30 Creative Ways To Compliment Someone's Outfit

Instead of saying it looks “flattering.”

by The Bustle Fashion Editors
Originally Published: 

When it comes to commenting on other people's outfits, the word "flattering" is arguably one of the most commonly used descriptors. Finding clothing that flatters your body has become the ultimate goal, especially according to traditional media. But usually, what we mean by flattering is "that outfit makes you look smaller and/or more hourglass shaped." Therefore, using it as a compliment, whether we like it or not, has turned into an implication that the best thing an item of clothing can do is create the illusion that you are thinner than you actually are. And that’s just not OK. If you’re looking for tips on how to compliment a girl on her dress, how to compliment a man on his dressing, or anyone for that matter, there are better terms to use than flattering.

There are several problems with the term flattering. For one, it implies that thinner always equals better. It also implies that everyone should, and does, want to be thinner — something that is patently untrue. And so, it’s worth it find some new ways to compliment your best girl friend's outfit that don't involve said term. Even if you’re figuring out how to compliment a well dressed man, leave the “flattering” word out of it.

Inspired by the grassroots body positivity movement, the word "flattering" has been struck from Bustle’s content since 2014 — and in January 2018, that became official: None of BDG Media's sites will ever use the word flattering as it relates to appearance in editorial content.

If you're looking for some more creative ways to tell your friend you think their outfit is fly, here are 21 compliments that'll get the message across without implying that the goal of dressing should always be to make your body look a certain way.

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"You look so confident/ happy/ glowing."

When in doubt, focus on how your friend is feeling, rather than how they look. After all, clothing should make us feel good.

"I love that so much I’m going to take it when you’re not looking."

Is there a higher compliment than telling someone you'd do anything to get the outfit in their closet?

"That outfit looks like something Rihanna would wear."

Or Sophie Turner or Zendaya or Gabi Gregg or whoever their style icon is.

“Who needs a little black dress, when you have that?!”

The go-to, wear-everywhere staple has been de-throned.

"I’ve never seen anyone look so ready to own it."

According to science, the clothes you wear can actually affect your confidence. Let your friend know they've nailed the art of putting together a look that slays all self-doubt.

"How do you always come up with such amazing outfits?"

A little skill complimenting can go a long way.

Ashley Batz/Bustle

"I love the fact that I’ve never seen something like that on you before!"

If you know the look is an adventurous style choice for your pal, don't be afraid to call her out on a job well done.

"You always inspire me to try new things with my clothing."

The best compliment? One that shows how you've inspired other people.

"Your style is everything."

Every. Thing. Make it a personal style comment versus just focusing on one item.

“That color is great on you!”

Doesn’t even matter what the item is, it’s the standout hue that matters most.

"Every time I see one of your outfits, all I can think to myself is 'she’s the sh*t.'"

Let your friend know how cool you think they are.

"Excuse me miss, are you famous?"

Nothing like a case of mistaken identity to get you excited about your outfit.

Ashley Batz/Bustle

"I can tell that you love what you’re wearing!"

An awesome outfit can make you feel like a million bucks — and that's something to celebrate.

"You’re absolutely glowing!"

It may or may not have anything to do with what you’re wearing, but you look incredible.

"We need to come up with a special thing to do, just so you can be wearing that outfit while we do it."

Again: Celebrate! And occasion dressing is more popular than ever before.

“I’ve been looking for that everywhere.”

Not only do I love what you’re wearing, but it’s actually something I’ve been searching for myself!

"You are my fashion hero."

Not all heroes wear capes — though those are in style lately.

Ashley Batz/Bustle

"Wait, can I take a photo of your outfit? I want to remember it so I can recreate it later."

Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.

"Have you ‘grammed your outfit yet?!"

If they say no, offer to take a pic.

"You. Look. AMAZING!"

Sometimes simple is the best way to go.

"I saw that exact look in a magazine yesterday."

Not only do you look amazing, but you’re totally on-trend.

“Everyone just turned around to look at you when you walked through the door.”

Not only do your friends love what you are wearing, but strangers noticed how great you look, too!

"Tell me where you got every single thing you’re wearing right now. Don’t spare any details."

This one compliments their current outfit and their impeccable shopping habits.

Ashley Batz/Bustle

"The color of that dress is SO incredible."

Show them you admire their ability to pick a piece that stands out.

“You’ll be able to wear that everywhere.”

Not only does it look great, but it’s transitional as well.

"This outfit looks so good on you."

Even with their incredible closet, they’re still wearing their best look yet.

"I would have never thought to pair those two pieces together, but now I'm going to do it all the time."

A little plug of their creativity can go a long way.

"Where do you get your outfit inspiration? I definitely need to follow those same people."

Help them support other creative people, too.

"Omg I just saw Gigi Hadid wearing exactly that outfit on Instagram."

Tag her favorite it girl.

"Can we please go shopping together... right now?"

And when all other options have been exhausted, use this excellent outfit as an excuse to buy even more clothes.

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