Partner Conflicts Over Sartorial Choices

fighting with husband about clothes

It’s POSSIBLE that a certain husband dislikes this dress. Rather strongly. And said husband is generally spot-on when it comes to what works and what doesn’t for my style and body. But he’s also extremely open-minded. Often times he’ll hate something on first glance, but then compliment me when he sees it worn in the context of a fully styled outfit.  That’s what I expected to happen with this dress. I bought it in New York back in February, brought it home, showed it to him, and he didn’t like it. Trotted it out MONTHS later as part of this ensemble and felt smashing in it. I asked him if he’d changed his stance. Nope. Still dislikes it.

And that’s completely fine. And I’m perfectly happy to keep on wearing it.

I think every woman occasionally butts heads with her partner about sartorial choices. Sometimes – as is often the case with HM – it’s a question of styling. A hated item in the context of an awesome outfit may become less hated. But sometimes your partner just really, really dislikes a garment or accessory and no amount of creative styling will change that.

In those cases, I feel that you have three choices:

  • You can wear the item when your partner isn’t around.
  • You can abandon the item altogether and possibly resent having to do so.
  • You can realize that partners don’t agree fully on everything, and don’t need to.

Dressing is as much about feeling good as it is about looking good, and if wearing a garment that your partner dislikes makes you feel good, you should wear it. You should! And if your partner continues to dislike it, yet wearing it continues to make you feel good, well THAT says something. Because all of us care how our partners perceive us, and the vast majority of us want to be considered beautiful and desirable. So when we’re willing to shirk all that for a specific garment, that means the garment has a value that goes well beyond outside opinions.

Another factor that plays in here is the idea that your partner may see something you don’t. The garment is unflattering, out of style, or fits you oddly and you’re just not seeing it. I look back at photos of myself in clothes that my mom HATED on me, and realize she was right about nearly all of them. It’s a risk to dress against a partner’s wishes. But, again, dressing isn’t just about looking good, it’s about feeling good. And if we wore nothing but perfectly-pressed, figure-flattering clothing all day every day we’d all be extremely grouchy and unpleasant beings.

If your partner hates your entire wardrobe, you may want to have a sit-down. If your partner hates an errant maxi dress or pair of wacky pants, find a way to make your peace with that. Partners disagree. And wacky pants are awesome.

Originally posted 2011-10-18 06:02:08.

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84 Responses to “Partner Conflicts Over Sartorial Choices”

  1. HM

    I am not a fan of clothes that try too hard, which I run into with some regularity married to a fashion forward person. These items fall into the category of made -up clothes. I’m thinking specifically of these Anthropologie pants that had one narrow leg and one super wide leg. Made Up Pants!

    But most the time, Sally has been right with her choices and it IS a matter of styling.


    • Lissa

      I agree, clothes (or outfits) that look like they are trying to hard are just silly.

  2. Elizabeth

    My husband has a tie I loathe. Without fail every time he wears it everyone in the room compliments him on it. So there’s that. I still hate it.

  3. Lori

    So funny — I think this is an absolutely smashing dress, and looks fantastic on you! I love everything about it, and loved it the first time you posted it.

  4. Charlie

    I think I own only one item that my boyfriend hates: a big red faux-leather bag. I don’t use it frequently, because not a lot of my outfits go with flashy red, but when I’m walking around with my big red bag I still feel awesome. I’m OK wearing shoes or a bag that he dislikes, but probably wouldn’t be comfortable in a dress that he strongly dislikes.

  5. Anamarie

    Sally, has your husband explained exactly what he does not like about the dress? If my husband strongly disliked something I felt great in, I would make him explain or STFU! If he had a valid reason for his reaction (too much cleavage, ass hangs out) then I would give more consideration to his criticism.

    • Sal

      Actually, I often prefer he doesn’t! Unless it’s a reason like one you’ve mentioned – indecency, poor fit, etc. – his objections are often that it reminds him of something specific and weird. Once he plants that seed, whatever it is is often ruined for me, even if I’d loved it before. Does that make sense? It works with music, too. If I love a song and he says it sounds like a polka band on ‘shrooms, that’s all I’ll ever hear and my own impressions are weirdly eclipsed.

      • Shelly

        I so get what you mean. I was letting my hair grow out, and it was getting quite long, and I was loving it. . . until my hairdresser told me that if it got any longer, people would confuse me for a middle aged Pentecostal woman. . . I really don’t have problems with Pentecostal women or how they wear their hair. . . but the thought kept nagging me in the back of my mind until I gave up and cut 6 inches off of my hair. . .

