Is Imitation The Sincerest Form of Flattery?


Kate and Pippa Style Twins

What would you do if someone started copying your style?  Buying the same brands, always complimenting you and asking where you got your clothes, etc? It’s not a huge deal in my case, but I am finding it annoying and rude.  A graceful way to handle it would be nice.  I think I’ll start by no longer telling where I get things, just joke that it’s a secret, lest we become twins. What do you think?

It is true that this person really admires your style and wants to look like you.  Otherwise they’d be asking someone else where they buy their clothes.

I commonly am asked where I get certain pieces in my wardrobe, from clothing to shoes and accessories.  Some pieces are from local stores, others I’ve sourced on my travels (I tend to shop more when I’m away from home than I do here).  It’s easy then for me to say “I bought it overseas” and not have to worry that suddenly I will see doppelgangers on every street corner.

So how to answer that question without offending, but also not giving too much information to go on so that your style can’t be exactly replicated?

1. It was a gift.

2. I got it overseas or in XXX city.

3. It’s just “XX” brand, but  last season.

4.  It was from this little boutique and I was lucky enough to get the last one.

5. I picked it up at a second hand store or charity shop.

6. I bought it off ebay.

7. From a clothing swap.


You could also use the tactic of complimenting them (when they’re wearing something that is unrelated to what you wear), to encourage them to develop their own style.

You could talk about how they are so lucky to be able to wear X which just doesn’t suit you.  Point out all the differences between your body shape, and colouring and make mention of how that influences your choices.  They may just be desperately searching for a style that suits them and have no idea where to go and think you look great, and don’t understand that they need to find out what really works for them.  You could also point them here as a resource to help them find their style.

What would you say to someone who keeps trying to steal your style?  Please share your experience in the comments!


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  • Mine response is a no-brainer. I tell people, “I purchased this 30+ years ago in a little boutique very near hear. Unfortunately, it was closed down as the owners were running a prostitute ring.” It would be funny if it didn’t really happen. Many of my finest items from Armani, Cacherel, Christian Voss, and Charles Jourdan (when the shoes were really made in Paris) were purchased 30 years ago in a little boutique that was closed down for the above mentioned crime. I am still shocked and realized that I am probably on some FBI video tape going in and out of the shop with my bags of new purchases. I must say, it usually leaves people silent.

  • I get this too, probably nowhere near as much as you though. I don’t mind if they go out and buy one piece of mine they have admired but when its a few and then started putting it together like me, it’s just annoying.

    I usually say I’ve had it for a while and I can’t remember where I got it. Make a vague comment about a Westfield somewhere.


    • Rachel – I was so style challenged for such a long time I understand why people will copy the people they feel are stylish, I know I used to look at what other people wore who I thought looked great and copy their style – just not the exact same pieces, until I discovered my own style.

  • When I used to sell RTW, it was amazing how many people “I want to buy exactly what you’re wearing”,so I would sell them the same pieces. The funny thing is that what I wore to work is not what I wore on my own time. We were encouraged (by a hefty employee discount etc) to buy our clothes there. The store apparently knew what they were doing. A lot of people don’t know how to put together outfits (which is why you have your job! LOL) and buy what they see put together in the store whether it looks good on them or not. Working retail was quite an eye opener.

    Years later when I worked for a doctor, the patients would ask where I bought my clothes too, but then the answer was always at the Goodwill.

    I have picked up a lot of good tips from your blog. Now that I am retired and living in a foreign country my sense of style has suffered. Thanks to what I read here,I’ve edited my closet and feel much much better.


    • Theresa – yes, that’s why most fashion retail make their staff wear their stock, it does help them sell more. My brother told me that he just chooses the outfit straight off the mannequin as he has no idea how to put together clothes.

  • Pointing out differences and what would flatter the other person sounds smart. Of course some people resist being told that it’s what they like and suits them that will work, as opposed to trends …

    While lies about where you got stuff also sounds like a fine plan!

    • Tall & Slim – when pointing out the differences it’s all about how you frame it – as in “you’re so lucky you have blonde hair and can wear those pastel shades” or “you’re so lucky that you have such long legs and can wear those trousers which look terrible on me!” etc.

  • Why not just share? As long as she’s not pulling a Single White Female on you, what’s the harm in helping someone out? I’m plus sized and have had people ask me where I got things– and I usually share because I was so ignorant of the choices out there for a long time.

    • I can’t believe I nearly posted the same thing! LOL…I promise I’m not being YOUR copycat – I just need to learn to read the comments BEFORE I comment!!! 😉

      • Angela – it’s true – and it is definitely a first world problem, but I guess if you keep turning up to work and someone you work with is dressing pretty much in exactly the same clothes you might find it kind of single white female!

  • I can see how difficult this is – the person who asked the question seems to be really uncomfortable about the situation.
    But I just hate lying and being lied to, so instead I would probably try to pluck up courage and just talk about it. Some people are able to do this in a light, humorous way that doesn’t do any harm but neverless gets the other person thinking. I would probably not manage to do this, so I would be clear and direct instead and talk about me and my feelings instead of trying to blame the other person: “I do not feel comfortable with sharing all my sources, I get a weird feeling seeing you in the same clothes that I wear, I want to protect my style and individuality.”
    This might create a tense and uncomfortable situation, maybe even some bad feelings during some time, but in the end I think it’s for the better of both.
    (Oh my, this therapist I’m paying is really worth her money…)

  • I really never thought about being copied as a bad and annoying thing. I just figured that the person trying to copy is paying the biggest compliment. With that said however if you worked with someone who literally emulated you on a daily basis to the point that others are calling her your ‘twin’ then that could be very annoying.
    I think that American women sometimes over-share and have set a president that if someone asks you something we are obliged to answer. I once worked with a very wealthy woman who had many admirers of her fashions when asked she would smile and wink and say”A wise woman never tells”.
    We would all laugh but got the message.
    I never asked her because I knew I could never afford any of the clothing she wore. Every once in a while she would compliment me on something I had on and that meant the world to me.

  • I get compliments all the time, and to me it’s no big deal to tell people where I get things. It sounds to me like this is the kind of question a style snob would ask. Unless the person inquiring about her style is a creep, stalking her a`la “Single White Female”, I don’t see what the big deal is. Nobody “OWNS” a certain style, there are no copyrights on it. Chances are, even if someone does buy something similar to what I own, they aren’t going to have my exact “look”, anyway. If this person is just being really annoying then you can try to steer clear of them. Otherwise, there are much bigger problems in the world than someone who wants to be as stylish as you.

  • I have a signature piece they I’ve been wearing for a few months & lo and behold a friend of mine shows up tonight with almost the exact same necklace. Really?? Argh.

  • You want to be different and unique?
    Find a great dressmaker or start making your own clothes.
    For that you need to know what you doing of course, otherwise you might end up looking like a school craft project.
    And that is not a good thing.
    So, maybe just find a Good dressmaker with an imagination and a good style sense.
    Not an easy task but it’s possible.
    Good luck everyone!

  • I have someone at work that always asks where I buy my clothing. The reality is we don’t share the same body type at all! I buy most of my clothing from big boob retailers! She’s very flat chested! I don’t want to disclose to a coworker that I have this “issue”, So I’ve learned to smile and say I got them online or eBay and that seems to do the trick! I always compliment her on her cute outfits too. Sometimes I wonder if it’s a way to bond with other ladies, especially in the workplace!

    • She obviously thinks you dress your body well! Glad you’ve found resources to purchase clothes for your big boobs as I know just how hard it can be to find clothes to flatter when you have this asset!

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