Ask A Woman: Grey & Brown, you and your wife…
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I consider myself a pretty well dressed guy. I know how to dress nicely and am often complemented at work on my dress. I recently tried a new fashion move that backfired for me. At Christmas, I opted to wear grey slacks with a brown belt and shoes. I thought it looked sharp. My wife and her family thought I had broken the cardinal “no brown/black combinations” rule, and teased me mercilessly. Who was right? I like the look, and have since broken it out a couple of times, each time to compliments from the general public and ridicule from my wife. I tried to show her where others have pulled off the look, but she doesn’t care that “fashion blogs on the internet” say the grey/brown combo is acceptable. She’s made her anti-brown/grey feelings abundantly clear. Is it worth it to try to change her mind or should I just roll with it and avoid wearing that combo again?
I see two separate issues here. The first is whether grey and brown work as a color combo. The second is the manner in which you and your wife are interacting. One at a time.
You can wear brown and grey together. Yes. You have to pay close attention to the shades of brown and grey that you’re pairing together, but you can absolutely do it. Our fearless Dappered leader pointed out this article to me. The cognac color of the shoes against the light grey of the pants is beautiful and elegant. Wearing brown and grey together is not what I think of a traditional color combination so it’s one of those instances that gives you the opportunity to explore your unique look, and play with color. Need some celebrity examples of this look working? David Beckham pairs a grey suit with brown shoes (and pinks socks!). Jake Gyllenhaal rocks a very dark charcoal suit with chocolate brown shoes. 50 Cent takes a page from DB and also combines dark grey, brown and pink–new tri-color trend?
Now…you and your wife. People in relationships rib each other. It can be a way to show affection and release tension. And people have different ideas about style…which is what makes it style, and not, say, federal statutes, or principles of physics. It’s about personality and preference and FUN. But “merciless teasing” and “ridicule”? No good. Your wife is allowed to tell you she thinks what you’re wearing looks terrible. You come out of the bedroom in a new ensemble and she says, “Eesh, hon, that sweater is not my favorite look on you.” Maybe you wear it again in a month and she mentions it again. That’s fair. That’s honesty and that’s what people who trust each other and feel comfortable around each other do. But that’s the extent of the criticism. She should not be ridiculing you. You’re a grown-ass man and you get to wear what you want. Also, I’m not wild about her ganging up on you with her family. A good-natured joke is one thing. Teasing you without end is not cool. Plus? It’s CLOTHING. Let’s have some perspective here. Maybe everyone on that side of the family should worry about whether you’re a loving, supportive husband instead of scrutinizing so closely what you’re wearing.
You present two options at the end of your email: change her mind about grey/brown, or stop wearing it. I think there’s another, better option. Wear it and don’t worry about her opinion.
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