  6. Cynthia

    First, I so totally <3 that HM was the first to comment here, and what he said. That was an awwwwwwwwwwww moment for sure 😀

    My husband occasionally dislikes something I'll wear, but I'm completely okay with that. He doesn't usually make a big thing out of it, but will say something once, then let it go, which I so appreciate. The flip side is that I have to keep my mouth shut when he wears that black linen shirt that he's had for 20 years that is faded to gray from black and *so* worn – it's definitely ragbag-worthy but it makes him feel great to wear it so I just cringe a little inside and don't say a thing 🙂 Vive la différence!

  7. joann, sidewalk chic

    Ooh, man, this is sometimes an issue in my home. Sometimes I wear dresses he just doesn’t ‘get.’ Though I value his opinion, I still wear those items anyways, just like he still wears items that I dislike. Where’s the fun and individuality when you dress in your partner’s preferences all the time?

  8. Anna

    I love that outfit—but then your husband and I obviously have different tastes….so…

    My Xdh usually liked what I wore, but the reverse was not always true. Some of his combinations were truly awful. But I was not allowed to make the merest comment, or he would go into a massive sulk (do note the X back there…).

    Thank you, Sal, for emphasizing over and over that taste and preferences can occupy a wide spectrum, to everyone’s pleasure.

  9. Angeline

    I’m in camp 3…my husband and I don’t always agree on clothes and that’s fine. I don’t sound off on his outfit, he doesn’t sound off on mine. Unless I ask. So if I don’t want to know, I just don’t ask. 🙂

  10. Jen

    I do understand this post…I’ve been blessed with a spouse who seems to find the most ideal items for me on clearance racks, shoes that are 75% off in my size and are adorable, and just seems to know what will look stunning on me. Yet (there is always a but, right?) we don’t always see eye-to-eye. I am rather curvy, and am willing to take more risks with fashion. This summer, I picked up a maxi dress I adored. It kept me cool on the super hot days, and looked fun and artsy. My dearest husband did not like it at all. But because I adored it he zipped his lips. Just as he has with the sweater dress I’m eying right now. I think that I’m less fearful of taking risks than he is, which is where our disagreements tend to come from. But, I wouldn’t trade him for any other husband. After all, who else is willing to scour the clearance racks for me while I try on blouse after blouse?!

  11. Penney

    Hi Sal,
    Thanks for sharing the dress and your experience.
    I am interested to know where you will wear this dress – the reason I ask is I went out of my range and bought a fun sexy dress like this and can’t figure out where to wear it. I think I need to find fun sexy places.
    Thanks, Penney

  12. Patti @ NotDeadYet Style

    When we disagree about clothing, we make light of it and give the clothing derogatory names. He hates my “Frankenstein shoes”, e.g., and I call him Grampy when he wears his white socks. Mostly we agree and fawn over each other.

  13. Rocquelle

    Great post Sally!! My boyfriend and disagree on a lot of my sartorial choices; he wouldn’t mind if I was a bit more mild in my shoe and clothing choices. It used to cause lots of disagreements, but we’ve thankfully gotten to a point where we respect each others differences and I wear what I want. I do keep his thoughts and opinions in mind, but I’d never wear something I hate just because he wants me too.

  14. Victoria

    I have to say I side with Husband Mike, although mine is a mild dislike. I’m okay with 75% of the dress, but the remaining 25% ruins it for me. I won’t go into details, because I don’t want to spoil your fun.

    I did like it better when you styled it with that jacket.

  15. Victoria

    Penny, that’s when you make a reason to wear it. My friends and I do this. One of us will throw a dinner party and everyone shows up in their special occasion clothes. A married pair celebrated their anniversary with dinner and a movie in a tux and gown.

  16. coffeeaddict

    Much like Elisabeth’s husband I have a pair of gold Grecian style sandals my partner loathes (with a passion and a vengeance) I have had people literally stopping me in the street to tell me how much they like them. Still my partner won’t budge.
    There are only a handful of items in our wardrobes that we each dislike and encourage the other to wear despite of it. It’s important to strive to please one’s partner but not at the expense of your own personality!

  17. Laurel

    The only times I’ve had a boyfriend tell me he disliked my clothing/outfit, there was a bigger issue at play. He didn’t like that my clothing drew attention to me (and how that “reflected on him”). My clothes were too “flashy” or “lowcut”, or too “weird” or “shapeless”. This guy was only satisfied when I dressed in bland, conventional clothes. He wasn’t comfortable with me being who I am, and expressing that to the world. Because of this, I am more sensitive to romantic partners criticizing my clothes. Sometimes it is just divergent taste, but sometimes there are deeper (uglier) issues going on.

  18. Mrs.M in MI

    I regularly solicit my husband’s opinion on my clothing choices, especially when an outfit isn’t working. He used to work high-end retail so he has a good eye for quality, fit, and proportion.

    Our most common disagreement has to do with “menswear” color matching versus “womenswear” color matching. Apparently the rules for matching suits, shirts, and ties are vastly different than matching dresses, cardigans, and heels, in a way I still fail to grasp.

