How to Tell Your Friends that They Dress Badly

I firmly believe in wearapy; that being the way we dress has a significant effect not only on how others perceive us, but how we feel about ourselves. The way you dress should be a reflection of who you are. You can also express your mood through your outward appearance. Not everyone dresses the same, and that’s okay. But somewhere along the line, you’ve deemed yourself to be more knowledgeable in fashion and trends, and now you’re looking at your friends, trying to figure out how to save them from a fashion disaster. This could be either a fun or a really sensitive topic when confronting the person. But sometimes you just need to let your friends know that they dress badly. Here’s 5 tips on how you can begin to have that conversation.

1. Let Them Know You Care

This can be a delicate situation to handle. It’s always better to start out with how much you care and appreciate them. Make sure they know that you only want what’s best for them. Maybe you can try having this conversation over a glass of wine or their favourite comfort food. Make sure they’re comfortable before you begin the attack. Don’t make them feel like this is an intervention, even though it basically is.

2. Ask Them Why They Dress that way

Before you go off on what you think is wrong with what they wear, it’s good to get their perspective. Everyone has their reasoning for why they think it’s okay to wear pyjama pants or a satin cap in public at four in the afternoon. You may not agree, but to them it makes sense.  Whatever their reason is, help them get over it or through it. Be a good friend. After finding out why they won’t change, give them a reason to change.

3. Ask Them if They Want to Change

No one likes to have someone else’s views shoved down their throat. Don’t forget, opinions are like private body parts: It’s great to have, but when you start swinging it in someone’s face, no one’s happy. When they do decide to change, make sure you’re there for them and willing to help. Don’t be the friend that nags them to change but doesn’t help. That’s unsupportive and what kind of person does that make you look like?

4. Be Upfront about it

Upfront. Not mean. Sometimes that friend just needs to hear it straight, no lies, no sugar coating. Don’t leave any room for misunderstanding, and let them know you’re being serious. You can start by telling them why you question what they wear. Maybe the slouchy pants and stained t-shirt makes them look a little sloppy. It’s also better if they know that it’s not just you that is bothered by how they dress. Explain how their appearance affects their lives. Is your best friend still single and only has her cats to look forward to on a Friday night? Or maybe that job interview ended before it even began. Bring up past experiences in their life and let them know that the reason why something happened is because they dress badly. This involves explaining what is wrong with their clothes. If the crop top is too small for her body, let her know! Plumber crack is not sexy people! And no one wants to be seen with 18th century school librarian. Not only is she making herself look bad, she’s making you look bad as well because other people are going to say, “She couldn’t tell her friend she looks bad”?

5. Tell Them How They Can Change

Maybe your friend already knows they want to change but has no idea where to begin. Telling someone to change without giving them the tools to do so is a setup for failure. Give them inspiration; whether it’s reruns of ‘What Not to Wear’ or ‘How do I Look’, or making them a board on Pinterest. (And if they don’t know what Pinterest is, there may not be help for them at this point). You can also go the subtle route and just buy the clothes you would want to see them in as a birthday or Christmas present. You can even go the cheap route by just offering to share your closet with them. Explain how fashion works and give them choices. Explain the difference and why one choice is better than the other. Help them find their actual style in a modest and subtle way.

 

Some of you probably have one person in mind the entire time you’ve been reading this, or maybe that person is you. If you’re having trouble with defining your sense of style, don’t be afraid to ask for help. Some of you may genuinely not care what others think of you and that’s fine. There’s no need to depend on the validation from others to feel special or good about yourselves. But if you find yourself constantly falling on hard times, or feeling like you just can’t catch a break, it’s okay to make a few cosmetic changes, if it means that at the end of the day, YOU are happy with yourself. Because if you’re not putting your best foot forward, you’re only doing yourself a disservice.

XoX,