Where are these people getting their manners? Holy crap. I don't exactly live a sheltered life, but I don't run into this. I wonder if it's certain environments. I do think envy is playing a large role in this, and an underlying sense of competition of some sort.

I like Clara's response. I think I'd just be tempted to smile mysteriously and say, "It doesn't cost as much as you think. I have my sources. Now, lets talk about Patient Joe Smith over here..."

What incredible rudeness! When people seem too interested in my dress, I like to say that it's my hobby or creative outlet. People seem to understand spending time or money on hobbies. As others say, these people have their own insecurities. It feels like being bullied in school for trying to make good grades.

I really don't think it matters what you say, because you can't cure stupid. People who say things like that will continue to say them. Personally, I like the "Hmmmm..." response mentioned above. Or, something like "Daddy said I was VERY good last month" and walk away, give them some time to scratch their rude heads.

This strikes me as both rude and bullying - sheez, they ganged up on you! - so my guess is that it comes from jealousy. Why should they care how much you spend on your clothing? Is it any of their business in any way?

I always try to remember Miss Manners in these situations. She often said that most people write her saying someone was rude, and what is the politest way to tell them to go burn? Which, as she pointed out, is not the point of manners at all.

Along with that, I really hate the way women default to putting themselves down. The "oh, I suck really and my clothes are really cheap" response may be true, or it may not be, but honestly why do we do this?

So, in thinking of both Miss Manners and the need for personal and professional pride, perhaps...

"Oh, I never discuss how much things cost."
"I enjoy looking nice."

Or, if you want to be confrontational, try,
"Why do you care what I wear?"
"Pardon me, why is this important...?"

Oh Lyn - hard to not be bothered by this!
It is just so invasive to come and touch your blazer. What are people thinking.
It seems you might need to develop a standard response to these people "step away from the goods or I will taser you"
You have some great ideas above.

It's interesting that they're breaching a sort of hierarchy. I wonder why they want to do that and think that they can.

Anyway, remember the old motto: A lady never complains, never explains.

I wouldn't give them any reply and keep my equanimity and pleasantly go on about my day. I don't think you can shut them up but you don't have to dance to their tune. Perhaps the blank look will be enough to discourage further invasions.

"If you'd like to know about some of the places I shop, then that's a private conversation, talk to me later." Period. End of story. Change the subject. No need to explain anything - how you dress, what you spend/don't spend, anything.

People can be so rude!

I'm always late, after all the good advice is already in. I love Racheylou's ideas and Goldenpig...to pet them back. That would be hysterical.

And I definitely would say eBay. Gets the message across and I doubt many people are your size to be competing with you. Then instead of insulting you they would admire your resourcefulness.

My DH has a great response to rude comments. He smiles and says thank you. People seriously don't know how to handle it. You can see them thinking "but that wasn't a compliment" and then they have to stop and ask themselves why they a being rude in the first place instead of complimenting.

But...you could always consider that all this is envy. As in, they are sincerely wondering how you do it because they want to do it also. They want the secret. Back to Racheylou...the secret given, along with a subtle slam.

that happened to me also at work, a person commented laudly that I must had a good salary because I always had lovely clothes. I laugh (I pretended I was not offended) and said that I always shop on sales.
I know we don't have to justify how we send our money, but it's ryde to make these comments and so I felt the need to defend myself.

Love Rachy and IK's responses.

I work with someone whose primary obsession in life is knowing what others spend on their clothing and accessories. Whenever I wear something new it's always "oh, how much did THAT cost?" to which I always politely reply with a smile "I honestly can't remember".

I like the suggestion to reply with, "I prefer not to discuss how much things cost."

I can't help but wonder why women do this. It has to be jealousy. What else could it be?

I would just smile and say a lady never tells. I love the deal so I usually look like I spent more than I did.

Hmph. Maybe they think you honestly haven't heard about the fast fashion stores and are trying to save you money...o_0? So weird and rude...

