Unsolicited wardrobe commentary says something about you

What you say says something about you.

A while back, a female colleague I am friendly with commented on the “shiny” jacket that I was wearing. Not long after that, an older, male colleague remarked on the fur-trimmed sweater I wore to work one day.

Because I genuinely like these two co-workers, I laughed off their comments, but the disparagement stung. These were people I enjoyed chatting with and sharing the occasional lunch with, so their negative comments about what I was wearing crossed the line of friendly banter to careless disregard of a colleague’s feelings.

When I thought about their appearances, I wondered why they believed it was okay to criticize my appearance. I could easily turn it around: Her hair? A perpetual mess. His daily winter wardrobe guffaw? A leather fedora better suited to Indiana Jones than an office worker.

Years earlier while working in the training department of a pharmacy software company, I demonstrated uncharacteristic grace when a co-worker dissed the shoes I was wearing.

In the morning rush, I’d forgotten to change out of my driving shoes—pricey, but well-worn, brown, leather shoes—into my indoor shoes—inexpensive, sensible, black, dress shoes. As I walked past a younger co-worker, she stared at my feet and said to me that she would NEVER, EVER wear brown shoes with black pants.

It feels good to take the high road, but saying nothing in response was my way of indicating her foolishness. I can be petty, too.

What’s more the contradiction was not lost on me. I had noticed her wardrobe, too.

I’d said nothing when she squeezed her flat ass into an aging pair of grey, dress pants one-size too small. I’d said nothing to her when she wore what appeared to be her favourite cardigan, based on its high, weekly, wardrobe rotation, pilled from one too many wash cycles and beyond ready for retirement. And I’d said nothing to her about the skirt she wore that was an unflattering cut for her body type. For sure, she oblivious to her own fashion blunders, but not mine.

Who has not committed a fashion faux pas? We all do.

We are all guilty of crimes against fashion. Some of us are repeat offenders, some are accomplices, but why say anything at all?

Second guessing a person’s clothing choices is irrelevant to the person wearing the clothes you don’t approve of, but being vocal about it is indicative of who you are as a person.