My Street Style Interview with Boston Magazine

Tap here to read the article onsite.

(Or just skim this screen-grab.)

Photos by: Diana Levine

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Boston Magazine’s Fall Fashion Feature: “Cut and Paste”

Head Stylist: Abby Bielagus
Assistant Stylist: Mia Zarrella

For this photoshoot, I assisted the head stylist with all facets of the photoshoot, including pulling clothing from over two dozen high end retailers, organizing the styling closet, steaming and preparing the clothes, dressing the models, monitoring the photoshoot, putting together new looks during the photoshoot, and even assisting the photographer in directing the model’s poses when needed.

View more styling from the fall fashion shoot at Photo by Toan Trinh, styling by Abby Bielagus, modeling by Martine Fox/Q Models, and assistant styling by Mia Zarrella. OUTFIT CREDITS: Coach 1941 “Daisy” shearling jacket, $2,500, Coach; “Mash Up” cotton T-shirt, $175, Marc Jacobs; Céline corduroy pants, $1,050, Barneys New York; “Marchapp” leather-and-suede boots, $995, Christian Louboutin.

Click here to view the fall fashion spread online.


Boston Home Magazine: “Shear Genius”

Read about one Boston designer’s most treasured possession.

Words by Mia Zarrella for Boston Home
Photography by Joe St. Pierre for Boston Home

“It seems fitting that Kathryn Yee, a designer who offers upcycled cloth goods through her company the Everyday Co., collects scissors. Her favorite of the bunch?”

Read the full story to find out. 

Food Rescue Organizations: Helping the Hungry and the Environment  

By Mia Zarrella

A large truck pulls up to a nondescript white house with red doors and blue trim. There’s a small sign in the window that says “Refugees Welcome Here.” Two men roll open the back of the commercial vehicle and begin unloading boxes of food onto a dolly. The side of the truck reads: “Food For Free.”

The driver is Simon Walsh, an Englishman with gray hair who has been working at the nonprofit food rescue organization, Food For Free, for 15 years. It will take he and his assistant at least an hour to unload all of the food.

The headquarters is located at 11 Inman St. in Cambridge, around the corner from Central Square’s eclectic coffee shops and vegetarian cafes. Food For Free salvages unwanted food from corporate cafeterias, grocery stores, and other food centers then donates it to low-income people. The salvaged food in Walsh’s truck will eventually find its way into food pantries, shelters, daycares, and school programs. For now, the food is stored in a large outdoor refrigerator until it’s time to be donated later today.

Walsh started working at Food For Free to help those who cannot feed themselves and to feed himself, as well.

“It could so easily be me receiving the food,” said Walsh. “Most of us live at that level where it wouldn’t take much for us to be in need of some help with procuring food. If I didn’t have this job, with the free food that comes with it, I would probably be in line myself sometimes.”

Massachusetts food-rescue organizations, like Food For Free, divert surplus food that would get thrown away and give it to more than 266,000 Massachusetts residents who struggle to put food on the table.

What many people see as waste, food rescuers and environmentalists see as a valuable resource.

According to the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP), food waste and other organic, compostable materials, make up about a third of commercial waste varying slightly season-to-season. That equates to about 1.5 million tons of waste each year.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency states that 95 percent of food that is thrown away either goes into landfills or combustion facilities. Once in a landfill, food decomposes, releasing methane —a greenhouse gas that contributes to climate change.

MassDEP’s 2010-2020 Solid Waste Master Plan strives to resolve this environmental issue. On Oct. 1, 2014, MassDEP initiated a commercial food waste ban prohibiting commercial cafeterias — hotels, grocery stores, restaurants — from disposing food that could be otherwise composted or donated. The goal is to divert at least 35 percent of food waste — or an additional 350,000 annual tons — by 2020. Boston has its own mission too, Boston Mayor Marty Walsh wants  Boston to be a zero-waste city by 2050.

What started as a composting and waste-prevention initiative, opened the doors to addressing a human issue.

