Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Sharing Clothes: Should You Break Your Habit??

When I was in college (which was just last year, I swear!!), sharing clothes with friends and roommates was a given. With our tight college budgets we had no qualms about lending out our possessions. Shoes, dresses, tops, jewelry – we would literally share everything! What better way to instantly expand your wardrobe than by shopping in your friend’s closet??

Luckily for my friends and I, we never had any problems with our open door policy. I can honestly say that my clothes were always returned and never damaged. Maybe all of our wardrobes were desperately sparse we knew our fashion solutions depended on sharing each other's clothes!

I also know that sharing clothes can make some friendships go sour quickly. Too often, a shirt will be lent out but never returned, a dress will be irrevocably stained, or a pair of shoes be stretched out. How do you keep this habit from spiraling out of control?

In my opinion, sharing clothes is equivalent to walking on a precarious tightrope. It can be a great way for you and your friends to spice up your wardrobe, but it can also be the easiest way to ruin relationships. Everyone will have a different experience, so it is important to take a step back before deciding whether to open your closet to all your friends. Once you throw open those doors; trust me, it will be very hard to close them. I have made a list of all the possible pros and cons for you to weigh your options carefully before taking the plunge.


  • The most obvious advantage: you will instantly expand your wardrobe!!

  • You can try out new styles and trends that maybe you always thought were outside your comfort zone.

  • You have the added benefit of seeing your friends model your own clothes — in case you needed another perspective.

  • If you are strapped for cash (like I always seem to be), borrowing your roommates' little black dress or killer pair of heels can be a lifesaver. We all have those unexpected events that require the perfect outfit which we never seem to have!

  • Remember, even if you and your friend are not the same size, you can still borrow each other’s accessories. Think: purses, scarves, jewelry, hats — anything that will change up your usual fashion routine.


  • Letting your friends borrow your stuff can be tricky: accidents may happen and your possessions might get mistreated if you let them fall into the wrong hands.

  • Clothes made of stretch or delicate fabric run the risk of stretching or tearing if you and your friends are different dress sizes. Keep in mind that your favorite dress will hug every person’s curves differently.

  • Shoes are the one item that I am always cautious about lending: it seems easy to cram a size eight foot into a size seven shoe, but when you hand back the pair tomorrow, they will be stretched out and deformed.

  • Before you say yes to a friend, think about the person you are lending to: is she responsible and respectful? Or is she careless? Do not let your friends borrow any of your possessions unless you think they will return it.

  • Do not let the clothes sharing turn into a one-way street. Oftentimes, someone may become resentful if only one person is doing the lending and the other is always doing the borrowing.

  • If you let your friends borrow your stuff, you will inevitably be subjecting your clothes or accessories to twice as much wear and tear. Remember that these are your clothes, first and foremost, and you get to decide who gets to wear what and how often.

A few more cautionary tips:

  • Before establishing your own open door policy, sit down with your friends and roommates and set some boundaries. You might not have a problem lending out that clutch from Charlotte Russe, but your Tiffany’s necklace is another story…

  • Set up your own damage control. In case something happens to your favorite dress or you accidentally break your roommates new bracelet, make a rule that you’ll replace the item or reimburse your friend.

  • Remember that everyone has different comfort levels and, while sharing everything you own may seem totally acceptable to you, your friend may prefer to be a little more selective. Respect one another’s possessions because you definitely do not want to put any unnecessary strain on your friendship!

Now that I have offered up my pearls of wisdom, it is time for you to make a decision! Sharing clothes can be a beautiful thing but, like any major decision, this has the potential to become your best fashion solution or your worst nightmare. Now, go forth and deliberate!

"Fashion Is Foremost Inspiration"


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