In partnership with AG.
The mixing of my and Avi’s closets started slowly. Or rather, specifically: with a vintage denim jacket. I thrifted it for $40 in the summer of 2016 and, despite our eight-inch height difference, it fit both of us perfectly, like some kind of Ann Brashares-conceived miracle. After loaning it to him several times I just told him to keep it; I loved when he wore it and knew it wasn’t far if I needed it. A few of his t-shirts met the same fate in my own drawer. Then I gave him a red puffer coat, and he gave me a black sweatshirt, and the benevolent swaps continued. Soon our tastes began to mix and overlap, and when we moved in together last spring, we started dressing like accidental twins so often it was almost embarrassing. (It wasn’t. I loved it.)
Avi and I share a boyish sartorial language, so our swaps have never felt particularly ground-breaking, but we’re reaping the benefits of a shift toward a more fluid interpretation of gender presentation—a movement which is owed in large part to those pushing boundaries from the margins. From first-wave feminists donning trousers, to the drag queens in Paris Is Burning, to Young Thug covering Dazed in a floor-length purple dress, few have done a lot to push our culture toward a more expansive definition of dressing well. Now it’s not unusual to see gender-mixed runways and collections, taking cues from the habits of everyday people.
My affection for wearing Avi’s clothes peaks in November. With all its textural layers, late autumn is a particularly fertile season for mixing and matching clothes from different closets. So when AG challenged us to style their mens and women’s fall collections, it made sense to tap couples who do this sort of thing all the time—for whom gender-neutral dressing isn’t a trend as much as second nature. Below, three pairs, including me and Avi, challenged ourselves to style our counterpart in one massive, shared AG closet. Read on to see how it went and get a peek into our clothes-sharing habits.
Avi and I Style Each Other
Avi is a tech analyst, I’m the person writing this story. We live together in Brooklyn.
Avi: Howdy 🤠
Me: How did you feel going into this styling experiment?
Avi: I was mostly excited but slightly apprehensive as I’ve struggled to style you in the past. I was certainly excited to see what you had in mind for me.
Me: Which was, maybe unsurprisingly, a mostly monochrome look. It was kind of by accident though: I was drawn to the camel pants right away—the cut is reminiscent of things you wear a lot, but the color I’d never seen on you. And when I saw they had a matching jacket, I couldn’t resist. I never have too much trouble weighing in on your clothes (understatement), but this proved exceptionally easy. The gray half-zip and cream sneakers basically chose themselves.
And would like to state for the record that once we added the sunglasses everyone said you looked famous. How’d you feel in this getup?
Avi: It felt natural. I loved the weight of it all and will be dressing thusly for the remainder of the fall. I’ve been more into monochrome and half-zips recently (per your rec), so was happy you went in that direction. Also appreciated your approach to detail. The way that you and Eliz rolled back my sleeves to get the proportions right with the half-zip–it was like watching Rodin sculpt or the Backpack Kid floss. I’m doing a chef’s kiss as we speak (a.k.a. chat).
Me: Lol. You’re a freak. Now tell me how it felt to style me.
Avi: I had waves of confidence and self-doubt. I started with a proven strategy–dressing us identically. That took care of the pants, shoes, and socks, though you insultingly pulled them off better. The top half was trickier. I had you try on an argyle sweater and navy jacket but it was feeling too busy for your style, which tends to be simpler. So I stared at you for a while trying to divine the “correct” answer, which didn’t prove helpful. I then tried pacing around the rack which drew my eye to the denim shirts. Pairing one of those with my vintage denim jacket felt more you (denim on denim). Then I had you try a few bucket hats because you look so good in ‘em but ultimately decided less was more.
Me: Those buckets really were good, huh? But I agreed with your approach. I really like this outfit! And obviously loved that we got to be twins a little bit (always my ideal). The denim jacket felt like a poetic choice given the gender-neutral focus of the shoot.
Avi: Yeah, you wearing the jacket that I wore to the shoot that you’d given to me off your back years ago feels pretty true to the cause.
Me: I love how much we share clothes. It’s a cherished part of our relationship to me! I’ll close this out with a question I’m planning to ask the others: What’s something I wear that you sometimes wish I didn’t? Then I’ll answer the same question about you.
Avi: Are you actually curious or do you just want to say yours? Not sure that I really have a good answer for you; your style is flawless.
Me: Your marigold long-sleeve.
Avi: So def just interested in saying yours, got it.
Me: Love you.
Amber and Sara Style Each Other
Me: How did you approach styling each other?
Amber: I asked for Sara’s input because she tends to favor more edge, while I tend to favor pretty basic, straightforward looks. My main challenge anytime I’m picking out something for Sarah is asking myself: Is this too basic?
Sara: Right when we started, Amber reminded me she’s always into a workwear look, and I like seeing her however she feels most confident and comfortable—it’s the hottest thing for me. So I tried to style her in a way I knew she would like while also incorporating some more color and edge. I did have a moment of pause once she put everything on, though, because her body shape can get lost in oversized clothes and she was looking kind of like a construction worker, which wasn’t the look we were going for (for this). But then we just got smaller sizes of everything and the look came together nicely. We opted for a funkier shoe to break up the shapes a little.
Me: When did you two meet?
Amber: We’ve been together for seven years.
Me: How would you describe each other’s style when you first met? Was it different?
Amber: I would say over the past few years Sara’s style has gotten a lot edgier. When we met she was working in financial wealth management, so half her closet was work stuff, and the other half was going-out stuff. And she would often be like, “Well, I want to wear this, but people may think I’m doing a lot…” So she would pare it down. But her style has really evolved as she’s come more into herself and decided how she wants to present to the world. Now she just does whatever she wants.
