Man Up! Men’s Fashion From a Woman’s Perspective...


Not that I’m an advocate for trying to change the man in your life, but when it comes to dress sense, a few pointers in the art of male fashion often don’t go astray..

With that in mind, dressing the man in your life can be a wondrous thing, or it can be a nightmare. Many a male has not yet embraced the metrosexual within (as in, he is not yet displaying the increasingly common urban man’s trait of a strong aesthetic sense and spending a great deal of time and money on his appearance and lifestyle), and as a result there are still manly clothing disasters on almost every street corner.

Men’s fashion is often not given as much attention as it deserves by a lot of us women. We are usually so busy adapting the latest trend to our budget or body type, we are quite often guilty of forgetting that most of our favorite designers cater for men too. But when it comes to getting ready for a night out with the man in our life, male fashion is suddenly there, right in front of you, in all its glory. Or, all its horror.

How many times have you been out on the town and noticed a stunning girl who has gone all out with her hair, makeup and outfit, only to spot her unacceptably dressed partner tagging along, who looks like he got dressed from the floor?

This is a male fashion tragedy, and one that happens all too often. Although we love our boyfriends, male friends, partners and husbands, and although we accept that some things cannot be changed, I think a little tweaking in the wardrobe area hardly constitutes trying to ‘change’ your man. If you know someone who has a habit of putting in a virtual zero for effort every time he gets ready, it’s time to take action! And the end benefits will far outweigh any of his whining that may happen during the fashion transformation.

Here are the top three tips for getting more fashion sense out of your man are below, and have been designed to make this process as painless as possible!

First, be gentle!
No one likes to be told that his or her wardrobe sucks. I think most of us strong independent females would probably break up with a man who said they hated everything in our closets and we needed to be taken shopping immediately. So, don’t make the man you are trying to funkify feel like he has been doing everything wrong for the last ten years. Choose some of his stuff that you do actually like and try to work it into a current trend. It could be as simple as picking his favourite shirt and telling him how great it would look with a different cut of jeans, which you happened to see yesterday…or mentioning that it’s really not that cool to pop your collar, and suggest he flatten it down for your next night out. If you have worked magic and he’s actually agreed to go shopping with you, don’t scare him off with a girl infested designer mall, try man friendly places like your trendy local op shop first, and ween him onto browsing gently and in a place he doesn’t feel like your handbag. Large department stores are a good option too, as he can wander away to electronics or something equally boring if it all gets too much for him, and still feel like he is having a good time.

Secondly, start with the basics.
If asking your man to coordinate his socks with his belt is way too hard (or he doesn’t even own a belt!), at least ask him to coordinate his socks with his trousers. There are basic rules that a fashionable man needs to follow. Highlight the importance of owning more than one pair of shoes, and the fact that some occasions do actually call for (gasp!) leather! I have a girlfriend in the UK whose first impressions of men are based purely on footwear. Whilst out clubbing my eyes would be roaming the room while her eyes would be on the ground, looking only at shoes. Only if she found a pair of shoes that she deemed acceptable would her eyes venture further up to see what he actually looked like! This may be an extreme case, but it proves the point that girls want guys who actually know when it’s appropriate to take off the Havianas and put in a little bit of fashion effort. If this is all getting too hard, rely heavily on special occasions to add the items to his wardrobe that he seems incapable of including on his own. Use birthdays, Christmas, Anniversaries and Valentine’s Day as opportunities to lavish him with trendy wardrobe necessities. Despite despising shopping and fashion themselves, even the most difficult of boyfriends usually love what their better halves give them, and if that hot new shirt is wrapped around the new Playboy Mansion video game, its sure to be a winner of a gift.

Thirdly, choose your trends wisely.
Although you may have successfully mastered steps 1 and 2, it’s highly unlikely that your now semi-fashionable man is going to be flipping through your Vogue and demanding to be taken shopping for the latest trends. So suggest looks that you know will suit him, or just help make him better dressed generally. As we know, sometimes just getting a man to throw out a dirty t-shirt full of holes that has “sentimental value” is a major step in the right fashion direction! Choose styles that you know will show him off as the male trendy he is deep down! Skinny jeans for men, for example, look great in the pages of Rolling Stone, but very few non-rock stars can pull the look off. So even if you love the look on many a band member, unless he is a rock god, chances are you should leave the skinny jeans alone. You also want to avoid pushing him into any trend that he then hates. Forcing your less than stick figure man into skinny jeans and sandshoes may result in him feeling like an overweight idiot and is only going to turn him off anything fashionable and undo all of your hard work. A great pair of trendy jeans such as Nudie or Tsubi on the other hand, scream style and can be purchased in a fit that flatters your man.

Fashion for men is a funny thing. We can fall about laughing at a badly dressed guy, or wonder how his girlfriend lets him out of the house, but when it comes to the men in our lives, we want them to look good. Although it can be a bit of a struggle at first, helping your man find his style and bringing a bit of your fashionista prowess into his wardrobe will ultimately (usually) make him a happier man. Just be mindful that once he realizes how hot he looks, you may have to battle for the mirror from now on, and reflective surfaces everywhere will quite possibly become your enemy!