Does Time-Sharing a Dress Actually Work? Amelia and Harling Tried It
09.25.17

Most things are dramatically un-fun to split. Cheeseburgers, for example: Get your own. A doughnut? How about doughnut think for one second that I’m not eating at least three. Responsibilities? No thanks. You can have them all or I’ll take all the glory. The check? Boooring. Either take me out, you fancy beast, or let me treat you like my guest/a queen.

But to split a dress is quite the adventure.

For about two months, Harling and I were partners in a sartorial time-share. We shared a red Saloni frock, loaned to us by their PR department for the sake of this experiment, to see if we could make the logistics work in the name of rationalizing this mildly problematic, but economically conservative, way of shopping. The style we borrowed is currently unavailable for purchase, but we sleuthed out its mermaid twin in case you and your pal of choice want to join the party:

In case you do, you should know that it’s like sisterhood of the traveling pants, only with way more dry-cleaning, less drama and a few important rules. If you and a pal have ever thought about trying this fun-idea-in-theory, Harling and I don’t advise against it, but there are a few things you absolutely need to know.

Saloni dress: Harling left with Chanel shoes, Amelia right with Santoni shoes

1. Make sure it’s something you BOTH love.

Harling: Amelia and I went back and forth for awhile over what dress we should share because our typical go-to silhouettes are very different. It took a long time and a lot of emails before we finally found something that gave us mutual hearts in our eyes.

Amelia: This was actually the one area in which I did not foresee a problem. Glad we got it out of the way early. We have similar tastes when it comes to Man Repeller styling, but we dress ourselves in pretty different directions. In real life, I guess the way this would work is that two friends who already want the same thing decide to go in on an item together.

2. Agree upon how much you’re both willing to spend on a dress.

Amelia: You both have to be comfortable with what you’re willing to spend on an item that is only 50% yours. We were loaned this dress so we didn’t have to deal with money, but I imagine it’s the same as buying a couch with a roommate. You two have to decide up front (and put it in writing) if there’s a buyout plan after X months should one person decide she loves it so much she needs it all to herself. What happens if you both want to own it without sharing? What happens if neither of you ever want to see it again? What happens if one of you loses it? What happens if one of you just so happens to wear it more often, but paid the same amount as she who hardly ever wears it? Talk about these things beforehand.

3. Be clear about who gets it when, and for how long.

Harling: We made a schedule and mostly stuck to it, although we were both understanding when plans changed. We were also super communicative about reminders. We decided it was up to the person due to receive it who was responsible for reminding the current owner to bring it in to the office. We were lucky in that there weren’t many calendar conflicts.

4. Establish how you’ll exchange it.

Harling: Will you meet in person? Use Uber Rush?

Amelia: The person who needs the dress should handle the pick up, but also, don’t be an asshole about making the dress share impossible.

5. Size matters.

Harling: Make sure you and your sharing buddy are actually the same size before ordering the item, and not just “roughly.”

Amelia: If you’re committed regardless of the “roughly,” err on the larger side. I think you can get away with a larger size in many clothes, but it’s impossible, uncomfortable and not worth it with too-tight garments or improperly-sized shoes.

6. It’s up to the last wearer to keep it clean.

Amelia: Wash/dry clean immediately in case your friend needs to wear it out of the blue. Also, I didn’t abide by this (sorry, Harling) but it’s probably most polite to avoid perfume.

Harling: Deodorant stains count as “dirty!” This is a personal note to myself.

7. This sounds obvious, but keep track of it.

Amelia: There were days when, even though we had the schedule, I forgot Harling had the dress and I mentally planned to wear it, then realized I didn’t have it. Worse were the weeks when I had it, forgot I had it, therefore didn’t take advantage of it and wish I had.

8. Come up with a social media plan.

Harling: I know this sounds ridiculous, but bear with me. You know when you’ve been posted on Instagram or Snapchat so many times in the same garment it starts to feel kind of stale? Well, imagine that feeling multiplied twice over. Double the exposure is an inevitable, bittersweet pitfall when you’re time-sharing a dress that happens to look really good in photos. You have a couple of options for coping with this potential dilemma: 1. Agree to limit the appearance of said garment on social media so as to preserve its freshness; 2. Just say “eff it!” and shout your time-sharing situation from the rooftops of the digital world. Heck, you can even come up with a hashtag, although Amelia still hasn’t signed off on #HarlingWoreItBetter. Yet.

Amelia: That said, we wrote an entire post about it.

Feature photo by Edith Young; slideshow photos via Harling Ross and Amelia Diamond. 

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  • lunapowa

    Emmm the dress pictured vs. the dress linked are not the same?

    • Harling Ross

      The one we borrowed is currently unavailable for purchase 🙁 but ironically the one linked is the one we ORIGINALLY wanted!!

  • Bmo
    • Damn! Missed it! Thanks for sharing!

  • Hayley

    I love this dress!

    • Engels_Beard

      It’d be an utter classic if the back cut-out didn’t immediately date it.

      • Hayley

        Ugh, agreed. I mean, I do love the cut out, but I wouldn’t buy it for that reason.

  • I share things with my Mum all the time because we’re in the same size. We’re both tiny, have similar tastes and live together, so it’s perfect. Not to mention it’s technically half price like this. 😛

    Charmaine Ng
    Architecture & Lifestyle Blog

  • Christel Michelle

    This idea feels like a cool, more grown-up/updated version of clothing swapping with friends. I love this! Especially because sometimes when you give clothes away to a friend and then you see how they style it, you can think “oh damn, I want that back! That’s a new way to wear it!” But then you end up having to just live with the loss or repurchase, which sucks. This is so much better.

  • Louise Gong

    Love this dress. And love this experiment even more! I honestly think sharing clothing is the way of the future (and am also side hustling trying to make that a reality).

  • Ciccollina

    You both look ravishing.

  • Leslie Hitchcock

    Last line, so funny!