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Woman Pissed After Partner Goes To Work Event Without Her Because Her Outfit Wasn’t ‘Appropriate’


People often have different ideas of what “appropriate dress” means. For one person on Reddit, the issue sparked drama when they refused to take their fiancé to a work dinner because of her inappropriate outfit.

They weren’t sure about how they’d handled it, so they went to the AITA (Am I The A**hole) subReddit for perspective.

The Original Poster (OP), who goes by DiplomaticOrange on the site, asked:

“AITA for going to a work dinner alone because my fiancée didn’t want to change?”

They explained:

“It wasn’t a work dinner per se but a celebratory dinner with my colleagues my boss organised to congratulate/thank us for the past year. It was no black tie event but it was at a nicer restaurant and with my boss so there was a certain decorum expected.”

“Partners were allowed so I thought to bring my fiancée and she agreed. Lately my fiancée has been dressing less conservatively, for lack of a better word, which hasn’t really phased me much because whatever but I kind of expected her to dress a bit more appropriately given the setting and company.”

“When I picked her up though, she was dressed in these fishnet stockings, short shorts and a blazer with no shirt/bra underneath. I reminded her that my boss will be there and where we were going and she said it didn’t matter.”

“Told her that it wasn’t appropriate and that we still had time if she could find something else (if it matters, I was just wearing jeans and a sweater). Long story short she said she wasn’t interested in changing and if it bothered me so much I should go alone.”

“So I went alone. As expected, everyone else was also dressed casually but not too casual. Dinner lasted a couple hours and then I returned home. Fiancée was mad that I left without her and said that I was being controlling/wasted her time since she got all dressed up and put on makeup.”

“I understand her disappointment but it wasn’t appropriate for where we were going and she didn’t want to change. Aita?”

Redditors were then asked to judge who was in the wrong in this situation based on the following categories:

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

And though there was some debate, most of them were on OP’s side and understood their hesitance about the outfit.

“NTA. It was a professional event, and that was…not a professional outfit. It’s fine to dress how you like and express yourself, but that doesn’t mean it’s OK to completely ignore what’s appropriate for the type of event you’re attending, especially when it’s work related.” –TemporaryBadger

“I found it especially funny that she was angry because she especially DRESSED UP for the dinner like Wtf?! She didn’t even wear a shirt! How can she call that dress up?”

“NTA It was a work dinner with the boss and not a date night in a club.” –Sheeps_n_Birds

“NTA, I went to a “company dinner” where one man’s wife came in similarly dressed. It was a disaster all around. Everyone else was appropriately dressed for the weather and the event. She proceeded to get drunk and act like a royal botch. He was so embarrassed he left early with her protesting she wanted to stay longer at the “party”.” –Fusion_Power

“Agreed – I was somewhat prepared to say Y T A until the description of the outfit. Even if casual, that outfit was wildly inappropriate for an evening out with OP’s work colleagues and boss. OP is definitely NTA.” –Specific-Succotash-8

“It almost strikes me as she did it on purpose to test OP and OP’s reaction. I can’t possibly believe she would think it appropriate for a work\business function and am pretty sure she doesn’t wear anything like that to her own job (unless she works on a street corner).”

“NTA OP.” –genxeratl

“My thing is, if it were her boss then I would be okay with it because SHE knows her boss, and SHE will face any consequences. He is saying ‘this is not appropriate for MY workplace, for MY boss'”

“If it were a matter of ‘grandma didn’t like that when fiance bent down she saw an inch of cleavage so now I ask her to wear a nun outfit for family events’ I’d absolutely say Yes, TA, but this is a matter of professionalism so OP is 100% NTA” –gimmethegudes

“NTA for exactly this reason. There is a time and a place for that outfit, and I’m sure she looked awesome, but this wasn’t the venue for something like that. Office casual is something everyone has in their closet and can still look amazing with some nice makeup and accessories. It isn’t hard to understand, either, even if you don’t work in an office: Conservative, comfortable, clean, and classic.” –Chocolate_Egg18

“eh- im generally on team ‘you dont get to tell a woman what to wear ever'”

“BUT i do think asking her to put on a shirt to meet the boss in a corporate/work dinner setting is within reason, and does not make you an a**hole.”

