Mar 29, 2011
Do I Have to Lend Out My Dress?

Modern Day Etiquette for the Frum World: When there is a wedding in the family I make or buy a beautiful gown, which I always end up lending to others.

N'shei Chabad Newsletter

Dear Ettie,

I’m a girl who takes pride in her appearance. I like looking good. When there is a wedding in the family I make or buy a beautiful gown. It takes a lot of time and costs a lot of money; I justify the cost and time by planning to wear the dress several times. The dress does end up getting worn over and over again, but not by me. A few days after the wedding, the phone calls, emails and messages start pouring in.

“Hi, I heard you made a beautiful gown for your sister’s wedding. I think we’re the same size; can I borrow it?” I always end up lending the dress, because how do I say no to a close friend or cousin?

By the time the next wedding in my family comes along, the dress is so beat up from multiple uses that I don’t feel comfortable wearing it again! Help!!

Default Gemach

* * *

Dear Gemach,

It is hard to say no, especially to friends and family! The good news is that there are many real gemachs all around the country with the sole purpose of lending gowns.

This idea of calling individual people, who have obviously not donated their dress to the gemach (which, NEWSFLASH, probably means they are not ready to lend it out) is ungracious, to say the least.

You do not need to feel bad or uncomfortable when you say, “I’m sorry, I’m still planning on wearing this dress a couple of more times.”

You can explain that a gown does not have a long life-span (delicate materials worn for eight hours, shvitzed in, stepped on, brushing the dance floor…).

Borrowing a gown is not like borrowing a book. With a gown, each time it’s worn the owner has that much less use of it.


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