Style Your Man: Dos, Dont’s & How To

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Style isn’t something you noticed about him when you first started dating.

 

You were more focused on what he was like; if he told good jokes; if you felt comfortable around him.

 

The early stages of falling in love weren’t a time to focus on his style either. You were too busy cruising on a wave of dopamine and oxytocin to care about that. Every moment was precious; you weren’t going to waste it talking about the way he chose to dress.

As time has passed and you have settled into the relationship, however, the style question begins to raise its head. Even more so if you have progressed to marriage; joining your lives together has a tendency to clarify the mind on all the things we do and don’t like about someone. Over time, you have begun to notice, then confront the fact that… he’s not the most stylish of men.

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Your partner’s fashion crimes can be wide and varied. Perhaps he is more color clashing than color blocking. Or he’s yet to understand that those once-ubiquitous Casio watches now belong only in Buzzfeed throwback articles, not around his wrist. Or perhaps he just doesn’t make much of an effort; the kind of guy who considers ‘clean’ to be the only requirement he cares about when it comes to his clothes.

 

It’s a shame. You probably know how good it can feel when you’re wearing clothes that fit well, look good, and give you a boost of confidence. It’s natural that you’d want to share that with him. You might even be hyper-aware about how his lack of fashion precision is causing others to see him, and you’d hate for him to be giving a bad first impression.

 

Of course, the idea of tackling this subject is a daunting one. It’s an area that can so quickly become an argument, flaring a sensitive temper and making you feel like the bad guy. But, if you truly only have his best interests in mind, then it might be worse to keep quiet when you suspect there’s a problem. It’s like how your true friends are always the ones to tell you that you have lipstick on your teeth or that a certain skirt length isn’t particularly flattering on you. We expect the people that we’re closest to to be the ones who we can rely on for realistic feedback. Therefore, there’s an argument that if his fashion faux pas’ are stacking up, it’s your place to tell him.

 

Nevertheless, there’s no pretending it’s easy. Below, there is a step-by-step guide to negotiating these potentially problematic waters. This isn’t going to be an instant process but hopefully, by the end of it, you’ll both be happier for it.

 

STEP ONE: Start Gently

 

Don’t go barreling in with a too-honest-for-your-own-good comment like “your dress sense is appalling, isn’t it babe?”

 

Do take it very slowly. Ideally, you don’t want him to even know that this is something you’re doing. You want it to seem like comments in general conversation that have no bearing on the choices he personally makes in terms of style. So more light observations about how good a patterned shirt can look on a guy; or make a friendly joke about how beaten up his sneakers are looking.

 

Just make comments at this stage; focus on getting the right rhetoric so that you’re not openly challenging him. You’re making observations then moving the conversation on. Most specifically, you’re not targeting or shaming him. No one wants him to wind up feeling bad about what he didn’t know was wrong.

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STEP TWO: Suggestions

 

Don’t explicitly tell him something he should be wearing by picking a specific garment. If you point out a pair of jeans and say that he should buy them, you put him in a tricky “yes/no” position.

 

Do keep your comments far more generalized than aimed at one specific thing. It’s more about commenting that you think a few open shirt buttons to show off a cross necklace for men could look really good on him. Keep it general; no specific shirt, no specific necklace. Just the idea of them.

 

A good way to do it is to say you saw it in an advert, such as: “I saw a men’s fragrance ad today where the guy had a couple of buttons undone and one of those cross necklaces for guys on,” you would say lightly when discussing your day, “I bet you would be able to rock that look, babe.”

 

Okay so it’s a bit trite and cliché, but is it going to make your point? It is – and if he’s paying attention, he’ll start to pick up on it.

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STEP THREE: Gifting

 

Don’t go ahead and buy particular garments that you think he should be wearing. That’s removing his power from him; it’s more dressing him rather than helping him develop his own style. It could also be the case that your gift is less than welcome; you could pick something that he just wouldn’t ever wear. It’s one thing to want his style sense to evolve, but you have to remember this is something he has to do.

 

Do buy gift vouchers for stores you think he would be able to find some stylish items in, but…

 

Don’t make it the main gift. If he’s never shown much interest in fashion before, that’s just going to feel like you’ve got him something he’s not interested in. Keep the amount low and have something else to go alongside it, so he doesn’t feel like you’re dropping a huge clanger of a hint. Of course, that’s what you are doing, but we’re aiming for subtle here!

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STEP FOUR: Use A Big Event

 

The next time that you have a big event – such as a birthday party or a big work-related function – this is your perfect reason to be more encouraging of him experimenting.

 

Don’t tell him that his existing clothes aren’t good enough and he has to change them. No matter how you phrase it, that’s just going to result in him feeling like he’s being told off.

 

Do say that it’s a big event and you want to treat yourself to something new. Drop in sentences like, “it’s always nice to have something fresh and new to wear”, which he might pick up on for himself.

 

From there, you can expand to him doing the same thing. Wouldn’t it, you could enthuse, be nice if you were both dressed up all new and shiny as a couple? If he hasn’t used the gift card you bought him a step earlier, here’s a perfect chance to encourage him to make use of it.

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STEP FIVE: Hint, Don’t Tell

 

Don’t resist any ideas he has about his new personal style.

 

Do try to guide him into making choices, but by using positive reinforcement rather than critiquing his choices. If you don’t like something he has bought – for the big event or otherwise – then just stay quiet. However, when he gets something right, enthuse upon it like his choice is worthy of an entire 10-page fashion spread in Vogue. He’ll soon learn to see what works for him and what looks good, and he’ll no doubt like the fact that you’re so complimentary over his choices.

 

This is therefore one of those beautiful situations in life where everyone can win, providing you do it right and remember to be subtle. If you manage that, you’ll both be happier and more confident – not bad for a few clever comments inserted in the right place!

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