Sara: Now I’m like, “Fuck it!” And everyone’s like, “Oh, you’re wearing a pink bathrobe as your jacket,” and I’m like, “It’s true.”
Me: How would you describe Amber’s style when you met compared to now?
Sara: When we met, Amber’s style was kind of teenage boy—a lot of flannel shirts wrapped around her waist, that kind of thing. Now it’s more grown-man vibes. Her closet is curated with quality basics that are well-made and fit well. It’s a very streamlined, pulled-together, neat look for her. It fits her personality.
Me: You live together, right? Do you ever share clothes?
Amber: She shares my clothes more than I share hers. We wear close to the same size in everything, so it works.
Sara: Yeah, I share hers, but I’m a lot more femme-presenting, so Amber doesn’t have as many options in my closet.
Me: Do you ever nix anything the other is wearing?
Amber: I think she’s more likely to nix stuff of mine… [laughs]
Sara: We’re actually having a struggle moment right now because recently she’s been wearing button-downs with the sleeves open—like the cuffs fully unbuttoned.
Amber: As of three days ago.
Sara: She’s worn it twice now and the other night I was actually having a really hard time and as I was crying about something else I added in: “And I hate your sleeves like that!” She goes, “So you’re really deeply sad about this as well because my sleeves are open?” And I was like, “Yeah, they really upset me” [laughs]. So that’s what I’m dealing with right now. But then I was like, “Ultimately, I want you to do what makes you feel good.”
Me: That’s so funny. Amber, why have you been wearing your sleeves open? Did you see someone do that or were you just inspired one day?
Amber: I was getting dressed quickly between two different things and I didn’t have a full-length mirror, so I was like, Okay, I’m going to keep it more casual and I’m going to leave the sleeves open and see how it goes. And she’s like, “Are you going to do something like with your sleeves?” And I was like, “No, I’m going to leave them as is.” And then I wore it again last night.
Sara: I was like, “I know I’m in a better place because I’m more accepting of your sleeves today” [laughs].
Maggie and Billy Style Each Other
Maggie works in customer experience at Man Repeller, Billy works at a plant nursery. They live together in Manhattan.
Me: How would you describe each other’s style?
Maggie: A skateboarder. He’s like the classic Nikes-with-a-pair-of-Dickies-and-a-T-shirt guy. And the occasional jean jacket to spice it up. He’s a die-hard work pants person, so this look is pretty different. I mean, he works a physical job and is a skateboarder, so work pants make sense for both.
Billy: Maggie’s style is fun. She does her own thing—you could always pick her out of a group. And her style changes with her emotions, so some days she dresses really conservative and comfortable and other days she dresses really wild. But she always looks great. There’s a method to the madness.
Me: How long have you two been together?
Billy: Two years.
Me: Has either of your style changed since you got together?
Maggie: He’s been consistent in his style, but it got a little elevated when we moved to New York, I think. He’s leveled up a little bit.
Billy: I think Maggie’s leveled up too.
Maggie: New York does that.
Billy: She has more freedom to wear what she wants. Before she was working in restaurants and she always had to wear black, but now she has free reign to dress however she wants.
Maggie: I don’t know what I’d do if Man Repeller’s dress code was more like a traditional workplace.
Me: Billy, do you think of Maggie’s style as more traditionally feminine, masculine, or a mix?
Billy: A mix. We wear a lot of the same clothes actually. Well, she wears my clothes. She doesn’t let me wear hers.
Maggie: Any trousers that I wear, I get oversized, so they fit him perfectly. But I don’t let him wear anything of mine [laughs].
Me: Billy, why’d you pick this look for Maggie?
Billy: It looks like stuff we would both wear, which I liked. The skirt wouldn’t be my thing, but I would wear both of those jackets. I started with the brown one—I really like this color on Maggie. I tried to put her in some work pants, which I would also wear, but then we went with the skirt instead. I can see us sitting in Washington Square Park and just having a day in these outfits.
Me: Tell me about styling Billy, Maggie.
Maggie: Oh my gosh, it was so exciting, because he doesn’t change it up very often. He never wears jeans, so that was my main goal: putting him in a pair of jeans. And then I just kept going with the monochromatic look, because I didn’t want to go too far out of his realm. The sweatshirt and jacket are things he wears versions of all the time, but the bottom was completely different.
Me: Do either of you ever wear something the other doesn’t like that much?
Maggie: Shoes. Whenever I’m looking at his outfit, I always get to the shoe and I’m like, “We’re okay with it. But we could switch it up every now and then.” Maybe I’m just bored easily.
Billy: This is coming from the woman who has so many shoes. We redesigned our closet again recently because she needed more shoe space.
Maggie: I’m like, “I only wear five pairs” and then I look at my closet and I’m like, “There’s no way I only wear five pairs.” There has to be a way that all of these fit into my life. But I don’t know if they do….
Billy: I normally just have one to two pairs of shoes. Skateboarding tears through them. I throw my shoes out one to two times a month to get new ones, which just get torn up again. Actually all my clothes get torn to pieces from skating, so I don’t have an extensive wardrobe where some things are just set aside. I’m always replacing things.
Me: Do you ever get bored with your wardrobe, it being so streamlined?
Billy: Honestly? No. Isn’t dressing supposed to make you happy with how you look? I’m super happy with how I look.
Maggie: It’s like when people have a uniform, you know? And whatever that uniform is for them, they feel good walking out the door.
Billy. Yeah. That.
Photos by Mary Kang.