I once heard the saying, “Iron sharpens iron; the scholar sharpens the scholar.”

To that saying, I would like to add the following: Femme sharpens femme.

The age old Jewish tradition of the chevrutah, or study pair, is a beautiful thing. Just imagine two scholars studying together, pouring over books during long hours of discussion and debate, sometimes agreeing and sometimes disagreeing, and coming out of the whole process smarter and with a wonderful friend. There’s such joy in that image–and such respect. It is a great thing to find a friend who is as smart as you are (and maybe even a bit smarter!).

Similarly, it is a great moment in life when you find a friend who is as fashionable as you are (and maybe even a bit more fashionable!). One should delight in such a kinship and view it as an opportunity to sharpen one’s own fashion. Jealous of her vintage earrings? A great excuse to visit the local thrift store! Appalled at how well she rocks an edgy new hairstyle? Spend some extra time on your own hair in the morning! It’s great to have inspiration.

This does not have to be rivalry in the bitter and petty sense. The same way people who study together can vie for the best grade but still have compassion and respect for each other, femmes can strut our stuff without getting nasty. Let’s just be honest when we get together. I am not wearing these shoes to impress my boss or a love interest; I’m wearing them to show them off to you! And you did not just “throw something on”–you spent some time on that outfit! And I appreciate and respect the time you took. Scholars can show each other the right page in a source when they find it, and we can tell each other the best places to shop.

(Though this may seem like it’s about consumerism, it’s not. Fashion is about how you wear what you have rather than how much money the outfit costs, and fashionable femme chevrutahs don’t have to spend a dime to impress each other. The beauty of the femme chevrutah lies in looking to each other for creativity and inspiration rather than looking at size zero mannequins in corporate display cases.)

So let’s impress each other this Rosh Hashanah, and let’s step up our fashionable friendships this year. Let’s view each other’s fabulousness as an exciting challenge rather than a threat, and let’s go out on friend dates dressed to the nines. I can’t wait to see what you’ll wear!

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