Creative Corner

The Sisterhood of Sharing Clothes

Eva Hughes-Sutton

For me, living with five girls while at university has come with a multitude of perks – our house is a fairy-light haven, a sisterhood sanctuary that’s never short of a laugh, a shoulder to cry on or a pair of hands to plait your hair with. But sisterhood has always come at a price. Eva shares her experience of sharing clothes.

As kids, the currency was simple – we swapped secrets at sleepovers and traded our lunch box goodies in the playground. But as we’ve grown into adulthood, we’ve gone from borrowing hair bobbles in the school toilets to Friday night getting-ready-rituals where the unspoken rule of female friendship has become what I call the “open wardrobe”. When I say “open wardrobe”, I mean when one of the entourage is ankle-deep in clothes they’ve thrown to the floor in a Cher Horowitz moment – screaming that they’ve got nothing to wear, and then they remember that they live with four other girls, which basically means: four wardrobes open for business. 

For those who are more protective of their closet, the thought of sharing clothes may be a bit of a nightmare. Hand over one of your favourite pieces to a friend for a night out and you risk not only vodka-coke splashes but the possibility that you may never even see it again – I can admit that nearly every item lended to me as a teenager still remains in the depths of my armoire. I have pairs of socks I would borrow after staying at an old friend’s house, to going-out tops that I now use as pyjamas. 

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

While it was careless on my part to have never given my friends their items back (and also a pointer to any of my friends reading that they should never let me borrow their clothes), each one holds a memory behind them now. They’re a physical form of nostalgia and a reminder of my past friendships, with a sentimental value that you just can’t get from fast fashion’s throwaway pieces. 

What translates from sharing clothes back then to the open wardrobes my housemates and I share now is that it’s an act of trust, a wonderful demonstration of closeness within a friendship, and that’s something that will always be worth the risk of any wear-and-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, squished in a bedroom of 00’s throwback music, colour-changing LED lights and half-empty wine bottles is the closest thing I’ve ever felt to sisterhood. 

Of course, the open wardrobe also has its environmental benefits – sharing clothes is a much more environmentally friendly alternative to purchasing a new piece. On average, we wear a clothing item only seven times before we get rid of it. Allowing our friends to borrow our clothes, and in turn borrow theirs, reduces waste and limits our fast fashion consumption. We don’t need to buy a whole new outfit for a night out when we can convince our house mate to let us borrow that dress that they promised we could wear ages ago. 

Keep an open mind and most importantly, your wardrobe “open”. If you’re wary of sharing, just make sure that you never lend to someone like me – I can’t make any promises that I won’t hide it in my closet forever as a nostalgic memento…

Eva Hughes-Sutton

Featured image courtesy of Becca Tapert via Unsplash. Image license found here. No changes were made to this image. 

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