I’m not the kind of person who spends very much on clothing that I don’t think I can wear again and again. It’s a habit fostered by wanting to save money and not contribute to environmental havoc by consuming fast fashion. Not to sound holier than thou or anything, but yes, I try to be a conscious consumer.
Still, that doesn’t mean I don’t like new things, fun things.
Trying on something frivolous and fun was exactly what my friends, Clara, Davelle and I were doing after brunch at ION Orchard one weekend. Clara wanted to pop into & Other Stories. Davelle and I figured we’d tag along. I love & Other Stories but I am also meant to be saving up for wedding and home stuff so I half-heartedly browsed the racks. I didn’t seriously expect to find anything. We were looking at the sale aisle and I usually never seem to spot anything I like on sale.
But trust Clara – always the one with a good eye for fashionable pieces – to have picked out a pretty pink piece. It was mid-July and Barbiecore was at its peak. Everyone was dressing up in bright pink to catch the Greta Gerwig movie. I was surprised the dress was on sale.
Clara tried on the dress first and it looked so cute that we all took turns trying it on. Davelle being more petite – I expected to swim in the dress. but it fit her like a glove, especially when cinched at the waist.
It was comfortable, flattering, and you don’t need to wear a bra with it. A winner if we ever saw one. It was meant to be. We were buying the dress and we were going to take turns wearing it to the Barbie movie. The sisterhood of the travelling dress was born.
For someone like me whose wardrobe mostly consists of office staples, activewear and shorts from my youth, it felt like such an impractical dress. But I loved it. I loved how it looked like a tulip and made me feel like Thumbelina in it. It reminded me of the time I tried on a mermaid tail and it felt like my childhood dreams came to life. You have to put it on to understand the feeling.
But I couldn’t justify buying the dress alone. Split three ways though, it seemed financially sound. The dress was already on sale and splitting it meant it would only cost us $46.30 each. Buying it solo seemed like a waste of money; but shared among three, it felt like a steal.
Besides, I’m usually not one for bright-coloured clothing, and when it comes to statement pieces that I just know would leave a lasting impression, I tend to feel reluctant to wear them again. Sharing it with friends felt like the most sustainable choice! Trust Clara to also have come up with the idea to share a dress, and thankfully Davelle too was onboard.
Now I’m no stranger to sharing clothes. My sister and I do it all the time. You save money, you maximise the dress, and you get new styling ideas when you see how the other person wears the pieces. It’s great. A part of me wonders why don’t friends do it more often. It’s probably because we like owning things and the reassurance that we can find what we want and wear it impromptu. I can see how troublesome it’d be for favourite pieces that I want to wear regularly but for special occasion dresses? Sharing it seemed ideal.
It also felt like it connected me to my friends even when they weren’t around. It did feel pretty special, especially since we’re three former colleagues who no longer see each other from 9 to 5, five days a week.
For Davelle, she said she felt #FOMO when it turned out to fit Clara and I, and when it fit her too, it kind of sealed the deal. Because how often does it happen? “I love the idea of sharing clothes with friends and raiding each others’ wardrobes. It’s not really about the absolute amount of money I save but more about the thrill of finding something you really love that you can share with someone,” she says. “I adopt loads of hand-me-downs from friends. You never share the exact body type so it’s hard to find clothes that fit both of us just right, so finding out this dress fit us all was a delight!”
Something to think about though was having to rush to meet one another if there were specific occasions we wanted to wear the dress for. And of course, one of the sacred duties as part of the sisterhood is to ensure that dress gets passed on when it needs to be and in good condition.
“With all things that are shared, you do need to have some understanding and trust with your friend to take care of the item,” said Clara who recalled once sharing a dress with a friend during her teenage years. When asked if she could alter it slightly, she reluctantly agreed (which in hindsight was a mistake)! “Once it was altered, it didn’t fit me well anymore. But lesson learned – if you’re not okay with something you have a share in, voice the concerns!” Similarly, if you’re not okay with your shared dress being worn clubbing for fear of stains, as a co-owner of the item, it’s a fair request to ask and discuss with your friends.
A downside is we can’t all wear the dress at the same time. But I’ve never been big on twinning anyway.
When will I wear the little pink dress next? Who knows. But I am eyeing it for the Taylor Swift concert. Never mind that I never thought of myself as a Lover Girly.
This dress is destined to be one to make memories in. I can feel it.
As told to Her World by Hoe I Yune.