    Our second most common disagreement has to do with the difference in quality and built-in obsolescence between men’s clothes/shoes and women’s clothes/shoes. My husband wears one of his grandfather’s suits everyday(!), so he can’t understand why one pair of black dress boots won’t last me the rest of my life. (Though let’s face it, that’s only partly the work of five Michigan winters; the rest is my desire for new boots!)

    One of the fun ways we work it out is that at Christmas, our gift to each other is always an item of clothing that we would love to see on the other person, whether they want it or not.

  19. lauren

    my husband doesn’t like my button down-floral pattern shirts… he says they remind him of his great-aunt’s poor taste in wallpaper. lol. he only says something when i am about to buy it, so i usually just don’t ask. 😉

  20. Patience

    Great topic! My husband and I have had serious disagreements about clothes, both his and mine. I once had a plaid J. Crew sheathe dress that I loved, that he said made me look like Lucy from Peanuts. Then he said it made me look “boxy.” Boxy is his euphamism for fat. I don’t approve of his clothes either. He wears printed, short-sleeved, collared shirts with a straight hem, that to me say “dentist.” I hate them but he continues to wear them. We had a huge fight this summer, when we were about to embark on a family road trip and he appeared wearing paint-splattered denim overalls, one of his “dentist” shirts, and those shoes that have the toes incorporated. He looked like a homeless person with gorilla feet. Once I even took him to Banana Republic, and with the help of a salesperson, tried to pick out some clothes we could agree on, and even at a store like BR, he managed to make selections that I didn’t like.
    So unless he is telling me there’s dirt on my bum, I don’t listen to my husband’s fashion advice.

    • Dee

      You are funny! Thanks for the laughs this morning! (perfect description of the “dentist” shirts!)

  21. Brenna

    My husband and I take a ‘live and let live’ sort of approach to dressing. He rarely makes a comment on what I wear (could that be because I am still in my pjs when he leaves the house 99% of the time?). He tells me when I look nice, but almost never does he complain about something. I don’t think I am particularly fashionable, so I run outfits by my mom instead.

  22. Cynthia

    When thinking about spouse/partner issues, there’s a real big distinction between “my husband doesn’t like this one dress” and a general desire to control your choices (e.g. because it somehow “reflects on him” as Laurel described above). Being that this is DV awareness month it should be noted that the latter is a domestic violence red flag (and, of course, the former is not). I have had (briefly) a couple of really controlling partners and so it’s always something that crosses my mind when these discussions come up. But HM is clearly awesome and this isn’t meant to say anything about your situation.

  23. Becky

    I’m in the odd position of having changed how I dress fundamentally for my partner. He’s a somewhat quirky guy and he has a “thing” about textures. Likes: soft cotton, silk, angora, velvet/velour, nylon, soft moleskin, rayon, and some neutrally-textured fabrics. Can. Not. Bear. To. Touch: tweed, wool (except merino), microfiber, corduroy, boucle, seersucker, acrylic, any of the stiff wrinkle-free blends – anything even the tiniest bit scratchy, stiff, bumpy, or “grabby.” He hates to touch them so much that he doesn’t even like the way they look. Literally shudders when he touches them.

    I still own some things in the textures he doesn’t like (I *love* wool and corduroy!) but in general, the kinds of clothing I choose and wear have shifted a lot since we got together (18 years, wow!). It’s a little weird to me still, since I think of myself as a hemp-canvas-pants-and-scratchy-tweedy-jacket kind of girl, to have a wardrobe mostly consisting of drapey, flowy, smooth and soft stuff. But it looks fine, and I get more hugs this way.

    Other than that, like Sal I have noticed that clothing I used to like that I knew he didn’t, actually did not flatter me.

  24. Darlene

    Hmmm, my relationship must be in the minority because my partner barely notices what I have on most of the time. I can’t remember the last time he told me he actively disliked something I was wearing (though if I’m in a dress, which is pretty rare these days as I work from home and don’t go out much, I’ll usually get a compliment).

    Now, if I could just get him out of his ancient, ratty, shapeless hoodie that he wears everywhere, even to work…. (casual office, but still!) And yes, I’ve tried buying him nicer substitutes. I usually keep my mouth shut when I don’t like something he has on, but I have a hard time with this one because I worry that he’s hurting his work image. Sigh.

    • Cat

      It’s like you posted right out of my brain. Shapeless hoodie worn everywhere. That I bought for him, no less. 5 years ago. Worn every day for five years. I admit though that when he leaves it at home (rarely) and I put it on it’s like a big bear hug and I love it.
      But seriously. Five years.

