Are you flattered or annoyed when a friend buys something you own?

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This question comes via Andrea, who called the other morning to ask if it was OK for her to buy the Maria Cornejo spiral skirt she’d admired on me the other day when we hung out.  I told her that of course it was—there is no one I have style-glommed  more over the years than her.  I’ve also never thought imitation was such a big deal—at Lucky we all copied each other endlessly,* but everyone had her own style, so nothing ever looked exactly the same on any two people. Still, I do believe it is polite to ask. How about you? Compliment or nuisance?

*In fact, in the art department there was a very amusing cork board of Polaroids depicting particularly egregious cases of Office Twinsies.

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39 Thoughts on Are you flattered or annoyed when a friend buys something you own?
    tamara
    19 Jun 2014
    9:32am

    depends on the piece and how much “statement” it makes…in which case i request a courtesy call if we are going out together or to the same event…

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    Kimberly
    19 Jun 2014
    9:45am

    A true friend is okay – but a co-worker, annoying.

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    Bailie @ The Hemborg Wife
    19 Jun 2014
    9:55am

    I find it flattering but always ask, I remember when I was in college and saving to buy my first Longchamp and my best friend returned from Spain with one. I was so crushed as I wanted one so badly but eventually told her and she said I of course should get one to maybe just a different color so that is what I did. Now years later I just bought another and am so glad for her encouragement that sometimes you just want the same things as someone you know and it is ok!

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    Maryse
    19 Jun 2014
    10:08am

    Oh god I don’t care. Unless it’s a single white female type situation which is creepy, I don’t see what the big deal is. My friends and I are always buying stuff we like on each other and yet we always look different. Besides, if a friend wants the same bag as me or whatever, go for it. I think caring is a little immature. I’m not wearing gowns at the academy awards.

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      Ann
      19 Jun 2014
      8:00pm

      Will you explain single white female type situation? I don’t get that reference… 🙂 thanks!

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      Mamavalveeta03
      21 Jun 2014
      7:07pm

      I cop to being immature. It’s like wearing your best friend’s fragrance. A BIG no-no!

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    Barchbo
    19 Jun 2014
    10:47am

    Flattered! Always flattered! If it makes someone else feel good, I am happy.

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      AmyM
      19 Jun 2014
      1:12pm

      Same here. As the saying goes: imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.

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        SC
        19 Jun 2014
        6:57pm

        totally. friends are golden. i love me some style, but that’s some petty shit to care about.

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          Jessica
          19 Jun 2014
          8:47pm

          Hear, hear for nonchalance. I know someone who gets mad if a colleague who doesn’t even work in the same department buys something she has, because then she “can’t wear it anymore.” Sheesh.

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          Mamavalveeta03
          21 Jun 2014
          7:05pm

          “Single White Female,” a 1992 movie starring Bridget Fonda and Jennifer Jason Leigh as her obsessed stalker/roommate. https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0105414/

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    Natalie
    19 Jun 2014
    10:57am

    There’s a lot of factors to consider. Something simple like a white tee or a pair of jeans don’t really matter, I think most of us like to recommend good stuff to friends. But more expensive statement pieces like a dress or a necklace then I think it’s polite to raise the subject prior. Also it would be fine if it happens occasionally but repeated copying would be highly annoying (and slightly creepy).

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    Bex
    19 Jun 2014
    11:33am

    I grew up in a very small town with just one department store at which everyone shopped, so it was pretty much inevitable that my friends and I would accidentally end up buying some of the same blouses and sweaters. It wasn’t unusual to see the exact same outfit multiple times in the hallways of our high school. So, yeah, to me it’s no biggie.

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    Jill
    19 Jun 2014
    11:39am

    I’m with Maryse. A friend and I have similar taste in shoes, and we have three of the same pair. In fact, one I bought for her as a birthday gift. We’ve worn them once at the same time. And we laughed about it. This is not something I consider an etiquette issue.

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    jacqueline
    19 Jun 2014
    11:59am

    It’s not a big deal at all unless it’s some kind of statement piece. I have frequently bought the same jeans, tshirts, etc. as acquaintances or friends. I really don’t see the problem. But if it was something very unique and it was a friend who I knew we might wear the same thing to, I’d probably ask.

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    daisyj
    19 Jun 2014
    12:48pm

    I remember a shopping trip, years ago, where a friend of mine and I both loved the same pair of purple suede Converse on ridiculous sale. (Seriously, I think they were like $9.) It seemed pretty dumb to choose who got to buy them, so we both got a pair (in the same size, even).

    On the other hand, I did feel a little weird when a friend recently came back from vacation with my exact same haircut.

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    Dianne
    19 Jun 2014
    1:22pm

    I don’t think it’s a big deal but it does annoy me when I have to save up to buy something and then a friend with way more disposable income sees it on me and runs out to buy the same thing and then pretends she had it first! This happened so often with one particular person in high school that I began wearing vintage clothes and vintage jewelry.
    So it was a happy ending but I still get annoyed when I think about it.

