Civility and Style

I had another post planned for today but felt this was more timely. This topic has been on my mind for weeks, then events over the weekend brought it to a head. I invite you to agree or disagree with me but for the sake of civility, please be polite.

When I was in middle school, the mean girls ruled by intimidation. I wasn’t part of their crowd so was fair game. Their weapon was to publicly humiliate me for what I was wearing. Sadly, some of those mean girls have grown into mean women who feel entitled to do the same.

As a style blogger, I put myself out there in the public eye and welcome feedback. When negative comments cross the line to name calling and cruelty, they’ve gone too far. Social media can feel like a battlefield some days and my Facebook page became the front line last Friday.

A woman commented that I was narcissistic and shallow for sharing pictures of what I wore. Hello? She was on the business page for my blog which makes it pretty clear what I do. She said my outfit looked boring and insisted I had to wear more color because that’s what women with careers did. She began private messaging me where her comments crossed the line to vicious. I finally banned her from my page and deleted the entire exchange.

This got me thinking about women who aren’t style bloggers. Women who wish to try new styles and change their look. Many of us need to transition our style because of retirement, physical challenges, or other lifestyle changes. Some of us are just ready for a change.

We’re  bombarded with enough messages about how we should and shouldn’t look. We’re told we shouldn’t wear certain fashions because of our age, shape, size, etc, etc. When you add the verbal critiques from other women into the mix…you have the perfect storm to cripple some woman’s style creativity.

I’m not the only one who has overheard 2 or more women, openly pick apart another woman’s appearance. It’s called gossip and it’s mean. Offhand comments do more damage than you might imagine. We need to support and encourage other women’s fashion choices. Just because it’s not your style doesn’t make it wrong.

What do you think?

Have you got a great retort for critiques about how you look?

Thanks for reading and have a great day!


  1. Jennifer,

    I feel so bad for you as you are such a kind person (I can tell !), yet, I suppose it does come with the lifestyle of a blogger, as you said you put yourself out there every day.

    As we know, other people’s meanness is a reflection on THEM….not you. I’m sure it still hurts, however.

    Please keep – up the great work as there are so many of us who feel like we know you as our friend and really enjoy following your personal journey and style !

    Kind regards,

  2. Dear Jennifer, I have never commented on any social media blog before but your post definitely opened a past wound. Please know you are an amazing and beautiful woman who tremendously helps others look beautiful and feel confident. The fact that there are heartless women berating other women out there is truly sad and a black mark on today’s society. We should be helping each other look and feel fabulous instead of knocking each other out. Keep on deleting those negative comments and know you are a bright star for those of us over 50. Thank you so much for your uplifting advice and smiling that beautiful smile! You are greatly appreciated by your readers!!!!

  3. I’m so sorry this has happened to you. I personally don’t get it. The internet is a double edge sword at times and I think the best response is no response. I love to go to your blog and see your outfits. And I hope you will continue to do so. Cheers!

  4. A puzzled expression and saying “Excuse me?” encouraging the person to repeat the remark often helps them realize their lack of kindness. Otherwise, no comment or retort keeps the conversation civil. And we have two feet to use to walk away.

  5. Nancy Buck says:

    My body type is not like yours but the way you critique your type has helped me to do likewise with mine and I have gained confidence in my fashion choices. I look forward to your emails.Thank you for what must be a great deal of work for you to help women like me.

  6. Donna Lukens says:

    Your style is casual and relaxed. I like your choices as I am on the cusp of downsizing and simplifying and you give me inspiration. Keep on doing what you do!

  7. Amen to that, Sister! There seems to be a trend in aggressive criticism and name calling today and I, for one, think it is horrible and completely unnecessary. What makes them an expert? Style is really personal preference, what makes you feel good. Just because I might not care for some item you show us doesn’t mean its wrong somehow, just not right for me. It may be perfectly right for you. I am so sorry you experienced this. I never felt you put yourself out there as an expert, just shared things you like. Keep up the style sharing as I have really enjoyed it!

  8. Elaine Luman says:

    As women, we should support and empower each other, not tear down others. Keep doing what you are doing. I and many other women enjoy your blog and posts. Those who constantly feel the need the criticize and humilate others are obviously doing so because they feel that they do not “measure up” and want to level the playing field. Don’t let those folks get to you.

  9. Like you, I am open to constructive criticism and will post those types of comments. I want to always be teachable and I think I am learning new things every day. But, name calling, shaming, ridiculing is cyber bullying. I featured different women on my blog all summer, becaue I think it was fun to share what others are wearing, but some of the comments were so rude and low. I did not post them because I did not want to hurt my friends or associates. Over the weekend, like you, it got really ugly with at least one, resorting to name calling. It is unnecessary and I will not post it or tolerate it. My blog is all about optimism, kindness, joy and I hope all of those who are so mean-spirited experience what it is like to walk with those qualities inside of them some day. If all you do is go online to me mean and incite trouble, then please, for the sake of all of us…go get a real job! And deal with your own pain which drives you to be so ugly. Then think before you comment…is it constructive or hurtful.

