It’s date night. You go to pick up your girlfriend at her place and then some Kurt Cobain-y dude walks out instead. Oh, wait. That Kurt Cobain-y dude is your girlfriend. She’s just sporting the latest neo-grunge look: plaid, combat boots, more plaid. You cringe. Your GF may love to look fashion-forward, but you weren’t looking forward to spending a night with Courtney Love from her Hole days. So what do you do?
You can tell her that she looks nice—but that would be lying (and you’re not really supposed to be doing that when you’re boning someone on a regular basis).
You can tell her the truth—that you hate her outfit—but that would only hurt her feelings (and then you probably wouldn’t do any boning that night, either).
Well, there’s a right and a wrong way to handle your girlfriend’s style. Whether she’s sartorially inclined or inclined to wear sweat pants all day, here’s some useful tips that I’ve come up with to help you both attain a fashionably flourishing relationship and, um, more boning?
DO Flatter Her
When I was in my early 20s, I owned a pair of glittery gold ballet flats. I loved these shoes so much that I thought they went with every single piece of clothing I owned. I believed them to be both fashionable and functional and thus, we were inseparable.
My boyfriend (at the time) hated them. The guys I worked with hated them. They called them “genie shoes” and I knew they didn’t mean that they were Barbara Eden hot; they meant Robin Williams hot, and no one thinks Robin “Hairy Arms” Williams is hot.
But I simply thought the dudes in my life just didn’t understand that these gold shoes were the best shoes to ever exist. That, and they were being dicks. It wasn’t until my boyfriend said to me, “you know, I really think your legs look hot when you wear heels” when I finally stopped wearing them. well, most of the time.
Note: your girlfriend wants to turn you on, and nothing turns us on more than being complimented. Instead of telling us what you don’t like, tell us what you do like instead. It’s almost like, well, magic.
DON’T Make Fun of Her
This seems obvious, but as I addressed in the point above, derogatory remarks won’t get you anywhere. In fact, they might backfire simply because of good old-fashioned spite. Ah, relationships.
Anyway. If you think orange makes her look like an Oompa Loompa, don’t tell her that! Because she will wear it again and be all like, “See, [your buddy] likes it!” or “Beyoncé wears this shade all the time!” and even if you know for a fact [your buddy] doesn’t like it and that Beyoncé rocks the shade way more than your babe ever could, don’t tell her that! Look, I’m not telling you to lie—just don’t be a jerk. It won’t get you anything but a cold bed.
DO Offer Advice
Maybe you’re the fashion gauge in the relationship. Maybe you’re the one who knows the difference between a blazer and a jacket, and that boat shoes should never be worn with socks (if at all). If so, help a sister out and offer to take her shopping. As Louise Fox, a.k.a. Canada’s Etiquette Expert, says, “If you are willing to purchase a makeover or a new wardrobe for your GF then perhaps you have the right to have some input, otherwise keep quiet or find a new GF whose fashion sense is more in line with your own.” So if GF is still not budging from her yoga pants no matter how many J. Brand jeans you throw her way, maybe it’s time to exchange the relationship—and not just the pants.
DON’T Try to Change Her
There was a time when I was regularly wearing camo pants like I was some kind of Army reject (yes, my fashion sense in my early 20s was questionable but this article is about you, not me). There were people in my life that despised those pants with the heat of a thousand suns. I’m pretty sure my boyfriend was one of them, but I would never know it. He always told me how beautiful I looked (even if he probably meant from the waist-up) and so I never questioned what I wore because I knew it didn’t matter to him. He liked me for me.
So your girlfriend wears her college sweatshirt every weekend. And maybe she wears skulls on everything like she’s some damn gothic pirate. But she also laughs at your jokes and makes sure you pack an umbrella whenever it rains. And those are the kinds of things that can’t be purchased at a mall.
Basically, what I’m trying to say is when it comes to your girlfriend’s fashion choices: suck it up. As Fox says, “Unless you are a model for GQ, Clinton Kelly, or are trying to dump your girlfriend, giving her advice on what she should be wearing will likely turn out very badly for you.” So when she comes out looking wearing Doc Martens and a baggy plaid shirt on your next date, remember she laughs at your stupid jokes.
And then maybe tell her she looks hot in heels.
Brianne Hogan is a freelance writer based in Toronto, something of a humorist, and considers herself more Bridget Jones than Samantha Jones. Though she won’t reveal which parts, she will admit to liking emotionally unavailable men and drinking lots of wine. You can follow her on Twitter @briannehogan