Dappered Classics: When He Always Outdresses She.

Dappered Classics: When He Always Outdresses She.
Ask A Woman: Is it okay to consistently out-dress your significant other?

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Originally published 6/16/11ally.

Hi Beth:

My girlfriend is quite a few years younger than I, giving me quite a bit more time to find my sense of personal style and build out my wardrobe – and I’m generally a bit more interested in fashion that she is.  I’m often challenged by the balance between “dressing to look nice for her” and “not out-dressing her so much as to make her look like a schlump” (not that I ever think she looks like a schlump!)

As I’m sure you’ve seen, there are many couples out there in the world where the woman is dressed with some thought for how it looks and even with consideration for the outing or venue – and the guy apparently spent about 15 seconds rummaging through his closet for a t-shirt and a pair of jeans.

So what are your thoughts on the man in the relationship regularly, or semi-regularly, out-dressing the woman – even if it’s only by a smidge?

– Peter

Oh Peter.

Clearly you’re not a long-term reader otherwise you would have referenced this post, one of my first for Ask A Woman.  What have you been reading all this time?  It’s Glenn O’Brien over at GQ, isn’t it?  Isn’t it?  Damn you Peter!  And damn you Mr. O’Brien with your snarky wit and impeccable taste!  Guess what though?  You’re not a woman!   That’s right, sir, I have something (several somethings, in fact) that you don’t have.   You and your…parts…will NEVER replace me here on AAW!

Awful. But Equal. Equally awful.

Your question is a little different from that other dude.  He seemed more bothered by the discrepancy between he and his wife’s different tastes, and was wondering how to get his wife more interested in clothing and style.  You seem simply to want to know what I think about a guy out-dressing his lady since it is much more common to see the other situation–a man less interested in his appearance while his significant other puts a lot of effort into her dress.

I think it’s totally fine for the man in a relationship to be more into clothing than the woman.  It’s the new millenium for goodness sake (or should I say…for PETE‘s sake? sorry, it was too easy).  Women are working outside the home; men are stay-at-home dads; up is down and left is right.  Plus, a man taking an interest in clothing is hardly a new occurrence: Frank, James, Sean (I kid, here’s the real one), and so on.  In fact, I would hazard a guess that many of the men visiting Dappered are in this same position.  No worries, Peter.

Incidentally, I was interested in the statement, “My girlfriend is quite a few years younger than I, giving me quite a bit more time to find my sense of personal style.”  My professor father, who has always had both a personal and academic interest in style (I know, the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree) told me that he thinks he just recently figured out what his personal style is.  This seems to mesh with what you’re saying, Peter, that figuring out what you like, what flatters you, can take years and years to master.  I’m wondering how many other readers out there agree with this.  That style is honed and developed over the years?  If you do agree with this, what has helped you to figure out your personal style?  Is it reading style blogs, flipping through magazines, just getting out there and going shopping?   Also, why do you think it takes so long to figure out something as simple as what you like?  I’d be interested to hear what you have to say in the comments section below.


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