Advice Male Perspective

The Male Perspective: Changing Your Man’s Style?

Developing a sense of fashion takes men a large number of years.  It usually starts in their teenage years as they try out some of the clothing popularized by a particular celebrity or an admired figure in their life, followed by experimentation with what sense of style would be considered cool by the in-crowd.  By the time men start to enter their 20’s they usually have started to piece together clothing that they feel comfortable in and that they think presents a good image.  It is by this point that what men wear has become very much tied into their identity and they see what they wear as an extension of who they are.

Thus, when you meet your romantic partner for the first time what he is wearing is very much him trying to say what type of person he is and demonstrate that he’s comfortable in his own skin.  So if you choose to pursue a relationship with him it never occurs to him that you may want to change what he wears and how he looks.  He thinks you’ve accepted him for who he is.

Unfortunately, for him this may not be the case at all.  You may be of the opinion that what he wears needs to be changed, but as you try to push that agenda it will undoubtedly cause him to question how you really feel about him.  When this happens, your romantic partner may be polite and go along with it to make you happy but his true feelings on the matter are usually something quite different.

Perhaps the best illustration of this ever put on film was a montage scene in the movie Forgetting Sarah Marshall where it flashes back to all of the various articles of clothing that Peter (played by Jason Segel) wears that his ex-girlfriend bought him.  You can clearly see how uncomfortable he feels wearing the clothing and his look of dismay and helplessness.

Later on in the film, Sarah Marshall’s new boyfriend Aldous Snow (played by Russell Brand) has relented to wearing a shirt that he is clearly unhappy with.  However, as the movie progresses, he proceeds to disparage the shirt he’s wearing and even spills a drink on it.

What both examples illustrate is how Kristen Bell’s character Sarah Marshall cannot accept either Peter or Aldous just as they are.  It also shows arrogance on her part as she clearly believes she knows what’s best in terms of what they should wear.  What is also hinted at is that there is a very clear image that she has in mind with regards to how her boyfriend should be.  It’s clear that neither Peter nor Aldous fit that image, so during the course of her relationship with them, she tries to turn them into it.

Essentially, this roundabout example is a way of illustrating that if you’re trying to radically change the image of your partner, it is a symptom of something greater; it means that you have a clear picture in your mind’s eye of what your partner should be and should look like and since your current partner doesn’t fit that image you’re going to transform him into it.

Unfortunately, this completely fails to take account of how he may feel about it and he will simply tell you he’s fine with it because he wants to make you happy and not lose you.  The problem is that in the end he’ll never be whatever this idealized picture is that you have for a romantic partner.  He will always be who he is, only he’ll be sporting an image that he doesn’t feel comfortable with.

So really what needs to be asked is can you accept him for who he is or are you incapable of doing so?  If you can’t, its very likely that at some point, the relationship will break down.  There will be a moment where things will boil over and both of you will realize how incapable you each are.

If you, however, can accept him for who he is and you want to introduce him to new clothes, and perhaps update his style, it should be done gradually and an effort should be made so that it fits in with his existing clothes.  Go through what clothes he already has and when it comes time that you want to get him something new make sure the colors, tones, and style are not a radical departure from what he’s been wearing.  Ask him if he would like to get some new clothes but make sure he is an active participant  and  demonstrate that you understand what fits with who he is.  By doing so you’ll show that you respect him as a person and the image he presents to the world.

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