“So I came to work in my suit, and I was quite dressed up because I had to attend the wedding after work right? And my colleague was saying that I looked so nice. And I replied, ‘Er…thanks?’ So embarrassing.”
Okay, I’ll admit, that opening paragraph was the result of my eavesdropping at a certain restaurant one evening. It got me thinking: why are most people so sheepish when it comes to accepting a compliment when you put in effort to dress? I’m pretty sure we’ve met the lot of people like the diner who made that, for lack of better description, lame thank-you. So, if I may humbly do so, here are some tips for talking shop.
#1: If someone wears the same dress/ shirt/ head-to-toe outfit, you don’t have to bitch-rant.
I love Joan Rivers’, and I love her segment on Fashion Police called “Bitch Stole My Look”. But let’s face it, it’s the same dress on someone else. It’s not the apocalypse. You do not - I repeat, do not - have to go on a drunken bitching spree around the room to claim that you were the original person who first thought of wearing it, and that he/she is an unoriginal poser. FYI: This story is coming from a person who’s seen it happen in real time before.
Here’s what you can do. You can go over there and make a compliment about her dress, because chances are, she’s just as wrecked with nerves inside about wearing the same thing as you are. If the compliment grows into a few giggles, congratulate yourself on finding a new friend. If she glares and trots off, then at least you’ve got your gold star for being that classy. (Or you could go home and change.)
#2: Ask, and you shall know.
I was out with a friend shopping for magazines once, and we walked by a lady who had a very pretty jacket on. Amidst her gaggling and gushing, I suggested for her to just go up and ask the lady where she bought the said jacket. Obviously, and predictably, my suggestion was met with a “Are you crazy? No that would just be embarrassing.”
That’s just stupid.
What’s the lady going to do, take off her Louboutins and stab you for even instigating that you’d like to wear the same beautiful jacket she has? Open with a polite “Excuse me”, then a quick compliment and ask the question. Easy, no? I tried it on someone’s sunglasses, it worked.
#3: On the contrary, don’t ask means don’t need to know.
Have you ever encountered someone who, when you compliment their shoes, will tell you “Oh it’s from H&M and it’s $19.90!” I know it may seem like I’m being a nitpicker for pointing this out, but please remember something: you don’t have to volunteer the price each time you get a compliment, unless it’s asked of you.
Similarly, if I were to compliment you in future on your Celine tote, please do not go “Oh, it’s $1,300!” It’s not classy, and I don’t care for the price because I only wanted to tell you that your bag looks great.
This also goes for the people who love to attach looooong backstories about how the pearls used in her necklace were sourced from the depths of the Atlantic Ocean by impoverished child divers who had to fight underwater aliens to get these pearls. No one really wants to hear you reiterate the fact that you’re blindingly rich and you love to rub yourself with gold coins every morning. Again, a “thank you” would suffice.
And finally, #4: Say “thank you” with confidence, because you damned well deserved it.
Look, I’m not saying to be cocky because that’s just as obnoxious as say, drunken anti-semitic rants in a bar. But here’s the deal: you’ve put in some (I hope) thought into what you’re wearing. You cared. And so, when another person appreciates what you’re wearing, accept their compliments graciously. Shuffling your feet, or acting all timidly is not cool. And contrary to popular local belief, it’s not very “humble-looking” either. Back straight, nice smile, nod your head and politely say, “Thanks!”
Image from V Magazine