why do some women look you up and down?

(73 Posts)
fridgealwaysfull Mon 16-Dec-13 19:03:13

Went to a friend's party on Saturday and wore a smart bodycon black dress, I felt I looked good but my confidence took a blow when I noticed a friend looked me up and down, checking me out from top to bottom. Why do a lot of women do this?

WowOoo Mon 16-Dec-13 19:05:14

Just to look at you and see what you are wearing I suppose.

Some do it very blatantly. I wouldn't get offended by it - she probably thought 'she looks nice'. No?!

Rosencrantz Mon 16-Dec-13 19:06:02

I do this. But it's when someone looks shit hot. I'm either admiring, or using her for fashion inspiration.

Hassled Mon 16-Dec-13 19:07:19

I have a friend who does this all the time. It freaks me out tbh. There's definitely some "how's she looking compared to me?" stuff going on in her head but she can't realise how obvious it is.

ShatnersBassoon Mon 16-Dec-13 19:07:30

Men do it to me.

SantyClaws Mon 16-Dec-13 19:08:42

if it was me it would be my brain going 'ooh nice dress...let's have a look at her shoes..' grin

So don't assume it was a negative look.

msvee Mon 16-Dec-13 19:09:43

Id be more worried if people didn't look at you. Some women are bitchy but most just look at what your wearing. She might have wanted to ask where did you get it from.

harticus Mon 16-Dec-13 19:10:49

People do this to me because I am very tall - they always check to see if I am wearing platform heels or standing on a box or something.

It is annoying and creepy. A bit like women that stare at your tits.

hoboken Mon 16-Dec-13 19:11:16

Obv because they are jealous of your dress/looks/air of confidence etc!

TwattyBojangles Mon 16-Dec-13 19:11:20

I catch myself doing this to people when I'm having a nosy at their outfit. I usually realise after that it may have looked very rude.

MrsLouisTheroux Mon 16-Dec-13 19:11:52

So of they are thinking "wow, I love that dress/ she looks good" then why don't they follow up the looking up & down with " Wow, you look nice/ I love your dress" ?? Hmm?!

DontCallMeDaughter Mon 16-Dec-13 19:12:34

I do this. I have a thing about shoes... So if I clock a good outfit, I'll check check out the shoes... Which obviously looks like I'm looking someone up and down. But it's just out of interest, not being mean, if you felt good, you probably looked good and she was just checking out your outfit, I would try not to jump to the conclusion it was judgemental....

MrsLouisTheroux Mon 16-Dec-13 19:12:41


perplexedpirate Mon 16-Dec-13 19:13:02

To look at you, of course!
If you're wearing a beautiful dress, people are going to want to see. I would assume you looked lovely.

Thants Mon 16-Dec-13 19:13:23

Just to see what your wearing. Or checking you out.

manicinsomniac Mon 16-Dec-13 19:16:27

Either because somebody looks particularly good or because they look particularly bad.

I'd never thought about it until I saw it on a tv programme ('did you just bodycheck me?' or something like that.) Now I'm paranoid that I do it really obviously.

fridgealwaysfull Mon 16-Dec-13 19:16:27

I suppose I did look good, went to hairdresser, make up etc so I looked better than when I'm doing the school run, but it freaked me out, made me feel self conscious. It was too obvious and she could have followed through with a 'love you dress' comment. but she didn't sad

cathpip Mon 16-Dec-13 19:17:53

I got the up and down look in Paris, I had just made dh buy me the dress that matched the shoes I liked in a posh boutique (his fault that we were in there) and was carrying 2 mahoosive bags. I was soooo chuffed, still am 6 years later (she was very posh looking!). Dh has learnt his lesson also smile

I do it but in an admiring way.

I always look at what others wear, it's meant as a compliment.

I'd never sneer at what someone else wears.

ZeViteVitchofCwismas Mon 16-Dec-13 19:23:53

I have never done it when I thought someone didnt look great because I dont care usualy what women wear and I look shite most of the time, however, when a woman looks lovely or I like what she is wearing I will try and subtly have a good look. so it may not always be negative...

GinAndaDashOfLime Mon 16-Dec-13 19:24:43

It has NEVER crossed my mind that this was complimentary. Whenever a woman's done it to me I've felt totally intimidated, like silent bullying which you can't ever respond to.
IMO it's really really rude. If you're someone who does it then if you're doing it in a complimentary way FFS say something!
and if you're doing it in a bitchy way you can fuck off

bongobaby Mon 16-Dec-13 19:24:59

I always look at women up and down, because I admire what she is wearing and how she has carried it off.I always follow it up with "where did you get your dress/shoes from,you look lovely. Luckily I have never recieved a your a weirdo answer back as yet!

