“Was Anne not awake when you left for work this morning?”
This is how my husband was greeted by a female coworker in his workplace one morning last week (complete with a head-to-toe scan of his appearance).
Clearly, she meant, “You look like crap today.” He laughed it off, saying, “I left home at 5:00 a.m.–she definitely wasn’t awake then!”
But when he came home that afternoon, he asked me, “Do I look alright? Is there anything wrong with what I’m wearing?”
This was an odd question for that time of day, but I gave him the head-to-toe scan (because I’m his wife, and I can do that!) and he looked fine. Button-down shirt, dark denim, brown shoes–I told him he looked great. And then he told me about the odd comment.
I was puzzled, because he truly looked fine. So why the snarky comment? It’s a mystery.
But it got me thinking: Are women the fashion police in our culture? Do we really think men are clueless when it comes to fashion? Do my husband’s coworkers really think that I give my stamp of approval every morning before he leaves the house? (Because I don’t. I don’t need to. And I’m rarely awake at 5:00 am anyway!) Are women really so much more stylish than men?
And how would your reaction to this little story change if the gender roles were reversed? What if it was the man that said to the woman, “Was your husband not awake when you left home this morning?”
My husband and I have helped each other with our fashion choices over the years. After a few rough years at the beginning, we have come to a very happy place in our relationship where fashion is concerned. In the next post I’ll tell you my tips–really, our tips, that we’ve figured out over the years in our own relationship–for encouraging your man by helping him manage his wardrobe.
In the meantime, I’d love to know: Do you ever criticize other people’s fashion choices? Does gender play a role? And if you’ve received criticism for the way you dress, how have you chosen to respond?