ladies who need them for work! Crucial!

    1. LOL! Don’t buy it just because I happened to be crazy enough to search for two. If it didn’t get you all excited the first time around, then it’s probably not worth it for you. Save your money for something truly fabulous.  =)

  2. I don’t think buying dupes is crazy as long as you love the item. I have this problem but I buy in different colors…LOL

    I regret not saving a dupe of the AT petal front blouse…it’s slowly dying from so much wear :(

  3. says: Vicky

    lol on the Chanel duplicate, I’m doing just that! haha
    I love the way you do this type of analysis, Kelly. I never thought so hard on why and when I buy duplicates, but I know I do. After reading your post, I’m like – ah, I do exactly that too. Goes with the “stupid grin” gauge so well. 
    Loving the twin picture. :)

    1. What? Did I miss something? You have two of  the exact same style and color Chanel bag?

      Glad you like my analysis posts Vicky! With both of us being those “scientific/engineer” minds, it’s no wonder you like them…hehe. The scientist in me like to rationalize and break down everything. =)

  4. says: Cher

    There’s nothing wrong with it, but I think there are times when if you think you have to buy a dupe because it’s poor quality, you shouldn’t be buying it in the first place. I put a lot of emphasis on quality though, I might just be a freak. But even the thought of just having to spend $10 to replace something because it fell apart so quickly makes me cringe.

    1. Ahh, yes. I know exactly what you mean. Being such an awkward size, I sometimes have to skimp on quality to get a better fit. I try not to, but sometimes a piece comes along that just fits, and it’s probably made for juniors, and/or cheaply made. *sigh*

      1. says: Meta

        I know this is super late for this post, but I had to say I totally agree with the quality thing! Old Navy definitely isn’t a quality brand, but their basics are pretty great, and something a little more substantial like a sweater is (hopefully) going to last a decent amount of time. Old Navy isn’t super cheap though all the time, their clothing brand new is actually pretty pricey for a lower end store, but their sales are fantastic!
        But some things definitely AREN’T worth buying duplicates of! I basically live in leggings, and for years I’ve been buying them from Forever 21. At like $3.80 a pair for the standard ones, I would buy like 4 at a time. But, being a heavier-set petite, my stubby legs and thick thighs caused a lot of rubbing on the inner seams, and within weeks, I’d already have holes. You would probably cry to see the current state of some of my older pairs!! Now I still need to find some better ones, but I’ve bought a few I liked that have lasted longer for less than $15 a pair. So we’ll see!
        I still buy the long high-waisted ones from Forever 21, because the high waist for me is like a built-in tummy-slimmer :) But I buy a size too big so they don’t have to stretch as much and the fabric is less strained and also thicker, so less see through! I usually have to take them in at the waist though.
        But I realized that spending $12+ on that many pairs for them to basically be disposable just wasn’t worth it anymore, especially considering the fact that Forever 21 is HORRIBLE at restocking their basics, and their stock is so awfully trendy and constantly changing and super messy from all the teenagers.
        I adore your blog though, personally, because I’m only 21 and don’t buy clothes, I don’t have the money or time or strong enough personal style yet to focus on quality and fit before price and quantity. But I hope that someday I will be able to shop and dress more along your lines!

  5. says: annie

    I myself have no problem buying duplicates of certain clothing if the prices is reasonable  considering how difficult it is to find clothes that fit.  I have purchased 5 cardigans in the same style but 2 different colors, 7 AT tops in the same style in 4 different color.

  6. says: Anonymous

    love this break down.  I’ve been thinking about the possibility of duplicates now that I wear the same work items all the time.

  7. Excellent post, Kelly! I love the first photo of the twinsies. I had a few giggles reading through it, especially the part about backup Chanel bags. I’ve bought dupes of several items, some I regret, and some I’m super relieved that I did. Thankfully, there is a secondary market (ebay, AN forum, blog sales) for our “regrets.” Looking through my purchase and sale history, the duplicates that I subsequently sold were exact duplicates, and not multiples in different colors. For that reason, I now avoid buying all exact duplicates, and just carefully consider similar multiples. My best multiple purchases were the Ann Taylor Factory shells, AT perfect pumps (although I’m maxed out for those…I have four remaining pairs and am not interested in more, unless it’s fabulous) and also the Theory Gratian blazers : )

    I know petite or other special-sized women (myself included) may get into the mentality of hoarding because “omigosh! I’ll never find my size again!” but that is simply not true, except for the case of maybe super hard-to-find items like suiting. The AT black and white striped top that I loved sooo much and was worried will wear out and never see again…guess what? It came back just a few months later, in the form of your Old Navy bargain sweater : )

    1. Thanks Jean! Yes, exact duplicates can be tricky. Sometimes, I find that my tastes just happened to change, and now I have not just one, but TWO of something that I’m not really interested in anymore. Then there are the items like my teeny Theory blazers that I wish I knew at the time would disappear from the face of the earth. I’d hunt down every color known to man if that were the case (assuming of course, they came in more colors than just black & white).

  8. says: Elizabeth York

    I bought duplicate Forever21 jeans…they’re super cheap and cheap quality, but they fit me SO well! I bought 2 because I knew they would probably fade and wear out quickly.

