Put You On That New: Do You Dress Your Man?
Now that I’m getting into my mid to late thirties, I fear that I’ll become more and more out of touch with what’s fashionable as I find myself struggling with straddling the line between looking young and fly and looking like someone’s mom who is trying way too hard. Never being the Being Mary Jane business suit type, most days you’ll find me in a graphic tee emblazoned with a slogan that reads something like, “Stay Woke” paired with a blazer, some skinny jeans and Air Jordans with a random color in my hair like turquoise. I look to style icons like Tracee Ellis Ross and Nicole Ari Parker who always seem to balance grown and sexy with fun and funky. I’d like to think fashion comes easily to me, mostly because I dress in what makes me feel good despite what other people think may be “corny” or not.
My husband however is having some challenges. As a contractor most days he’s dressed in a pair of Dickies work pants and steel-toed boots that are often stained with dirt, sewage and everything in between. When it comes time to see a movie or take the baby on an outing, his options are usually limited to a selection of plaid button ups, loose jeans and Timberlands and maybe even a thermal shirt in the winter. He comes from a generation that doesn’t believe a man’s jeans should be tighter than his woman’s or stuffed into a boot. He’s also broad shouldered and has a hard time finding where he fits in today’s fashion which seems to often be tailored to men built more like Wiz Khalifa. So often he’s asking me what he should wear out of six or so shirts he has in rotation. Although I know what I think looks good on him, I still want him to stay true to himself but also not look like a hype man in a Cash Money video or come too close to the “brown leather sandal and linen pants” territory way before his time. Still, my say is limited to what’s already hanging in his closet. When it comes to shopping for his picky behind I use my coins sparingly and just the other day was told I brought the wrong Timberlands for Christmas because they are single-soled. On that note, when it comes to ripping the runway, I leave that almost entirely in his hands.
Yahoo Style reports my husband may not be alone when it comes to consulting the women closest to him when it comes to important fashion decisions. In fact according to a poll launched by Taylrd, a new e-commerce brand catering to young men, the older end of the 18-32 year olds that were surveyed admitted to being shopping challenged. The site surveyed 1000 men and found that 40% had received clothing from their mothers in the past six months and 30% of thirty-year-olds needed their mother’s help when shopping for new clothes. And before you go thinking that these mama’s boys are from another neck of the woods, the survey shows that most of the dudes who needed mama in the mall stat, were located in the Northeast section of the country.
Most nights you can find me prepping my outfit for the next day as well as my toddler’s and while she’s protesting that she wants to wear a dress even if there is snow falling from the sky, the last thing I want to do is debate with my husband about whether Sean John is still hot or not. It also doesn’t help that I’m not particularly label conscious either. I’ll rock Forever 21 with Fenty slides as long as it looks good, and unfortunately I can’t say that males have that same freedom. It wasn’t too long ago that folks were clowning Drake’s “fauxshiki outfit” when he made an appearance in Houston earlier this summer. And there aren’t a few months that pass without the self-crown fashion God himself Kanye West getting roasted for rocking outfits that look straight from Skid Row but cost the price of a nice steak dinner. I can barely keep up with “red bottoms” and Balenciaga let alone some Stone Island or whatever else is endorsed by some celeb for my man.
I also have never been fond of the feeling of dressing my man up like a Ken doll. I’ve never felt the need to “upgrade” him, probably because I felt like he was already doing a pretty decent job himself. I can’t help but laugh when I’m scrolling through my social media and spot a guy looking grossly uncomfortable in pastel smoking slippers that his girl clearly forced him to put on to match her outfit. He doesn’t have to resemble Idris Elba on the cover of GQ, but as long as my husband can put on something that matches, fits well and fairly current that he’s comfortable in, I’m good. It’s also important to me that he’s comfortable. No one wants to watch him squirm in a Windsor knot all day and you’d be surprised how far fashion falls down the priority list when you become a parent.
One of the biggest reasons I avoid playing makeover with my man is because his style is a reflection in many ways of who he is. He doesn’t complain about my need to change hair color from purple to blonde as often as I change my socks and I don’t complain about him having a thermal shirt for every neutral color in existence. However I draw the line at jeans and dress shoes. You try to go out with me looking like a cool 7th grade teacher from the original TGIF line up on ABC and we’re going to have a problem.
Do you dress your man? What are some reasons you feel like he needs some assistance in the apparel department?
Toya Sharee is a Health Resource Specialist who has a passion for helping young women build their self-esteem and make well-informed choices about their sexual health. She also advocates for women’s reproductive rights and blogs about everything from beauty to love and relationships. Follow her on Twitter @TheTrueTSharee or visit her blog, Bullets and Blessings.