I run into this from time to time because I've never really been in what is considered a high-paying position in relation to my colleagues. Some people would make comments like it must be nice to have a boyfriend who buys everything for you...ugh. Humbug, right? I was never shy about setting them straight and saying I got X at the flea market for a dollar, and it seemed to really impress some people. Money saving! It's the green thing to do! Blah blah.

On the other hand, it is your right to not talk about it! If it were me, and I didn't want to bring it up again, I'd probably go for the shame tactic and let them know you are "sensitive" about buying secondhand and that they "really really reallly embarrassed" you by asking those questions.

But then I have passive-aggressive streak when faced with rude people. I get it from my mom, lol.

LOL about you not wanting to give free therapy! However, unless things have changed a LOT since I did the psychiatry part of my training, I think your situation gives you a unique opportunity for a response. Trust me, if you just gice a mysterious "Hmmm.. now why would you ask a question like that?", anyone but another psych resident would back away and be terrified to transgress again.

LOLing at L'Abeille!

"You seem very interested in my budget. How does this make you feeeeel?"

Oh for the days when talking about someone's money was considered very rude...

You need not explain yourself. Even if you dressed at full price, that's YOUR choice. We ALL make choices with how we spend our money, and unless it's affecting your own personal life in a negative way (which I know it's not, and is not my business anyway, just your closest family and friends business) it's only *YOUR* business.

How about something along the lines of "Why do you need to know how much I paid for that?" and then the pause (for effect.) WAIT for an answer. Don't talk anymore and watch them try and backpedal out of a very awkward situation....

Your money, your business.

(I'm also very tempted to just agree with a crazy comment or go along with the "implied" thought. For example when my kids would say to to me, "Why did you let the other kid do that, it's not fair!" I'd jump in and say "Cause I like the other kid more!" and diffuse the situation with a little humor. After all, that's what they were trying to imply and make me feel bad, but if you call a spade a spade it doesn't have the same effect as the good old guilt trip they are trying to pull.)

So I'd say to the resident "Yep, we Docs make tons and tons more money than you. Maybe one day you too can be wearing Loubiton..." and walk away.

But I don't always play well with others so take my advice at your own risk! LOL

I read your post earlier and didn't respond...As I have thought about what the instructors said to you, I decided I must respond...
You really and truly do not owe them or anyone an explanation about your clothes...If you start explaining and back peddling, you will spend the rest of your life doing just that...If it is not clothes, it will be your MD degree or your car or your house, take your pick..
I respond to these types of picky questions with a smile and Hey you are so sweet, nice, thoughtful, observant (take your pick) to notice and then change the subject...
You will never please everyone and letting what they say come even close to getting under your skin will only be your loss.

Natalie, I didn't catch that about the tummy rubbing! Lol. That's brilliant. Can I do that with people who want to pet my dog? You should see her face when total strangers want to rub their hands all over her body. It says in no uncertain terms: YOU. ARE. WEIRD.

Rae, L'Abeille - Hands down, this is now the only response to give... "You seem very interested in my budget. How does this make you feeeeel?"

I was going to say, tho, price-tag comments point to something about our human society that makes it hard for me to get upset about them. The fact is, an honest day's work does not get you a living wage. You get what people feel like giving you. I can say I put in my time at school, have a degree, and am therefore more valuable - but c'mon. Ain't no one gonna eat or wear the actual product from my fingertips: engineering documentation. It's worse now because we don't even print on paper anymore; I can't even start a fire to keep me warm! Men regularly out negotiate their female peers when it comes to compensation. They imagine having more and they exercise more emotional power; nothing to do with job-related merit although that's always the ostensible argument. It's all a bit of a snow job. And y'all know, right, there are studies that show that "ugly babies" get less attention from their own parents! It goes on. A lot of good food gets thrown out because only the "deserving" have the chits to come get it - and they don't come.

I should think people would investigate the matter.

Mind you, you do have to be careful of being to torn to shreds by the mob. But I don't think it's necessary to be upset.

How about - Thank you for noticing. I am so deeply in debt, can I borrow money for coffee?

