DEAR MISS MANNERS – I am a 19-year-old college student, but I do not like to dress in “modern fashions” as defined by my fellow students (torn jeans and revealing tops), but dress in handmade tailored jackets and dresses with heels.
I am often taunted by fellow students, but I am now insulted by random strangers in public as to why I don’t “dress my own age,” and choose to take cues from my grandmothers instead.
I tell them that I feel more comfortable and “more myself” in these styles, but the insults still keep coming. How do I let these people know that I do not appreciate their, as they state, “constructive criticism”?
GENTLE READER – You have just demonstrated, once again, that people who vehemently defend their own sloppiness as “being comfortable” and practicing self-expression – as in “This is who I am” – are unable to tolerate others’ claiming the same.
What is more, their idea of dressing one’s age is out-of-date. About the only difference between generations that Miss Manners has noticed lately is that older people tend not to see the charm in buying blue jeans with the rips already in them.
Of course no one should be critiquing your clothes as long as you are decently dressed. A paralyzing rejoinder is to say “Thank you for the compliment.”