  25. Sonja

    My man says he thinks I dress “too retro”. The answer to that would be: “Honey, this won’t change, you can count on it”.
    Actually the one piece of clothing he hated most, blue wide legged woollen pants originally from the seventies, left my wardrobe some years ago, but not because of him, their times with me just was over.
    Since then I’ve become a bit more daring and feminine in my choice of clothing. My partner prefers my tomboy side, but doesn’t complain about the changes – I’m suspecting he just might have given up.
    He has changed a bit as well, goes shopping more often – about three times a year instead of one – and lately has bought more things that I like as well. I find his style to casual and sporty, but I know that he will be less inclined to change if under pressure, so I really make an effort to bite my tongue and not say anything.
    Generally I think that if you can’t make things work in this field, you won’t be able to make your relationship work in more important areas either.

  26. Kendra @ Closet Confections

    It happens all the time where my husband doesn’t like an item at first but changes his mind later. However, I do have a handful of items he has never liked. For the most part, I respect his opinion (he has very good taste). But if I really love the item, we just agree to disagree, and I continue to wear it… just maybe not on a date, lol!

  27. Anne

    My husband and I have been questioning each others clothing choices for 20 years now. We met in our 20’s at the height of the whole “grunge’ scene. we were both at big transition points in our lives. I was leaving the world or retail administration and returning to school. He was just leaving his surf bum life behind for his first “Real job.” We both had to learn to dress differently. Initially all my husband wanted to see me in was jeans. All I wanted to see him in were clothes that fit, that his mom hadn’t bought when he was 16, and didn’t accommodate a pocket protector.

    He doesn’t question my clothes much anymore except to comment about the whole ruffle phenomenon. I think he is looking forward to the death of that trend and blames Anthropologie for it. I have resigned myself to buying, maintaining, and editing his wardrobe. He really has very few opinions about clothes, his or mine. He does seem to recognize when I’ve made an effort and is usually sweet enough to pay me a compliment. That makes the other random comments easier to take.

  28. malevolent andrea

    Many years ago I had a plaid button down shirt dress with white collar and cuff that my future ex-husband hated. He called it the librarian dress, as in, “OMG no, she’s wearing the librarian dress again!” It did look pretty prim, but it was also stylish at the time. I think I wore it more often than I would have otherwise just to spite him, but I was young and immature then 😉

    In the intervening years, I don’t think any of my partners have ever expressed that kind of hatred of any of my clothes. OTOH, I am more sensitive to listening to what they actually compliment and tending to wear those things when I’m going to be spending time with them. So I guess I fall more into your first category.

  29. Vildy

    wow, he sure knows how to make an outfit he doesn’t like look great, though!
    This is one of my tippytop favorites of your looks.

  30. Robin

    Sally, I love your blog and I read it every day. I have seen you wear this white dress before and loved it. I am really digging this post today because I think we can alllllllllllllllllll relate to this issue. My bf usually likes (or says that he likes) what I wear. I think he is just being nice. But I have a lot of other people (my boss for example) that sometimes disagrees with my fashion choices. I think that style is a personal journey and evolution. It is up to what you like and what you feel good in. But, it doesn’t hurt to get a few pointers here and there as well. Kinda helps you step out of your style box a bit and try new things–which is never bad. Great post and I hope you keep rocking this dress!

  31. LinB

    Sing to the tune of “Rocky Top”: Wacky pants, you’ll always be wacky pa-a-nts to me! Good old wacky pants, wacky pants Tennessee, wacky pants Tennesee—eee—eee—eee—eeee! I usually refer to mine as “happy pants” which also fits this song. I sing it, loudly, whenever dear husband pokes fun at my happy pants.

  32. Secret Squirrel

    Sal, you have nailed this issue with your post! There have been times when I have listened to feedback from my partner as to why something doesn’t work. The one time, he pointed out that fitted tailored clothes suit me best. I agree with this- most empire line things look round on me and I look my best with a bit of definition at the middle. But he just doesn’t get the ‘skinny jeans, draper blouse’ idea and thinks ALL the outfit should be skinny fit.
    Same for him, I really don’t think he looks good in bright red and he has ken that on board. But he completely ignores me when I beg him to wear his cool 50’s style jeans, they are too baggy, apparently.

    When you listen politely to each other, use humour where necessary (I love the ‘Gramps’ nickname a few posts up!), but ultimately go your own way, it’s respectful.

    A partner implying ALL your choices are bad, as a form of control, is not good.

  33. Trystan (the CorpGoth)

    My hubbi & I have pretty similar tastes, but I have a mad passion for pink that he rather abhors. It’s the one thing he will wrinkle his nose at when I wear it. But the most he’ll say is, “honey, how about [dress x in another color]?” Or something like “well, you sure do love pink….”

  34. Margot907

    My husband usually makes me feel beautiful in whatever I wear and he is usually the first one to compliment me on anything new. Our area of disagreement is scarves. Since discovering them a few years ago I love to wear them, but he likes to be able to see my neck.

