January 18, 2008


Posted in coworkers, transgender at 10:28 pm by Michael

In my 11 years, three months, and fourteen days working at Microsoft pre-transition, not once did somebody compliment me on my clothes.

Not Fashionable

(Who is this guy, and what is UP w/the Tinkerbell hats?)

There could be many reasons for this:
a) I didn’t dress myself well
b) Men don’t compliment each other on their clothes
c) Anh didn’t buy my clothes

I’m sure there are others. In fact, the only comments that I heard directed at men regarding the way they were dressed was if someone “overdressed” (e.g – Suit/Tie).

Ok, so this week, every day, all from different people, I got compliments on something I was wearing – shoes, sweater, shirt, jeans – something different each day.

Office 2007

I attribute this to a number of things:
a) Differences between men and women in how they interact. One person who complimented me said (when I look surprised) said “Get used to it! This is what girls do!”
b) Anh has bought most of my clothes. She’s got way better taste for either men or women than I do.
c) I ask for feedback from Anh about what I’m wearing, to try to understand better what looks good together and what doesn’t.

I don’t mean to stereotype – and I don’t think I’m doing that. This has just been my experience – maybe it was random, but I don’t think so.

So, for all of you complimenters from this week, thank you! I appreciate it!



  1. Dana said,

    This might sound weird, but I always make a point of complimenting a person on what they’re wearing if it’s interesting enough to catch my eye, male or female. I’ve noticed that when I do that, for at least a moment they feel really great about themselves and I like seeing their confidence soar. Of course, I work in TV news and a lot of the people I compliment are on-air talent who are very focused on their looks, so that sort of thing might be more helpful there than if I worked at a tech company. But I do think people undervalue the power of a random compliment with no manipulative intent.

  2. David said,

    I (male) occasionally receive male compliments on my clothes, but I find that I have to pass a much higher “bar” to get them, in general, than to get female compliments. In other words, if the “scale of clothing awesomeness” runs from 1 to 10 (with “clothing awfulness” running -1 to -10, natch), I start getting compliments from other men around 7. Women give — and I give out myself — compliments around the 3-level.
    Reaching “7+ level” requires either a well-coordinated outfit with very good, possibly restrained, taste, or a single _extraordinary_ item with the rest of the outfit being at least decent (and not clashing with the nonpareil item).

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