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Attack of the Office Clones: Don't Ape the Trendy Girl's Look

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Love, Frank has returned as a weekly style advice column tackling your hard-hitting fashion issues and addressing a different fashion glitch each week. Submit a query here.

Not something to aspire to, via Blogspot.

Dear Frank,

Is it socially acceptable to copy your coworker's outfits? I have a coworker who is really fashionable, and has a knack for picking out the good pieces sold at fast fashion outlets like Forever 21, H&M and Zara. I want to buy everything she owns, and the hard part is, I know where I can get it all! Whenever I ask her where her stuff is from, she's friendly and tells me but I'm worried I'm going to creep her out when I show up wearing the same items.

Office Clone

Dear Clone,

Let me get this straight: You're worried about wearing the same clothes everybody else is already wearing?

Listen, if you're coworker was showing up to the to the office wearing hard-to-find designer garments—works of art by, say, Marni or Dries van Noten, then it would be pretty shitty of to go out of your way to ape her style. Tracking down exact dresses and tops; spending a small fortune—that would be ridiculous, and she'd have every right to be at least a bit displeased.

But we're talking about $19 garments from the mall. It's fair game. Buy whatever you want.

I'm more concerned that you're so infatuated by the style sense of a person who relies so heavily on disposable garments characterized by even more disposable trends.

Of course it's possible to look good and evoke personal style wearing inexpensive clothing that many other people have access to—I'm wearing a sweatshirt from Urban Outfitters right now. With Wranglers. The Zaras and Forever 21s of this world are brimming with good finds. Well, maybe not brimming, but there are plenty of not-silly and often great items to be had by anybody with an extra $50 in their checking account and a half a clue to what better retailers have on tap or (much more importantly) a good sense of the cuts and colors that work on their person.

And that's the key, really—the "good pieces" at H&M are the ones that suit you and not some other shopper. Or, they fill a hole in your wardrobe. They become your body type and skin tone. They knock-off a trend or an item you're charmed by but realize is fleeting and not worth investing in (my Urban Outfitters sweatshirt is teal and printed in cheetah spots; it didn't need to be from Opening Ceremony because I'll think it's dumb in three more months).

So don't copy some girl who knows what fits her. Go to those same cheap stores and find the stuff that fits you. Then people will ask you where you got your top instead of pointing out that your coworker wore said top yesterday.

Got a style question for Frank? Leave it in the comments or email one in here. Then buckle your two-toned leather Moschino belts, folks, because it's going to be ? Something.
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