DEAR MISS MANNERS: For 50-plus years, I went to work in jeans and T-shirts. Typically, the only winter coat I could afford was a nice insulated sweatshirt.
But a few years ago, at age 67, I landed my dream job. It pays well, too. It is amusing that, even though my work ethic and abilities did not change one whit, people view me entirely differently because of the title, the secretary and the clothes.
Miss Manners, how would you recommend I answer questions like, “What a lovely dress; what is it made of?” or, “Where did you get those fabulous shoes?”
The truthful answers are “cashmere” and “They are custom-made.” I would prefer to deflect these questions, but brushing them off seems patronizing.
How do people who are accustomed to being well-off gracefully handle such questions?
GENTLE READER: Not every question has to be answered, and not every answer has to be relevant. Miss Manners can suggest a variety of remarks to make -- ”I’m glad you like it,” “Thank you; it’s really soft,” “They’re comfortable, too” -- before you change the subject to the day’s business.