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DEAR ABBY: I'm a 16-year-old girl. I love my mother, but she puts very little effort into how she looks. She has been divorced since I was a baby and hasn't dated much. When it comes to how we dress, we are complete opposites. I like to put on real clothes, even if I'm accompanying my mom to the grocery store. She goes out wearing sweats and no bra.

Sometimes I try to help her by picking out her outfits for the week, but she gets mad when I say anything about her no-bra rule. She says I'm trying to pressure her to be someone she's not. Maybe I am, but I want her to meet people and go on dates. It feels like she has no pride in what she looks like. I care about her, but I can't help but see that she could improve. -- DOTING DAUGHTER IN MARYLAND

DEAR DOTING DAUGHTER: We could all "improve," but if your mother is comfortable with herself as she is, you should try to accept her that way. Many women find bras uncomfortable, and if they don't have to wear them they don't -- especially when wearing loose sweatshirts.

Your mother appears to be happy with her circumstances. When she's ready to try to attract male attention, she will. You are sweet to want to help her, but trying to manipulate her isn't working, so for both your sakes, cut it out.

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