“It’s quite depressing to see whole boxes of produce that have been picked by hard-working field hands, then packed and loaded, then transported across the whole country, then unloaded, then finally thrown in a dumpster because although perfectly edible it won’t last till it gets put on a supermarket shelf,” said Walsh. “It’s great that we can say, we’ll take that and give it to someone who needs it that same day.


In 2015, Food For Free distributed two million pounds of food and fed over 25,000 hungry people in 11 Greater Boston cities. That is nearly two million pounds of food that would have otherwise contributed to the waste stream.

“The initial emphasis really was just trying to get the food out of the trash and get it composted, which is using it as a material and getting value out of that material,” said John Fischer, the branch chief of commercial waste reduction and waste planning for MassDEP. “But as we did that it became clear to us — and clear to a lot of those businesses and institutions — that some portion of that food that they were throwing out was really perfectly fine.”

So instead of tossing produce that’s at the end of its shelf-life and instead of dumping cooked food that was never served, the food, under the Good Samaritan law, can be donated.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture reports that 266,459 of the 2,547,075 census-reported Massachusetts households are food insecure. The agency counts 123,615 households as being “very low food security.” According to Massachusetts food outreach organization, Project Bread, 1 in 10 households in the state struggle to consistently put food on the table.

Food For Free’s director of operations, Ryan Lee, worked at Project Bread from 2007 to 2015. He found that for low-income families, food — as opposed to heating and electricity — often gets reduced.

“Parents skip meals so kids can eat. You start to find ways to stretch a meal, and oftentimes, a way to feed the families for less money is feeding them more starch, which is cheap,” said Lee.

Project Bread says that hunger escalated during the recession. It peaked in 2011, with 11.9 percent of state residents going hungry. That number has decreased, but remained 24 percent higher than what it was prior to the recession, with 9.7 percent of residents living with food insecurity. And the number of very food insecure residents has nearly doubled, increasing from 3 percent a decade ago to 5.4 percent in 2015.

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Maria Infante, director of community outreach at Project Bread, said, “We’re hearing more and more often people who are completely new to the world of looking for food resources. They are previously middle class families or lower middle class and now all of sudden they are not able to have enough food and don’t even know where to start because that’s not something they have been exposed to.”

Founded in 1981, Food For Free donates to over 100 agencies, catering to the specific needs of clients.

“We are coming up with small solutions to help individuals, as opposed to systematic change,” said Lee. “We’re doing our part to do what we can.”

Every year, as part of Food For Free’s Field of Greens program, 50 volunteers harvest 4,000 to 8,000 pounds of vegetables at a quarter-acre farm in Lincoln. This program supplies nutritious produce to the Pine Street Inn in downtown Boston, where the ingredients get incorporated into meals for homeless men.

Then there is the Home Delivery Program, which serves about 100 people who cannot shop independently. Each month, these low-income clients receive about 35 pounds of groceries twice a month. Food For Free receives these groceries from places like the Greater Boston Food Bank, Whole Foods, and Boston Public Market.

Food For Free delivers food to Cambridge schools, which allows busy, low-income parents to pick up free groceries once a month at their child’s school.

The Cambridge Weekend Backpack Program sends food home with elementary and middle school children on Friday afternoons to sustain them for the weekend. And for Cambridge High School students, Food For Free had a different solution.

“The high schoolers just don’t have the same schedule, so what we decided was instead of that sort of passive way of getting food, there should be a more active way of getting food,” said Alanna Mallon, director of programs. Mallon helped start an on-site food pantry at the high school. The pantry opened April 1, 2016. Food For Free, along with other donors, bring fresh food to the school every Monday.

At Cambridge Community College, Food For Free offers similar support. The Rev. Cheng Imm Tan is the community manager for student support at Cambridge College, where she says 40 percent of students, who are an average age of 35, make $25,000 or less.

“It became clear that food insecurity is an issue to deal with for our population given the income level,” Tan said.

