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and this one is specially for all those who say they never lie (and it defintiely isn't about Santa!)

(24 Posts)
YoucancallmeQueenBee Tue 10-Dec-13 09:12:57

Long standing colleague corners you, regales a tale & asks your opinion.

Tale goes as follows:
Colleague was at a conference, in the hotel bar she overheard two younger women refer to her as 'mutton dressed as lamb' and make other derogatory comments about her clothing. Colleague was very hurt & upset.

Opinion sought:
Colleague eyeballs you & asks if you think she dresses badly or looks like mutton dressed as lamb.

So, what would you do?

Colleague does indeed dress in a way that could very easily be described by unkind people as 'muttony' and there might also be those who would describe her attire as more suitable for a nightclub than the workplace. However, others might say she dressed youthfully or adventurously.

I'm particularly interested in opinions from those who always "speak their mind" or tell the truth!

YoucancallmeQueenBee Tue 10-Dec-13 09:59:01

Bumping for the post school run crowd.

Idespair Tue 10-Dec-13 10:02:55

I would say I know nothing about fashion and stick to basic stuff and for her to wear clothes she is happy in.
This may be difficult if you are fashionable yourself!
Alternatively ask her what she was wearing and focus on that particular outfit - it maybe obviously very short or low cut.

PeterParkerSays Tue 10-Dec-13 10:03:08

Of course you don't dress badly, but you do dress younger for your age than other colleagues of a similar age, I guess they've picked up on that.

I would tell the truth. 'I do think that at times you dress too young for your age. And not always appropriately for the office.'

And when she gets upset 'Well, you asked.'

YoucancallmeQueenBee Tue 10-Dec-13 10:13:35

Wow, that's hard GodRest. Would you really upset a colleague that much?

She told me what she was wearing Idespair, but it was the same as usual: very short, very high heels, very low cut.

ThunderbumsMum Tue 10-Dec-13 10:13:52

I would say that I think she looks nice and that she shouldn't be questioning whether what those women were saying was right or not, it is completely irrelevant what they think of how she dresses. And sorry she was upset but she shouldn't be, those women were being bitchy and who cares what 2 random unkind women think?

The colleague is already upset. How does it help her to say 'no, they're wrong, you dress fine' when she doesn't? Perhaps she'll actually listen and start dressing more appropriately.

ThunderbumsMum Tue 10-Dec-13 10:18:13

OP, what did you say?

YoucancallmeQueenBee Tue 10-Dec-13 10:19:38

Hmmm, she is 56 and as far as I can tell has always dressed this way. I've worked with her for 7 years and I've seen photos of her when she was younger & the approach hasn't really changed.

HECTheHeraldAngelsSing Tue 10-Dec-13 10:20:18

What is the point of lying to someone who has come to you to ask for your view?
Id say that they were rude to laugh at her but yes, her style is one that some people do see that way,but as long as she is happy with the way she dresses, she should ignore people who are rude enough to comment.

And what Hec said. As always.

YoucancallmeQueenBee Tue 10-Dec-13 10:27:52

I made a lot of how rude the other women were to make such unkind comments in such an obvious way.

I avoided the question about did she look muttony really, as I didn't know what to say for the best. She is such a lovely, sweet, genuine person that I couldn't quite meet her eyes and be as honest as maybe I could have been.

lottiegarbanzo Tue 10-Dec-13 10:43:37

Oh dear. Well, she's clearly someone who thinks about she wears. So;

'Well you have a definite style and people have different tastes, so it's inevitable that you'll get clashes of opinions, isn't it? (I mean I really like x's style but I can also see why it wouldn't be everyone's taste). Surely you'd rather be noticed than not - you know 'the only thing worse than being talked about is not being talked about'? Otherwise, you'd put far less effort into your outfits and wear something more conservative, wouldn't you?' (I accept this is about trying to get her to think about her style from others' pov, not especially supportive).

I wouldn't have qualms about saying she's adopted a youthful style, that suits her personality - but that these women obviously don't know her! (and I suspect that's true - people who know her will see her dress sense as part of who she is).

You see, from your description, I don't think she looks nice, so I'm not going to say I do. I probably would think she's dressing inappropriately for the office.

I'm not a 'say as I see' person (rude and inconsiderate), or a lie and tell people what I think they want to hear person (dishonest, unhelpful and perpetuates problems).

So, what did you say? This has already happened.

bundaberg Tue 10-Dec-13 10:48:12

i would say something along the lines of "well, I suppose you do dress quite "young", but it doesn't really matter what other people think as long as you are happy with how you look"

FuckyNell Tue 10-Dec-13 10:50:51

I would ask her if she's happy.

YoucancallmeQueenBee Tue 10-Dec-13 10:55:47

I bodged it lottie, by saying how rude I thought the other people were and how nasty it was to have made comments like that.

I was really caught on the hop. To be fair, even if I'd known it was coming I'm still not sure I'd have wanted to try and tackle 40 years of dodgy dress sense in the office!

lottiegarbanzo Tue 10-Dec-13 11:00:26

Well no, you didn't say she looks lovely, did you, so you didn't really bottle it. They were rude.

DuckToWater Tue 10-Dec-13 11:04:53

I wouldn't say this to her but I think "dressing young" is often making yourself look older. Wearing the same stuff you wore 30 years ago, unless it's back in fashion and really suits you, can be very ageing. Better either keeping up to date (within the realm of what suits you) or sticking to classics.

So for me it's not necessarily about something being low-cut, short, etc, it's about the style of the clothing.

YoucancallmeQueenBee Tue 10-Dec-13 11:18:56

It is all very Sam Fox in the 1980s. Lots of very tight fluffy jumpers and lycra skirts. Last winter, thigh high black patent very high heeled boots made regular appearances. She spends a fortune on clothes & buys clothes constantly just not stuff that particularly suits her or that seem quite right for the office - IMO, of course.

I have to presume that most of the time, she thinks that this is a look that really works for her, as she has never asked my opinion before and it seems to be one she has stuck with fairly consistently. I guess she should be able to wear what she damn well pleases really.

lljkk Tue 10-Dec-13 19:53:52

I don't understand what the phrase "mutton dressed as lamb" means so would be unable to comment. (Yes I have googled it, I still don't get it)

Teeb Wed 11-Dec-13 10:51:29

It's an older woman (mutton) dressing in a style that is more suited to younger women (the lamb) lljk.

lljkk Wed 11-Dec-13 19:44:15

But why shouldn't an "older" women dress how she likes?
I thought the metaphor had something to do with deception.
(complete cultural failure, I think)

lottiegarbanzo Wed 11-Dec-13 20:00:12

An ovine deception metaphor would be 'a wolf in sheep's clothing'.

Mutton dressed as lamb refers to styles of clothing that are usually worn only by younger woman, or generally considered only to look good on them. Hotpants and crop tops, for example.

Yes, some older women might have the figures to look good in these. (and many younger women don't). Most women adjust their clothing choices as they get older though - usually, I think, becoming more stylish and aware of what suits their figure, less ready to adopt the latest trend regardless of whether it suits them but also less able to 'get away' with doing that.

There is an element of (male) judgment and desire in the mutton as lamb phrase. It is implying that something old and tough is being presented as something young and tender, so is quite disparageing about the self-delusion of the (less desirable) older woman.

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