Should you redress your boyfriend?

JaLynn Hardy

Credit: Andrew popik

In these modern times when traditional gender roles are becoming blurred, it’s hard to believe that some men still need a woman’s touch. I know there’s all this talk of the “metrosexual” — a refined character who knows how to dress in-style, buy designer sheets and fool friends into thinking he’s hired a personal decorator for his pad.

But let’s face it, I think about 85 percent of the men do not fall into this category, at least in Northeast Ohio. The idea that girls do redress their boyfriends was revealed to me when I heard what was happening to my brother. Apparently, this new girl Susan, who he’d been dating for three months, thought his hair was too full on top and was taking him to get his hair cut the way she wanted it.

I was kind of shocked when I heard that. Isn’t it rude to say you don’t like the way someone dresses or looks? But she didn’t stop there. She also didn’t like his flannel shirts, (can’t blame her) so she took him shopping and got him to buy new shirts. Now he doesn’t wear his flannels when she’s around.

I asked my mom, “Well, isn’t he offended that she doesn’t like him the way he is?”

“No, he loves that he’s getting all of this attention,” she said.

Now they’re getting married, so he’d better get ready to throw those flannels out for good.

Some women are constantly trying to change their men. My philosophy is that if you don’t like them the way they are, either accept it or move on.

I decided to ask around to see if it was a common thing to redress boyfriends, and just about every woman I’ve talked to has redressed a boyfriend at some point in her life.

One girl I know told me she had to give her fiancé “fashion overhaul” when he was 22. His mother had been dressing him up until that point, and he was stuck in ’80s-style pants with ugly Adidas-style shoes. It took her and two friends to get him sporting a new look. Now, she says he’s the hot man she knows today.

However, I talked to one of my guy friends, and he said one time this girl tried to redress him and that it was fun at first, but ultimately it meant she didn’t like him the way he was.

I’ve always thought about redressing some of the men I’ve dated in the past, and I am picky. I guess I always thought it would be rude to play “dress up,” so if they were totally a fashion disaster, I left them behind in the dust.

For instance, this past summer I was dating a really nice guy who was a student at the University of Akron and lived in T-shirts, flannels, khakis and jeans. I really didn’t like how he dressed sometimes, but I didn’t make a big deal out of it.

One night we were all set for a romantic dinner out on the town. I was dressed to the nines with a little black shirt and matching pants; I spent an hour doing my hair and makeup. When I answered the door to my apartment, I saw him standing in the doorway wearing khaki shorts, sneakers, a T-shirt and short-sleeved flannel shirt. I had to change my outfit to match him, and that’s when I realized it was over.

I was actually quite angry with him because I’d spent a lot of time and thought on my appearance, and he looked like he just threw something on as he was walking out the door. Personally, I find the way a person dresses can be indicative of his or her personality traits. A guy who pays attention to his appearance is likely to pay close attention to other details.

Maybe some of the reasons women have to dress men is because of the fear men face when it comes to anything deemed feminine or creative. It is not a part of the male gender role to know how to dress stylishly (except for the metrosexual). In fact, over the years, the men in Ohio that I’ve talked to aren’t really concerned with their fashion statement.

Maybe it is up to us to redress them. After all, any girl who’s been to a bachelor pad knows that a woman’s touch is in need and that seems to be more socially acceptable, so why not take that into account when it comes to men’s fashion?

JaLynn Hardy is a senior journalism major and the fashion columnist for the Daily Kent Stater. Contact her at [email protected].