It’s been quite a few years since my friends and I borrowed each others clothing. I guess as my lifestyle evolved and I stopped hitting the party circuit as much, there was less reason to buy or borrow a dress. These days the only borrowing that occurs from my closet is from my younger sisters, and it usually ends up permanently “borrowed.” When my other friends who still lend each other items tell me horror stories about their belongings getting destroyed, I instantly knew I would need to discuss this issue via Etiquette 101 on the blog. So, ladies and gents, if you are still finding yourself borrowing and/or lending absolutely anything, follow these simple rules to avoid an extremely uncomfortable confrontation.
As the borrower, keep in mind:
- If the clothing item still has tags on it, don’t even ask to borrow it. The first wear should not be anyone except the purchaser of the item.
- Don’t borrow shoes. Just don’t.
- After borrowing clothing, dry clean the item before returning it. Nobody likes deodorant, pit stains, or anything else spilled on the item.
- If you know the item doesn’t fit you, don’t give the lender anxiety about stretching something out. This may sound mean, but it’s pretty mean to ruin someone else’s things, too.
- Once you have worn or finished borrowing an item, return it immediately (unless it’s at the dry cleaner), and do not make the lender come to you. They are doing you a favor, so make sure to go out of your way to return their stuff.
- Be considerate of what you ask to borrow. If you are unsure about something, simply ask, “is this something you are open to lending, or no?” Don’t assume the entire wardrobe is for your taking.
- If something rips, snags, stains, etc. be sure to let the lender know before attempting to fix. They might want to handle it in order to avoid any further damage.
- The road works both ways. If you want to borrow, be open to lending.
Tips for the lender:
- If you know something is off limits, pull it aside and lay down the rules right away.
- Don’t lend handbags. My handbag is almost as personal and intimate to me as my underwear. You ain’t getting my bag!
- If you are concerned about an item behind handled after it is worn, suggest to the borrower that they use your dry cleaner, or just handle it yourself.
- If something looks too long or too tight, say something. You don’t need to give up your goods so someone can borrow it.
- Express your feelings about items being borrowed. Even if you need to say, “please be careful that is my favorite black dress,” do it!
- You don’t have to lend anything if you don’t want to. Just remember that in the future in case you ever want to borrow something. Borrowing/lending should be a two way street.