“I’dve met her in the middle and been like ‘ok listen fine with all this but imma need a shirt, ok?'”

“NTA” –ThrowawayforMILBs

“As a woman, why not? Honestly I would like it if someone told me I’m wearing something that’s too revealing, too tight, not flattering, or too casual.”

“What’s with this whole ‘you don’t get to tell a woman what to wear ever’ BS? Like we’re all delicate flowers who can’t take constructive criticism? I hate what we’re turning women and girls into.”

“Also, nothing about her outfit would have been OK at a work function so your ‘meet in the middle’ premise doesn’t work. Fishnets with shorts …cringe. Even with a turtleneck…not appropriate” –QueenRhaenys

“That’s a fine rule to live by – if the woman is also the one bearing any potential consequences*. She doesn’t get to make other people suffer career repercussions because of how she dresses.”

“*Being embarrassed of what your friends or neighbors might think is not a consequence, I’m talking actual quantifiable ramifications” –ElectricFleshlight

“I get what you are saying, but to some extent this depends on if they have a little sense, and the flexibility to change what they wear with changing circumstances. You can do and wear what you want but you don’t always get your way. rough pubs in my area have signs ‘no shoes, no shirts, no entry’.”

“Intended for men but goes for everyone. She wouldn’t have got into the sort of pub where your shoes stick to the carpet, if you stand still too long.” –madbeardycat

“I think the idea can best be summed up as this:”

“‘I don’t like how you dress, you need to change.’ = bad”

“‘The place we are going to has a dress code, so you need to change to fit that dress code if you want to go.’ = okay”

“It’s the ‘if you want to go’ part that makes it okay. Fiance had the choices of ‘dress for the event and go’ and ‘don’t go’, and she chose ‘don’t go’. That is totally fine! She can dress how she wants and not go to the event.”

“That’s why OP isn’t an asshole. It was situational and she wasn’t actually forced to change. She just got to experience a natural consequence of not following a dress code expectation.” –partofbreakfast

“I agree with that sentiment in almost all situations, but there are definitely exceptions. The rules have changed over time and differ from place to place and group to group, but guests and hosts still have certain obligations to each other when attending an event.”

“Sh*t like OP’s fiancee dressing like Columbia to go to dinner with the boss, or men who insist on wearing shorts to everything (including traditional weddings or black tie events) just boggle my mind. If you go to an event that has pretty clearly understood expectations for appropriate attire and you intentionally flout those expectations, it is a breach of your obligations to the host and other guests and a metaphorical slap in the face.”

“It’s nonverbally saying that you care more about your outfit than being a part of the event or making other attendees comfortable. There are times when it makes sense to do that, but there should be a good reason for it and it shouldn’t be done at someone else’s expense unless that person is an intended target (e.g. wearing sweats to work to protest a pointlessly formal dress code).”

“I feel like this is something that everyone knows but some people just bend over backwards to convince themselves (and everyone else) that it doesn’t exist and it’s so dumb. ALL societies have complicated rules of unspoken etiquette about all manner of things, INCLUDING dress code.”

“Ignoring that is a tacit statement that you don’t want to be there; that you’d rather be doing something else. Insisting these things don’t exist just to get out of having to wear a shirt or a pair of long pants for a couple of hours every once in a while is plain selfish and inconsiderate*”

“*I’m aware that some people suck at reading social cues or picking up on etiquette or have sensory issues that make certain clothing particularly unbearable but that’s not really what I’m getting at here.”

“Not knowing you’re breaking an unspoken rule or needing to wear something a bit unusual to accommodate a sensory issue or disability is understandable. Refusing to take your partners concerns seriously or make any compromises at all because you insist that social expectations aren’t real is quite another.” –punkinholler

Hopefully OP and his fiance can find an understanding.

Written by Peter Karleby

Peter Karleby is a writer, content producer and performer originally from Michigan. His writing has also appeared on YourTango, Delish and Medium, and he has produced content for NBC, The New York Times and The CW, among others. When not working, he can be found tripping over his own feet on a hiking trail while singing Madonna songs to ward off lurking bears.