How Do I Get My Mother-in-Law to Stop Trying on My Clothes?

Dear E. Jean: I have a delicate point of etiquette: Every year my mother-in-law tortures me during a three-week visit. I grant that she’s more accomplished and socially prominent than I, and is a better cook—but I will never give way to her in the fashion arena! Never! She tries on all my new things, and it never fails: She looks thinner and better in my wardrobe than I do. How can I stop her from trying on my clothes? —Need a Noncompete Clause

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Miss Noncompete: Oh, for God’s sake, let the poor woman put on your things. Whatever her accomplishments, you possess what she can never have again: youth. Go easy on her. The world can be cruel to a woman over 60. Hell, it can be cruel to a woman over 27.

This letter is from the E. Jean archive.

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