I get a lot of emails, messages, texts, tweets, and everything in between asking for my help on everything from a unique shower gift to how to utilize mason jars. While I try and get back to as many people as possible, some slip through the cracks (so please, if you ask me a question and I don't reply try again). Sometimes I can write a quick reply, others take a little time, and sometimes I get a question that I think would really interest and benefit my readers too.
This is another one of those questions so hopefully it will be as useful to you as it is to Hannah, who emailed this question to me originally...
"Hi Lyndsey, I have so many events coming up this summer that I need nice dresses for and I just can not afford a new dress for every wedding, shower, rehearsal dinner, etc. One of my friends has a killer closet with some great dresses in my size and is letting me raid it. She has also been kind enough to loan me shoes/bags/ and accessories if I need them. My question to you is should I get her some kind of thank you gift, or is that weird? Is there some kind of clothing loaning etiquette I should know about?"
First off I have to say Hannah is a lucky girl to have a friend like this who has such a great closet to snag stuff from. I personally rarely borrow clothes, but mostly because none of my immediate friends are my size. If you're lucky enough to have a friend like Hannah here does and she's okay with loaning out her items GO FOR IT!
Hannah has the right idea here and will probably save herself hundreds of dollars this summer not buying new dresses and all the accessories for them for every occasion. By the sounds of her email it seems as thought she is IN a wedding or two and we all know how expensive that can be, not to mention you can't really re-use a dress for different events of the same wedding (ie. shower and rehearsal dinner for the same wedding).
That being said YES there is clothing loaning etiquette, at least in my mind. I am going to try and make this as to-the-point as possible. This is what I would do if I were borrowing clothing from a friend.
1. THANK YOU GIFT
I definitely don't think it's weird to get a small Thank You gift for your friend. That being said I highly doubt they are expecting something in return so it's not necessary. It all depends on how much you are borrowing, how long, and possibly the value of what you are borrowing too.
Say you borrow one dress for an event and have it back to her in a timely manner, in this case a small $5 Starbucks card and a handwritten note is more than enough in my opinion.
In Hannah's case it sounds as though she will be borrowing a good deal from her friend and she might have the items for a longer time period, or might be continually stopping over throughout the summer to return and borrow more.
In this case I would probably get a nicer thank you gift but it doesn't have to be something lavish (your friend realizes you are borrowing to save money and should not expect something major in return). I would say a $20 Starbucks gift card or something equivalent is a great gesture. If she's into beauty you could gift her a 3-month Birchbox subscription for $30, or you could even treat her to dinner one night. Don't forget a small handwritten card too!
This is hands down the most important rule when it comes to borrowing an item. Always, always get the item dry cleaned before returning it. It doesn't matter if you wear it for one hour or ten, or if it needs it or not. If you don't have a dry cleaners you trust then ask your friend where she prefers you drop them off at. Do not trust someone else's items to a dry cleaners you or she has never used before. Do not expect her to pick the items up from the cleaners. You should pick them up and return them to her in a timely manner.
If it is something that can't be dry cleaned, or you are unsure of ask her how she would prefer you laundered it before returning.
Say I borrow a pair of suede pumps, I would return them with a suede cleaning kit (this can take the place of the thank you gift). I would leave her to clean them though since I wouldn't want to ruin them.
I realize your friends items won't still have their price tags on them but if it's an item you know cost more than you could afford to replace DO NOT BORROW IT. I don't care if you've never felt better in something and you feel like a bad mamma jamma, NO! If something were to happen to the item, you should be able to replace it or write your friend a check for the value.
Hopefully this clears some things up for Hannah and maybe for some of you. All in all I think a small Thank You card and gift is a great gesture. Take care of your loaned items and be able to replace them if worse comes to worse. Always return items dry cleaned.
These are just my personal opinions, who knows if there is actual clothing loaning etiquette.
What do you think of my rules?
Do you have any to add to them?
Have you ever had a bad experience with loaning or borrowing clothes?