About a year ago, Tan collaborated with Food For Free to create several food events such as Coffee Hour, offering fruit cups, yogurts, salads, sandwiches, and pastries, and Healthy Body, Healthy Mind, which involves a 40-minute lecture about healthy eating and then a free produce market in the last 20 minutes. About 80 to 100 students attend these monthly events.  

“I think people just really feel very supported and excited.” said Tan. “I like doing it because I always get really great feedback from students about how they feel.”

Food for Free also has a Family Meals program which caters to clients who face a barrier in the kitchen, whether they are disabled, elderly, or do not have access to a stove or oven. Like frozen TV dinners, these meals are already prepared and just need to be microwaved.

Just walk through the side entrance of the Christ Church Cambridge, up the two flights of stairs, and follow the clanking and banging sounds. That’s where Fiona Crimmins, program director of family meals, and Amy Starzec, program coordinator, work with volunteers to put these meals together.

Wearing a Fat Tire Ale cap, blue hygienic gloves, and an olive-colored apron, Crimmins walks into the kitchen carrying a large cardboard box. This is one of several boxes of surplus food that Harvard University has donated to Food For Free. Today’s morning delivery has an assortment of frozen foods: rice, potatoes, chicken, corn, string beans, peas, haddock, and turkey paninis.

Once Crimmins and Starzec take inventory of the delivery, two kitchen volunteers begin sorting and preparing the food. There are two other volunteers banging a mallet onto a crowbar that’s stuck in a block of frozen haddock. To keep from spoiling, it’s imperative that once Food For Free receives a frozen shipment, it is portioned and packaged quickly.

The food is then distributed into plastic trays. The small left compartment of the tray is for colorful veggies and the large right cubby is to be filled with a bed of starches with a serving of protein on top. Another volunteer, Jesse Feiman, places the food proportionately into the assembly line of trays on the counter, carefully inspecting that all the food is in perfect condition for eating.

Feiman tosses an unappetizing piece of chicken into the trash, saying to the others, “I would be upset if that showed up on my plate.”

Once the trays are filled, volunteer Demi Ayres packages them. Ayres started volunteering with Food For Free after the presidential election.

“I wanted to contribute in a positive way to helping those in need,” said Ayres. “What can be more important than feeding those who are in need of help? How can they possibly sustain their own lives without good nutrition?”

Ayres uses a pressing machine to seal the trays airtight, then she sticks a label on the top, and places the trays into a white cooler to await their new home.

“They are not just a mish-mash of leftovers from last night,” said Crimmins. “They are beautifully presented and the labels are printed nicely. We aren’t just giving food, we are giving dignity. I don’t care if you’re food insecure or not, good food breeds dignity.”

These prepared meals will be delivered to agencies that will disburse them to those in need. Some will end up in motel rooms, others in college dorms or low-income housing.

“A big portion about why our program got off the ground is entirely because of the food waste ban, because all of a sudden, university dining halls were faced with this ban,” said Crimmins.

Harvard University was the first campus cafeteria to donate to Food For Free and remains one of their largest donors of prepared foods. In the 2014-2015 school year, the first year Harvard was a donor, it donated over 45,000 meals.

“Initially we were donating a lot of things that we could’ve wrapped up and put into a cooler for the next day,” said David Davidson, managing director of dining services. “We had to make sure we weren’t giving up shop.”

In December 2016, MassDEP revealed that the commercial waste ban, only two years old, created 900 jobs in food waste hauling and processing. In 2015, Massachusetts diverted over 1 million tons of waste disposal. The state is halfway to achieving the 2020 goal of reducing waste by 2 million tons.

“What if every university dining program found a partner like Food For Free and did this?” asked Christa Martin, director for strategic initiatives and communications at Harvard University. “We could go a long way to addressing some of the hunger issues in this country.”

The truckload of food that Walsh and his assistant are unloading is from the Greater Boston Food Bank, which donates a total of about 30,000 pounds of surplus perishables to Food For Free weekly.