BroomstickRider Mon 16-Dec-13 19:26:01

My aunt does this, this is because she is very nosey and wants to gleam as much information as possible from people's appearances! grin My mum has told her many times it looks rude.

I hope I don't do it obviously, and if I do it's because I think someone is looking good.

mrsjay Mon 16-Dec-13 19:32:31

she probably thought you rocked the dress grin don't worry about it try and keep your confidence what other women think or not really isnt important

ShotgunNotDoingThePans Mon 16-Dec-13 19:33:09

I agree with Gin. Don't just do it and say nothing if you think the person looks nice. This has happened to me loads of times and I always feel uneasy.

Bumblequeen Mon 16-Dec-13 19:34:51

There is glancing and there is staring.

Some women are not even discreet with it. I look with discretion unless it is a friend/acquaintance in which case I would say they look good.

A mother at dd's school made me feel very uncomfortable today. I smiled, she looked me up and down with a straight face and turned around to speak to someone sad

EmpireBiscuit Mon 16-Dec-13 19:38:11

My 10mo DS has an incredible knack of making me doubt my outfit - the master of the disparaging up and down look!

GirlWithTheDirtyShirt Mon 16-Dec-13 19:38:26

I think I do this. I'm a nosey cow.

In fact, I even nudged my mate at work today but mainly because we've been banging on about finding nice black city shorts for ages and someone in our office was wearing some. Turned out they are not at all appropriate for the office.

MisguidedHamwidge Mon 16-Dec-13 19:39:26

I think the other person is checking out your figure to see how you compare to them (in my experience it's usually quite vain, image-conscious types of women that do it). It's as if they are thinking "Does she look better than me?".

It happened to me a lot when I was younger & very slim but it doesn't happen now I'm older & quite a bit fatter grin

A woman looking you up & down & giving you a compliment/asking about your outfit is completely different.

Salmotrutta Mon 16-Dec-13 19:39:45

It depends how it's done :-

If it's done in a slow "taking you from the feet up" (as we say round these parts smile) then it's being sneery and unpleasant. Very rude angry

If it's a sort of quick glance at your shoes/dress then it's admiring

ImaginativeNewName Mon 16-Dec-13 19:41:32

I check out people's bodies if they are wearing something revealing. But I hope I'm not that obvious. grin

sosooootired Mon 16-Dec-13 19:42:35

I'm a starer too and feel as though I'm having a friendly nose but as a sufferer of 'bitchy resting face' I probably come across badly too... she may have been thinking kind thoughts about your dress but unfortunate not to have a face that transmits them..

snowed Mon 16-Dec-13 19:43:09

Because they are rude.

It's impolite to make other people feel uncomfortable by staring at them and judging them, even if it's positive.

Far nicer to go and say hello and pay them a compliment smile

AutumnFire Mon 16-Dec-13 19:44:50

I tend to do this without even realising when I'm in daydream mode, tired, or just not really paying attention to what I'm doing.

Its only ever in an admiring way, when I see something that strikes me as particularly stylish or beautiful on someone, and I'd liken it to the long glance most of us probably automatically give pictures in a magazine that attract us.

Occasionally I realise what I'm doing while I'm doing it, or catch their eye and then I feel so embarrassed I tend to look away, which probably comes across all wrong. I'd love to have the confidence to say something but I just don't.

meganorks Mon 16-Dec-13 19:46:54

Is it more or less disturbing when your 2 year old does it to you? Put a new top on one day that was brighter thanks anything else I own and that was dd's response!

queryremelatonin Mon 16-Dec-13 19:47:33

Someone asked me where a product was in a shop where I was browsing once. When I said I didn't work there she looked me up and down a couple of times, presumably because I was wearing black and so were the staff. It seemed like she thought I might just crack and assist her if she put enough disbelief in her stare grin

BlueSkySunnyDay Mon 16-Dec-13 19:48:20

I used to have a friend who used to say "oh my god did you notice the shoes she was wearing with that dress" ...to which my answer was generally "no" as unless someone looked stunning I wouldnt really notice. So if I were to do it to you it would be because I liked the what you were wearing and was contemplating which bits of your look would suit me ....bodycon dress would be inadvisable for my rotund shape grin

MarshaBrady Mon 16-Dec-13 19:50:13

Yes if someone takes the time to check someone out, then they should throw in the compliment too.

