What Are The ‘Girl Rules’ For Duplicate Garments Among Friends?

My friend Jodie and me, breaking the girl rules.

Not too long ago, when shopping with a friend of mine (not pictured), I picked up a garment she already had one of in her hands and said that I liked it, too. “You can’t buy that!” she forcefully replied, “I’m already buying it, so it’s against girl rules.” “Really? Even if I promise not to wear it when you do?” “Yes! You can borrow it if you want to.” But that is essentially the same thing, only I can have one of my own that I don’t need to worry about staining, I thought to myself. However, not wanting to irritate her further, I said nothing.

Since then, I’ve learned to appreciate these rules somewhat, in that they keep other people from totally biting my style and vice versa. I even felt a hint of remorse recently when I told my good friend she should just buy her own version of a dress she was incessantly borrowing from me, because that was my find. Because we go out together quite a lot, it’s entirely possible we might both want to wear it at once, which would be terrible! Wait a second. Why am I suddenly buying into, enforcing, and even making “exceptions” to the girl rules?!

It’s not about one person looking better in the garment, at least not for me. It’s about each person having their own style as distinct from the people who surround them. My friends and I already threaten to blur into one brown haired, be-fringed mass, so it would be bad if we all dressed exactly the same, too. I at least want the illusion of individuality.

Is this totally rational? Of course not. It’s patently absurd to ban your friends from buying the same mass-produced garment that hundreds or thousands of other people around the world already own. And yet, there are still certain lines it just feels wrong to cross.

I’m still a little confused about what, precisely, the girl rules (subsection C: duplicate garments) are, so I am putting the question to you, esteemed readers of The Gloss. What, if any, protocols do you follow for duplicate garments among close friends? With your help, I hope to write and codify a version of these rules, available on the internet for easy referencing.


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    • Jess

      I bought an awesome miniskirt once, and my friend went crazy for it. She decided she wanted one too, which I was totally cool with, and I helped her find it in her size when we went shopping together that weekend.

      …And then she started wearing it ALL THE TIME and complained when I happened to wear it on the same day as her. Hey! It was my skirt first, damnit!

    • julimonster

      your friend sounds like kind of a bitch, frankly….

    • T-Lex

      To be honest I don’t really get it. For the most part my friends have similar tastes in music, movies, and books so it seems normal for us to like similar pieces of clothing. If anything I get annoyed by the fact that my friends and I having all different body shapes because we cannot just swap our are cute clothing!

    • Fabel

      I kind of solved this by never going shopping with my friends. I know some people love having a shopping buddy, but it’s pretty annoying to me (& not just because of this issue)

    • Arielle

      That’s not a “girl rule,” that is clearly just your friend being 11 years old. I’m 25 and went shopping with a girlfriend of mine about 3 months ago. I found a really cute top and she also really liked it. And guess what?! We BOTH bought it! Crazy, right?! And once, heaven forbid, we actually wore the blouse on the same day. GASP! Tell your friend to grow up.

    • Ella Jane

      I used to work with a girlfriend who has very similar style to me, and though we rarely shopped together, were constantly buying the same pieces. It was pretty simple to deal with: we were constantly texting each other in the morning “hey, I’m wearing stripey collarless shirt today”.

      That doesn’t stop things like this from happening: https://sphotos-a.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-snc7/s720x720/425087_2832893698897_646816110_n.jpg where you wear things that are virtually identical but not quite. That’s when you laugh about it and let the weird guy in accounting take a picture and photoshop you into a fake celebrity blog.

    • Allie

      Some people mind, some don’t. I don’t particularly want to be matchy-matchy with anyone, but I very rarely run into that problem amongst my friends (many of them say I have my “own” sense of style).
      I have run into this in the past though, a friend and I would see a band and have the same tshirt, etc. We always played the rule of whoever was closer to home changed (ie. when I picked her up and we found that we matched she ran back inside to change her shirt) If you meet up and you’re kind of matching, well, rock it then. Make a joke of it! As long as you don’t plan it out and always match, who gives a shit. I feel strange buying the same item as my friend when we’re shopping together, but if you really like it, then get it! There’s no harm in at least trying it on – if you weren’t shopping together, chances are you might both own it, so why throw a fit when you ARE together?

    • kjon

      At first I was like “who cares?!” but then I got to the brown haired fringed mess part (I take it that a lot of your friends are very similar looking) and then I understood a little more. It seems like you don’t care so maybe humor your buddy and don’t wear the dress out with her. Save it for a date with your bf. This could be the best route especially if she (or you) are the competitive type. The “rules” vary with different friendships and sometimes seemingly small instances like this can become a “thing” before you even know it.

    • Hannah

      If it’s a statement piece and looks really obviously identical then it’s bad to buy the same thing if you know a friend has it already. For something like a black dress I think it’s fine to have the same because everyone wears that kind of thing, it’s not like you decide to wear black because it’s so original.

    • Jess

      Who cares if you both buy the same thing? It’s not like you can control who shops where, someone else is going to have your clothes unless you get them specially made. I mean, hell.. More than once I discovered my mother and I had the same items in our closets. We just, made sure not to wear things together.