“We are an essential and established part of how the community gets fed now,” said Walsh. “I don’t see us as a charity (although of course we rely on a lot of donations), I see us as more of an agency doing a service for the city, helping to make sure that the substantial segment of the population who are food insecure get good nutrition.”

Once the Food For Free truck is unloaded, and all the food is sorted into the freezer and dry goods pantry, employees select what produce they need for their programs and pantries. Then the delivery vans are loaded and head out to deliver the food around the city, ensuring that the right food is being brought to the right people at the right time.

“It’s an anti-hunger mission,” said Lee.

With all of this leftover food finding new homes, it is as reassuring as it is disconcerting to food rescuers. There is a culture of excess and a culture of shortage living next door to each other in Massachusetts.

“I feel this is an incredibly important endeavor, not just about eliminating waste, but making the next step and making sure that waste isn’t waste anymore because it goes to somebody who needs it,” said Crimmins. “It turns surplus into usable food.”

Crimmins then said, “Our business is booming.”  

Click here to see food rescuing in action.



The Civil Union of Fashion and Politics

By Mia Zarrella / Beacon Correspondent – November 10, 2016
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Fashion has been exceptionally political this year.

The campaigns, debates, and scandals leading up to the result of this 2016 election created a  divide in the American people, but also inspired members of the fashion industry to promote their favorite candidate and encourage citizens to vote.

On Oct. 18, Vogue endorsed Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton. This is the first time in its 124 years that the magazine has endorsed a presidential contender.

Below a 1993 Annie Leibovitz portrait of Clinton, Vogue wrote, “Editors in chief have made their opinions known from time to time, but the magazine has never spoken in an election with a single voice. Given the profound stakes of this one, and the history that stands to be made, we feel that should change.”

The readers’ reactions online ranged from celebratory to outrage. Some stated they were going to become new subscribers to the publication, while others stated they were forever unsubscribing. After sifting through the 97 article comments, I started thinking about the important role fashion plays in politics, and how that role is so often overlooked.

One reader, @Connie05, triggered me especially when they commented, “Stick to fashion! For the love of all things sacred, stick to fashion. I buy your magazine for fashion and stylist and current trends in the beauty business not to endorse candidates…Glad to know where your publication stands. I cancelled my subscription.”

The typos, by the way, are @Connie05’s, not mine.

And @Connie05 wasn’t alone. Most unhappy readers had three things to say: stick to fashion, stay out of politics, and Hillary Clinton shouldn’t be president.

I understand that readers might be upset that Vogue endorsed a candidate they don’t like. Yet suggesting a fashion magazine has no role discussing politics and should “stick to fashion” is disputable.

Fashion and politics are not mutually exclusive. In fact, fashion is inherently political as designs are born from the designer’s culture, and style is determined by a person’s values and beliefs. Not to mention a fashion company’s own set of laws and ethics: who it employs, how much it pays its employees, what materials the garments are made of, etc.  All are determined by politics and speak to the company’s bureaucracy and legislation.

Fashion has been changing the political and social culture for centuries.

When Levi Strauss first designed Lady’s Levis in 1933, women could finally wear jeans made for their bodies, while working in the yard or farm. Then, in 1966, Yves Saint Laurent created Le Smoking pantsuit, allowing women to wear pants in a formal setting. These designers were influenced by feminist movements toward gender equality.

In 1994, the cruelty-free organization People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) broadcasted an advertisement protesting the use of animal fur in clothing. Supermodels like Naomi Campbell and Tatjana Patitz posed nude with the slogan, “We’d rather go naked than wear fur.” Though PETA has a reputation for being radical in its scare tactics to promote animal rights, this was a tasteful advertisement that used style and beauty icons to promote change through clothing.

