Know Your Style

March 8, 2014 Updated: March 5, 2014

I have a friend with many wonderful qualities; she is truly a good person. Unfortunately, style isn’t one of her better qualities.

When she gets dressed in the morning, if all her vital parts are covered, she considers herself well dressed. After all, what more do you need? Also, she’s at least 50 pounds overweight.

Recently, she was invited to a gala awards dinner and needed to buy a cocktail dress. She asked me to go shopping with her and help her choose a dress. I told her that if she really, really wanted me to accompany her, I would, but I didn’t think it was a good idea. I explained that my taste was not hers, and if I chose something that was very chic and high style, she probably wouldn’t feel comfortable in it.

After some deliberation, she decided that I was right and bought a dress by herself. I didn’t see what she chose and I am sure I wouldn’t wear it, but since I’m not the one who has to, it is a moot point.

Never go shopping with anyone who doesn’t share your taste or style sense or whose style isn’t better than yours.

If everyone is wearing tight-fitting dresses that you absolutely hate, don’t buy into the trend. No matter how chic a dress might be, if you’re not comfortable in it, you will look and feel ill at ease—something that will ultimately stand out in public more then the virtues of the garment itself.

Many years ago I was browsing in a store and a woman was trying on a dress. The dress itself was really quite lovely, but the woman looked ever so uncomfortable in it.

She asked everyone around her for their opinion. Her friends told her that it was lovely and the sales staff, of course, concurred: “it was made for you.” Just as I was wondering whether I should open my big mouth and say something, she turned to me and asked for my opinion.

I told her, “It’s lovely, but not for you.” She actually looked relieved and told me she just didn’t feel comfortable in it. If she had bought it, she probably would have never worn it.

My style sense is different from that of most women in that I feel comfortable wearing things many women would not. But, if for any reason I feel (notice I don’t say “think,” but “feel,”) that it’s not for me, I don’t waste time analyzing it—I just take it off and look for something else. Always trust your instincts.

Miriam Silverberg is a freelance journalist and owner of Miriam Silverberg Associates, a boutique publicity agency in Manhattan. She may be reached at