Mary Killen Mary Killen

Dear Mary: how do I stop my husband stripping off in the sun?

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Q. I own a small boutique in north London selling secondhand clothes which are exclusively couture. An acquaintance is a frequent shopper but has a tendency to return items a few days after buying them with reasons like ‘My husband didn’t like the colour’ or ‘I think it’s too young for me.’ I have been tipped off by a mutual friend that she is wearing these clothes to parties before bringing them back for a refund. I would feel awkward confronting her but I would like to get the better of her. What is the best way to do this, Mary?

– B.B., London NW8

A. Online retailers have noticed a surge in ‘wardrobing’ – ordering clothing to wear just once, usually without removing any tags, and then returning the item for a refund after use. Next time she walks into your boutique – and before she has time to open her bag – invoke the name of the person who sold you the item of clothing and gush: ‘XXXXX saw you in that pink Chanel skirt the other day and said you looked fantastic in it – much better than it ever looked on her.’ This should stymie her intention to ask for a refund as she won’t have time to wonder which client might have been at any of the events where she wore it before her face has given her away.

Q. My husband, who is much loved and wonderful in every way, likes to strip off and wear just a pair of shorts and wellies while gardening in the summer. This is partly to avoid muddy splashes as he digs and clears the weed in the stream at the bottom of the garden, but also because he wants, as he always has, to get a gorgeous tan and a ‘phwoar’ from me from the kitchen window.

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