I absolutely hate those appraising looks. I love clothes and regularly comment on things people wear (positively) but I don't feel the need to do the up and down thing - it's too calculating.

AngelinaCongleton Mon 16-Dec-13 19:51:54

God I think I do this without thinking. It's usually when I admire what they are wearing.

NewtRipley Mon 16-Dec-13 19:52:42

I hate this. Yes, they may be thinking nice things, but it's not the way to do it.

The "look up and down" is different, IMO from an admiring look. It is often intended to be insulting.

Or it comes over that way - so bloody well stop it!

manicinsomniac Mon 16-Dec-13 19:53:51

bluesky why would you notice something really good but not something really bad? Surely either both or neither extremes would draw your attention. Whether you show that you noticed or not is entirely different.

mrsjay Mon 16-Dec-13 19:54:11

I think I do this sometimes i don't mean to be mean or anything i am usually thinking oh that dress is nice or hasn't she got nice hair, the last time was a friend of mine and she is usually in jeans and hair up just ordinary looking and we were out and she looked stunning I probably checked her out for to long, blush

Echocave Mon 16-Dec-13 19:55:40

I tend to think its a bit negative when people do this. I used to have a very glamorous boss who did this - I'm quite sure she wasn't thinking how great I looked!

MrsTittleMouse Mon 16-Dec-13 19:56:40

I sometimes do this by accident. blush
It is always admiring.

Poppylovescheese Mon 16-Dec-13 19:57:34

I do this all the time but it is definitely in a complimentary way but I am too shy to follow through with a compliment

Tabliope Mon 16-Dec-13 19:58:17

Kate Moss did it to me in the lobby of a London hotel in the early 1990s. I had a £1 T shirt on and had a Next handbag. It definitely wasn't friendly grin. More like what the hell is the likes of you doing in this hotel.

mrsjay Mon 16-Dec-13 20:00:54

Kate Moss probably thought you were a heffer and went to bleach her eyes after she say you in a quid t shirt grin

BlueSkySunnyDay Mon 16-Dec-13 20:01:53

My friend was one of those who was quite bitchy and its not really in my nature manic. Obviously I notice if someone is looking really hideous i.e. mahoosive slightly odd parent from school who bent over in her short skirt in front of me...sending me into horrified shock. But on the whole I wouldnt notice a pair of ugly shoes and comment like my friend did - I think she was more into fashion and opinionated than me (remembering one rather long rant she had about gladiator sandals)

If it was a close friend it may say "wow you look nice" then id probably spend a week kicking myself as id feel that in saying that I had inferred that she generally didnt look nice grin

SantasTessTackle Mon 16-Dec-13 20:03:47

I do this, and blatantly too. I prefer to do it blatantly because it's admiration iyswim. If I love your hair say, I'll instantly then lol may nails, dress, shoes, bag.

Though i always give a big smile to show my appreciation.

snowed Mon 16-Dec-13 20:07:36

I bet you looked much better than Kate Moss Tabliope

Salmotrutta Mon 16-Dec-13 20:07:52

If it makes someone feel uneasy or awkward then it's rude.

End of story. If you must do it at least say "What lovely shoes" or something.

Don't leave people feeling embarrassed.

TooExtraImmatureCheddar Mon 16-Dec-13 20:10:56

I do this. I am terribly nosy and also v interested in clothes and shoes, so if I see eg a nice pair of shoes I want to see the whole outfit and see what it's being worn with. I actually can't help myself - my eyes automatically flick up and down to take in the whole picture. I like watching people to get ideas about nice clothes, for one thing, and my hair is crap atm - cut it myself at roughly 4 monthly intervals - and I'm considering lashing out on a proper haircut and I'm looking for inspiration.

I'm not saying I never judge, but mostly it's a fact-finding exercise. If someone is close enough to compliment then I frequently do - eg strangers in the toilets, or colleagues at the fridge, but you can't compliment people walking past you in the street very easily.

TooExtraImmatureCheddar Mon 16-Dec-13 20:11:38

And I would never do it to a friend without saying 'I love your dress/shoes/hair'.

snowed Mon 16-Dec-13 20:13:25

I don't want to be looked up and down and appraised. I'm not that into fashion so it's probably negative appraisal, which people don't hide well, and which I can do without. I go to parties to talk to nice people, not to demonstrate any fashion sense!

