Ask A Woman: The million dollar question: what do women want?
If you’ve got a question that needs the female treatment, chances are you’re not the only one who wants to ask it. Beth is our source for the answers. From opinions on men’s style to decoding the sometimes mysterious ways of women, she’ll take on a different question every Thursday. She also might provide an answer without waiting to be asked. That happens from time to time too. Click here to get to know Beth, then get in touch with her by sending your question to: firstname.lastname@example.org .
My question is concerning a discussion my wife and I had the other night. We were planning on meeting another married couple for dinner and drinks, and we were going to a somewhat nice neighborhood joint. The male half of that other couple dresses like a slob. I sell custom suits for a living, so quite a difference in our outfits that night.
After dinner, I made a comment to my wife to the tone of, “His beautiful wife deserves better from him than faded jeans and a t-shirt,” to which she agreed. But that led to our discussion of how much “dressing like a grown up” women actually appreciate these days.
In a world where most guys just wear sneakers/jeans/t-shirt 95% of the time, what do women want? What do they expect? Would they rather see a guy in a suit or the jeans get-up?
Considering we’re all gathered here to talk about style and living well in general, I can safely say that all of the guys reading Dappered would agree with you that it’s preferable to take care with one’s attire. And I feel the same way. Dressing nicely makes you feel good about yourself and often it makes other people see you in a positive light.
I’ve definitely had the experience you’re describing–seeing someone schlub around in ill-fitting, faded/stained clothing, and thinking, come on, dude, try a little! But I also know that some people don’t give a damn about their appearance. Neither choice–dressing well versus dressing, um, unwell–is wrong, it’s just a matter of priorities. For all I know, while I was applying my makeup and blow drying my hair this morning, that guy in front of me at the grocery store with mustard all over his baggy cargo pants was working in his research lab trying to find a better treatment for MS. Or maybe he was playing World of Warcraft and we’re both wastes of space.
“Are you trying to look unattractive?”
As far as whether other people in our lives deserve to see us well dressed…eh, I wouldn’t go that far. Aside from occasions like getting married (where you want to dress well to honor the significant commitment you’re making) or attending Grandma Ida’s funeral (where you want to dress formally to honor the memory of a loved one), I don’t know that we can link how we’re dressed to how we’re treating people.
Here’s an example from my life. My husband wears a suit and tie to work almost every single day; he’s got excellent taste and he looks slick in his formal attire. But because he wears a suit 60 hours a week, he wants to be in the sloppiest clothing possible after work and on weekends. Sometimes we’ll be leaving for a casual dinner out and I’ll say, “I think people will stare if you walk in with neon yellow mesh shorts.” And he frowns and changes into something marginally better. While I prefer to see him in nice clothing when we’re out together, I certainly don’t feel disrespected when he chooses to dress down.
Haven’t we all been Ryan Gosling to a friend’s Steve Carrell?
To the other part of your question, as is frequently the case my answer will be that what women want is so varied. One woman might see a dude in a suit at a restaurant and think, pretentious much? Someone else, on the other hand, will think it looks very dapper. It sounds like you and your wife are a good match in this area because you both really value looking put together, and you appreciate that priority in the other person. Boom.
Bottom line: People should dress for themselves; if others dig it, that’s a bonus.
Got something brewing in your life? Send me an email–style, etiquette, relationships–I answer it all: email@example.com