Did you ever wonder why someone compliments you on a certain item of your outfit and what they actually expect hearing back? Is it them being polite, admiring your sense of style or actually being curious and inquisitive?
We had an interesting conversation the other day at work on how to respond to a style-related compliment and what it actually means. I always thought it was a polite thing to compliment someone if they look great or wearing something I particularly liked, especially in the country like Britain where good manners are highly valued. However, what I found out from my female colleagues is that by complimenting someone they are scooping for more info and want to know WHERE this item is from! One of the colleagues shared candidly: “When I tell someone ‘wow, cool dress!’ what I really mean is ‘where it is from?’ And it’s really disappointing when they just politely reply ‘Thank you’ followed by a silence and no further information”.
This is a really interesting perspective and insight into how we, women, communicate about our fashion choices and how much we chose to disclose, particularly in the cultures where direct questioning is seen impolite. When it comes to sharing fashion-related information, I always considered myself an open and transparent person, taking into account that my colleagues often praise my style and ability to sniff out great fashion deals. So when someone says “I love your plimsolls”, I usually blurt out “Thanks! Aren’t they cool, they are from H&M and they were only £15!” For some this might be too much information, but I try to show that it’s fine if they want to get the same thing and sharing is actually caring! I did get in trouble though once when I was meeting a friend who complimented my snake-pattern sandals and I told them they were from Primark. It was fine until I saw the reaction of friend’s boyfriend who was one of UK’s leading fashion designers and was used to only high-quality materials and high-end clothes and shoes.
So, next time someone tells you they love your shirt, use your judgement on how much you want to reveal but don’t be afraid to share. If it’s a fellow fashionista who already likes your style, go ahead and tell them where you got it from. They will be thankful and even if they buy the same shirt, just remember – imitation is the sincerest form of flattery!