  10. Eileen Ternullo says:

    Thank you for the reminder to be kind in our observations of each other. In the quest to have our own look, or to beautify ourselves, we may trigger a response in others..it has happened to me also. My thoughts are, maybe we need to encourage ourselves more, and support anyone who cares enough to want to beautify the world. More flowers, more hugs!

  11. I love and look forward to your blog. I agree with the comments…As my mother used to say “If you can’t say something nice,don’t say anything”…we as readers can pick and choose. I like your style!

  12. Lila Piercey says:

    When my youngest son was in first grade he went thru a phase of wearing really, really bright colored shorts, shirts and shoes-really bright (sometimes all at one time). These choices made his little heart sing. One day he came home from school so upset because one of his classmates said “I don’t like your shoes”! From that moment onward I taught him to respond with all the curtesy and kindness he could muster “I didn’t ask!!!!!”.

    He’s now 32 years old and tells me that was one of those things in life that STILL makes all the difference in his self-esteem! ????

    1. What a neat way of responding to a cruel remark!…I have wondered as I read various blogs by intelligent, funny, stylish women, when one receives an unkind remark, why do you even notice it?…People who respond to blogs on the internet are as random as going to a busy mall, closing your eyes and pointing….You may get someone whose opinion you might value but mostly you won’t and will have wasted your time trying…I don’t blog but if I did these little sweeties would go on my uh-huh button…Not worth your time…JMO…

  13. Love your blog and style. For me, your blog inspires ideas to use in shopping for similar styles, in the same or different colors, and at prices that I can afford. I especially like seeing how other boomers dress as we mature. Keep on blogging!

  14. I think that you are absolutely correct that some people are simply mean and need to put down others in order to feel good about themselves. Unfortunate, but it’s a fact of life.

    I also think that you are going to experience more of it than the average person because you have chosen to put yourself out there publicly as an example.

    As difficult as it is, I would not engage with anyone who’s just trolling or being rude, but again– I am not offering anyone the option. You are. You have to have pretty thick skin to do this style blog thing.

    Hope this doesn’t stick with you for too long– getting upset with a troll is just a waste of energy.

  15. Diana Naldoza says:

    oh my, Jennifer. I’m so sorry that you’ve had to deal with this.I can’t imagine how it makes you feel. As an elder, I truly appreciate all that you do…and WEAR…you are such a great example. Thank you for “putting yourself out there”.

  16. Words fail me really. I am relatively new to your blog and thoroughly enjoy it. Especially the diversity of the subjects you cover which are helpful to all us women entering the third age! Of course sometimes we do not all follow or like the same style, but that is absolutely no reason to be cruel and critical. I am sure, or at least fervently hope, that face to face these words would never be said. It is vicious and cowardly to hide behind the written word in social media. I personally have gained a lot from your blog and your style, so here’s to more of it and I am so sorry for the pain it must have caused you.

    1. Thanks Annie! Social media is a double edged sword all bloggers deal with. I’m fine…just furious at the intent of her comments. She reminded me of a time when I would have been hurt but her words. Confidence is a powerful weapon against cruel words!!

  17. I too was subjected to a lot of “mean girl” comments when I was in high school. I follow several blogs now, including yours. Every one of you bloggers have been victims of mean comments, trolling and the like. I just don’t understand the need to put down others in this way. I have to assume it is to lessen one’s own insecurities. My response to such comments would be to block them. Apparently these folks seem to thrive on the arguments/opinions that follow their comments. It’s sad and I feel sorry for them but you don’t deserve that treatment for doing a job you’ve chosen and for opening your choices and lifestyle to others.

    1. That’s an interesting observation Jan. Perhaps it helped us develop the confidence and desire to share our style to inspire others. Being an Image Consultant did it for me.

  18. Jennifer! I totally agree with you! I wonder about women that go after other women in a mean and spiteful way! As I have grown older, retired, like you my style has changed and have the freedom to dress as I wish!!! Far be it from me to ever say anything about another ladies style!!! Love your blog and your style!!!

    1. Exactly my thoughts Carol. Their style may not be for me, but it’s not my place to critique it! Variety is what makes fashion fun!

  19. I was a high school English teacher, and now I am retired and substitute grades 6-12. Last week I witnessed 2 sixth grade girls try to bully a sixth grade boy by making fun of his comments about computers. Good grief. I immediately stopped their conversation and told them their condescending tone was rude. They asked me me what that meant. Please know I love your sense of style and your willingness to share your good ideas with others. As I transition into retirement I am looking for inspiration and ideas from other interesting women. So. Thank you.

    1. High school can be brutal. Good for you! Thanks for reading.

  20. jodie filogomo says:

    It’s always amazing to me when this happens, Jennifer. On my latest article for Sixty + Me I had some of those comments. While I realize not everyone dresses the same, I always thought that was the whole idea of style. We don’t want to look exactly alike, do we??
    But people will be people!!
    And I’m glad you are showing us your style!! Thanks for being a great inspiration!

