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Frequent Contributor
Posts: 100
Registered: ‎03-17-2010

O/T: Is it OK to tell a loved one about their VERY unflattering, repeatedly-worn outfit?

I know I will get crucified by some people for asking this question -- but when you ask for honest opinions, you have to take the bad with the good.....

 

My wonderful 20-year-old daughter has this orange maxi/sundress that looks really, really bad on her.  It is just incredibly unflattering -- it makes her look VERY pregnant.  It also makes her top half (shoulders, back and upper arms) look very prominent and flabby.  It makes her look quite flat-chested too, which she is not.  Mind you, there is NOTHING wrong with looking or being flat-chested -- but when coupled with how protruding her stomach looks in this dress, it is just a really bad combo.  I know that description sounds mean and awful, but I am just trying to paint the visual.  Picture yourself in an orange sundress that does all of these things to your figure.  Not even Heidi Klum could rock this dress!

 

Unfortunately, this is her go-to dress for whenever she wants to look nice.  But this darn dress does exactly the opposite.  She has worn it to family functions before, and I have been asked a couple of times afterward (in private) if she was pregnant or if she was "OK" (because she had appeared to gain a shocking amount of weight).  My little niece really thought she WAS pregnant.  So I am not the only one who sees this.  My daughter, however, must not see the dress the same way.  Or maybe she does and just doesn't care because it is so comfortable.  (It DOES look like a comfortable dress because it is loose and unstructured and baggy, and she wears it without a bra -- so I have no doubt that it is comfy.)  It just looks AWFUL on her.  I feel VERY bad for even thinking that, but I see what I see.

 

I have NEVER said anything to her about it, nor do I EVER criticize her appearance.  I am not a mean, critical mom!  If I do think something critical about her appearance, I NEVER vocalize it because I do NOT want to hurt her feelings.  I just really, really want her to find a new go-to dress!  One that makes her look like the cute, curvy college girl that SHE IS, not one that looks like a big, frumpy, orange sack of potatoes.  She often wears it to sorority functions, and in the photos, she looks ready to drop twins!

 

To address any wardrobe questions, she DOES have other clothes.  It's not like this is her only outfit and she wears it out of necessity.  I think she just wears it repeatedly out of comfort -- and also the fact that it takes her about 30 seconds to throw the thing on and go.  While some of you might suggest that buying her some new clothes might be the thing to do, I am not so sure that that would work.  I could get her multiple new outfits, yet she may still continue to turn to her comfortable orange gunny sack.

 

Again, I FEEL VERY BAD about having all of these thoughts.  But at the same time, I don't think there is anything wrong with wanting my daughter to look nice, especially when she is TRYING to look nice.  I mean, what 20-year-old college girl WANTS to look 8 months pregnant??  So is there a gentle, constructive way to broach the subject of getting this awful dress (which probaby would NOT look good on ANYONE, by the way!) out of regular rotation in her wardrobe?  Or should I just hold my tongue forever?  Thank you in advance.

Esteemed Contributor
Posts: 7,920
Registered: ‎03-17-2010

Re: O/T: Is it OK to tell a loved one about their VERY unflattering, repeatedly-worn outfit?

All I can contribute is the fact that I trusted my Mom to tell me the truth about things.  I would have wanted her to tactfully tell me what she thought and what others perceived and I would have known it came from love even at that young age.  As a matter of fact, I had developed a habit of parting my hair in the center and pulling it all over into one over-the-shoulder tail of hair.  She told me kindly that it did nothing for me except accentuate my nose (I didn't notice until she told me).... and I changed the style.  I was never upset with her for telling me anything like this....

 

But only you can gauge how she might react to your telling her, and I would take that into consideration before you say something.....  good luck! 

*~"Never eat more than you can lift......" Miss Piggy~*
Honored Contributor
Posts: 13,380
Registered: ‎03-16-2010

Re: O/T: Is it OK to tell a loved one about their VERY unflattering, repeatedly-worn outfit?

Being that your her mother and you only have her best interest at heart I think you should tell her in the nicest way possible. Yes she may be hurt at first but she will come to realize it is coming from a place of love, I know I would want to know if something I was wearing was not flattering.

