Neon shirts, sleeveless jerseys and ragged sweatpants are the last sartorial choices you want to see your boyfriend in. He might not know he isn’t dressing well and you don’t want to offend him, but he needs to get it together. With these tips, you’ll be the best dressed couple in the room.
The easiest way to encourage him to wear your favorite items in his closet is to compliment him. Be specific about the compliment, whether it’s the color or how it fits him. “He doesn’t want to feel like you’re trying to change him,” even if you have good intentions, said James Aggrey, manager of men’s casual wear at Nordstrom in Westfield Montgomery. The ego boost will inspire him to take pride in his appearance.
Surprise Him with Gifts or Go Shopping
An easy but pricey option is to surprise your guy with clothes that can be incorporated into his wardrobe. “Get some basis and then add some fashion pieces in his wardrobe,” Aggrey says. He’ll be flattered that you picked something out for him and will wear it; if he doesn’t like it, offer to return it with him. You’ll be more easily able to get him to the mall, where you can help him pick out clothes. Aggrey said to stop in no more than two stores — an extended period of shopping might make him more resistant to trying clothes on.
Incorporate technology into your quest to help with the shopping. Demere, a startup that looks at users' wardrobes and suggests clothes based on what they have, is popular with college and 20-something men. CEO and co-founder David Engle came up with the app after a girl told him he needed to dress better. Single guys need someone to help them, he said, and that’s where technology bridges the gap. Engle says the app considers users' age and gender, along with weather and occasion to suggest what to wear and what they can buy in-store and online; it creates a seamless wardrobe that is easier to piece together.
Know When to Speak Up
Sometimes you might need to be direct about your intentions, but Engle warns that there is a fine line. “For a lot of people in the college setting, it’s OK for a girlfriend to say” he needs to dress better. You don’t want to hurt his feelings though, so Engle says to give positive feedback. “You’ll get farther with ‘OK, let’s see how we can make this better,’” Engle says.
Eliminate the Bad Clothes
Although positive enforcement works well, you might need to remove the offending items from his wardrobe. Actor Joshua Jackson told The New York Times that his fashion-savvy girlfriend, actress and model Diane Kruger, overhauled his wardrobe and “whole trash bags full of clothes were suddenly going to the Salvation Army.”
Go to the Professionals
Many department stores and boutiques offer complimentary personal stylist sessions; if he’s willing, schedule an appointment. Aggrey suggests sitting with your guy while a stylist pulls items. It allows the two of you to form a team about what you like and don’t like, and you can divert the responsibility to a third party. They’ll also help with the styling, whether that’s explaining the blue/gray and green/brown color combos or ways to dress an item up or down.
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