DEAR ABBY: My supervisor "Valerie" is smart and beautiful. However she is a few pounds overweight. The problem is she thinks she can still squeeze into a size 8. You can tell she's interested in looking professional and stylish by the clothes she picks out, but she still looks terrible. She is obviously in denial about her appearance, and her co-workers and underlings talk about her behind her back.
Because Valerie is my supervisor, I do not feel comfortable telling her how unprofessional she really looks. I am surprised that none of her friends has told her (tactfully), or that her supervisor hasn't told her how unprofessional it is that we all can see the outline of her underwear.
The shame of it is that it's hard to take Valerie seriously in her professional capacity when all one can think about is her clothes don't fit. How does one approach such a subject with someone who isn't really a friend? -- GROSSED OUT AT WORK
DEAR GROSSED OUT: If one is a subordinate, one doesn't. Poor Valerie may be in denial about her weight gain, or she may be having trouble shedding the pounds. Someone who could have a word with her about it would be her supervisor -- who might be inclined to do so if word reached her/him that Valerie's attire was not only distracting, but has become a main topic of conversation in the office.