Esteemed Contributor
Posts: 5,398
Registered: ‎03-09-2010

Re: O/T: Is it OK to tell a loved one about their VERY unflattering, repeatedly-worn outfit?

[ Edited ]

At this point I think I'd just not say anything.   Sundress season is almost over so she won't be wearing it much longer, and at this point it may just make her feel bad that she looked awful all those times she wore it.  It may be that it is fashionable and a lot of her friends are dressing that way so for her age group it's cute.  A lot of that generation take pics of themselves these days when they try on outfits to see what they actually look like, or if she's been in any pics she's seen herself already and thinks she looks good...and really, that's what it's all about, how she feels in the dress.  So my vote is to not say anything at this point.  BTW, I am a mom of two girls in their 20s so I understand where you're coming from.

 

ETA:  If it were the first time she'd worn it or you saw her in it, I would say something, but at this point since you've seen her wear it so many times, I wouldn't say anything.

Respected Contributor
Posts: 2,306
Registered: ‎10-15-2010

Re: O/T: Is it OK to tell a loved one about their VERY unflattering, repeatedly-worn outfit?

[ Edited ]

As someone who has an overly critical mom, I appreciate that you care so much about how and if you should let your daughter know. I think it's a good idea to let her know. Show her some of the pictures and gently let her know some of the comments others have said anonymously. Like that she understands it's not only you that feels this way.

 

Then take her shopping for a new dress!!!! That will soften the blow. I would like to know when I did not look good but in a constructive and loving way. 

~Live with Intention~
Honored Contributor
Posts: 17,892
Registered: ‎07-03-2013

Re: O/T: Is it OK to tell a loved one about their VERY unflattering, repeatedly-worn outfit?

I think it depends on how long she's been wearing the dress.  If it's been all summer, I wouldn't say anything.  If it's recently, then I would talk with her.

Esteemed Contributor
Posts: 7,210
Registered: ‎03-23-2010

Re: O/T: Is it OK to tell a loved one about their VERY unflattering, repeatedly-worn outfit?

My husband had a pair of white shorts that were in my opinion too short.  He got them in early 90's.  He loved them and wore them when, in my opinion, he should have worn his longer khaki shorts instead.  One day I buried those white shorts in a drawer (my clothing drawer) that he never opens.  Every once in awhile he mentions those shorts, and I'm like "I have no idea what could have happened to them."  If he ever finds them, I'm prepared to look confused and say, "I wonder how they got in there!"  

 

DH is a great guy, and sometimes I feel guilty about hiding his favorite shorts, but I feel I had to save him from that fashion faux pas.

Honored Contributor
Posts: 14,880
Registered: ‎03-09-2010

Re: O/T: Is it OK to tell a loved one about their VERY unflattering, repeatedly-worn outfit?

I would approach it as a color problem and say she looks best in whatever color you think that is.I would suggest lunch and a shopping trip to find something similar that she could love just as much or more.I would try to guide her into choosing something with a more flattering fit.

Honored Contributor
Posts: 13,380
Registered: ‎03-16-2010

Re: O/T: Is it OK to tell a loved one about their VERY unflattering, repeatedly-worn outfit?


@GCR18 wrote:

I think it depends on how long she's been wearing the dress.  If it's been all summer, I wouldn't say anything.  If it's recently, then I would talk with her.


The only problem with that is you know next summer she will be wearing that dress again. I think it is better to just tell her about the dress. I would offer to shop with her and treat her to a dress that she liked.

Respected Contributor
Posts: 3,141
Registered: ‎03-09-2010

Re: O/T: Is it OK to tell a loved one about their VERY unflattering, repeatedly-worn outfit?

You know your daughter - how thick is her skin?  Is it worth hurting her feelings and possibly hanging onto that hurt for years?  Or would she appreciate honest feedback?

 

I think I would buy her a new sundress (that you like) and a shrug or jacket that goes well with it and make it a "just because you saw it and thought of her" gift.  Don't explain why you think she needs it.  Leave it at that. I know she has other outfits and probably won't wear it, but she may love it.