It is sad that civility is so hard to find in public interaction. My DH has been accosted several times in gas-convenience stores in a most rude fashion. So many feel able to say anything to anyone.
I would hope you will ignore the comments and understand that these people may actually be aggressive to you because of their own insecurities.
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6/23/13 9:56 P
I generally ignore comments. Now and then I will use the "I"ve recently had major surgery and have to be careful". That always makes the person look at least slightly chagrined. I've pretty much perfected the disdainful stare down since my sister is in a wheelchair and the looks and comments we get just amaze me. People are always embarrassed to be caught starring. On the day the woman approached me at the gas station I was wearing a bright pink maxi dress with a white t-shirt underneath as well as long earrings that I made myself. I definitely do the funky jewelry thing since I make most of my own jewelry or buy it from a nonprofit who sends their profits to a girls orphanage in Sri Lanka. I guess I was just surprised. I had never experienced this before until the last few months. Frankly I don't care if I'm wearing whatever is currently in fashion. I wear what looks good, is comfortable, and functional. Yes, I will cover the child's eyes if the family is very conservative and someone's chest is hanging out or their shorts aren't even covering the basics. The family prefers it that way. I don't say a word to the person wearing the clothes. It's my issue, not theirs.
I think ignoring and walking away is the best way to handle it. You do not have to explain or defend your clothing choice. I think it is creepy and rude that strangers are approaching you to talk to you about your clothes... or supposed beliefs based on your appearance.
Even if you take the time to say something back, it doesn't stop the next person making a comment. I think it is wasting your energy to get into it with someone who is disrespectful, and just wants to criticize and be negative to someone.
The person is nut case. Like with other poster said wear what u want.my personal opinion "some" of the people I see in the world do need longer dress and be coverup more
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3,293 6/23/13 2:01 P
You cover children's eyes when you see someone who is not dressed to your standards? That's a bit strange, and I can see how it might come off as rude and immature. I wonder if the people who confronted you did so more because of this kind of thing than because of anything that you were wearing on a particular day.
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26 6/23/13 1:47 P
ANDILH, The problem they have with your choice of clothes is not your fault, it is them. There is an obvious problem with them and their self image, that they feel the need to comment negatively about your clothing style. In my experience, when people lash out like this, it is really nothing about you, it is something that is hurting them deep inside. I know you are hurt by that, and it is difficult for you to feel compassion for these people. But they are the broken ones, not you. Maybe next time someone does this to you just say, "I am sorry about whatever it is that made you into this mean spirited person, but I know it was not me. So please, stop being rude to me."
6/23/13 1:43 P
I think ignoring comments like this from strangers is your best bet. The woman sounds like she was a little nuts, and the college age man sounds like a jerk. In both instances their actions are more about them than about you. It's not about you at all.
The problem with having any other response is that you don't really know what you are dealing with when it comes to complete strangers. If you try to engage them, you don't know what you are engaging. If they were sane & considerate, they wouldn't be berating you for your clothes in the first place. So the only thing you know is that you are dealing with someone who is likely a nutty jerk. Engaging them could lead to escalation and who knows where that could lead? I'd ignore & back out of the situation as quickly as possible.
Now, if someone you know, like an acquaintance or someone you see regularly starts in, then you can gauge your response. Anything from a dirty look to a complete explanation might be appropriate. But you don't owe anything to complete strangers, and you have a right to wear the comfy, appropriate clothes you have selected. They no doubt look fabulous on you!
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I really think that the "I had major surgery" response is the best in your case. But if you want a snappier comeback, I once had one just come out of my mouth without thinking, that worked really well. I was in a coffee shop in a downtown office building, in line next to a young-30-something woman when a couple of barely-20-somethings came in and one of them looked at the 30-something and sniggered, "Nice pantyhose." (Apparently stockings are no longer "cool.") I couldn't help looking at the girl and saying, "Excuse me? Since when does one adult comment on another adult's fashion choices?"
