flatter & flattering

ironman2012

Senior Member
Chinese
Hi,

When I lost weight, mom celebrated. She encouraged me pull out my flatter-stomach clothes that I'd banished to the back of my closet. I'd pull out my white form-fitting polo shirt and smile at my reflection. Mom would tell me how flattering the shirt was on me "now."

(This comes from salon.com Resolved: A no-diet new year starts now by KELSEY L. MUNGER on January 2, 2017.)

1. Does the first "flatter" mean "clothes that make my stomach more attractive than it really is"?
2. Does the second "flattering" mean "how the shirt makes me more attractive than I really am"

Thanks in advance!
 
  • dojibear

    Senior Member
    English - Northeast US
    The first ("flatter-stomach") uses the meaning "more flat", not the verb "flatter" (make you look good). So "flatter-stomach clothes" are clothes you only wear when your stomach is flatter than usual.

    The second "flattering" means "makes you look good".
     

    dojibear

    Senior Member
    English - Northeast US
    Are "flatter-stomach clothes" for people whose stomach is very, very flat, flatter than the average people?
    That's one meaning. See below.

    She encouraged me pull out my flatter-stomach clothes
    It does not say which she means:

    (a) clothes for people with flatter stomachs
    (b) clothes for this person, when her stomach is flatter

    I think the meaning is (b). After all, she bought this clothing. She wouldn't have bought it, if it looked ugly on her then. So when she bought it, her stomach was "flatter than it is sometimes" and the clothing looked good.
     

    kentix

    Senior Member
    English - U.S.
    (b) clothes for this person, when her stomach is flatter

    I think the meaning is (b).
    I do, too. The person has many items of clothing. When they put on weight, the ones that only allow for a flat stomach can't be worn. When they lose weight, they are able to wear those clothes again.

    Notice it doesn't say "flat" stomach, it says "flatter". It's a relative meaning. To a thin person, those clothes might seem large. But to a person who is overweight, those particular clothes require a flatter stomach to be able to wear than do the rest of the clothes in their closet - which have room for a big, overweight stomach.

    When you say something looks flattering on someone it just means it looks good on them when they wear it. It doesn't mean it makes them look better than they are. It can't do that because that is them. But it does show their natural attractiveness more than some of their other clothes do.
     

    Myridon

    Senior Member
    English - US
    It doesn't mean it makes them look better than they are. It can't do that because that is them. But it does show their natural attractiveness more than some of their other clothes do.
    I disagree with you - the right clothing clothing can make someone look better.
     
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