    Our simple solution is that I wear them to work and not at home or out on dates. I get to feel fabulous in scarves and still humor his preferences.

    • Erika A

      Yeah, Mr. G is not a fan of scarves. I’m thin-shouldered and wide-busted and he thinks scarves swallow my neck and obscure my figure. He’s probably right, but oh colorful SCARVVVVVVES! *laugh*

      I do something similar to you – wear my scarves to school or out with the ladies, or just around. If we were going out together I skip the scarf.

  35. lisa

    The boy never speaks up about my clothes unless he REALLY likes something; the pieces he’s said he likes are still in my closet.

  36. Cyndi

    I LOVE the comment from Mrs.M in MI:
    One of the fun ways we work it out is that at Christmas, our gift to each other is always an item of clothing that we would love to see on the other person, whether they want it or not.
    I must steal that idea…
    That said, my SO is excellent in choosing what looks good on me. He loves shopping with me and often picks things for me to try that I never would have thought of, and he is 99% correct. However, I can’t think of anything I have that he told me he doesn’t like, but I can think of a few things he has told me that he loves — and those I tend to wear when I want to make him feel special .

    • Mrs.M in MI

      The best part is, the pieces always end up being ones we absolutely love and wear forever, even if we don’t like them out of the box.

  37. The Waves

    My husband likes most of my clothes, but there are some that he doesn’t quite “get”. He’s always very nice about it, and his comments are always very helpful. He does see things with fit and proportion that I don’t always see myself. For the most part though, he trusts that I know what I’m doing.

    Way back, I had “an evil ex” who was very open about disliking some of my clothing choices, and he was flat-out mean. It’s absolutely okay to disagree, but it’s never okay to be a bully!

  38. helene

    I have come to realize that most of my favorite shoes are also most of my husband least favorites. Bah they are still my favorites and I keep wearing them 🙂

  39. crst

    My husband doesn’t care for my clothing choices in general. The odd thing is that I dress fairly classically and am known as work as the one with great clothing/accesorizing taste. My choices however are not classic (or boring enough, in my opinion) for him. He would prefer a ponytail, a polo, jeans, athletic shoes and no jewelry. I never get compliments from him on how I look, so I stopped trying to make him happy with my choices years ago. It was obvious it would be impossible to please us both. So I chose me 🙂

  40. lisa

    I have been reading your blog for about three years. Hands down, with no close seconds, I think that is the best outfit you have ever posted. I think that every time I see the picture. (This is at least the third time you have used it in a post.)
    I hope you keep wearing it and continue to feel smashing in it.

  41. Rebecca

    I have a pair of yellow pants that my husband hates! I like them, so I have just come to accept that he will always hate the pants.

  42. Fabienne Jach

    I often turn to my hubby for last minute “babe, which looks better? These shoes? Or these?” but every once in a while he really, really dislikes something. He’s made it clear that my harem pants have no business existing. Let alone in my closet. I gently reminded him that while I respect his opinion and love it when he approves of the way I dress, I don’t actually dress for him. Hence the harem pants. Sometimes, we just to agree to disagree:)

  43. Eagle Eye

    Hah, this is actually one of the major points of contention between the bf and me. He’s VERY opinionated and fervently believes that his taste is the BEST taste, so while he likes many of the clothes I own, he dislikes quite a few and is very open to letting me know. However, eh, sometimes I like that dress/ jacket/ what-have-you. Although I have responded to his hatred of skinny jeans by owning a couple of pairs of bootleg jeans that he loves…although its not like my skinny jeans are out of my general clothing rotation or anything.

    Also if we’re doing a ‘date-night’ or something, I’ll wear something that I know he likes, because that’s the nice thing to do.

    On his end, I really hate the pants he bought before we met, so I’ve been introducing him to slightly skinnier legs that don’t make him look like he fell right out of the 70s. We also do talk a fair amount about what I like/ don’t like about his wardrobe.

    However, if one of us does look good that day, we are both always ready with a compliment!

  44. Elle

    How about a haircut?! That’s a style choice not so easily changed, one that can alter one’s look entirely. A big adjustment if one’s not a fan! I’ve admittedly held my tongue as an ex went for the same unflattering near-buzz-cut over and over, and I dealt with my aesthetic displeasure by enjoying the feel of it instead.

    Clothing-wise, I don’t think a partner’s opinion has ever phased me much. I’d probably only tailor what I wore to their taste for something like a formal event or photos, and expect to exercise the same veto power in return.

  45. Cynthia @ Go Chic or Go Home

    I appear to be in the minority. My style is pretty minimalist (some might say boring) and the husband always seems to like what I wear. He makes it a point to compliment me whenever we go out (maybe he’s just trying to butter me up). I love how he dresses, but he also has pretty classic style. There’s one turtleneck in my wardrobe that the husband says makes me look like ET, but that’s the extent of the complaints and we’ve been together for almost 10 years.

