Regularized linear representation learning has led to interesting results in image classification, while how the object should be represented is a critical issue to be investigated. Considering the fact that the different features in a sample should contribute differently to the pattern representation and classification, in this paper we present a novel relaxed collaborative representation (RCR) model to effectively exploit the similarity and distinctiveness of features. In RCR, each feature vector is coded on its associated dictionary to allow flexibility of feature coding, while the variance of coding vectors is minimized to address the similarity among features. In addition, the distinctiveness of different features is exploited by weighting its distance to other features in the coding domain. The proposed RCR is simple, while our extensive experimental results on benchmark image databases (e.g., various face and flower databases) show that it is very competitive with state-of-the-art image classification methods.