  21. Jennifer, I agree with your thinking. As a recent early retiree I am trying to restyle myself in a more classy relaxed but still feminine style. I look forward to your daily suggestions and pictures. Thank you for your great advice!

  22. I think you said it very well. I love your style. I can’t afford some of the clothes but it gives me ideas and I can always find lower priced items that are similar in style. People can be so mean! Keep up the good work.

  23. Amy Robertson-Smith says:

    Dear Jennifer,

    Here is my motto at times “Haters are going to Hate.” I mean honestly, there are some people (women are many of them) that are so miserable with themselves or their lives or situation that they find it comforting to tear others down. I mean my gosh, why follow a style blogger if you don’t want to see/hear what they’re saying? There are a million of them out there these days, so how about just being kind and walking away? What purpose at all could this woman have had by publicly being cruel? On the other hand, this is the world we live in and social media is the WORST joy sucker around. I tell many of my “sad/down/feeling low” friends to get off of social media for a full month. It’s amazing how all of sudden the life you lead really does fulfill your needs and you ARE happy. My only word of advice to you is that being a social media presence means you are out there and you will be criticized, it’s the forum you and all other style bloggers have chosen. Develop a little bit thicker skin, realize that you make most of US very happy with your posts and suggestions, and walk away….”Haters are always going to hate”. Chin up my dear friend! Amy

    1. Thanks Amy! I know this goes with the territory. She didn’t get me down but she reminded me of a time when I wasn’t confident and could be hurt by the comments of others. Social media will suck the joy out of everything if we let it. I’m not letting it. Thanks for your encouragement !!

    2. Not only US, I am a subscriber from Australia. I am in my 50s and enjoy seeing other women my age talking about style. I am sorry you had to endure such an awful experience.
      Women can be so mean to each other and very critical.
      Keep up the good job

  24. Lianne MacGregor says:

    First and foremost, I’m so sorry this happened to you. My disgust-level with the tone of discourse on social media reached the breaking point almost two years ago when I made the decision to bid adieu to my social media accounts. I’m self-employed and was warned my business would take a hit if I didn’t maintain an online presence. This hasn’t been the case, but at the time I’d had enough and was willing to take that risk – after all, people did business before the internet! That said, I recognize your business is web-based, which makes an online presence mandatory.

    I admire people like you who put yourself out there and open yourself up for criticism – you’re far braver than I! As for the way you look – whether or not I would match your outfits item-for-item, I always think you look elegant and classy and often zero in on one or two aspects of your outfit to integrate into my own style. And you always set a tone that never fails to be attractive!

    1. I’m so glad you find them helpful Lianne. Social media is a necessary evil in my business so I have to avoid the toxic folks. Thanks for reading!

  25. Susan Kiss says:

    Spot on Jennifer…I completely agree. People who are meanspirited have no place in my life. We should all remember that we don’t know the whole story with someone and bloggers such as yourdelf are trying to give us help and direction in this fast paced world.
    I so look forward to reading your posts…thankyou.

  26. Maybe it’s gotten worse with the political rancor this past couple of years. I am sorry that you have been the target of a personal attack, that is never okay and most decent people still know that. I honestly can’t say that anyone has ever made a comment like what you experienced with that post, but so many of us value what you do, encouraging women to expand their fashion horizons and enjoy their clothing. I am sure others will share snappy comebacks!! Please don’t let a bad apple diminish your spark!

    1. I think you’re right about the political situation! She didn’t get me down! Just reminded me of a time when I was 🙂

  27. I am very sorry to hear you received mean comments. Life is too short so you just keep on doing what you enjoy and to heck with the negative people. There are so many really good people everywhere.

  28. Thank you for sharing! I use a strategy I call “DNE” (It requires an acronym because I frequently have to repeat it to myself). It means “Do Not Engage”. I don’t hesitate to block someone. Thanks for your post today!

  29. Andrea Nine says:

    Beautifully said Jennifer! And what so many of us feel! I simply have no time for mean spirited people and they are what brings the world down. So sad isn’t it. I think it begins at home and mother’s need to teach their daughters about respect and civility and respect One another’s choices. Love this post!

    1. So true Andrea! I know meanness begins with their own unhappiness but I hate to see them spew vitriol.

  30. Luckily for me, I wore a school uniform for 12 years, so was spared bullying about clothes. As an adult, I wore a uniform to work and when in the military, there was a strict civvie dress code for the Officers Mess. Jeans were banned when in public (even off duty). I have therefore struggled with casual dressing, especially as I am now 60 and retired. I would like to thank you for your wonderful blog. Your articles and choices of outfits give me great inspiration when putting together something to wear. I think you always look fantastic. Don’t let ‘negative nellies’ get you down.

    1. Thanks Susan! I wished I wore a uniform in middle and high school. I won’t let her get me down! I love what I do and thank you for reading.

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