And while we’re on the subject of HM …
Husband Mike is FAR more diplomatic than I. He gives the best, most thoughtful, kind, and helpful advice of anyone I’ve ever known. So I asked him to share his wisdom on a sensitive subject: How to convince the man in your life that it’s time to let go of that beer-stained sweatshirt/pair of horrifying oxblood brogues/moth-eaten hat and move into a more clean, refined, adult look. And more importantly, how to do this without hurting his feelings or making yourself look like a shallow, conniving, intolerant harpy. Here’s his advice.
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Maybe your significant other needs a total makeover or maybe he just needs to get rid of one stained and holey sweatshirt that he wears every day. Either way, you are hoping for a change. How do you facilitate this change? After all, the holey sweatshirt might be a holy sweatshirt to him.
The picture above shows me in my favorite boots. (And, yes, I am wearing a Volkswagen Bug hubcap on my face. I am no stranger to fashion risk-taking.) I luuuuvved these boots. I found them on a rainy day at a garage sale for $1, they fit perfectly, and they provided me with a little dress code rebellion at my government day job. I wore them with everything from jeans to shorts to suit pants. Yes, they were the perfect boots.
I say “were,” because I had an ex who never wanted to see those boots on me again. She convinced me to get rid of these boots the old fashioned way: By nagging me. I still resent it 10 years later, and I am still looking for a replacement pair. Clearly, she chose the wrong way to change her man’s wardrobe.
The right way involves many subtle steps and a lot of consideration. But before you even start thinking about changing his look, consider the reasons behind his fashion choices. If you’re not sure what those reasons might be, let me give you a short cheat sheet. Your man probably wears the clothes he does because:
- They are comfortable
- They go with every thing else he owns
- They were cool once
- He hates shopping with a passion and won’t be bothered with the activity
But since these are not the only possible reasons, I suggest you begin with a discussion about clothes with your man. He may be totally unaware that his striped, banded-collar Garth Brooks shirts are out of style and a bit embarrassing. He might think he looks awesome, or he might think that how he looks is of no concern to anyone. Or the single offending item – like my work boots – might have strong emotional value. If this is the case, you have a tough job ahead of you.
Ask your man what his favorite clothes are and why he likes them.
Ask him what he thinks about those items in his wardrobe that you like, but that he never wears. You’re accumulating research to help you with your future goal of getting him into some new clothes.
Personally, I am drawn to clothes with interesting textures. Wife Sally knows that if she is picking something out for me, she’ll have a better chance of getting me to wear it if it is combed cotton, or if it is made from really heavy fabric that makes it hard to wrinkle. I don’t remember thinking about clothes very often before Sally’s spike in interest, so just talking with your man about clothes may facilitate a change.
Once you know what interests your man about his favorite clothes, then you do your pre-shopping research. Go to the stores, go online, page through the catalogs to see if you can find things that fit his criteria.
Once you’ve got some likely shops picked out, try these statements when you approach the subject of purchasing new clothes:
(Store name) is having a sale and I want to pick out a few things for you. Is there anything you want me to try to find for you?
If he really does want to get something new, he might tell you, then there you go.
I’d like to get you another sweatshirt like your favorite. Is there a certain color you want?
You have already found out why that nasty old sweatshirt is his favorite so now you know what to get.
Let’s stop in here. I want to show you something that will look fantastic on you.
People need to see how things look on them in order to decide if a new look is one that they like. It might be hard to convince your guy to go shopping, but if you are already out somewhere together, it is much easier to make a stop someplace. Perhaps you have pre-shopped the store so you know exactly where you are going and what it is you want to show him.
What to do at the store:
Remember, most guys have low tolerance for shopping, so it has to be enjoyable (or as enjoyable as possible). I recommend going to a store with fantastic service – someplace where a perky sales lady is going to tell him he looks fabulous and bring out additional shirts and stuff that she thought would be great on him.
What to do at home:
Positive reinforcement is the key. Compliments are important. Show him off to your friends so they can compliment him, too. If you need to break out some spontaneous affection, that’s not a bad idea either.
What Not To Do:
- Do not throw things away without permission. He may be your man, but his clothes are his, and how he looks it ultimately up to him.
- Do not criticize him in public, don’t call him a slob, don’t tease him in front of his friends. There’s no reason to be mean.
- Do not withhold affection. Again, mean.
Consider not doing anything. Do you really want to mess with replacing a nasty sweatshirt when it makes him happy? Ask yourself why it is so important to change your man’s wardrobe. The more selfish your reasons, the more you should let your guy replace items in his own time. If you wish to act as a resource to facilitate change that he is unable to make on his own (but wouldn’t mind making), go to it and pick out a couple of things you hope he might like.
Top image courtesy megnut, Husband Mike image courtesy Husband Mike.