The Sorority of Sharing Clothes

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Eva Hughes Sutton

For me, living with five daughters in college has come with a host of benefits – our home is a haven of fairy light, a sanctuary of sisterhood that is never short of laughter, a shoulder to cry or a pair of hands to braid your hair with. But brotherhood has always had a price. Eva shares her experience of sharing clothes.

As kids, currency was simple – we traded secrets at sleepovers and traded our treats for the lunchbox on the playground. But as we grow into adults, we’ve gone from borrowing boobs from school toilets to Friday night prep rituals where the unspoken rule of female friendship has become what I call “guarding.” -open dress”. When I say “open wardrobe”, I mean when one of the members of the entourage wears clothes up to their ankles that they have thrown on the floor in a Dear Horowitz moment – ​​shouting that they have nothing to wear, then they remember that they live with four other girls, which basically means: four open wardrobes for things.

For those who are more protective of their wardrobe, the thought of sharing clothes can be a bit of a nightmare. Give one of your favorite pieces to a friend for a night out and you not only risk a vodka-coca splatter, but the possibility that you’ll never even see it again – I can admit that almost any item that I have been loaned out as a teenager still linger in the back of my closet. I have pairs of socks that I would borrow after staying with an old friend, to going out tops that I now use as pajamas.

Allowing our friends to borrow our clothes, and in turn to borrow theirs, reduces waste and limits our consumption of fast fashion.

Although it was negligent of me to never return their items to my friends (and also a pointer to one of my friends reading that they should never let me borrow their clothes), each now holds a memory behind them. They’re a physical form of nostalgia and a reminder of my past friendships, with a sentimental value you just can’t get from disposable fast fashion pieces.

What translates from sharing clothes back then to the open wardrobes my roommates and I share now is that it’s an act of trust, a wonderful show of closeness within a friendship, and it’s is something that will always be worth the risk of wearing tears. I don’t have any sisters of my own. Five bodies swapping crop tops, lip gloss and perfume in a scramble to get ready, crushed in a bedroom of retro 00s music, color-changing LED lights and half-empty wine bottles is the closest thing I’ve ever felt to brotherhood.

Of course, the open wardrobe also has its environmental benefits – sharing clothes is a much greener alternative to buying a new piece. On average, we wear a garment only seven times before we get rid of it. Allowing our friends to borrow our clothes, and in turn to borrow theirs, reduces waste and limits our consumption of fast fashion. We don’t have to buy a whole new outfit for a night out when we can convince our roommate to let us borrow that dress they promised us to wear a long time ago.

Keep an open mind and above all, your “open” wardrobe. If you’re worried about sharing, just make sure you never lend someone like me – I can’t promise anything that I won’t hide it away in my closet forever as a nostalgic keepsake…

Eva Hughes Sutton


Image courtesy of Becca Tapert Going through Unsplash. Image license found here. No changes have been made to this image.

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