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Half-Indian Woman Balks After Boyfriend Tells Her To ‘Tone Down’ Work Outfits To Avoid Discrimination

Woman in traditional Indian dress.
Liudmyla Supynska/Getty Images

When it comes to workplace attire, the days of everyone being expected to show up in a suit and tie are generally a thing of the past.

But even if Fridays are no longer the designated casual day, people still tend to use some discretion when it comes to what they choose to wear to work, in order to make a good impression on bosses and clients.

Then too, no matter the occasion, someone is always bound to have an opinion about what you’re wearing.

Redditor gfwearing began to notice that his girlfriend started to wear very striking outfits to work.

Leading the original poster (OP) to warn his girlfriend that she might want to think twice about her choice of clothes, concerned they might have been “out of place.”

A warning which that girlfriend did not appreciate one bit.

Worried he might have been insensitive, the OP took to the subReddit “Am I The A**hole” (AITA), where he asked fellow Redditors:

“AITA for asking my girlfriend to not wear Indian clothes to work.”

The OP explained why he was concerned about his girlfriend’s choice of clothes when going to work.

“I (27 M[ale]) am American, and my girlfriend (28 F[emale]) is British and ethnically half Indian.”

“She is not religious and culturally very British, speaks with a British accent, etc.”

“We live in the US and recently started living together.”

“She works at a tech company.”

“I noticed about half the days when she goes to work, she dresses in Indian clothes. Even her heels are shiny gold or silver.”

“She looks really cute, and I think it is fine for a party or festival, but it looks really out of place for the American workplace.”

“I have Indian friends in America, and the women dress western here except for festivals.”

“I told her to tone it down a bit as it looks out of place in America, and she might face discrimination, and some of the heels look too unprofessional for the workplace.”

“I work at a bank, and everyone is dressed really formal.”

“She got upset and told me she will wear whatever she pleases and is acting cold towards me.”

“I did not push it as ultimately it is her choice, and she can face the consequences.”

“She does not even like India and criticizes the place all the time and the politics there, and she identifies as British.”


Fellow Redditors weighed in on where they believed the OP fell in this particular situation by declaring:

  • NTA – Not The A**hole
  • YTA – You’re The A**hole
  • NAH – No A**holes Here
  • ESH – Everyone Sucks Here

The OP received little to no sympathy from the Reddit community, who agreed he was indeed the a**hole for telling his girlfriend not to wear traditional Indian clothes to work.

Everyone agreed that the OP was being insensitive and almost every bit as discriminatory as he claimed his girlfriend’s colleagues would be.


“’She’s culturally very British (speaks with a British accent etc.)’”

“I snorted.”

“News flash, she doesn’t hate India… she’s passionate about it.”

“Did you really say her clothing was appropriate for a festival?!”

“Dude. …you are totally being prejudiced towards your own wife!”- EO_711

“Her work hasn’t even complained; why are you?”

“She doesn’t have to tone it down. She is expressing her culture.”

“Stop criticizing her choices.”

“YTA.”- ashleighbuck


“There’s nothing unprofessional about this outfit.”

“You keep leaning into how your gf is British but make no mistake. She’s also Indian.”

“Also, if no one has complained at work about what she wears, then you’re creating discord where there isn’t any.”

“Perhaps you’re the one who’s bothered.”- Specialist-Vanilla-3


“If her employer is OK with what she wears at work, then she’s good.”

“Stop trying to police her.”- HarveySnake


“When I read the title of this post, I assumed your gf worked in trades or perhaps the legal profession where there’s a set dress code.”

“But it’s tech!! If she hasn’t gotten any complaints from her work, it’s totally fine and not your place to butt in.”

“The fact that you went out of your way to make this an issue gives me the impression that you’re either too controlling or subtly racist.”- bluebloodsydney

“Her traditional clothing isn’t a costume to wear only at festivals etc.”

“She can be proud of her ethnicity without agreeing with the politics of the country- what point were you trying to make here?”

“YTA!”- Impossible_Host_6456

“Her traditional clothing isn’t a costume to wear only at festivals etc.”

“She can be proud of her ethnicity without agreeing with the politics of the country- what point were you trying to make here?”

