Early on in my relationship with the hub, he said something that I will never forget. We were at a party or a bar - somewhere where drinking was going on - and a group of women walked in. One woman was wearing an outfit that she shouldn’t have worn because she was spilling out of her top and skirt. The hub (boyfriend at the time) asked, “Who lied to her?” I was confused. What was he talking about? He clarified: When she was getting ready to go out for the night she must have asked her friends how she looked. Someone lied to her when they said that she looked good.
Twenty plus years later, I am still asking this question when I see someone wearing the wrong outfit. Now before you think I’m judging or that I’m shallow, I’m not talking about a styling issue or lack of name brands. Since I have to hire a stylist, I’m the very last person who would know enough to comment about someone else’s style and fashion. The wrong outfit that I am talking about is when a person wears clothes that have the opposite effect of flattering their body.
For the first few years of motherhood, I would attempt to shop for clothes with girlfriends because I really wanted to learn how to find stuff for my ever-changing body. I don’t enjoy shopping and I prefer to shop alone because I’m HORRIBLE at browsing. After a few girlfriend shopping dates, I decided that I was forcing myself to do something that wasn’t fun for me and so I stopped going shopping with them until last summer. While we were on a girls weekend trip, friends and I were getting to know the area of Sun Valley by shopping. A close friend of mine needed a pair of jeans so I stuck around the store with her while the others went ahead. She came out of the dressing room wearing a pair of jeans that looked so fantastic on her that I felt like they were made especially for her. She tried on another pair of jeans that were just ok. When she tried on a third pair, they fit as great as the first pair. She couldn’t decided between the first pair of jeans or the third so she bought both. I agreed with her purchase. She appreciated the honesty because she could have easily walked out of there with three pairs of jeans or none at all. At another store, she tried on a cute bomber jacket. We both loved the look of the jacket but when she tried it on, I didn’t think it did anything for her body shape and I thought the color against her face washed her out. Even though I knew she was fired up and ready to buy the jacket at a great price, I told her my thoughts. She was grateful for my honesty and put it back on the rack.
I feel like I have been thru so many scenarios just like that. I would quickly fall in love with an item and felt like I had to have it. If a friend was with me, of course I would ask for their opinion. Nine times out of ten the friend would convince me that I should buy whatever I was trying on. Looking back, I wonder if there were hidden agendas when my friends were assuring me that my purchase was a good idea. For instance, one reason for convincing me to buy something was probably because my friend felt guilty about the money she spent and she needed a Thelma to complete her Louise. Another reason could be that it was much easier to agree with my impulsive purchase than it was to come up with constructive criticism. But the biggest hidden agenda of why a friend would tell me that I look great in something was because they loved me and DIDN’T WANT TO HURT MY FEELINGS.
Give your girlfriend a thoughtful pinch by telling them honestly how they look when discussing clothes. Don’t be the friend who takes the easy way out - telling someone they look good in an outfit when they should really make another choice. The answer to the hub’s question, “Who lied to her?” is you if you do that. There are so many reasons to be honest: 1. It saves money. 2. It saves time in the long run (if they have to return stuff once they have come to their senses). 3. It saves embarrassing wardrobe malfunctions. 4. It shows that you really care about your friend. 5. When your friend starts understanding what really looks good on her, she will stop buying stuff that does not. And 6. You’re there to help her, not give false hope. All of these benefits are completely worth the price of telling the truth. But wait, I saved the best benefit for last! 7. Once you give this pinch to your friend, she will feel comfortable telling you what looks good on you and what doesn’t. Hello?! Say it with me, “Reciprocation.”
The next time I shopped with others happened just a few days ago when I went to visit my cousins in Atlanta. While we were shopping, my cousin tried on a beautiful skirt. The colors were fantastic and the fabric was divine. However, when she had it on, I didn’t think it looked very good on her. Of course, the sales person stroked her ego by telling her NOT to go up a dress size (a statement that is always a crowd pleaser); she also told my cousin that she liked the skirt on her. I waited to see what my cousin would do. She opted not to buy the skirt. She’s very smart, my cousin. I told her that if the sales person had convinced her to buy it, I would have intervened. I don’t think my cousin was offended at all - but rather, relieved that she made the right choice. When I got home from the trip to Atlanta, I asked my other cousin Jay-Jay to send me any of the photos that we took during my visit. At first, the pictures didn’t come thru - only a comment via text about her sweater not being flattering. I didn’t know what she was talking about until I saw the pictures. Jay-Jay has lost a bunch of weight. However, in the pictures, the sweater she was wearing didn’t do her slim body any justice at all. I admitted that I was duped because in person, I thought the sweater was a nice choice for her outfit. Instead of replying back the usual, “No, you look great.”, I told her that if the sweater “sparked joy “ (referencing Marie Kondo’s Tidying Up) then that’s all that mattered. But I also mentioned that if she planned on wearing the sweater in more pictures, she needed to ditch it. Brutally honest. But I happen to know that she has been purging stuff that doesn’t fit or spark joy. And since I am pretty confident that she has clothes that fits her shape better than that sweater, I wouldn’t be surprised if the joy has already fizzled out.
My friend who bought the two pairs of jeans in Sun Valley, was grateful that I shared my thoughts with her while we shopped. I remember we were discussing honesty when all of a sudden her face lit up! She came up with the idea that I should write a post on girlfriend honesty. Giving a thoughtful pinch was synonymous with giving a girlfriend the gift of true feedback. Yes, I agree! This one’s for you Rachel.