Just a couple of weeks ago I was spending a late afternoon with some friends and their grandkids and friends of theirs. The "kids" were all graduating high school age, boys. It struck me as sort of funny that two of these teenage boys noticed different "fashion" things and complimented me on them separately during the course of the visit. One on my Raybans, and one on my handbag. Now of course maybe they were just trying to be nice and respectful, but it didn't seem insincere and I was dressed very casually otherwise so I wasn't trying to stand out. For me it did slightly make me feel good that I had purchased two items that at least one group (tribe) of younger people felt were on trend.

So, I have to admit for me it does matter and I DO actually like it when someone notices my effort to dress fashionably. I just realized that recently most compliments I have received have been from much younger people.

That said, I agree that most of the time people tend to notice and comment on a big difference - dressing up more than usual, a new haircut, something with bling, etc.

Great topic, Peri. I've actually had people compliment sometimes on things I wasn't pleased about--bad hair, or a shirt I didn't feel good in, or an outfit that doesn't feel pulled together very well. I think, besides the other things we've discussed, people also notice vivid color.

We definitely need to dress for our own enjoyment.

Texstyle, that reminds me -- I think it's more likely that those who are on trend will be complimented by younger people vs. older people. Because young people pay attention to (and often set) the trends.

That's why updating and continually refreshing our style can help us look and sometimes feel younger, even when we have grey hair!

Which, I guess, is now a trend.

Those who are older and not interested in current style tend to give compliments on articles and outfits that remind them of styles they loved or at one time wanted to wear. Nothing wrong with that!

Although my mother used to compliment me both on very classic dresses and on my booties. She did read the fashion section of the newspaper religiously.

My mother and I always paid attention to what was in style and on what looked good on us, so I grew up with that. Neither of us were fashionistas, but we did care about how we dressed. My DH's immediately family is the opposite, though he has aunts and cousins who most definitely do care about style. I think that if one of my SILs ever dressed up, I would say something because they are both beautiful women; they just don't seem to care about dressing well. And the thing of it is that dressing well doesn't really cost any more than dressing down. It just requires more effort to shop and obtain the right pieces to create fab outfits. It doesn't happen with a quick trip once or twice a year to Old Navy.

Great thread. I find there is a lot of projection with compliments so when I wear a dress certain women that only wear dresses might compliment me. It is also a question of approachability - compliments come when people are comfortable enough to talk to you. (I am a relatively unapproachable person in a culture where people generally don't hesitate to approach.) I do think Skylurker put it nicely.

Excellent thread, Peri. My experience has been veryyy similar to yours.

I started paying more attention to fashion & style around 4-5 yrs back. My initial dabbling were with a very classic style - pencil skirts, fitted sheath dresses, heeled pumps etc and I got compliments all the time. I was going from jeans-and-tee to putting in more effort and ppl noticed that.

However, complete strangers would give me compliments too. I think everyone can appreciate something truly classic (and evergreen). And most people who aren't really into trends don't even know what 'dated' is.

I'm still young(ish) at 32. Yet, I rarely get compliments for wearing a nice outfit anymore. It's expected of me, so it's become the norm. I always get compliments (by my husband) if I'm wearing sneakers or anything sporty because that is what most appeals to him.

I'm most likely to get compliments on my hair, bag or tattoo now-a-days. But you've made a brilliant point there. If no one is noticing the teeny-tiny details of our outfit, why the hell do we fuss over them so much!!!! I think we expect so much because we want to PRESENT the BEST VERSION OF OURSELVES....because even though others may not notice or care, we care.

I've enjoyed reading all of the comments and thoughts. Like many I came from a very conservative background. I would receive complements on my slacks and pencil skirts. When my style evolution started to happen. I received many stares or what I like to call the "side eye". While not fashion forward or on trend I am considered an "odd ball". It is ok it part of who I am. It is interesting that people women mostly som men will shout out to me in the street a compliment or a thumbs up. I,find it funny because I do the same. I don't dare or even know of it is dated or not. I think those that feel comfortable or look it seem to attract my attention. My circle now includes independent artist small businesses owners creative artist. I'm still a very conservative person at work but my flair tends to shine.

