Abigail Lowe | Contributing Writer | Thursday, 5 March 2015

What To Do When Your Mate Steals Your Style

The Debrief: Imitation is the greatest form of flattery? Bollocks.

Illustration Anna Sudit

I’ve no idea what it’s like to be Alexa Chung. I mean she’s tall, I’m short; she’s got the world’s greatest wardrobe, I haven’t; she’s famous, I’m not. In fact the only way I could claim to have had even the tiniest glimpse into her life is because I have a friend who copies everything I wear.

But whereas I only have to suffer it from one person, Alexa of course, has it from pretty much every girl in the western hemisphere – damn, she makes denim look good, but GOD how annoying it must be to have everyone on the planet copy your style.

Yes, I know, they may say that imitation is the greatest form of flattery, but frankly that’s bullshit: imitation is the fastest way to irritate your friends and earn yourself a nomination for the lead role in Single White Female 3 (who knew there was a Single White Female 2?).

Now, Alexa is obviously well versed in turning a blind eye to crushingly blatant identity theft, but I’m a *teensy* bit more touchy about the subject. In fact I often have to refrain from screaming ‘STOP COPYING ME YOU STILETTO-WIELDING PSYCHOPATH’ to my friend, even when she’s wearing trainers. Alas, in order to maintain some level of sanity I’ve learnt to deal with it, and you can do the same.  

The scenario: You mistakenly show your friend the shoes that have been top of your wishlist for months, and she buys them first. 

The solution: The mistake you’ve made here is to vocalise something you want before having the means to buy it, therefore allowing her time to sneak in and pip you at the post. Keep schtum about EVERYTHING you want to buy. Even if you’re shopping together and you instinctively feel the urge to point at something you like, resist. Keep your hands in your pockets, practice your poker face and say nothing. Nada. Zilch. Then go back for it later. 

The scenario: She calls you to ask you what you’re going to wear on a night out and then comes out wearing an almost identical outfit. 

The solution: She may disguise this by casually dropping it into conversation but don’t be fooled – it’s a cunning ploy that means she can match your look from head to toe. Don’t fall for it. Detail everything you’re going to wear – from your lipstick to your dress to your jacket, and then wear something completely different, citing you had to change because you got crapped on by a bird on the way there. Ruthlessness is key.   

READ MORE: 'Thou Shall Not Steal Nor Spill Curry Sauce', Behold The Clothes-Sharing Commandments

The scenario: Boyfriend jeans have become synonymous with your signature style, so naturally she’s bought a pair and wears them every time you see her.    

The solution: This is a tricky one because when you love an item of clothing so much that you wear it every day, it feels like an ACTUAL infringement of human rights if someone else does the same. It’s tough but you’ve got to look forward. As soon as they’ve got one leg in the same pair of your beloved jeans, it’s time to move on to skinnies. It’s a cutthroat world – there’s no room for nostalgia. 

The scenario: She asks to borrow your un-fucking-believably amazing vintage, silk dress, and then washes it at 90 degrees, so now it only fits a Cabbage Patch Doll. Annoying on two levels – firstly, you never wanted to lend it to her (but you’re a good friend), secondly, WAS IT AN ACCIDENT OR DID SHE DO IT BECAUSE SHE’LL NEVER BE ABLE TO HAVE THE SAME? 

The solution: Always find a way to defer borrowing requests. She wants to wear the dress – it’s at the dry cleaners, she wants to borrow your shoes – you lost one at a foam party last weekend. Never feel bad about lying – all is fair in copycat wars. 

The scenario: You decide to dye your hair pink to make a statement. She books an appointment with your hairdresser the following day. 

The solution: It is an unwritten rule that copying hairstyles is a bit like slating Beyoncé – you just don’t do it. So you’re well within your rights to throw a full-blown tantrum and refuse to see her until it’s grown out. But instead buy a green wig, wait till she comes back from the hairdresser boasting about her new emerald locks, then whip off your wig to reveal your totally-different-to-hers, new pink ‘do. Desperate times call for extreme measures. 

The scenario: You buy friendship bracelets on holiday with your BFF and after a few weeks your other friend turns up rocking exactly the same one (sourced from Ebay). 

The solution: You know what, let her have this one. You’re a kind person, you want her to feel included, and ultimately you know what the bracelet really signifies, which is all that matters. Plus you don’t know how long you’ll be up against this, so choose your battles wisely.  

Like this? Then you might be interested in… 

 A Few Thoughts That Go Through Your Head When Rediscovering Your Winter Wardrobe

That Rogue Hole And Elastication Woes: The Trials And Tribulations Of Wearing Tights Again

Catcallers Don’t Care If You’re Wearing Hotpants Or An Overcoat

Follow Abby On Twitter: @Abbyjlowe

Illustration: Anna Sudit 

Tags: Getting Ready