Ask TFP | Why are you so pale?

For this edition of Ask The Fashion Police, we’re once again delving into our search referrers to answer the questions people ask Google about fashion and style. We’re also delving into the kinda, sorta-related world of social etiquette, which is awesome, because we could talk about etiquette aaaalll day, seriously. So let’s dive right in, shall we? Here are some of the burning questions on our reader’s minds lately…

is it rude to ask people why they're pale?


Is it rude to ask why people are pale?

Yes, it’s rude to ask someone why they’re pale: their skin colour is none of your business, and it’s not something they have any control over, either (unless, for some reason, they’re wearing pure white foundation, in which case we’d be curious too…). Instead of asking them why they’re pale, try asking yourself why it bothers you. You wouldn’t ask someone why their skin was dark (At least, we hope you wouldn’t), so don’t ask people to justify their pale skin, either: regardless of the intent behind the question, you’re likely to make the person feel uncomfortable, and that’s ALWAYS rude.

For more of our thoughts on people who want pale people to tan, go here.

Is it a fashion crime to wear knee high boots in summer in the UK?

Not if the weather makes knee-high boots the most appropriate thing to wear: and let’s face it, with the type of “summers” we tend to get here in the UK, they very often are. Increasingly these days, so-called “seasonal” dressing is starting to become a thing of the past. Our cold, wet summers, combined with the occasional unseasonably warm March or September means that it’s no longer unusual to see people wearing boots, or even coats, during the months when we’d normally expect to be in sun-dresses or shorts. Our rule of thumb is to dress for the weather you have, not the weather you think you SHOULD have. Context is everything. Yes, you’ll look pretty silly in knee-high boots at the beach, on a boiling hot day, but on a chilly day in July, they might seem perfectly appropriate.

Is it weird to repeat outfits in college?

No, it’s not in the least bit weird to repeat outfits: in college, or anywhere else. It’s just what people do in real life. If anything, it’s even LESS weird in college, because, well, you’re in college. You’re probably broke. No one expects you to be wearing a different outfit every day, so as long as your clothes are clean, and not falling apart, repeat away.

Can I wear a midi dress if I have a big stomach?

Yes you can: “midi” refers to the length of the dress, and length has no bearing whatsoever on the size of your stomach. If you want to draw attention away from your stomach, though, you can always try a skater-style midi, which will disguise the stomach more than a bodycon one: although, honestly, if you feel confident, there’s really nothing stopping you wearing any shape you like.

For more advice on how to wear midi dresses, go here.

Why are celebrities shoes always too big?

It’s because they’re not actually THEIR shoes. Many, if not most, of the clothes and shoes you see on the red carpet are borrowed: they’re sent to the celebrity by a representative of the designer who made them, so the celebrity will wear them to an event, and thus give the designer some publicity. Quite often, the shoes which are sent to celebrities are samples, and they’re sent in whichever size is available, which may well be too big, or too small. This is unfortunate, because it makes the celebrity look like they bought the wrong size of shoe, when actually they just borrowed them, and will be sending them back in the morning. Honestly, if we had to walk the red carpet, we think we’d rather wear our own, cheap shoes which fit us, than borrowed designer ones we could’t walk in, but each to their own.

[Image © Yulia | Dreamstime Stock Photos & Stock Free Images]


  • August 27, 2013


    God, I hate the first question so much. I am pale as a personal choice. Stopped tanning about ten/eleven years ago. At first I confess it was over some body image issues combined with a pseudo-goth era in my teen years, but now I just really like my pale skin. Besides, after spending so many years without tanning, my skin just doesn’t get a tan easily. I was one of those persons that would have a nice tan in one/two days, now it just doesn’t “stick”.

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  • August 27, 2013


    I’m a truely pale pale person- I spend my whole year in spf, and I love being pale I think it’s alot more interesting but I do always feel like my legs look better with just a bit of fake tan so that you can’t see how easily they bruise. But it drives me bonkers when people ask me why I’m so pale or tell me I’m using too much suncream (literally anytime I’m on holiday people seem to think that they can come up to me a be like don’t use so much suncream! you need more skin damage! increase your risk of skin cancer!)

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  • August 28, 2013


    One question I get all the time is whether or not I’m an albino. I have white hair (even though I’m only 30) with ultra pale skin and blue eyes. With my Celtic heritage, I can’t tan at all and have to wear long-sleeved shirts and full-length pants just to keep from burning here in Texas.

    When I was younger, I was always teased about being so pale. People would tell me I needed to get a “healthy” tan. I got the last laugh at my high school reunion when I turned out to not look anywhere near as old as my classmates. They had all tanned religiously and looked at least 10 years older than they actually were at the time.

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  • September 1, 2013


    Is it appropriate to ask someone why they’re so pale when they’re not normally pale or it’s a lifeguard?

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    • September 3, 2013


      It depends. You might be concerned by their health (since people appear paler when they are sick), but there are ways to ask it without being rude. Instead of why are you pale now, try asking if they didn’t have vacation since they usually have a tan, or something like that.

      However I would restrain for asking. Usually people who didn’t have time to tan complain about it. So if someone doesn’t do that it is because they aren’t interested in talking about their skin tone, maybe because they are ill or simply because they decided to not tan anymore.

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  • September 5, 2013


    People ask me all the time. I answer one of the following:

    – Because I wear SPF.
    – Because summer is short and winter is long and the sun damage isn’t going anywhere.
    – Because the bronzed beauties of today are the prunes of tomorrow.

    BTW, I don’t tan, I freckle, which is weird with my dark hair and eyes and southern European origin. In my native Croatia, people keep calling me a freak from a carnival side show.

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  • September 9, 2013


    When people ask me why I’m so pale I just stare at them and respond that I’m pale because it’s my skin color… DUH. My mom’s side of the family is all ginger Swedes, it’s genetic. While my skin isn’t gingery and does tan (too easily I might add) I choose not to because I’d rather not have cancer and look like a leather couch in my 30s.

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  • October 8, 2013


    I think next time I’ll just go with “because I’m a vampire. *hissssssss!*”

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