    When it comes to my husband’s involvement in what I wear, he generally just helps me decide on new purchases. I’ll show my him what I bought, and the few times he has disliked something I’ve returned it. Looking back those pieces were definitely not my style so he was spot on. (Too short-yellow-mod-trendy dress … I’m talking about you, my friend.)

  46. hellotampon

    I love that dress on you!

    I know there have been a few times where I’ve asked for my boyfriend’s opinion on some item and he says he doesn’t really care for it. I will ask why and he usually gives some reason that I think is nonsense, so I wear it anyway. I could probably go through my whole closet right now and wouldn’t be able to tell you what those items were though… that’s how much I care!

    If there was anything he could change about the way I dress, I know he would want me to do it faster, without whining about how I wish I were taller/thinner/etc. and pestering him with questions about how I look. I don’t think he pays a lick of attention to the clothes themselves.

  47. Cat

    After leaving an abusive relationship where my clothing choices were mostly dictated to me, I kinda had a chip on my shoulder. So when my husband disliked a pair of pants, I said, “Too bad!” Then I saw a photo of myself in said pants. Hideous! So I listen to his opinion now and at least consider it.

  48. Megan Mae

    I think it’s a gorgeous dress! Difficult to style I imagine, but what big fluffy white dress isn’t.

    I sometimes listen to my partner on his opinions of my clothes, and frequently ask him how he thinks an outfit looks (he’s my blog-photog afterall), but if I really feel a certain way about something, I usually make my own final decision on how I feel.

    Ultimately, I know he would prefer me to go back to only wearing jeans and t shirts on a regular basis. But I like getting dressed up.

  49. Eleanorjane

    My husband reeeeally doesn’t care about clothes. I wish he’d compliment me when I make an effort to get dressed up to go out but he’s always worrying about being late instead.

    In terms of his clothes, he reluctantly accepts advice and very reluctantly goes on a shopping trip with me once a year or so. I try to coax him into throwing out worn out things and I buy him whatever I can i.e. shirts, jumpers (sweaters).

    PS- I don’t like the dress. I think I’d be quite happy with it in another colour, but the white makes it look to me like it’s made out of tissue paper. But enjoy!

  50. Pam @over50feeling40

    I think I have said before how much I like this dress…particularly the collar. For me, it depends how he says it…if it is construction criticism, I might not wear it again or just wear it when I am doing something a part from him. If he is being a toot, then I might wear it just to be rebellious. He has given me good advice before and in recent years the advice is mostly constructive….so if I know he really doesn’t prefer a look, I will probably avoid it.

  51. The Cheap Chick

    I’m single, so there is no one to Nay my wardrobe. BUT! I have one dress that every man on Earth seems to hate… and yet I get oodles of compliments from women whenever I wear it. I call it my Boy-Repellent Dress. Which is strange, because there is nothing obviously male offensive about it. And yet, all men give it the Nay.

  52. Mia

    I don’t think I have too many items that Michael abhors on me…there are definitely items he doesn’t really get, like certain scarves, but there’s not much that he hates and he’s certainly never forbade me from wearing anything because it offended his sensibilities. (He was slightly uncomfortable with the idea of me going to Slutwalk in anything less revealing, but it didn’t end up working out, and we’ve had some talks about the politics of the female body et al and I think he understands my position better now.) If he isn’t a fan of something, he couches it in fairly kind terms, and I can just laugh it off. I do enjoy asking him his opinion on some of my weirder choices, because he’ll tell me that I’m, “erm, loud” or that I “Iook like a maraca” and it just cracks me up.

  53. WendyB

    I can’t recall MrB complaining about anything that I own…he probably thinks that’s too dangerous 😉

  54. Kenze

    My boyfriend doesn’t usually say much about my clothing because a) he’s horrendously colorblind and b) he’s just happy I shave my legs and don’t dress in the “hipster-hobo-chic” style of a typical Oregon college student. He’ll speak up when he really likes stuff! He’s usually more picky about my hairstyles, but that’s because he loves playing with my nearly waist-length slippery straight hair, and whenever I do a complicated style it requires a LOT of product and NO TOUCHING 🙂

  55. Grace

    My husband is a professor in the religious pholosophy, which means he IS to be critical to every single thought and, which extends to the aesthtics of the fashion and home decorating. Sometimes he was TOO critical and criticizes the entire artistic sense of me and my kids. So I do not go shopping with him. My daughter usually gets in to tears when he urges her to wear something completely out of teen’s fad. Classic, two sizes up(they are growing), monotonous, long enough for the skirs, down to th ground flats, hiking boots(fTey are durable, aren’t they?.), boyish(meaning pratical), not too much makeup but wth a mice hair cut.( I took her to my stylist and have her do my daughter’s hair. It costs a lot. But I did not say it to him, because it would be out sense for him to pay such an amount of money for a hair cut.)

