Can you Change People? You can’t change someone, right? We all know that a relationship is doomed to failure if you go into it thinking the other person can and will change. Personally I think people can change but only if they want to do it for themselves. YOU can’t force them. There are the big things – lying, cheating, drinking, and there are the little things – snoring, stealing the remote and leaving the toilet seat up. Little things can at least be improved with some gentle persuasion and positive reinforcement.
Style has to fall into the little things category. Don’t get me wrong; clothes mean everything to me but it would be more of a deal breaker if the guy looked better than me. Style can be quite easy to have an influence over ladies. Many men would be glad of you to take away the panic if they’re just told what to wear. It’s difficult at the start of a relationship though, you don’t want to jump in too soon and start laying out his clothes for him.
I’ve bought clothes for all of my boyfriends. Normally as an extra, just-because present, not necessarily for birthdays and Christmas. It helps as I’ve worked in retail for many years and had access to bargains so they didn’t find it odd that I kept coming home with things for them to try on in the comfort of their own home. I think we all like presents that we don’t prioritize ourselves don’t we?
Looking back, maybe I was too generous. One guy post-break up said to me he couldn’t even get dressed in the morning without thinking of me because I brought all of his clothes. Note, he burnt the teddy bear, but he didn’t throw away his lovely clothes. Most men would like nice clothes given half the chance, they just don’t know from where to start. So how can you ladies help?
Do’s and Don’ts
1. Do start small. Particularly if he’s a fashion-Phoebe. You don’t want to make him feel uncomfortable in something he wouldn’t normally wear, that doesn’t help anyone. And don’t go spending lots of your own money on massive gestures.
2. Do be proactive. Don’t just moan about how he dresses, try to help. Tell him you’re taking some of your old clothes to the charity shop and has he got anything he doesn’t wear anymore? Use it as an exercise to go through his cupboard and tell him what you like and don’t like (but be gentle). Just give him ideas on fashion.
3. Don’t criticize. No one likes criticism, and he probably doesn’t like everything you wear. It’s just fashion, go for positive reinforcement.
4. Don’t nag. Again another no-no for a happy relationship. Nagging will just make him more stubborn and miserable, which isn’t a good look.
5. Do compliment. Tell him when he looks nice. Compliment him on his body and tell him the best way to show it off. Reinforce with physical signs of affection if you will . . .
6. Do listen. If there’s a particular shirt that means something to him don’t make him get rid of it. Talk to him to find out what you both like and make compromises. You can’t win them all.
Emma Waight is a freelance fashion writer for www.clothes.org.uk. Follow Clothes for mens clothing news and style advice.