So wait...let me tell ya about the green hair. On the ground here, people are loving it. I think saying it looks 'good' is pushing it. I can be honest, hehe. It's muppet hair. I think it's just fun and that's the attraction factor. Ok but here is the story thing about it...people think they know me because of it. Yes, ok, I'm a local character in a two-block radius, but all of a sudden NEW people know me. They are stopping me to comment on my 'great hair.' Hahaha!

I'm telling you: entertainment value

Very timely question! I wore this cardigan and pencil skirt today and wasn't that thrilled with it, it seemed a little boring/conventional to me. Plus the cardigan was a bit clingy to my midsection so I felt like the fit was off. I did up the game a bit with the shoes and purse but otherwise it's your standard WHBM everyday work outfit. It's like the type of Ann Taylor cardigan and printed bias skirt outfits I used to wear pre YLF in the 90's/2000's. Well I still got just as many compliments as I usually do if not more about how beautiful the floral skirt is, love the red color on you, you dress so nicely, so fashionable etc. etc. So it's like I have higher expectations for myself than others do. I felt like I was kind of phoning it in today because I was in a rush to get out the door, but others thought I was pretty stylish. I think your point about not being so hard on ourselves is a good one. Thanks for the thought provoking topic!

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Total aside - wow goldenpig - red is your power color!!! It is a rare person IMO who is that flattered by red.

Interesting discussion. I don't ever expect comments on what I wear, but certain things elicit compliments from strangers, especially when it comes to footwear and jackets for me.

For instance, In the last week or so, the Freebird sandals have gotten tons of compliments and questions -- "where did you get those? Who makes them?" I should get a commission!

Also, wearing a dress -- any kind of dress -- seems to invite comments. I wore the new tee shirt dress from Anthro the other day, and got a compliment not only from a hostess in a restaurant, but also a random young man walking down the street in the city. He actually said, "Excuse me, you look very nice." LOL It's a very casual look but somehow makes an impression.

The way I see it is that different people just plain notice different things, or some choose to comment and some don't. I dress mainly for myself, and if someone says something nice, that's just gravy.

Enjoying the thread. Agree that context and 'tribe' factor into things, when compliments flow. Completely agree with skylurker's post.

Though not always successful, I try to articulate a compliment when i see a bit of fashion eye candy. Recently it has been a barista's new 'do, and a woman in an apple green trench (worn on a grey day). I've extended the courtesy to men as well-the colour of a shirt, a beard/hair change, a dapper hat.

Interestingly, it isn't necessarily cutting edge fashion that pricks my attention, but something that stands out as a little different, adds a spark to a look, and provides a happy moment!

Great thread Peri! In my job as executive coach, I often help people switch from too much extrinsic motivation to more intrinsic motivation. Both matter. If we didn't care at all about what other people thought we'd be diagnosed as having a certain kind of personality disorder. At the same time a lot has to come from the inside out.

Possibly your friend is comfortable with how she dresses and looks regardless of the current trends - from the inside out - and so, no matter what she wears, she can get complimented - or maybe that particular day she was feeling especially great. I've noticed this in many people - where they might have very average looks in the textbook sense but people can't keep their eyes off them because of who they are.

On the other hand, GREAT point that any effort we put into our style, should come first from our own desire to do so. And as Angie says over and over again, because we're having fun. Else, the efforts can seem wasted on the days we don't get noticed (I know this wasn't the case for you). And even if we do get noticed, it's a shallow victory - one that only feeds on itself and makes us want to do more and more just for that external recognition.

This has been a very interesting thread to read. Like several others have already mentioned, I don't expect compliments from my co-workers or family, although it's nice when someone does say something. I'm dressing for myself and I feel better when I feel good about my clothing. Also, I've gotten to the point (thanks to YLF) where I'm pretty comfortable with my style and don't worry about looking bad. I like to get suggestions from the forum on how do better, but I'm not worried that my outfits are terrible and I shouldn't have left the house wearing that.