10 phrases you never want to hear
Throughout my life, I have received comments all across the spectrum from “what a terrible look” to “I love your look.” Sometimes people knew what they were talking about and other times they had no idea. Over the years, I have made a lot of changes leading to many compliments. In thinking through your style, here are ten phrases you may want to avoid hearing:
1. “You remind me of [ insert unflattering movie/tv character here ]”. Back in college, I had someone tell me I reminded him of Grimace, the purple McDonald’s gum drop character. At the time, I was wearing a purple sweatshirt and purple sweatpants – the kind with the tight grippy elastic at the waist and ankles. Not a good look. I hated the comparison, but I got the point. The all purple combo quickly disappeared.
2. “Please pull up your pants, your butt is showing.” This looks especially bad. I know some of you may be saying to yourself, “you don’t know what you’re talking about, large sagging pants are awesome.” I don’t care. It looks terrible and undermines a pillar of great style – you look your best when wearing clothes that properly fit you.
3. “You are underdressed for this event.” A wedding is the classic example. When attending a special event, dress appropriately. For more on this, read A wedding is no time for casual.
4. “Your collar looks dirty, have you noticed?” When the ring around the collar becomes permanent, ditch the shirt. For more on this, read Yellow pits or bulls eye for a sloppy look?
5. “I’m sorry, but will you please take a mint?” Make sure to keep your breath fresh and clean. Oh, and never, never, never turn down a mint. Remember this saying: “Never refuse a mint; it just might be a hint.”
6. “Did you notice the big hole in your shirt/pants right there?” Keep your clothes in good condition. When holes appear, pitch them.
7. “What’s that smell?” If you find yourself hearing this as you enter a room, you may want to review the smell checklist – Does anything smell? Body odor? Breath? Feet? Clothes? Anything else? For more on this, read What’s that smell?
8. “Trying to bring back the fanny pack [ or really any unfashionable item ] as a style statement, eh?” The list of these items goes on for days and is frequently abused. Don’t wear fanny packs (or spandex or socks with sandals) in public.
9. “I didn’t know the circus was in town?” or “Wow, are you taking up clowning on the side?” This comes about when you wear pink polka dot pants with a bright flowery shirt, orange shoes and yellow sunglasses. You may want to stand out, but there is a balance with these kinds of things. No need to get too wild … unless of course you actually do perform in a circus. I plan to address this area in a future article.
10. Any kind of fashion advice from a stranger. If you do happen to receive advice from a stranger, seriously consider what the person has to stay. They may be giving you a gift. On the other hand, they may have no idea what they are talking about. So, think about it. If it makes sense, make a change. If not, then move on.
Overall, pay attention to comments. While they do not define you, they may offer up some clues to areas you may need to consider changing. For those comments that clearly reside in the mean-spirited category, I think you know how to respond. Yep, with a smile and an awkward moment of silence. As you consider your style and various comments, remember the basics and read through this blog for ideas.
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