    I have a teaching job and in front of the students you are supposed to choose as a teacher (meaning: a bit of classic and conservative BUT also with some tiny bits of fads aw a way of showing my understanding of student fashion and also changes, Who liles a teache with a uniformish wear every day for the same students for season.). I take his criticism as a valuable opinion of a person and appreciate it but I make it clear that I am not wearing for him at classroom, job, collegue meetings. and a day out with my friends (without him, of course).
    He has a right to express his opinion and I have a right to express my own in many ways and one of them is dressing in my way. When my kids are hurrying our with their stye I just let them do it. When the ask me about their dressing I as “How do you feel about it? is it comfortable with you (both phycsially and psychologically)? Is it appropriate for your day(meeting professor/ field trip etc.)? That’s it. They will find their own style while trying on many different ways.
    It is not a matter of schlolartic aesthetics..It not easy, of course, when you get the harsh critical words covering the whole aesthtic sense of me and even my parents. But It is a sort of his job related disease. I should swallow it..

  56. Kookoo

    I think this dress is a stretch for you as it is more frilly in concept, but it also highlights your figure. Hm probably sees that discrepancy and it makes him uncomfortable. I find my students and hubby also speak up when my outfits push past expectations. It doesn’t stop me. Over the top is fun. They can look away, but I get to live the vision whether it is a hit or miss.

  57. Bethany

    Ooh, now I get to tell one of my favorite stories! When I married him, my husband had no clothes opinions except cleavage = good. He wore pleated-front pants and those free t-shirts corporations give away, mostly in a size or two too large. Had the stereotypical male attitude toward shopping, etc.

    Fast forward two years, we’re in Macy’s shopping for a dress for me to wear to a friend’s wedding. I’m feeling sort of blah about the whole thing- how to find a nice classy dress in a grad student’s price range before hubby gets bored? I pop into the dressing room with a few options and my husband wanders off for a minute, then comes back and hands me a hanger over the door. Turns out to be a gorgeous structured, knee-length Calvin Klein sheath dress in blue with a square neckline (my favorite neckline shape, not that he knew this). Of course, I’m fairly curvy so sheath dresses are very hit-and-miss, but I don’t want to discourage him, so I try it on and it is perfect. Curvy and classy and sexy all at once. The saleslady and I were absolutely agog over his skill.

    Obviously, I bought it and wore it to the wedding, where I was asked if I was a model, and told everyone that my husband picked it out. Turns out he has fantastic taste in formalwear. Who knew? Now he vets all my fancy dresses.

    His style story also has a happy ending- he now has a Utilikilt collection that he rotates with flat-front linen-blend trousers, plus fitted t-shirts or button-downs and a gorgeous tweed Stetson fedora. YUM. Last time we went out on the town, he was getting catcalls from the ladies!

    • Bethany

      To get more relevant, yes, he has clothing that I hate and I have clothing he hates. Ultimately, we dress to please ourselves and each other, so the hated clothing stays in rotation unless/until one of us finds a replacement that meets the same needs as the hated item without the objectionable bits. So, say, his oversized cheap t-shirts are now fitted t-shirts from Express- just as comfy and easy to wear (what he wants) and much more flattering (what I want). And my long strapless maxi-dress is superceded by a long maxi-dress with spaghetti straps and a drawn-in waist; just as flowy and feminine as I like, but with the bust support and waist definition he prefers.

      And of course, we still wear the “hated” items on laundry days. 🙂

  58. sarah

    Oh yeah, I had a boyfriend once who told me I couldn’t wear heels. It’s a common experience for tall girls, but I actually considered it a huge red flag at the time. THis guy wasn’t and isn’t an abusive person, but the fact that he *needed* to me suggested a smallness of character that I didn’t need in my life.

    My darling husband, however, is very live-and-let-live, and my wardrobe includes a headdress with taxidermied bird wings and a maxi skirt made of cowhide lashed together with leather lacing (back alley flea markets in Mexico ftw!). I do actually like to run things by him; if he says “it does nothing for your figure,” it goes back. Otherwise, I generally don’t ask and he doesn’t comment. We both know the clothes are my passion and hobby; so long as I’m happy, that’s all that matters.

  59. Glamdoc

    Dearest Sally, once again you nailed it. And HM, you rule! And have some sass too 🙂

    I´m sure my two cents aren´t needed here because of all the previous great comments on all the different aspects this might relate to. But feel like saying something because your site is important to me; when it comes to dressing nice to feel better, and to dare mixing up things a little. My hubs only comments when I ask him to (like, I ask him straight out what styles he doesn´t like because I want him to find me ravishing at all times), but his remarks makes me a more careful and timid about my selections. Thanks to the loving blogosphere, and YOU, I´ve come to realize that it´s mostly about me and my own insecurities. If I´m wearing a cut I know he dislikes (poufy cap sleeves, polka dots, purple items, frilly girly stuff), I feel less confident. And I´ve come to understand that it´s all in my head. To prove the point: on our first date (which lasted for over seven hours until every restaurant and bar was closed) I wore a blouse with poufy sleeves. The night when I asked if he wanted to be my boyfriend (the first guy I asked since I was fourteen, and this was at the ripe age of 29) I´d been wearing a purple, girly, polka-dotted Peter Pan-collared tea-dress with a bow. And he still said yes.