Then the barista handed me my coffee and I tuned out, but when I finished getting the lid on, I looked around and the young girl was actually apologizing. Calmly expressing the idea that it's not appropriate adult behavior can go a long way. Most of the time you won't get an apology, but it's hard to refute "that's not appropriate."
Stand straight and make eye contact, with your best patient expression-- the one you use when a toddler is winding up for a tantrum that lets them know you'll wait them out. The person confronting you will waver a little. At that point, you say very softly, "Are you finished?" They'll just stand there, and you say, "I'm wearing this dress because I recently had major surgery and this doesn't irritate the scars. Is there anything more you want to say?"
You will have taken the high road, and they will be left feeling like an idiot. Eighty percent of the time, they'll apologize.
Now, that said, comfortable doesn't have to mean dull. If you're dressing so plainly that they're mistaking you for a Pentacostal or something, chances are that YOU will feel better if you brighten it up a little. Think about whether some bright scarves or some very inexpensive, slightly flashy jewelry wouldn't make you feel just a little sunnier about getting dressed and going out. It might even help your work if the kids (and families) know you as "the funny earring lady" or "the wild socks lady." Hit one of those junk-jewelry stores in the mall, and you can wear something different every day of the week for less than the price of lunch at the food court. Just because your options are limited, that doesn't mean you don't deserve to have some fun within those limits. It's actually a health issue; it's one tiny detail that can put a little joy or silliness in your life, and joy and silliness are scientifically shown to help fight heart disease and other real, physical illnesses.
Sorry that happened to you. Yea, I would just back away slowly from anyone who approached me in a gas station and commented on my clothing, whether I was wearing a maxi dress or just covering the bare essentials. It is nobody's business.
I've had that sort of thing happen, not with a maxi, as I tend to dress young for my age. I think I have a right to dress as I please and cover the bare essentials only if I wish.
I have noticed a lot of threads on the café here kind of foster our giving opinions on how people choose to dress and I've posted on those threads and hope I have not offended anyone with my opinions because I think we all need to give each other a break and dress the heck as we like to dress, without folks commenting.
So my pledge is not to even participate in clothing threads in the café again because it IS a fascinating topic but it can hurt people's feelings, even online.
But yea, IRL, I'd be calling the police if anyone approached me as they had you. Hugs and be well.
Maybe they forgot that they weren't hiding behind a computer where people seem to think they can say whatever mean thing they want without facing the consequences. What you wear is your personal choice and the people that commented obviously have their own issues.
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6/23/13 10:53 A
Ignore the comments. maxi's are in fashion......
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6/23/13 10:36 A
You might also consider that these people who are sharing their opinions have "narcissistic" tendencies (mental disorder). So, they believe that only their way, opinion, etc...is the best way.
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5,855 6/23/13 9:14 A
I would look at that person and state ... I would have a battle of wits with you but I refuse to fight an unarmed person.
The next thing you will hear is a loud intense attack which means they just lost and they know it.
"It is easier to raise good children than to fix bad men" by Fredrick Douglas.
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6/23/13 8:28 A
The woman at the gas station sounds insecure, and a bit crazy. Perhaps someone (parents?) give her a hard time about how little she wears and she goes into the "women's rights" thing that she unloaded on you. Then you reminded her of their opinion and she lost it. It was Her problem, not Yours! (These left-wing fruitcakes are confused. Women's Rights include the right to choose what you want to wear.)
The other people who comment likewise have personal issues to settle. It's too bad that they don't settle them without involving complete strangers. You are under no obligation to consider their comments at all! If you want to say something back, "That's interesting" gives a response without giving credence to their views.
Be true to you!
6/23/13 7:15 A
I don't have any suggestions other then ignore them. I've also been verbally attacked for wearing clothes that fit comfortably versus the tight, painted on look that one can't breathe in. I unfortunately am wearing several different sizes at the moment because they don't make clothes that fit me perfectly in one size. (if it's too tight in the waist it fits in the butt and legs, but if it fits in the waist then it's baggy in the butt and legs) That's the sad thing about today's society....too many people put too high of value on their own opinions, therefore they feel that everyone else should put that same value on that opinion.
