My friend is constantly copying my style. I get a pair of jeans, she gets the same ones, I get a new purse, she gets the same purse. Last week, I got a dress to wear to our big grad party and she picked out one that is really similar. It’s so annoying and I’m not sure how to fix this situation without offending her.

You are probably too young to be a fan of the original 90210, but if not then you understand why an image of Kelly and Brenda at prom just popped into my head. I can’t exactly remember who got the dress first and who copied. I think Kelly was the bad one, but maybe I’m thinking of how she totally stole Bren’s boyfriend while Bren was off eating brains in France. Anyway, enough about the greatest show ever, and back to the burning dress drama at hand.

First off, I should admit that this is so not a thing for me. Maybe it’s growing up with a mom who always dressed my sister and me in variations of the same outfit, but to me, “twinsie dressing” is a fun bonding ritual. Not all the time, obviously, but often if I find a really cute onesie, or a summer dress, I will pick up one for myself and another for my bestie. Sharing a good find makes me feel happy and of course, the photo ops are amazing…if you’re into that sort of thing, and it sounds like you probably aren’t. At least not with this friend.

So what should you do? That depends on whether you’re talking about the situation in general or the specific situation with the dress and the summer party. Let’s start with the larger issue.

I would suggest you think long and hard before taking this up with your friend. Firstly because it will be almost impossible to address without making her feel bad. I still remember the time in high school when a girl called me “Single White Female” because I got the same sweater and hiking boots as her, which is another 90s cultural reference (and essential entertainment recommendation). In my defense, the boots were Nike and the sweater was from The Gap—ie, hardly the height of original dressing. We ended up becoming friends, but I never forgot what a jerk she was to me.

Secondly because I’m not entirely convinced you have a case. I mean, someone got the same jeans as you? Unless they’re hot pink, and covered in rhinestones then it’s hard to imagine how this is a big deal. Isn’t saying someone bought your jeans sort of like saying someone bought the same white t-shirt? And isn’t that a bit ridiculous?

The same purse—I can see how that might be annoying, again, depending on the uniqueness of the bag. Even still though, can’t you just take it as a compliment (imitation is the sincerest form of flattery and all that)? I’m not trying to be dismissive of your issue, btw. I have very close friend who cannot stand when someone wears or even owns the same clothing as her. She works in fashion and she is a spectacular dresser, so it makes sense that clothing matters to her on a much deeper level, and that’s totally cool. It’s funny how with other passions like music or movies or books or whatever, you want people to experience the same things as you (seriously, you must watch 90210 and Single, White Female), but dressing is different. #DeepThoughts.

As for the dress and even I can see the annoyance in someone buying the same special occasion dress (especially if they happen to look better in it). But you say it’s “similar”, not the same. Are talking similar like two LBDs? Or similar like hot pink lace (I don’t know why everything is hot pink with me today)? I’m curious because I have a friend who once freaked out when her sister bought the “same dress” to wear to a family wedding, but turns out by “the same” she just meant black and strapless.

Speaking of friends, this reminds me of the time that two of my friends wanted to name their baby the same thing (I think I have shared this story before in a post about baby names, but as an analogy it bears repeating). Friend #1 was having her baby first, so she figured she had the advantage. (Ie, if she used the name, Friend #2 obviously wouldn’t name her kid the same thing). Except it wasn’t so obvious. Friend #2 was like, “I don’t care if my baby has the same name, I will name her what I want regardless of what you do.” The lesson is that the one who doesn’t care gets to do what they want. She has the power.

So taking this back to the dress situation, the only thing you have control of is what you wear to the dance. You don’t get to tell someone else she can’t wear what she wants. So basically, deal with the doppelganger or get a different dress.