We all know at least one of them—men who have spent their entire lives with a stalled fashion sense, still wearing what they thought was cool in high school. The hard, unvarnished truth is that most guys just can’t be bothered when it comes to anything related to fashion and style. What they’ve got on is comfortable, and they’ve got other things to do! But the thing is: they often don’t know where to start.
It often inevitably falls to us ladies to create the change that we want to see. It’s on us to save our fathers, brothers, friends and significant others from looking like they dressed in the dark—from sloppy style and ill-fitting fashion. Here are a few tips on how to gently, lovingly steer a man you care about in the correct sartorial direction:
1. Purge His Closet
If the main issue is that the man of your life has a habit of wearing tattered, ratty clothes out, the simple solution is to remove those pieces from his rotation. A closet purge—done with his consent and blessing, of course—will help you see what you’re working with while streamlining his wardrobe down to the clothes that are actually wearable.
Men can have a difficult time letting go, but they’ll see sense if you show them that you’re only getting rid of stuff that’s no longer suitable for polite company. While you’re at it, get rid of all his white socks, too. They don’t go with anything and they get dirty easily! You can always replace them with multi-purpose colored socks worth showing off instead.
2. Make A Fun Jaunt Out of A Shopping Trip
One of the most enduring myths about men is that they detest shopping. In truth, it’s far less about the shopping itself so much as it is about the small annoyances associated with the process. They dislike the idea of wandering around aimlessly; they also think that taking off their clothes to try on new ones is inconvenient, to say the least.
Set a man loose in a department store or mall by himself and he’ll come out in less than an hour, laden with bags of clothes that don’t even fit. Going with your guy instead makes it fun, which will then render him much more agreeable. Having a guide like you in tow will also make him feel more at ease while browsing the racks. Don’t let an overeager salesperson crowd him; instead, take the initiative to pick out things you’ll think will look great. He’ll appreciate the help, even if he doesn’t say so.
3. Show, Don’t Tell
Nobody likes being told what to do, regardless of their gender. However, when you show a man how much better he looks in clothes that actually fit, he’ll not only be less resistant to the concept, he’ll also remember your pointers better.
Relieve him of his love for baggy clothes by showing him how a round-neck shirt should fit. The collar should fit relatively close to the neck, while the sleeves should fall to his mid-biceps, lightly hugging the arms. It shouldn’t be too tight, either—you should be able to pinch at least 1 to 2 inches of fabric out from the sides in the stomach area. Once he sees the difference for himself, he’ll never go back to dressing like it’s still the late ‘90s.
4. Keep It Positive
Ragging on your guy about his look is only bound to put him on the defensive. After that, it’ll be close to impossible to make him accept your critique in the spirit that it’s intended. Positive language is key here: you want to uplift him, not put him down. Instead of “don’t wear this” or “you shouldn’t wear that”, try “this looks so much better”. It won’t feel like an attack, and it’ll redirect his attention accordingly.
5. Be Encouraging
You won’t be able to dictate his wardrobe forever. After a point, your man will have to man up and make his own fashion choices. By then, he should be able to dress himself and make sensible clothes purchases without your assistance. When he does, be appreciative! Be proud, even! This will encourage him to keep developing his style to the point where he won’t need your help anymore.
When it comes down to it, most men aren’t dressing badly on purpose. They want to dress better, so show them how! If you’re constructive instead of critical, they’ll surely be grateful for it.