This is something I don’t wear often.Like a lot of New Yorkers, I value invisibility. Quiet outfits. Monochrome. All black. Walking down the street is hectic and the constant harassment is enough. I don’t need my clothes to draw any more attention. The same goes when I’m at work. But this dress seems to garner the most compliments out of everything in my wardrobe. Because it’s patterned? Because the pattern creates movement like a psychedelic optical illusion? I like it but I don’t like the compliments. I’d rather forget about my clothes once they are on and I’m out the door. I guess I simultaneously enjoy compliments about my clothes and get annoyed by them at the same time. How do you feel about compliments about what you’re wearing out in the wild?
[outfit: Billy Reid sweater dress, *Organic by John Patrick scarf, PACT leggings, HOPP oxfords, *cluse watch, Vietnam backpack]
6 thoughts on “outfit: uninvisible”
I think it makes a difference if the “compliment” comes from a man or a woman. Usually it’s women who might give me a compliment, and those are always genuine and I say thank you. When I see women who look great I’ll try to say something to them if it’s appropriate. So that doesn’t bother me. It’s the karmic exchange of good vibes.
BUT. On Monday I was walking home from the train and passed two men on the sidewalk. I said hi, because I try to say hi and make fleeting eye contact with folks on my walk (it’s a walk through a quiet neighborhood, so I try to be friendlier than I would on a city street). So just as we’re passing one of the men says, “You look like a model.” And I couldn’t help but laugh. It made me smile.
Something about this guy’s particular comment made me feel like, “Yes, thank you, I DO look like a model!” I was wearing my ES florence pants with a black top and block heel sandals and my makeup and hair were definitely looking pretty good. It was my power outfit!
I’ve had my share of pretty horrific harassment on the street and on the train, so I don’t take comments like this lightly. In general when men say shitty things in the guise of a compliment it’s blatantly obvious that they’re being pervy or disrespectful. But looking at this on a case by case basis, this one particular compliment felt spontaneous and genuine. It was nice.
However I reserve the right to scowl at unwanted attention in the future.
I really like this dress on you. It’s cool and understated even while being interesting. I can see why it would attract attention but I don’t think it’s flashy either. I like how you’ve styled it! Keep wearing it.
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definitely perv-y comments are annoying no matter what. i think most women are giving genuine compliments.. and even if they aren’t, they are trying to connect and relate in some way, all with good intentions i think. but i do notice that its the outfits with the striking patterns that get noticed, and i think the getting noticed part then makes that garment less wearable..because well ya can’t wear the same thing over and over if it always gets noticed. but anyway, sounds like you were wearing a strong outfit that day and there were probably nonverbal cues telling you this guy wasn’t a total perv.
When my clothes are complimented, it’s usually a remark from another woman. Aside from garden variety street harassment, men rarely comment on my clothes.
Out in the world, I’m nervous to approach strangers to give a compliment. Even women! If I have the nerve to do it, I’ll usually phrase my compliment in the form of a question: “Those pants are so cool; where did you get them?” That kind of thing.
i’m similar to you, i’m reluctant to comment on someones clothes unless i know them well or if theres a purpose as you say with the question. especially at work i don’t want to focus on how a woman looks/dresses.. like when hillary clinton was running for pres n everyone talked about her pants suits but no one cared about what the male candidates were wearing… didn’t seem fair. very extreme example there but its something that gives me pause.. i guess women have more ways to express themselves through clothes and that opens up more room for others to judge/read them, so i try to focus more on the internal as a reaction to this phenom when talking to well dressed professional women..
I completely agree with Talia that context is everything. And I love that dress and think it’s one of my favorite things I’ve seen you wear! It is interesting, but not at all loud, and the proportions are great. Really flattering and fun, but “safe” in a palette of subdued neutrals.
thanks rebecca! its a good dress.. it did shrink a lil and i wish it were like two inches longer tho.. kind of wish it’d go unnoticed so i could wear it more often to work, lol.