Buying clothes, tucking in the labels, wearing them out and then returning them after a quick onceover with the iron has long been a tradition for folks who want the look, but don’t really have the cash. 

But now, a whole new trend is starting where Instagram users buy clothes to snap pics for their #OOTD inspiration and then return them so they won’t be seen in the same outfit more than once. According to iNews, this is called “wardrobing”.

Shock! Horror! Imagine being seen in the same dress more than once. How could you expect your followers to respect you if you don’t give them something new to chew on?

READ MORE: No more under 18s! The fashion world is finally putting its foot down

Anyway, a survey from credit card company Barclaycard says that nearly 1 in 10 shoppers admit to buying clothes solely for the purpose of taking a picture for their social media, and once it’s served its purpose, it goes right back to the store.

The survey was of 2002 adults and showed that shoppers aged 35 – 44 were most likely to do this and men were more likely to do it than women. Although the survey did omit teens who are a big demographic for Instagram. 

READ MORE: Meet the world’s first digital supermodel

iNews says that men appear to be more self-conscious about appearing in the same outfit twice with 12% of men saying they had posted an image of a new purchase and then returned it, compared with 7% of women. 

But that’s not all. According to Retail Gazette, 10% of men surveyed said they would feel embarrassed for a friend to see them in the same outfit twice, compared to 7% of women.

QZ.com says that Barclaycard points out that it could be the new “try before you buy” option that some retailers have that could be contributing to this trend. Shoppers simply order the item, try it on, take a picture for Instagram if they wish and then return the clothes without even having to pay for it. 

READ MORE: This designer had the perfect response to the Danish burqa ban

But there are some places that are still making a pretty penny off this new phenomenon and embracing it instead of fighting it. There are brands like Fashion Nova whose clothes are “…made for social media: meant to be worn once, maybe twice, photographed, and discarded,” said The Cut. And then there’s Rent the Runway which allows customers to rent designer clothing and return them for a fee.

So should we be ashamed of admitting to snapping and sending back? Or should we be celebrating the innovation of the Instagram generation? Either way, you have to admit that it’s a pretty ingenious idea. 

Sign up to W24’s newsletters so you don't miss out on any of our hot stories and giveaways.