In 2013, after neighborhood watch guard George Zimmerman was acquitted for killing Trayvon Martin, a black 17-year-old, black T-shirts reading “Black Lives Matter” in white font were the uniform of what would become the Black Lives Matter movement. The recognizable shirts became a way to share and vocalize the need for racial equality.

And in September 2015, Kerby Jean-Raymond, designer for Pyer Moss, produced a short film about police brutality and racial injustice that aired during his New York Fashion Week show. Earlier that year, Jean-Raymond designed the “They Have Names” shirts that list the names of those wrongfully and/or brutally killed by policemen. The profits went to the American Civil Liberties Union.

And this year—an election year—the trend continued with a fervent sense of urgency to get Americans to vote.

Opening Ceremony’s Fall II and Winter 2016 New York Fashion Week show was a mock-pageant featuring comedians like Fred Armisen, Carrie Brownstein, and Whoopi Goldberg, who gave commentary on the democratic process. The show, dubbed “Pageant of the People,” had real voter registration booths on set while a dozen of A-list comedians talked on issues of immigration, feminism, economic inequality, police brutality, gender discrimination, and more. In its show notes, Opening Ceremony wrote: “No decisions we make this year are as critical as the ones our country will consider on election day.”

The same week as Opening Ceremony’s show, Vogue hosted a Hillary Clinton campaign fundraiser. The event was organized by Vogue’s Editor-in-Chief Anna Wintour and Huma Abedin, the vice chairperson of Clinton’s 2016 campaign. In the spirit of NYFW New York Fashion Week, 15 designers, including Diane von Furstenburg, Marc Jacobs, Jason Wu, Joseph Altuzarra, and Tory Burch, featured designs for the Democratic Party nominee. The designers all created T-shirts showing they are with her—designs which can be purchased from Clinton’s website. The collection was dubbed “Made For History” to underline the possibility of a woman being elected president of the United States.

In an industry that thrives on appearances, to design a shirt that promotes one presidential candidate polarizes consumers. Yet it seems that during this high-stakes election year, designers and public figures are taking that risk.


The night of the third presidential debate, singer Rihanna wore a $35 Trapvilla T-shirt with a screen-printed image of Hillary Clinton wearing a Yankees hat while serving as New York’s senator. She shared two pictures of the shirt to her 45.6 million Instagram followers. Each post received over 1 million likes and between 4,000 to 8,000 comments.

Those who have the gusto to support or defame a candidate on their chest offer themselves up to scrutiny, but also has the ability to influence. Fashion is a platform for communication, a utility for expression. Therefore, naturally, it makes sense for it to be used to spread political beliefs.

As you can see, @Connie05, fashion has always been political, from the moment women started wearing pants to when men started wearing dresses, from the first Black Lives Matter T-shirt to the “Made For History” clothing line.

When we read about style and trends and when we go onto Instagram or flip through a magazine, there are political connotations. As long as politics are present, fashion will remain the powerful force it is today.

Fashion Fosters Activism

by Mia Zarrella / Beacon Correspondent • March 2, 2017
Photo credit: Business of Fashion
Click here to read the article on

With fashion week coming to an end, what stands out the most to me, besides the fact that Christopher Kane still sends Crocs onto the runway, are the moments when designers used their prominence to make a statement about human rights, whether subtle or grandiose.

On Feb. 8, Imran Amed, the editor-in-chief and founder of the industry-savvy news site, Business of Fashion, published a statement. His announcement came the day before kicking off one month of fashion shows in New York, London, Milan, and Paris.

On Business of Fashion’s website, Amed called for everybody involved in fashion week to wear a white bandana. Amed said the bandana is “a sign to the world that you believe in the common bonds of humankind—regardless of race, sexuality, gender or religion.” Business of Fashion wants to unite people in making a positive statement and impact during a time when many people around the world are feeling dismay.

To spread word about the movement, for every social media post with the hashtag #TiedTogether, Business of Fashion donors and benefactors will donate $5 to the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). The goal is to reach $50,000.

