Guest post by Brianna
Simplystylishmom and I are at opposite ends of the spectrum when it comes to body type, clothing size, and style preferences (which means we shop well together because we’re not fighting over clothes!). While checking out Vancouver’s new Anthropologie store last week, though, we found ourselves talking about something fashion-related we do have in common–opinionated husbands (who both happen to be named Mike). I had tried on a funky top with wild navy and cream stripes and a flowing, loose cut that both SSM and I liked. “I don’t know if it’ll pass the husband test, though,” I said. “He’ll either love it or hate it.” It had several elements he doesn’t usually love on me: horizontal stripes and a boxy fit. Sure enough, when I tried the top on at home for Mike, he didn’t like it–and I fell out of love (with the top, not the guy) too.
I’m a passionate and fairly radical feminist, so it might sound a little strange that I’d let my husband’s preferences impact my style choices. It’s definitely true that if I absolutely loved a garment and he hated it, I’d keep and wear the item anyway. It’s rare for that to actually happen, though. By some miracle, despite growing up in the furthest thing from a fashion-savvy environment, Mike’s developed an excellent grasp on what does and doesn’t look good on me (along with a few random pet peeves that he has no good explanation for). His dislikes includes shirts with collars; empire waists, sack dresses, and anything that could be construed as maternity clothing; leggings worn as pants (can’t argue with him there); anything a hipster would wear; anything my mom might wear; ruffly, fluffy, frilly, vintage-y or girly styles; horizontal stripes; and the pair of cropped slim cargo pants I tried on the other day at Superstore (apparently they looked like police pants to him…?). He likes me best in jeans, tanks, simple dresses or skirts, artsy details, saturated, muted, or earthy colors, punk or boho-inspired styles, clean lines, and traditionally figure-flattering looks (think wrap dresses, v necklines, and defined waists for my hourglass shape). SSM’s husband, on the other hand, doesn’t like her in green, dislikes pretty much everything on offer at Anthropologie, and made a point of asking her to be sure not to “let herself go” in 24/7 sweatpants and frumpy hair once she became a wife and mom. No worries there, obviously!
Although it might sound annoying to have such an opinionated partner, it’s mostly helpful and fun. On the rare occasion when I can drag him into a store, my husband is by far my best shopping buddy. He’s intimately familiar with my budget, the contents of my closet, my shape, my lifestyle, and my coloring. For the most part, the things he dislikes on me are things that objectively don’t suit me. When I start to fall for a totally unpractical or unflattering piece, he snaps me out of it. Sometimes he even finds perfect clothes that I’d overlooked, like the simple, swingy, dirt-cheap tank tops and shorter-than-I’d-normally-wear-but-magically-somehow-wearable rolled shorts I ended up buying last week at Superstore. He may not look forward to the actual act of shopping with me, but he gets to enjoy the fruits of that very occasional labor on a daily basis. Did I mention he cuts my hair for me, too?
As for the Breton-style tops and crisp white shirtdresses I bypass because of their husband-repelling stripes and collars–I mostly don’t mind. When I dress, I dress for myself first, and my husband next–he, along with my toddler, is one who has to look at me all day, and since the toddler would dress me in tutus and rainbow tights, she gets no vote. Besides, he does the same for me. Over the years, I’ve “helped” him revamp everything from his haircut to his glasses to his pants. No more pleated fronts or Grandpa plaid in his closet. We both think it’s nice to do what we reasonably can to look as attractive each other on an everyday basis–not just when we get dressed up to go out, which is such a rare event these days it may qualify for endangered status. I do steadfastly refuse to wear stilettos (or any heels, for that matter), get at tattoo, or go out in public in a miniskirt, but I’d say he gets a pretty good deal overall. In fact, thanks to each other’s influence, I think we both look much better now than we did when we met almost ten years ago.
I do know lots of women who say they dress for their friends more than they do for their significant others. If you have a romantic partner, do you take his or her opinions into consideration when choosing your clothes? Who would you say you dress for?