Bianca Knows Best 

Dear Bianca,

My fiance's mom has horrible taste. Just last week, she bought me an oversized melon-colored blouse that looks like it came fresh off the plus-sized rack at Wal-Mart. I'm a size small and I would never, ever be caught dead in melon or any shade thereof.

But she keeps buying me awful, cheap clothing that more than likely was sewn together by some poor starving child in an Asian sweatshop. For months, I've been donating all of it to the Goodwill. But she's started noticing that I never wear the clothes she buys for me.

How can I tell her that she's wasting her money by buying me ugly clothes? Do I really have to wear that crap when I'm around her? Help!

--Against Bad Clothing

Dear Against,

You'd better get a grip on this situation now or it'll haunt you for the rest of your life -- or marriage. A fiance's mom will one day become a mother-in-law, and once she's officially family, the garish garments will likely multiply. Imagine receiving not just one melon-colored shirt for Christmas but five or six.

Start with gentle hints. The next time she gives you something you'd never be caught dead in, wear it to her house. Just pray you don't get hit by a car on the way over. (In fact, have a back-up shirt ready in case something happens, and let your fiance know he’s responsible for changing your clothing if you're knocked unconscious in an accident).

Anyway, by wearing a hugely over-sized shirt in front of her, maybe she'll realize the clothing she’s been buying is too big. If she comments on the size issues, be sure and bring up the color as well. Tell her what you like — and don't like (melon!).

If these hints don't work, you'll have to tell it to her straight. The next time she inquires as to why you never wear the clothing she buys you, tell her it's just not your style. Tell her you'd rather she give you books or cookware or whatever.

It may hurt her feelings a little, but it's a necessary conversation. That is, unless you want to sew a quilt with all that cheap melon-colored fabric.

Got a problem? Bianca can solve it ... or least give you crappy advice that you can choose to ignore. Send advice queries to bphillips@memphisflyer.com.

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