Rae, L'Abeille - Hands down, this is now the only response to give... "You seem very interested in my budget. How does this make you feeeeel?"

Rachylou, I agree! I'm not creative or quick enough to think of responses like that. I will most definitely use this line in the future if someone's rude enough to bring up the subject of how much I paid for something.

I'm LOLing at Rae's and Glory's suggestions! I love it!

If I were in your situation and this happened to me, I would definitely not say anything that might be taken to be explaining myself, apologising for my spending habits, or accepting their right to make such comments. If anyone touched me the way you describe, the look I would give them would let them know that that was not acceptable behaviour. Were this to happen, I would conclude that I needed to project a less friendly, more 'professional' (unapproachable, reserved) manner to discourage such outrageous comments in the future.

In no way do I think you are being unprofessional, I hasten to add. I would simply decide to make small changes to project a slightly more cold, businesslike manner that would discourage such interactions.

I like the "Hmmm" suggestion above. It is simply none of their business. You do not have to justify yourself to them.


I think it's Glory for the win! LOL

I have to admit to having commented on people's clothes prices. They were close relationships though, friends and the like, and I never meant it in a bad way. Just saying, 'whoa, you're lucky you got the money' or even 'well, it's your well-earned money'.

I would NEVER comment on a colleague's budget. It's just none of my business. Seriously, don't people learn some manners or something?

PS: I do love to say how cheap some of my things are when I get complimented on them. Like my summer handbag. I got it for a really low price and is not good quality or anything. It's almost embarrassing. I bought it out of necessity because I just needed a comfy bag in a lighter color. Yet it receives compliments now and then. A guy (ok, it was a guy) even thought it was real leather. I think people think I spend more than I really do in my clothes because I have variety and even if they are very inexpensive (I might be one of the cheapest members in this forums), they fit nicely and are sort of well-made, have ok fabrics, etc, so they look fancier than what they really are.

This is how I look at it: If you want to look nice, you either need to spend your money or your time. Sometimes both. It's that simple.

I'm sad to hear that some people are so rude, and inconsiderate. The lack of manners now-a-days never ceases to amaze. You are a savy shopper with an excellent eye and taste. While I don't think you should really have to say anything to defend yourself, I'd probably just retort with "I'm a great sale shopper" and change the conversation.

Wow. I'm stunned. I can't believe how rude those people were to you.

In my currently stunned state, the first thing that comes to mind is "these people don't know you". They are making assumptions about your disposable income (which may or may not be a refection of your salary), your values, your interests, and even your willingness and/or ability to put up with their rudeness.

If someone I knew who was otherwise friendly toward me made a comment like that, then I would enlighten them on my willingness to search for a bargain on ebay. I might even compare my interest in clothing to their interests, if I knew enough about them, just to put things into perspective for them. But if these people aren't friendly toward you in general, then you don't owe them anything. That said, it's hard to stay quiet when you are the subject of a group discussion like the one you described.

Thank you all for your lovely and thoughtful replies!

A strange follow up to this - today, another MD was wearing a long white lab coat over her outfit, and the same instructor -ran- up to her (ACTUALLY RAN) and grabbed the two edges of her open lab coat and PULLED IT BACK to reveal her skirt to stare at it. I am starting to think she simply does not have any personal boundaries.

Also, glad it's not just me.

Sometimes I think I work in a crazy house.

How'd the MD react? That instructor is lucky she didn't get decked.

"That has urine on it." My new favorite YLF quote!

So many great responses here. I totally agree that no explanation or justification is required, because that implies that if the item was expensive that would somehow be wrong.

I have one friend who is very wealthy. She spends tons of money on clothes - probably more than I make in a year. She also lives in an amazing house and drives an incredible car. And... so what? I would never mention prices or question her right to spend her money however she sees fit. Just as I know she would never make me feel inferior for buying on deep discount. It's just not anyone's business.

@ Shedev - I kinda walked in the opposite direction to avoid that instructor :p The poor doc looked shocked.

@ Tarzy - You're so lovely and classy