Twinning: good friends with identical styles

Friendship Week: Turning up in the same outfit as your friend is no longer necessarily a social faux pas – it is often deliberate

Remember best-friend bracelets at school? Well, the fashion phenomenon of twinning is a bit like friendship bracelets for grown-ups. Twinning, a twist on the word Charlie Sheen made viral – winning – is when two people wear matching or very similar outfits, and are delighted by this co-ordinated turn of events.

Gone are the days of abject mortification on arriving at a party only to realise that your friend is wearing the same dress as you. Instead, celebrity friends such as Kendall Jenner, Gigi Hadid, Taylor Swift and Karlie Kloss seem to take delight in planning matching – or at the very least highly co-ordinated – outfits.

Singer Caroline Vreeland and fashion blogger Shea Marie took matchy-matchy dressing to another level last year when they turned up at New York fashion week with twinning jackets that would have had your 10-year-old-self squealing with excitement. Best friends forever, k? If you plan on buying one, however, be careful who you wear it with: the jackets, designed by Veda, cost more than €1,200 each, making it difficult to ask for it back so you can give it to Niamh in the playground at lunch.

The word “twinning” might be a new addition to our vocabulary but the concept is not. Teenagers, in particular, seem to naturally twin as they move in herds across Dundrum Town Centre.


Before you judge, cast your mind back to your adolescence and you might remember more than one occasion when you and your friends twinned. Whether by accident or design, what teenage girl hasn’t found herself with the same Adidas tearaways, butterfly hairclip or diamante brooch as her best friend?

Honestly, life was a lot easier when all you had to do was tie your crimped hair in a scrunchie and walk out the door in your Doc Martens.

A photographer’s eye

Anita Corbin knows all about the power of friends twinning. As a soft punk student photographer in the 1980s, Corbin took photos of pairs of female friends who dressed alike. She captured the innate ability of women to mirror each other’s style. From new romantics to mods and punks, the clothes on your friend’s back were an important part of expressing who you were. Corbin is now trying to track down these women to see how their style has evolved.

Corbin thinks the reason young women dress alike is a desire to connect with one another while at the same time expressing their own identity. “As teenage girls, you spend a lot of time with each other, in your mate’s bedroom, talking about fashion and what you want to wear. You can’t help but be influenced by who you spend time with,” she says.

“We want to fit in with what’s around us,” Corbin says. “We’re adaptable, like chameleons.”

The tribal nature of fashion will always have us dressing to replicate what we see around us, whether it be man or Madonna.

In the 1980s Corbin could be found with a shaved head and wearing an old American jumpsuit bought from a charity shop. These days she is more comfortable in a tailored suit. She says that as you age, instead of dressing like your friends, you start to look like your partner, or even, she says, your dog.


  • Twinning friends: Ciara Walsh and Sarah-Grace Keane have been friends since primary school, but this was the first time they turned up in the same pink Penneys coat. Aoife Burke and Jessie Byrne have been friends since the days of "pastel velour tracksuits and denim jackets", and although Burke had informed Byrne of her outfit choice for that night, they still found themselves twinning.
  • Twinning siblings: In the Noughties, siblings Paris and Nicky Hilton often turned up at events in similar outfits. But slightly more chic twinners in the sibling and actual twin category are Mary Kate and Ashley Olsen, who can't seem to put a foot wrong.
  • Twinning couples: Twinning with your significant other is another level of twinning and should only be attempted by the highly experienced. God forbid we have another Britney and Justin double-denim moment.