Photos by James Wilson
In my junior year of high school I joined a “girl clique.” As an only child, the group dynamic thing was new for me. I wasn’t used to sharing and I liked my space.
Although a little hesitant at first, I fell all in with my girls, and it felt good to be a part of something. We were on some sister shit. So close we got matching tattoos—infinity symbols that are lowkey cringey in retrospect.
There were no real boundaries between us. We shared our secrets, goals, and even our clothes. Growing up, there was a consensus that sharing clothes made you a “bum.” There was so much pride in having your own, and an inherent shame in wearing something that wasn’t. We still hear the notion today. In “Clout Chasin’” by City Girls, JT raps: Bitch, you ain't fly, them your homegirl clothes.
But I always thought the way my girls and I shared our clothes was evidence of our intimacy and trust, the fabric of our friendship. Our wardrobes were each other’s free-for-all. The closeness of our relationship was marked by the comfort we felt in walking up in each other’s closets and just looking around. If you were bored of your own shit, it was okay because you could just borrow someone else’s.
Getting dressed together was always, like, a production:
We’d go over to someone’s house to pregame before a party and bring outfit options for the night; a couple thotfits balled up in a duffel bag, bodycon dresses, tube tops and high waisted disco pants.
We’d hold a look up to our chest, “I was thinking this top with these pants. Or maybe this one?”
“I don’t know, girl.” Someone (usually Sade) would mumble while applying her lipstick in the mirror. “You know we have to see it on first.”
We’d easily change in front of each other and then model the potential look. Everyone would pause to assess it.
Someone would coo and say it was cute. But then someone else might say “Hmmm, I think it would look better with a black top,” and casually throw you one from their bag. “Here, try this.”
And then we’d just start swapping:
“Can I actually try on your skirt?”
“You know I’ve been dying to wear that dress. You’ve worn it already, girl.”
“Let me hold that!”
We all had different body types and personal styles so the pieces worked on us in different ways.
Time hung in the air in those moments, suspended. We’d be bumping music and passing around a bottle. The possibilities for the night ahead felt infinite.
When we were in the thick of quarantine, one of the hardest parts was being away from my girls. I live alone and some days, the isolation really got to me. And now, as the world around us is in a state of chaos, it’s them I want to reach for the most. I want to hug them so damn badly. But it’s still not safe to do so. Yes, we have our marathon-long facetimes; we fantasize about revolutions; we talk shit about what August Alsina and Jada Pinkett are up to, we laugh. But it’s the intimacy of our friendship that I miss the most.
The last time we were all really together was on a quick girls trip to Los Angeles. Traveling together, too, is a shared favorite pastime we can no longer really do.
Now that we’re older and our bank accounts have leveled up, we don’t really get down with all the clothes sharing too often. But when traveling, we often find ourselves living out of each other’s suitcases. Our wardrobes become each other’s by extension, and the sacred simplicity of getting ready together returns.
In our hotel room in L.A., Sade, Chelsea and I got dressed for a night out. We swapped around Knorts pieces until we found the perfect fits. As if we were back in one of our childhood bedrooms, we watched the pieces take on new lives on our bodies. The Barely Bikini top was my cute and fun go-to since I only have a pinch of titty, but it was next-level banging on Sade since she’s all buxom and shit. The same went for the Space Zip Up Sweater, which looked chic and sporty on Chelsea, and sexy and sophisticated on Sade. I felt like a hot nerd in the Cardigan, Sade was giving...sensual vibes, again. Are you sensing the theme here?
We all couldn’t wait to get our bodies into the Elongators, which hugged my curves, made Sade look like she had a butt and gave Chelsea legs for days, but ultimately Chelsea snagged them. Paired with the Lighting in A Layer Top she looked chill, yet sleek, which is so her. I ended up recreating Chelsea’s Tiger Tye Dye Pants and One Way Crop Top outfit, and it was a moment; the frayed edges fit my free spirited energy. Sade was edgy in the Space Zip Up Sweater, the Cool Pants and a little heel.
I’m anxious for the time when my girls and I can experience this type of collective joy and intimacy again, if only for a moment. Joy can be so fleeting these days. For now, I hold onto the memories.