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    Rebecca
    19 Jun 2014
    1:40pm

    For many years my bestie and I have purchased the same or variations of the same shoes, handbags, scarves, etc. If something is great why wouldn’t we love it for each other. She just moved home to Columbia and I am bereft. I am missing her and I find myself unable to shop much without her…silly, cozy chatter while digging through the racks – not really caring if we found something…

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    Katie Lynn
    19 Jun 2014
    1:53pm

    My best friend and I wear the same style of jean, same tees, and many of the same sweaters. We’re always quick to point each other in the direction of something we know the other will like. But if it is an event we do have to make sure that we aren’t going to wear the same thing (this has happened before, several times!). So the answer would be no, I don’t care.

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    Valleyoftheshoes
    19 Jun 2014
    3:55pm

    My sister and I will buy duplicates for the other when we come across a must-have item. It’s a compliment when a girlfriend gets inspired, I’m sure I do the same on occasion.

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    kirstjen
    19 Jun 2014
    4:27pm

    Always flattered. Plus then I don’t have to share.

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    Jen
    19 Jun 2014
    4:29pm

    Totally fine! We share lots of good finds. Everyone wears them a little differently, and we don’t see each other as much as we’d like anyway. I am wearing a pair of shoes today that I copied from a friend on her recommendation.

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    joannawnyc
    19 Jun 2014
    4:53pm

    I have 2 sisters, so to me it seems perfectly reasonable.

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    Anne
    19 Jun 2014
    5:04pm

    I’ll be the lone voice of immaturity – it drives me crazy. I can’t completely say why. Even when a good friend asks if it’s okay, of course I say it’s fine bc I know that’s the right answer, but something inside me cringes. My grandmother used to relentlessly copy my mother’s handbags, shoes, whatever, and it drove my mother crazy, so maybe it’s genetic?

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      Mae
      20 Jun 2014
      5:20pm

      Annoys the hell out of me. I had a coworker who shamelessly copied me and I wanted to slash her tires. Immature? Maybe. But having several people helpfully point out that “Linda is wearing that SAME SKIRT TODAY!!” Was a sure path to a bad mood. Wow, I’m still pissed off…guess I need some real problems.

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        Mamavalveeta03
        21 Jun 2014
        7:10pm

        I get it!

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        Ladyday
        1 Oct 2018
        8:22am

        I think it’s less obnoxious when your friend asks, but It’s still intrusive behavior. My friend borrowed my favorite pair of gold aviator sunglasses. Then she comes back from the store with the same exact pair. I’m not petty but I am a woman with my own style and flare, and I certainly do not want to be out with my friend with the same look – Whoever had it first should get the courtesy-Just call me #petty if you want

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    gilli
    19 Jun 2014
    5:36pm

    I agree with Dianne! I also had one friend want to buy something I was wearing until she saw our other friends outfit and said “never mind yours,I want hers!” Otherwise I’m flattered!

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    Snufkin
    19 Jun 2014
    6:49pm

    The only person who does this to me is my mother and it completely irritates me because it’s part of a larger pattern.

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      Mamavalveeta03
      21 Jun 2014
      7:12pm

      Oooo …analyze that!

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    Viajera
    19 Jun 2014
    7:12pm

    I’ll let you know if it ever happens.

    But, I agree with others on the issue of statement pieces and haircuts. Ay caramba on the haircut. Assuming it is that distinctive, of course.

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      daisyj
      20 Jun 2014
      12:53pm

      It’s not super-distinctive–a graduated bob going from very short in the back to about chin-length in the front–but it’s specific enough to be noticeable. And when we’re out together it looks like we have some weird conformist thing going on, which I don’t love. But it’s hardly the end of the world.

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    Larissa
    20 Jun 2014
    12:49am

    Ha! My best friend always says she’d be walking around naked if she didn’t buy the same things as me- she jokes that I should just buy two of everything. I love her, so I don’t mind. Style is individual- even with some of the same items, we look very different.

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    Robbi
    20 Jun 2014
    7:13am

    In the most severe case, I find it creepy and weird. I know someone who copies not only my clothes and accessories but also my furniture, my fixtures, the general look and feel of my home. In this case, imitation is not the sincerest form of flattery…it is just imitation.

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    Suz
    20 Jun 2014
    12:08pm

    I have only ever minded that once – when in my 20s a friend had sort of a single white female take on it. Things like copying my perfume, hair color, and even dating a guy I was through with. That was…creepy.

    But mostly I expect my friends to like the same sort of looks I do. I mean we generally shop together and spend time, so obviously there are going to be crossovers. We learn from each other.

    Jewelry sometimes bugs me. Somehow that seems personal, more so than clothing.

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    Nina Forrest
    20 Jun 2014
    1:20pm

    One piece, no problem. Flattering, really. A whole outfit, that would be weird.

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    Mamavalveeta03
    21 Jun 2014
    7:02pm

    Compliment. Definitely. As long as I had it first, she doesn’t wear it on the same day as me, and she doesn’t do it all the time.
    On second thought, that sounds more like an annoyance.

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    GT
    3 Jul 2014
    12:52pm

    Who cares?? It’s not as if we all look alike. I remember working somewhere once where we had an evening event and three of us showed up in the SAME Vera Wang for Kohl’s skirt: one of us was tall, plus-sized and blonde; another was petite with very short dark hair; and another was bosomy, about 5’5″ with long-ish dark hair. And, frankly, I think we all looked pretty good!

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Kim France

I was born in Houston, Texas in 1964 and have lived in New York City since 1988. I had a long career in magazines, working at Sassy, Elle, New York, and Spin, and in 2000, I founded Lucky magazine, which I edited for ten years.

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