Designers like Tommy Hilfiger and Diane Von Furstenberg, as well as models such as Gigi and Bella Hadid, have incorporated the white bandana into their shows and their own attire. The bandana allows prominent members of the industry to share their views without actually speaking, and that’s the beauty of fashion.

In this turbulent socio-political time, it’s important for brands to use their status, as well as prominent events, to make a difference in the world.

Designer Adam Selman showed his support for female reproductive rights at his New York Fashion Week womenswear show. Selman distributed buttons that read “Fashion Stands with Planned Parenthood” to everybody in the front row, including Vogue magazine Editor-in-Chief Anna Wintour. The buttons were part of the Council of Fashion Designers of America’s campaign which is dedicated to raising awareness about the health care that Planned Parenthood provides.

At London Fashion Week, designer Gareth Pugh sent a political message through his clothing and set design. Models walked in all black cloaks, suits, and dresses with black bug-eyed goggles. Some of the garb resembled black plastic bags and reassembled seat belts, which added to the dystopian world Pugh had created in a dingy basement of a London building. With Brexit tensions in London and political agitation in the USA, Pugh’s ominous show felt apocalyptic, especially since a jumbled, menacing soundtrack with President Donald Trump’s voice saying, “Build that wall,” blared through the speakers.

Fashion is innately and historically political, from rising hemlines in the Roaring ‘20s to Yves Saint Laurent’s ‘60s womens pantsuit. Yet, there hasn’t been a runway show like this, until recently. TV, social media, the Internet, and the press are new tools for spreading the word fast and far.

Other designers also referenced Trump’s conduct and language. During Ashish Gupta’s “Wizard of Oz” inspired, show in London, Gupta’s models wore glittery, rainbow-patterned outfits emblazoned with statements like “Nasty Woman,” “More Glitter, Less Twitter,” and “Love Sees No Colour.”

Similarly, Prabal Gurung’s New York show ended with models wearing T-shirts that read slogans like “The Future is Female” and “This is What a Feminist Looks Like.” While in Milan, Donatella Versace’s dress had the word “EQUALITY” written down the sleeve and her models sported clothing with words such as “UNITY,” “POWER,” “LOYALTY,” and “COURAGE.”

Themes of unity and equality were evident in various shows, yet they weren’t all as literal as a printed word. In Milan, Gucci broke company tradition by casting men in their women’s Fall/Winter 2017 show. Many other brands, like Prada and Marc Jacobs, have also been embracing gender-neutral styling. The Fashion Spot, a news organization that routinely records demographics of models during New York Fashion Week (NYFW), reported that Marc Jacobs featured three of the eight recorded transgender models involved in NYFW.

In addition to improved gender diversity, the Fashion Spot reported that this NYFW season made history as the first time all 116 major runways show featured at least one non-white model. Last fall remains the most diverse show, stated the Fashion Spot, with a 30.9 percent diversity representation, but this season is only 0.4 percent short of that record.

Lack of cultural diversity has plagued the catwalk for decades, which is why it was refreshing and timely, considering recent immigration policies, to see that Kanye West, Max Mara, and Simone Rocha cast models that wore hijabs on their catwalk.

We are living in a socio-political world where people have the power to influence politics just as much as politics can influence people. And these fashion designers and influencers are using their privilege, their prominence, and their apparel to do just that.

In Defense of Outfit Repeating

By Mia Zarrella, Berkeley Beacon Correspondent – October 12, 2016
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If Kate Sanders were a real person, she wouldn’t like me.

In The Lizzie McGuire Movie, mean girl Kate Sanders calls the main character, Lizzie, an “outfit repeater” after she wears a powder blue puffy-sleeved dress under her graduation gown—the same blue dress she wore to the spring dance. In Kate’s opinion, repeating an outfit was social suicide.

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Disney’s “The Lizzie McGuire Movie”

After seeing that movie in 2003, I was convinced outfit-repeating was a crime.

