Beg, borrow or steal…
It was one of those moments when time stood still. I watched, open mouthed and disbelieving as my best friend – busy laughing and joking – haphazardly spilled an entire glass of red wine down my favourite yellow dress.
She had begged me to wear it out that night, promising to hand it back in perfect condition. But in the space of three seconds, it was gone. Speechless and fuming inside, I attempted to pretend everything was fine, that I would (gulp) surely find another dress just like it.
The guilty look on my friends face prevented me from having a major hissy fit, but the look on mine was visibly sombre. We made bleak attempts to clean up the stain with every trick in the book – vinegar, Vanish, you name it – before eventually admitting defeat. It was ruined.
So in that moment, it was the straw that broke the camel’s Topshop-clad back – the moment I finally decided lending clothes to friends was infinitely, a no go. After many years of hunting down “borrowed” items from friends and trying to shift food or tan stains from clothes, there comes a time when you must be selfish.
The traditional idea of sharing and swapping just no longer works. From Wotsits when we were 12 to party dresses at 21, my best friend and I have swapped clothes more times than Katie Price and Peter Andre have swapped public jibes. I don’t have any sisters, so luckily have never had to worry about one swiping my favourite Zara jacket, so before the horrendous wine episode, I had always been quite flattered when a friend asked to borrow an outfit.
One of the key benefits of course was being able to borrow her stuff too – yet even when done so, it somehow never feels right. You can’t help but feel like an imposter in her outfit – as though people can sense what you’re wearing is not officially yours.
Lending out clothes is often a disaster waiting to happen. Unless it’s a Primark tee or dress that no longer cuts the chase, there are some things (like favourite dresses) that you should keep greedily to yourself.
There is always a slight panic that comes with ‘loaning’ out your favourite items, and the uncertainty that you will ever get them back. I have lost count of the myriad jumpers, dresses and pairs of shoes that I am still waiting to be returned. It’s pretty doubtful that I’ll ever see them again, so I guess I’ll just have to mourn them along with the others.
Do I think anyone should lend out their clothes? No, not unless your friend exhibits the reliability of a saint. It’s just not worth it if it could potentially ruin a friendship, and believe me, it could. So the next time a friend asks to borrow your favourite dress? I say run. Run for the hills.
Either that or you could just clumsily sway a glass of potent red wine near her, smile sweetly and offer it in exchange of her favourite (and only) pair of Jimmy Choos. I guarantee she’ll never ask to borrow again.