April 2, 2012 in Features

Annie’s Mailbox: MIL ‘borrows’ her good clothes

Kathy Mitchell
 

Dear Annie: My husband and I love to entertain our friends, and we also are often invited to various events. I have a wonderful aunt who owns an upscale shop in another state. Twice a year, she allows me to choose anything I want at fabulous discounts. She also sends lovely things for my birthday and Christmas.

The problem is that my mother-in-law keeps borrowing my clothes. A year ago, she attended a barbecue at our home and spilled something on her blouse. We are roughly the same size, so I told her to look in my closet for something to change into. Since then, she has been making regular visits to borrow clothes and accessories. She returns some items promptly, but not all. Last summer, she took two of my brand-new outfits and kept them until fall, and I didn’t get to wear either one.

My mother-in-law is a lovely woman, and I don’t want to cause hurt feelings, but I’m ready to end this practice. She has an ample income and can afford to buy her own things. How can I get her to stop taking mine? – Secondhand Rose

Dear Rose: We think Mom likes your taste in clothes, knows that you have quality apparel and might be trying, in her misguided way, to bond with you. It’s OK to tell her, “I’d rather you didn’t borrow that one. I’m planning to wear it this weekend.” And it’s fine to ask her to return something because you need it for an upcoming event. But also offer to take her shopping so she can “find her own style” and won’t feel she must borrow your clothes in order to look chic.

Dear Readers: We are carrying on Ann Landers’ tradition that April 2 be set aside as Reconciliation Day, a time to make the first move toward mending broken relationships. It also would be the day on which we agree to accept the olive branch extended by a former friend or estranged family member and do our best to start over.


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