I asked the question on Twitter the other day, “when a man begins to date a stylish woman, does his style automatically improve?” Then I followed up with, “is the same true for women?” What made me ask the question was because I would consider myself a fairly stylish and my husband’s style definitely changed once we began dating. He has made the request in the past and recently again for me to style him. I decided to share because I can’t be the only one wanting to elevate my partners style. If you’ve been wanting to give your partner a style upgrade, keep reading!
When I met my husband 9 or so years ago he was definitely the epitome of East coast chic. Ralph Lauren polos, khaki shorts, and loafers sans socks. Or Rainbow flip flops depending on the weather. While he wasn’t a complete tack show he also didn’t have a defined look. Over the course of the past few years I’ve done a few things to upgrade his style with sneakers, fit, and the like but he’s still not where he wants to be.
That’s where I come in…
To help him create a look all his own I started by combing through a Pinterest board of menswear looks that I love. Then asked him which looks stood out to him and to comment very simply with a yay, for looks he loved or nay, for those he didn’t. After showing him nearly 30 or so photos I was able to narrow down what swayed him or drew him based on his choices.
I told him not to pay attention to what the men in the outfits looked like, their size, or their build but simply the clothes. This is the same advice I give women who ask me for style or fashion advice. Don’t spend so much time honing in on the person wearing the outfit as much as the outfit itself. What is appealing to you? Is it the fabric? The pattern or perhaps the color? Those things are useful information, what confuses people or makes them shy away from certain fits, is that they are comparing themselves to the model or wearer. That’s a no go, boss.
After narrowing down his favorite looks I compared those images and found the commonalities between them. That helped me determine the colors, fabrics, and patterns he was leaning toward. For him, unsurprisingly, that was denim, neutrals, and black with a dope shoe. Many of the photos he liked showed men dressed in what I like to call elevated casual. As a guy who used to wear suits to work, he’s definitely become much more laid back in his casual attire as he went into his office less. Personally? I miss the the suits. Hahaha.
Creating A Style Guide
When it comes to building a wardrobe and creating a signature look or uniform, it’s all about ensuring that everything in your closet can be worked together. This makes getting dressed less difficult and also takes less time to think about. Most men shy away from shopping and “caring” about their style because they feel it takes too much time. I can tell you that’s my husband for certain. Personally I’m a proponent of jazzing up my wardrobe with accessories. The reason I can do this and go more extreme is because my base or my outfit is neutral, many men tend to be the same.
Some are huge on jewelry, for others shoes are their thing. Then there are those who have no idea what they love and just put on whatever fits. This could be what they’ve been wearing since college and high school. With any accessory you need to find what works best for you and functions with your day to day. My husband has pined after a belt bag and a bracelet for quite sometime but ultimately had to realize it’s not for him. Wardrobes should accommodate what you do and who you are, not hinder you from either.
Based on the photos that he chose this was the style guide I developed.
As a former marketing and branding professional using style guides for everything tends to be my go to. When developing a brand aesthetic designers use mood boards and style guides to navigate what they want a brand to represent or feel like. I’ve found this to be useful when helping people figure out their style as well. You’ll notice in this guide that the color palette is neutral but still fun. I wanted to move him away from the simplicity of black and grey solid tees to something with more whimsy but not too far out of his wheelhouse. Also giving him options that can carry him through the seasons. Plus each piece can be mixed or matched with another creating a comprehensive wardrobe instead of just 2-3 looks. So many of us buy clothing for an occasion instead of purchasing items that work for us no matter where we’re going. It’s how we end up with a closet full of odds and ends rather than a collection.
Start With Base Pieces
Starting with base pieces like a chino pant in a cool color then branching out to denim is a great beginning. These chinos are a neutral that can be worn with most anything but aren’t the basic khaki color. The olive green is a lean to the camo print which is usually a staple in most male closets. Which I love but can go duck dynasty very quickly. Shorts are a much have but you need to ensure the fit is right. If they’re too long your man will look like he’s wearing jorts and also they will chop him down in size. If you want him to look taller opt for a pair that falls about an inch or so above the knee.
Add Some Pizazz
The pizazz should come in the form of cool prints or graphics. These banana shorts are fun without being too over the top because the color palette is muted. This is how you can get the man in your life more comfortable with prints by making sure they aren’t overpowering him. When it comes to graphic tees, go for something elevated. My suggestion is to lean designer if you can but if not stay away from cheesy graphics that have too many words or are too busy. Simple logos or cool prints are great again as long the colors aren’t too loud.
Footwear is the place where I say go for the gusto. Want to see your partner in leopard print? Cool grab a fresh pair AirMax and you can have it. Thinking you want a little pink in his game? No problem Adidas has plenty options. If your partner is a more tame dresser this is where you can push him just a bit. I’ve gotten my husband out of his sandals and boots only lifestyle by buying him shoes. Some say there’s a superstition about buying a man shoes, but I lean more toward the idea that a man’s kicks say everything you need to about him. Below are some of my all time favorites.
Your goal with this isn’t to recreate your partner but instead make him a more stylish version of himself. So often I watch as men completely transform into dressing like people I can see they aren’t comfortable being. On the flip side if you can make your partner feel like a million bucks they will walk through life like it. You know the saying — dress for the job you want. In this case that job is being by your side.
I’d love to see how your style refresh goes, follow me on Instagram and share your looks with me! I hope this helps you and your partner start dressing like the stylish folks you are.