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.