    So now I try to NOT limit myself to wear husband-approved styles, because I know that he loves my brains, wit, sass, body, and devil-may-care-attitude. Enough to propose after ten months even though he was ´not the marrying kind´. Still need to work some more on that though, but I find most of the affirmation and inspiration I need right HERE 🙂

  60. Marie

    I am so lucky because my hubby likes me in pretty much anything. I actually don’t know what I’d do with a garment if he said he didn’t like it. I am the one who is critical of his clothes, but I am trying to quit that.
    We are both pretty opinionated on each other’s hair styles, though.

  61. Stacy

    My hubby and I seem to agree about what looks best on me. If he really hated an outfit, I don’t think I’d stop wearing it, but I might not have it in heavy rotation, either. And I don’t think I’d ever habitually dress (or wear my hair, or whatever) in a way that made me consistently unattractive to him.

  62. Kris10

    My husband will tell me if he doesn’t like something, but often weeks after I’ve worn it (he does the same with food!). He just figures he doesn’t “understand” it, and I try to avoid things that he absolutely abhors. He can be really helpful and has a better handle on my style than I do–he’ll pick out a “Kristen shirt” or suggest we leave a store because it’s “not a Kristen store.” He’s usually right. He can also have…questionable…taste, verging on sleazy: “Honey, why don’t you get those jeans that don’t have butt pockets?”

    He also compliments my hair every time I get it cut, which is every 5 weeks or so, and it’s adorable/hilarious because I’ve had the same style for a while now! I think someone told him that as marriage advice. Whatever, I appreciate the monthly compliment 🙂

    • notemily

      Ha, I have a (male) best friend who knows my style better than I do, too! I’ll send him a link to something I like, a dress or whatever, and if he says “that’s a Sophie dress,” I know it’s worth buying.

      (On the other hand, while he straightens HIS hair religiously, he has claimed that he’ll be traumatized forever if I ever cut off my long curly hair. *shrug*)

  63. rb

    I am really, really lucky, because my husband likes just about everything I wear. I like feminine clothing and he likes feminine women, so we kind of match in that way – I guess that’s one of the reasons we clicked when we met. He also likes my funky shoes and wears cool shoes himself.

    However, he doesn’t like my choice of scents. He likes scent in general but doesn’t like floral types. And me? I’ve never met a gardenia fragrance I didn’t adore. He thinks they all smell “old-lady” and as far as I can tell, his scent preferences run to oriental/woodsy/tobacco/musk notes, which I cannot STAND!

    Not a big area of disagreement, as scent is more of an occasional rather than every day thing for me. But I know what it feels like to have your spouse have a visceral negative reaction to something you really really like.

  64. Mel@vasiliasvintage


    I LOVE that white dress! It reminds me of Marilyn Monroe! I imagine a dress like that would be hard to accessorize, but you did a great job – I’m sure HM will come around! 🙂

    I’m a little late chiming in on this, but it’s a very important topic. My partner doesn’t “get” some of the stuff I wear (and sell) because she came of age in the 60s and 70s, and despises polyester and loud prints. I grew up in the 80s, and I just don’t “get” things like leggings, neon, etc., so I’m always amazed at those who love acid-washed anything! 🙂

    But, we respect one another and she’s usually very supportive about my fashion choices, just a bit bemused sometimes, I guess. I actually pick out most of her clothes, and she’s getting to the point now where she really doesn’t need me anymore – girlfriend ROCKS long tunics, lots of jewelry, etc.

  65. notemily

    Sal, I love this dress so much! It’s All Saints, right? I love their clothes and I don’t care if they’re “made up.” To me, “made up” clothing is the best clothing! I’m fascinated by the different ways designers find to structure clothes, and a unique structure usually means I’ll fall instantly in love with the product. (Doesn’t mean I can afford it, of course.)

    I, however, would probably never buy this dress because I know it’d get stained within about three seconds of me putting it on.

    All these comments are making me really glad I’m single, btw.

  66. Lili @ Relatable Style

    Yep, sometimes a girl just has to stand up for her dress! My boyfriend is perfectly capable to say about an item “I like that on you” and three weeks later point at the same item and say “oh, is it laundry day?”. Seriously, how could I trust in the sartorial opinions of someone who does this? 😉

    Relatable Style