Want to Borrow That?
Trading clothes, accessories and shoes amongst friends is a creative way to save money and extend your collective wardrobes, but establishing rules and regs to make sure you all remain friends is another matter. We've developed a few hard and fast rules for keeping the lending and returning process neat, clean and easy.
How to Trade Clothes With Friends and Stay Friends:
Rule #1: To begin, don't lend anything you couldn't afford to give away forever. There is always the risk that something horrible will happen, and if the item is more dear to you than your friendships, best not lend the item at all.
Rule #2: Lend Length. Make sure to establish a time frame. We suggest keeping an item for a maximum of 1-2 weeks, which gives the borrower enough time to enjoy it once or twice, clean it and return it.
Rule #3: Laundering. If an item needs a particular kind of care, discuss it before the lend so a well-intended dry clean doesn't go awry. Some fabrics discolor with cleaning chemicals, so just double check with the lender before you clean it. Generally speaking, you should always have the item professionally cleaned and give it back in the exact condition you received it.
Rule #4: Damage Control: Let's say you return from your event in your borrowed Gucci shift and oops, there's a tiny tear or spot you are sure will come out. Call and offer to reimburse your friend for caring for the item by her trusted launderer. Accidents happen to everyone, but there's something about a phone call that communicates taking responsibility rather than dodging it via email or text. Keep the communications line clear and open, to avoid friction later.
Rule #5: Total Wipeout: You're on your way home from the event and the hem of your borrowed Gucci shift gets stuck in the cab door and rips completely off the seam—totally irreparable. What to do? Do you crawl on your knees to your friend's apartment and sob for forgiveness? Maybe not—and here's why: Rule #1. A friendship isn't worth an article of clothing. Obviously you should do what you can to make amends, but hopefully you didn't borrow something that would cause permanent damage to your relationship. If something is that dear to you, don't lend it. By setting this simple no-brainer boundary ahead of time, you avoid setting yourself up for disappointment and can lend and borrow without reservation and without resentment.