  9. I admit it.  I hoard some items too.  I have two of the same Banana Republic faux wrap dresses (different colours) and goodness knows how many Jackie cardigans from J.Crew (bought them over a period of a few years) among other things.  I tend to buy +1 on things that I know I’ll wear all the time, just so I’d have more variety.  Other times, it’s because they’re basics (in the case of camisoles, I have +2 or even 3 of the same colour) and relatively cheap (or because it’s a BOGO).  Other than camisoles and perhaps cardigans, I don’t think I have any dupes in the same colour.

  10. says: JP

    Totally un-nuts to buy duplicates!! If it’s something that truly captures your heart, go for it – especially when on sale. The sweater looks fabulous on you and is timeless – and knowing how poor the quality is at ON, an inexpensive duplicate is totally okay! If it were problematic, as for items you hardly wear, I’d be a little more concerned – but you seriously always find the best stuff. Hoard on!!

  11. says: Violet

    Yes!! I bought 3 other Coach Hamptons Demi leather under-arm bags the 2 seasons they ran in tan, dark brown, and red after getting one in black nearly 10 years ago and I am still SO hapyI did that. I tend to “know when it’s right” with clothes so I have few regrets (wish I knew with men!).

  12. says: katherine

    I think duplicates can be clever :) Especially if you love an item and know that you will probably won’t find it again or if the fit is really good. I have bought some H&M jeans in different colors because I have loved the fit! Now thinking I wish I had bought more :)

  13. says: reeder

    I buy backups of my jeans. It saves so much time!  Just an extra pair of my favorites that I wear every week so I can rotate them in after a year or two.
    I also get the same top in multiple colors if I like it enough.
    Trendy, I am not.  But my clothes still mostly fit into my closet.

  14. I tend to buy duplicates of the same item in different colors – I’ve done that with shoes, jeans that fit perfectly (a rarity), cardigans (J.Crew Jackie and some nice ones from BR), and my favorite Athleta halter dress (it was on sale for $24 and I loved my black one so much I got another in gray).  When I make myself trousers, I use the same pattern every time and
    select different fabrics, so I have the same fit over and over again but
    a variety of colors. I don’t think it’s a bad idea at all, as long as you are not hurting your budget and you know that you will use it. 

  15. says: christine

    Speaking of sadness, I’ve been Desperately Seeking This Exact Sweater since your first post about it.  There are still some XS’s available online, but not in this color combo.  You were brilliant to purchase 2!  I just want to get my hands on 1!  Please give us a heads up if you happen to locate lucky #3.  :) 

    1. So sorry you couldn’t find this color combo Christine! It went super fast as soon as it went on sale. I must have gone to 4 ON stores and at the last one, there was only one lonely little sweater on the sale table, in xs no less! Just dumb luck. =P

  16. says: Jessy

    Lovely post, Kelly. I rarely purchase duplicates, but like you, I base it on my excitement level & etc. (though I DO get excited about a LOT of things I buy LOL!) If I get really excited about something in store, I usually purchase it and then mull over it at home for a while. If my excitement level goes down, I’ll know that I can return it.

    These  breton striped shirts have been “in” for a while now. Aritzia has had diff colours /versions over the past couple of years. Would you consider one of the Aritzia ones for $50~ if it means better quality?

    1. Thanks Jessy! Hmm…I might consider the Aritzia sweater, but I’d have to see it in person first, and since there isn’t a store near me, that’s hard. I actually have my eye on a cashmere version from Ann Taylor, which would be a pretty nice upgrade too. =)

  17. says: Tiffany

    It’s absolutely reasonable and practical to purchase duplicates, and I tend to do it for items that I wear very often — Ann Taylor’s perfect pumps are an example.  I learned this lesson from Target, of all places. A while back, they had these PERFECT double-layer tees that we awesome for layering or wearing under suits. The no longer make them and I am constantly regretting not purchasing a crazy number of them, instead of just one or two. 

    On a separate note, can you tell us where you got the red skirt in your photo?!

  18. says: Anonymous

    I’ve bought duplicates but usually in different colors. I don’t think it’s anything unusual. Good finds are hard to come by.

  19. says: Anonymous

    I’m a huge advocate of duplicates – you should see my closet (hubby hates it – I encroach upon his section little by little).  I have multiples of so many things, but my biggest weakness comes in the form of the cardigan.  I love that you can virtually wear them year round.  And if I really LOVE one, I wear it to pieces so multiples come in handy.

  20. says: Braub

    I think all of us petites feel the same.   IT is so hard to find the perfect anything… that a backup is a good insurance.  I would LoVE  that ON sweater. I have never found anything in old navy that fit me…but that one looks promising!! 

  21. says: little frocker

    Agree to hoard =) I regret not doing so for certain special items — mostly clothes though. I have yet to do the same for some hoard-worthy shoes.

  22. says: eveange66

    i dis ut too especially for shoes: I recently found the perfect boots ( IMO) so ended buying them in 3 different coloura. Again because it is so difficult to find something that for. And I realised that I so buy too the same bag but in different colours also. Just wanted to let you know that is is indeed very very difficult to comment here through my smartphone ( HTC desire) I had too make several tries before actually being able to comment. And I am not sure I will succeed to send it. I use FireFox or opera. can you fix if?