“YTA!”- Impossible_Host_6456

“Spoiler alert, women get mocked and catcalled no matter what we wear.”- bookynerdworm

“In the UK, it’s not at all rare to see people of an Indian background dressed in Indian clothing, even as casual wear, even if their grandparents were the ones who emigrated from India, or even if they’re mixed race.”

“Stop trying to whitewash her.”

“YTA.”- NotYourMommyDear

“YTA very much.”

“You’re worried about discrimination, but it sounds like you’re the only one with a problem with it.”

“Indian clothes are not inappropriate in the workplace.”

“There are formal clothes from India that are perfectly appropriate.”

“Also, just because she criticizes India’s politics does not mean she doesn’t identify with Indian culture.”- summerstorm74


“It’s not your place to tell your girlfriend what to wear.”

“She is an individual who can make her own decisions.”

“If they had an issue with her dressing, they can talk to her.”

“Doesn’t seem to be an issue with anyone except you.”- kittystrudel

“Good for her.”

“YTA.”- WonderfulPair5770


“Men policing women’s clothing choices is gross.”

“You need to do better.”- Ann-von-Beaverhausen


“Not your body, not your decision.”

“Is it really THAT hard to understand?”- NotHisRealName


“By trying to prevent discrimination, you became discriminatory.”

“Nice one.”

“It isn’t your body, and she is happy wearing what she wears.”- UnfortunateDaring

“America isn’t, and really never was, a ‘melting pot’ where everyone becomes homogenized into one culture.”

“America is a freaking stew pot.”

“Everything exists together while still maintaining recognizable identities.”

“YTA for trying to exert control on your GF and try to get her to adhere to how ‘you’ think she should dress.”

“It doesn’t look out-of-place at all, and it SHOULDN’T either.”

“You really have no leg to stand on in this argument when her company has no issue with it.”- AmbrosiaWriter

“She already has, and you’re the source of it.”

“YTA.”- jimmytaco6


“The only consequences she appears to be facing are coming from you.”

“The fact that she is British and speaks with a British accent is pretty normal for British Asians, as is the way she wants to dress.”

“This is not weird in Britain.”

“She does not have to choose to be either British or Indian. She can be both.”

“She certainly does not have to conform to how you think a British person of Indian descent should present herself.”

“You may think you’re coming from a place of love, but it’s coming off as ignorance.”- RichSignal7022


“she’s not stupid. She knows some people might discriminate, she has eyes, and she can see everyone dresses differently from her. You’re just being exactly what you’re trying to warn her about, the person discriminating.”- cowfishAreReal


“It’s her culture, not yours.”

“She can do and wear whatever she wants.”- Full-Grass-5525

“Another day, another guy who thinks for some reason he knows better than his partner and her job.”

“As everyone else has said YTA.”

“Also dude, she’s an attractive woman and of Indian descent – men are crude and rude and going to do that even if she’s wearing Western attire.”- Fun-Replacement1998


“Why do you care?”

“You aren’t her manager or co-worker.”

“None of your business.”

“It is COMPLETELY appropriate to dress any way she wants that meets her job’s dress code/standards.”

“Dress yourself and leave her alone.”- blackdove43


“How is this any different than telling a black person with dreads, for example, that their hairstyle is ‘unprofessional’?”

“It’s racist.”- MistressFuzzylegs

Hearing what everyone had to say, a contrite OP later returned to acknowledge that perhaps he didn’t treat his girlfriend with the respect she deserved.

 “Seems like most people think I am TA.”

“I guess I owe her an apology and need to learn a bit more about the issue.”

“I did not have bad intentions; I just want people to think well of her, and I have seen her get mocked and catcalled outside.”

It seems that the OP’s advice to his girlfriend did come from a place of concern and not judgment.

Even if this doesn’t excuse the fact that he belittled his girlfriend’s choice of clothing, making her feel less than and marginalized.

Which is likely not the first time in her life she was made to feel that way.

Hopefully, the OP will choose his words much more carefully going forward.

Written by John Curtis

A novelist, picture book writer and native New Yorker, John is a graduate of Syracuse University and the children's media graduate program at Centennial College. When not staring at his computer monitor, you'll most likely find John sipping tea watching British comedies, or in the kitchen, taking a stab at the technical challenge on the most recent episode of 'The Great British Baking Show'.