Ask before tossing

Annie Lane, syndicated columnist

Dear Annie: You recently wrote that an adult daughter was wrong to discard her mother’s pantry food without asking her first — even food that had expired. What do you think about the current trend of girlfriends and wives discarding their boyfriends’ and husbands’ outdated clothes?

I read an article in a major newspaper by a fashionista advising women to throw or give away their male significant others’ unfashionable clothes — without consulting them first. An example given was cargo shorts. Then I saw this happen on a popular television show. The wife attempted secretly to discard her husband’s beloved but unfashionable shorts. It was meant to be funny.

What do you think of this practice, Annie? What if a boyfriend or husband did the same (to his girlfriend’s or wife’s clothes)? What if a fashion writer advocated such? I think there would be an outcry. Why is it OK for women then? Isn’t this a double standard? You’re an influential person; please speak to this trend. — Worried Cargo Shorts Owner

Dear Worried Cargo Shorts Owner: If this is indeed a trend, no one is wearing it well. Going through someone’s closet and discarding his or her items without asking is wrong, plain and simple. It doesn’t matter if that person is your husband, wife, boyfriend or girlfriend — or anyone else with whom you feel close enough to take such decisions into your own hands.

In fact, respecting boundaries becomes more important the closer the relationship is.

We can try offering our significant others some fashion feedback, but that’s about the extent of it. Loving someone means loving him or her as is, extra pockets and all. (By the way, according to Harper’s Bazaar and several other fashion news outlets, cargo shorts are one of 2018’s hottest fashion trends. Go figure.)

Editor’s note: “Ask Me Anything: A Year of Advice From Dear Annie” is out now! Annie Lane’s debut book — featuring favorite columns on love, friendship, family and etiquette — is available as a paperback and e-book. Visit for more information. Send your questions for Annie Lane to