I can't imagine where you live that you've had to suffer insults on how you dress from strangers...or friends for that matter...even less so because you are 'over' dressing versus baring it all. In this day and age, almost anything goes when it comes to fashion.
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6/23/13 5:45 A
I'd say wear what you want and ignore those rude people. It seems like people who rant and rave on the internet are moving into real life.
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6/23/13 12:40 A
Thanks Bunny. If it had just been the one crazy lady I probably wouldn't have thought much of it, but since it's happened several times I was at a loss. Working in a fairly large college town I see all types of dress and undress but rarely bat an eye unless it's really not modest and I have kids with me. Even then though the most I do is cover their eyes until we're out of sight of whatever was offending me. Lilli, the woman who's comments bothered me the most were religious based. I live in an area that is fairly diverse religion wise. I spent a lot of time in a Baptist church growing up and like you we had to wear long skirts although nothing was said about our hair. She was going on about how by wearing a dress I was a "religious zealot" who essentially didn't care about women's rights. I don't remember all of her exact words (and probably wouldn't post them anyway since some were fairly nasty), but she was implying that by my clothing alone I was somehow betraying women and women's causes and rights.
6/23/13 12:32 A
If some random person in a gas station approached me and started verbally berating me for ANY reason...... any reason at all..... let alone a reason so ridiculous as "I don't like your dress"..... i'd think she was nuts. I'd look at her sideways and back away slowly. I wouldn't put a single ounce of energy into thinking about what she said. That's just not rational behaviour - to approach a stranger and comment negatively on their clothing to their face, calling them a disgrace??!???!?!?! You could be wearing a parka in July, or scuba-diving flippers, or a mohawk and booty shorts, and I wouldn't say a word to you. Why would I? It... is not my business, and makes no sense.
Maxi dresses are fashionable at the moment. What could the complaint possibly be?
I thought defining our worth as women based upon the length of our skirt went out of fashion a hundred years ago.
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6/23/13 12:09 A
What exactly did they say? Do you live in a community where women are expected to dress in long skirts for religious reasons? (I grew up Pentecostal and was not allowed to cut my hair or wear anything but long dresses and skirts.)
Since long skirts are in style, I can't imagine what they could possibly have said to you.
You did not provoke this. Other people are disrespecting civil boundaries of manners and judgement. I hope you continue to enjoy wearing the clothes you like and feel beautifully professional in them.
It would be a shame if you let some rude people take that away from you.
As to a response, why? To be drawn into their drama or negativity? I would smile and say, Thanks! or No thank you! I worked with children and families too. and I wore things that were appropriate for floor time. But the kids like it and that was all that mattered. Why we go to work every day. Not for the crackpots!!!!
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6/23/13 12:00 A
I wear a lot of maxi dresses because they are extremely comfortable after back surgery. Because I work with children and families, I also dress fairly conservatively. That means in addition to dresses below my knees, if it's low or doesn't have some sort of actual sleeves than I wear a shirt underneath it. I prefer to be more covered than not and have never had a problem. Recently however, I have been verbally attacked without provoking it. This week I was pumping gas when a woman pulled up on the other side and jumped out wearing barely enough clothes to cover the essentials. She immediately began commenting on my dress, ending her rant with how I was a disgrace to women and should be ashamed of myself. I'm not debating politics or religion here. A couple weeks ago a college age man said something about my wearing a long dress. There have been others. I have never engaged with these people in any way and they are complete strangers. When did clothing become such a hot topic? Also, why is it any of their business why I'm choosing to dress the way I am? Whether it be for comfort, religious reasons, personal preferences, work requirements, I've always believed clothes to be a personal choice and not really anyone else's business. So far I'm just ignoring these people and walking away, but I have to admit that it's getting increasingly harder with each comment to remain silent. Any suggestions? Thanks!
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