SolemnHour Mon 16-Dec-13 20:14:01

I always notice what women are wearing and if I'm looking someone up and down its because they look good or im seeing how they combine the look I'd hate people to think I thought negatively of them

Or you could be getting checked out because your hot and they dont realise they are doing it

susiedaisy Mon 16-Dec-13 20:14:02

I tend to look people up and down when they either look fab/gorgeous or awful/weird. Think I do it automatically tbh!

harriet247 Mon 16-Dec-13 20:16:33

I do this! But its only ever if someone looks particularly good and I always say ahhh you look amazing and give a big squeeze

KatnipEvergreen Mon 16-Dec-13 20:18:51

I think some people don't realise they do it. Have had it done to me, I wonder if I do it to others without realising!

I am totally obsessed with love shoes, so I have a habit of looking at people's shoes, especially at parties as they're likely to be wearing nice ones. This could probably be misconstrued as looking someone up and down - I'm really not, I just have to look down (admittedly not very far <short-arse>) to the shoes then back up to their face to talk to them!

grumpyoldbat Mon 16-Dec-13 21:48:58

I always assume they're disgusted by me. I try to ignore it but it does get me down.

strictlovingmum Mon 16-Dec-13 22:10:32

I would like to think it is because she liked what you were wearing(your dress), last sunday we had a family occasion in a rather swanky London restaurant, I wore a rather unusual and intricate coat as we entered dining room woman at the table we passed by looked at me head to toe.
Some half an hour later as I was coming back from the ladies, she actually waited in the foyer and stopped me, apologising and asking politely where did the coat come from, adding she absolutely love itgrinblush

VonHerrBurton Mon 16-Dec-13 22:38:01

European cities - Paris, anywhere Italian (especially!) Madrid are just unbelievably brazen about it. People have almost stopped, put hand on hip, then done a top to toe, full on STARE.

Im not mega stylish or drop dead gorgeous like I used to be either. I find it really embarrassing and don't know what to do when it happens. It certainly doesn't look in the slightest bit friendly, admiring or anything else positive. Im not fat, not thin, not overly tall...

Am I over-thinking it? Yes, probably smile !!!

Changebagsregeneratedgladrags Mon 16-Dec-13 22:41:48

I think I do it when someone looks goooood. But to say so would sound pervy seeing as I had just leered at their dress.

2Tinsellytocare Mon 16-Dec-13 22:43:25

I know im looking good when my daughter says 'Wow mummy you look like the pink chipette' the highest compliment. You can tell the difference between a bitchy look and a complimentery one and yes tou would expect a poaitive follow up comment. When a friend is looking good I would always tell them

I try and give the starer the benefit of the doubt - that they've been caught being a little obvious about admiring your dress or whatever....smile and if they smile back/pay a compliment then this is most likely the case. If you don't get that kind of reaction though, they are obviously being condescending or bitchy, then I just tend to shrug and pity them that they feel the need to think themself somehow superior to a stranger/acquaintance.

Frostybean Mon 16-Dec-13 23:02:14

I hate it when women do this. Very bad manners. If you want to study what someone is wearing, do it while they are speaking to someone else and not looking at you. To blatantly look someone up and down indicates that you are more interested in their clothes than you are in them. Very unnerving imo.

rabbitlady Tue 17-Dec-13 00:12:44

they fancy you.
looked back at them. have a really good, slow look. watch them colour and move away.

lookatmybutt Tue 17-Dec-13 01:02:19

Oh my god! Someone with eyes that work looked at me. With their eyes!

I can honestly say I only do it when someone is looking fab and I usually follow it up with a 'wow, you look fab!'

You can usually tell when someone else is thinking mean thoughts from the expression on their face. My mum is queen of the sneery up and down look, as were a couple of my old work colleagues. One in particular could be really weird about it and would come out with some rather odd comments along with the look.

NearTheWindmill Tue 17-Dec-13 08:23:00

I don't consciously do it but usually it's complimentary. I must confess one of my closest friend's husbands has left her for a 32 year old (we are early/mid 50's) and I did see the little bitch young lady recently and she knew who I was and I managed to scan her from top to bottom whilst catching her eye and managed to do it silently and then turned away. That sounds incredibly nasty but she has hardly covered her self in glory.

2Tinsellytocare Tue 17-Dec-13 12:10:02

Ohh im 32 and its given me a boost to hear someone of the same age being described as 'young lady'

musicismylife Tue 17-Dec-13 12:51:09

I have a work colleague who does this every time I go into their office hmm

She is sat facing the door and when I go in, she turns around, looks me up and down and carries on with her business. IT IS WEIRD.

It's fucking creepy, as she never says hello or anything.

Buddhagirl Tue 17-Dec-13 13:18:38


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