The dresses that people wear for special occasions are sometimes only worn once. People might purchase completely new luxurious dresses for each event that they attend.
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However, the fact that special occasion dresses are worn so rarely can also be helpful for the people who want to avoid spending more money than they have to on new clothing. They probably won’t damage the dress after wearing it for a few hours on one night.
The dress should be in good condition for years, and so people have every reason to wear it for at least that long. A person who keeps a formal dress for a decade might still only wear that dress a few times.
People who attend multiple special events fairly consistently might need to have several dresses, but they can still keep all these dresses for a while. The new dresses that they might purchase could still be similar to the older ones, since many aspects of formal dresses won’t change that much over time.
While the styles associated with dresses will change, plenty of nice dresses have a classic look. Dresses that are elegant and simple at the same time will probably look fashionable in most eras.
However, that also doesn’t mean that understated types of dresses are the only ones that can be easily worn for years. Fashion trends can change rapidly, making a more distinctive older dress look like an interesting vintage item after a relatively small amount of time.
Some statement dresses might look unfashionable temporarily, but they’ll usually be seen as bold again fairly quickly. People won’t always hold onto older wardrobe items, since they only have so much clothing storage space. However, luxurious dresses take up minimal amounts of space, and keeping them is usually worth it.