    1. says: eveange66

      Sorry for this poor comment as I was using my phone to type and forgot to turn to qwerty instead of my useal azerty. Hence the bad typing. But it is true that it is not easy to go to your blog through a mobile.

    2. Thanks for letting me know about commenting difficulties! I’m not sure what’s going wrong, but maybe you can help me figure it out:

      – Did the problem just start? Maybe I changed something recently I can go back and undo.
      – Do you have the same problem with other blogs that use the Disqus commenting system? Or is it just mine?

      Thanks again!

    1. Unfortunately, the white blazer is one of those items that I found off chance, bought every color they had (black and white) and then it disappeared forever! It’s by Theory and the style is called “Amanda B.”. There was a similar style called “Bindi TS” last year, but I haven’t seen that one in a while either. Sometimes they pop up on ebay. =)

  23. says: MoneyMaus

    Yup. Hoarder here! But not usually with big items like sweaters, though your idea is great, especially when sales happen. I have a bunch of the same pairs of black pants and tank tops in various colors. I also have two pairs of my FAVORITE heels…a BCBGirls pointed-toe pump with a buckle in black patent (can’t remember the name – oops!). After my first pair wasn’t doing so well after 3 years and many repairs, I started scouring eBay and eventually found the EXACT pair for a grand total of $25 in my small size 5! Needless to say, I have the “newer” pair at work and the other pair at my apartment. :) Best duplicate yet!

  24. says: Anonymous

    Kelly you’re definitely clever!!  I do the same thing too, but I’m very careful in deciding to buy duplicates, making similar consideration that you did.  I’ve done it on very few occasions, most notable was earlier this year at a FCUK warehouse sale (obviously very high excitement level!!!) and they had these $120 dresses for $5.  So I bought one in every colour availabe (5 of them!).  My friends thought I was insane, so they kind of forced me to sell it to them, they offered me $10  Great post!  :)

  25. says: Amanda

    I was going to post that anecdote about Einstein’s closet full of duplicate outfits, but researched it first and found it to be a myth. :(
    I hoard too, usually in different colors but not always. Sunglasses, shoes, several favorite tshirts and tank tops.  Many jeans. When my favorite FLARED JEANS from the JUNIOR’S SECTION (for real) were discontinued, I bought 3 more pairs on ebay.  We hoarders do what we gotta do. I’ve put in extra effort to get the hoarding done. When I lost my favorite shirt in a move, I could only find one other on the whole Internet, so I bought it, but it wasn’t the right color.  I contacted the brand and they had one in their “reserves” and sold it to me directly.  No shame in buying dupes when you know you’re going to use them.

  26. says: Bri

    I once went back to get a 2nd pair of jeans I had bought, Parasuco paired up with Smart set for a fabulous pair of skinny jeans! Sadly they were all gone when I got there…. So I know what you mean about wanting a back up pair, because these days those jeans are getting pretty thread bare and I wish wish wish I had a back up pair!

  27. says: Anonymous

    I’ve actually never done this but I maybe it’s b/c I haven’t truly LOVED anything that much to think of buying a backup or that I get sick of things pretty easily :P

  28. says: Fabulouslyfrugirl

    I would do this only with items I really, really love. 

    I have a striped tee that I got from Zara and I love it to pieces.  You bet that I’ve thought about buying a duplicate ;)… in fact, now that you mention it, I should keep an eye out for another one.  It’s just the perfect striped tee!!!

  29. says: Rinny

    I buy duplicates, but only if they’re in a different color. I like novelty and variety, so I would never buy anything in the same style and color unless they’re basic items like tshirts or camis :)

  30. says: DinCali

    Just found your blog via Wendy’s Lookbook and decided to comment on this…  Years ago at a party I noticed a friend wear her fave navy pumps and they were so shiny & clean compared to the last time I had seen her wear them.  Curious as to how she got her pumps to be soo clean I asked….. She answered:  I have two pairs!!   Ding!Ding!  The lights came on!!  Ever since then if I see something (actually quite according to your guidelines above) I will buy duplicates.  Now if only I could have afforded a duplicate of my fave MaryJane pumps from Charles David I would be a happy camper…

  31. says: Ejurgensen

    I just discovered your blog, and though I am a rare commentor, I’m making an exception because I’m so impressed. Your (realistic! Thank you!) photos and actual measurements of garments are extremely helpful. I’ve already decided to buy less and spend the money on tailoring after your post on celebrity clothing. My time and gas spent hunting for the perfect fit is better spent at the tailor! Regarding this article – I am a zealous hoarder of basics when I find an item, especially jeans, that fit me perfectly and that I love, for I know all too well that cut or style will disappear long before I wear the item out. I have a drawer full of tanks, tees, and jeans waiting to go into rotation. I don’t hoard shoes because, unlike my clothes, I love trendy shoes and bags and tire of them quickly, so I buy a few favorites and wear them out while anticipating the next update to my wardrobe:)

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