The negative association with this practice is still perpetuated through pop culture and social media. Celebrities get “spotted” wearing the same dress or hat and it makes tabloid headlines. And even I feel a little embarrassed when I realize I posted two pictures in a row on Instagram in the same shirt.

Will people think I am unhygienic or too uncreative to wear something different? It’s silly, yet it’s reality.

The idea that I couldn’t (noticeably) repeat the same outfit was planted in my mind during my tween years and it’s reinforced every time my roommate asks me if I am going “to branch out and wear a pair of pants other than my blue Levis.” The answer to the question is a resounding no.

When moving into my Boston apartment this summer, I only brought pieces I wear all the time. I donated or sold the garments with irrevocable stains, loose waistbands, itchy collars, and heinous patterns, and I was left with my favorite pieces of clothing—my staples.

These are the clothes I invested money in, fit me the best, and make me feel the most confident and comfortable. I tend to wear these pieces regularly, and since most of my clothes are black, blue, or white, they are highly equipped for mixing and matching.

Similar to the concept of the “French wardrobe,” I use the same articles of clothing in different ways by tucking in, tying up, cuffing, accessorizing, or layering. It’s an inexpensive way to expand a small or basic wardrobe, and it’s creative.

Dolly Parton, who in 2011 told Q Magazine that she never wears the same outfit twice, has also famously said, “It takes a lot of money to look this cheap.”

The singer-songwriter has the money to buy new clothing all the time—I, on the other hand, do not.

Unlike tissues and disposable razors, clothing is supposed to last. Yet, expendable clothing is on the rise. Fast-fashion stores like Zara, H&M, and Forever 21 restock their racks with new styles weekly, permitting shoppers to keep their wardrobes fresh for a low cost. There is no need to wear the same outfit when you can purchase a whole new look for less than $20. And once the $10 shirt stretches out or the jeggings rip, you can always go back and buy replacements, right?

However, much of the clothing sold by fast-fashion companies is produced in developing countries for cheap costs. And when clothing is manufactured for cheap, the quality suffers. When a product is beyond the point of being worn again, it often ends up contributing to the 15.1 million tons of textile waste that the Environmental Protection Agency recorded back in 2013.

The pieces that we can wear all the time are usually the ones that can sustain the wear and tear. My Levi 501s are sturdy jeans that can go weeks before needing a break.

And sometimes garments that cost a little more last a while longer. I’ve gone through an embarrassing amount of cheap leather jackets and ankle boots before deciding to invest in ones that would last more than one winter season. When I invest in an article of clothing, I tend to want to wear it all the time to “get my money’s worth,” as the expression goes.

And perhaps First Lady Michelle Obama and Duchess of Cambridge Kate Middleton share that same mindset.

Middleton has been photographed repurposing and styling pieces like her navy Smythe blazer and cork wedges on multiple occasions. She has also worn eye-catching dresses like the red Alexander McQueen dress and emerald green Diane von Furstenberg dress to different distinguished events.

Michelle Obama has done the same, wearing dresses by Thom Browne and Barbara Tfank multiple times.

Prior to his death, Apple CEO Steve Jobs practically trademarked the combination of a black turtleneck, faded blue jeans, and white New Balance sneakers.

Grace Coddington, a former model and the creative director at-large of American Vogue, is known for wearing outfits of all black. Meanwhile, Anna Wintour, the editor-in-chief at Vogue, has sported the same hairstyle and sunglasses for so long they’ve become iconic.

As style icons and public figures, what these people wear says a lot. The faux pas of wearing the same outfit more than once might have originated with bourgeoisie attitudes, but that’s no longer the case. Instead, it’s a demonstration of eco-conscious fashion, a mark of creativity, and a display of personal style.

Clothing is a utility to showcase personality, interests, and ideas. It can be a manifestation of your true self or it can be a presentation of different personas. Personal style incites confidence and comfort, so whether it is a powder blue peasant dress or black turtleneck and New Balances, if it feels good and if you like it, you should wear it and then wear it again.