Right off the bat, I’d say, vehemently, no! You can’t tell me what to wear and I’d never be so pushy. But, at its core, a relationship is a team and a successful relationship must include people who can work together for the benefit of that team, i.e. compromise, even if it’s about clothes.
Let’s break it down.
In the beginning …
At the start of a relationship, you’re just getting to know one another, so it’s important to be yourself. You want to make sure the other person sees the real you, and you, the real them, so you can both determine if you’re ‘meant to be!’ Cue the fireworks!
Believe it or not, your fashion matters. The way you dress reflects you – your personality, aspirations and lifestyle – and if you want a successful relationship, you want your potential life-mate to know who you really are (and what you really look like) from the beginning. They should not find out a couple months down the line when you’re comfortable enough to shed the eyeliner, or swap the loafers for your favourite pair of crocs.
Yes, you want to impress, but your relationship will have real staying power if that other person is captivated by true blue you.
Okay, you’ve gotten past the initial getting-to-know-you phase and ‘you and me’ have become ‘we’. You’ve been honest about your style from the beginning so, for better wardrobe or for worse, I choose you Pikachu! But, now you’re both dressing for two, because, let’s be real – though people say you should never judge a book by its cover, we are human beings and it is a part of our nature to judge by appearance. You have an image to maintain, so your bae better get with it. But, buyer beware, what you wear reflects your significant other as well.
If you’re both fashion forward, or if one of you is actually happy to be dressed by the other, you’re golden. But, if you’re thinking ‘Nice try. I like what I wear and I wear what I like and I really wish my beau (or belle) would just wear what I like too,’ here comes the compromise.
No worries though – you and yours can still give Beyoncé and Jay-Z good competition for strongest power couple, with a little honesty and understanding:
Have a heart to heart.
If you don’t like what your significant other wears, tell her, and say why you feel that way. You’re entitled to your opinions and to share them within the space of your relationship – better out than in, after all. But be kind and encouraging. Insults won’t help.
If you’re the one committing the potential fashion faux pas, but don’t agree, explain why you wear what you do. And don’t get defensive. Comfort over extravagance is a perfectly good reason.
If you’re open to change, however, that’s great. Relationships are about being able to work together, even if it means giving in sometimes.
But, if he’s really attached to his t-shirt and jeans, is it actually going to hurt you? As long as it fits the occasion, sometimes it’s better to accept him as he is. You’ve been together long enough to have had a look behind the cover and you’re a couple now because of the story inside, right?
Sometimes the outfit doesn’t suit the occasion – you may thank him later for speaking up. Maybe her feet hurt and wearing heels won’t help.
Sometimes our wardrobes are tailored to our careers. If you’re dating a corporate world maven, suits are standard. Your boo is going to be in one at least five days/week. You can’t get upset because they make you look bad in your faded jeans. But, if it does bother you, adjust your own style to suit.
Remember, relationships are a game of compromise, not control, and for yours to succeed, you should be willing to take one for the team.