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You Asked: Help! My Boyfriend Has No Style!

Dear Sugar,

I've been going out with my boyfriend for about a year now, and I love him very much. We are best friends and I feel comfortable telling him pretty much anything, but there is one topic I usually keep my mouth shut on: his style! This includes his taste in shoes, clothes, and hair. I don't particularly like his style, but he seems very set in his ways. I find myself feeling not-so-attracted to him at times, which is obviously a bad sign. I have mentioned my preferences on occasion, but whenever I do, he misinterprets what my preferences really are. He used to be a "grunge" kid back in high school, and I think he's afraid of looking too "put together" (perhaps for identity reasons), but I'm not asking him to be preppy! I would never want him to feel uncomfortable in his own skin, I'm just asking for a haircut and a nice pair of jeans! How can I tell him this for the final time, without hurting his feelings or making him think I want him to change who he is? — He's a Slob Samantha

To see DearSugar's answer

Dear He's a Slob Samantha,

Unfortunately some men don't inherently have the best fashion sense, but sometimes they just need a little push in the right direction! It's easy to get set in your ways but if you're finding yourself turned off by his appearance, it's time to make a change — fast. Of course the easiest thing to do, although it maybe not the most thrifty, is to buy him some clothes that you'd like to see him in. A nice pair of jeans and a casual button down or sweater can go a long way. Additionally, when he does wear something you like, compliment him. Guys love positive feedback just like women do so hopefully he'll get the hint about what you like and what you don't like.

Since your boyfriend is your best friend, don't shy away from being honest with him — you'd want him to tell you what he likes on you too, right? I'm sure he wants you to find his as desirable as possible so be caring and sensitive, yet direct when having this discussion. Since you don't want him to change the person he is, hopefully you can meet somewhere in the middle. Good luck!


Join The Conversation
Janine22 Janine22 9 years
When I first started seeing my fiance, he was a terrible dresser. I am talking polyester shirts and pleated pants! Luckily, I worked in a clothing store, so I would just say oh I bought you this, it was on sale and I got it cheap. I thought it would look really good on you. I pretty much slowly bought him a whole new wardrobe. He never really cared much before, but he did notice more looks from other women, which I think boosted his ego. He trusts my opinion. Now he looks much better, although I do have to make him get his hair cut. If you buy him things slowly, he will probably start to realize that you have better taste and trust your opinion. After he wears the clothes, jump him and tell him you couldn't help it, he just looked so hot in those jeans/shirt.
lickety-split lickety-split 9 years
i saw a guy at in-n-out yesterday wearing plaid sweat pants tucked into yellow rainboots (no it wasn't raining) a knit cap, and an orange t-shirt that said "free canada". you got nothin. buy the boy a few things for your next "anniversary" and deal.
emalove emalove 9 years
Well, I wouldn't worry too much since most guys just aren't really into fashion. And I can understand his not wanting to look like he puts too much effort into getting ready...most guys I know have this same mentality. And that's okay. But if you're not attracted to him the way he is, that's a problem. In fact, I'm wondering if you've been feeling this way since you've met him, since he obviously hasn't changed his style since then. Maybe start buying him a few things here and there and see if he wears them. He probably will, knowing you took the time to pick something out for him. And just buy simple shouldn't try to push someone else's style on him or change who he is. Start with a new pair of jeans and see how he reacts to it. Good luck!
bethiesny bethiesny 9 years
I just want to caution against changing your guy's style too much. When I started dating my ex 5 years ago (we broke up at the end of last year), he had terrible style. One day I suggested he try a pair of modern-cut jeans. It worked like a charm. I kept encouraging him to buy new shirts and pants, and he looked great. Well, a few years later, he'd morphed into a clotheshorse who would only buy Guess and Versace. And it wasn't just an every-once-in-awhile thing, but every two or three weeks. He'd buy a $100 button-down and wear it twice. Obviously something more was going on there (and still is, but his new 21-yr-old GF can deal with it now!), but anyway, be warned. You might be creating a monster like I did!
aimeeb aimeeb 9 years
Bella great advice! Some guys just aren't metro and want to have their own flair even if you don't get it. My boyfriend has the whole edgy surfer guy look and I love it. I like that he isn't just a boring t shirt guy but also could never see him wearing a pink dress shirt either. Eww. I think you need to find what makes him comfy and maybe trying to find more stylish items within that realm.
duck-duck-goose duck-duck-goose 9 years
Careful now, Bella, we wouldn't want you encouraging your man to emulate Ian Curtis too much, or you might soon have to change your moniker to OneVeryLonelySugar and transform the Beauty site to an Emo-Goth cyber-haven. And that would be a tragic loss, in more ways than one. [*ends slightly morbid playful joking*]
ninjastarlett ninjastarlett 9 years
I would strongly advise against the second part of TidalWave's advice (OR if possible, when out at a mall, start telling him how attractive you think other guys are in like "oh that guy looks so good in those jeans.") because it's going to make him feel inadequate if you compare him to other guys. This is really where a foot-in-door approach is probably the easiest way to go. Try to get him to go shopping with you and have try on just one thing. Tell him he doesn't have to get it, you just want to see how it looks on him. And then, when he has it on, fawn over how good he looks in it. A couple runs of this should generate a few new articles of clothing.
Beauty Beauty 9 years
Hmm. Does he like any guys in bands who have good style? Interpol, Joy Division, The Jam? I once bought Mr. Bella a perfectly cut APC shirt and said, "Look! Just like Ian Curtis would wear!" I think the trick is to buy things for him, but make sure they're things he could pull off.
runningesq runningesq 9 years
I'm a lucky girl ... my husband is such a clothes horse :P He wears preppy-casual so well: polos, buttons ups, khakis .. and Lacoste. Lots and lots of Lacoste. We both need more closet space! ;)
jessie jessie 9 years
you could try slipping him some new stuff, but be careful that he doesn't resent you trying to change him. don't sweat the small stuff, if you really like/love him don't press the issue so much. pick your battles.
popgoestheworld popgoestheworld 9 years
I agree with the others that you should just buy him stuff. Then when he wears it, compliment him. Also, I just flat out tell my boyfriend that I think he's more attractive with shorter hair and when he gets it cut I always compliment him on it. My boyfriend and I joke around about this stuff. He's never been interested in fashion and never cared much about what he wore. Since I did care (to an extent), and was willing to fund it, all the better for him. BUT if he felt that his look was his identity I wouldn't have asked him to update his wardrobe for me. I guess what I'm saying is that you can somewhat change how a guy dresses but only if he doesn't give a shit in the first place :)
alliallialli alliallialli 9 years
This is exactly the same as me and my boyfriend. I think that complimenting what you DO like works best, and then after a while move up into shopping together.
mortar31 mortar31 9 years
Just buy him something small, like a nice shirt or tee that you know he will look good in. Eventually when he decides to wear it out, people will compliment him and he will start to appreciate the new style slowly.
bengalspice bengalspice 9 years
Buy him the types of cloths you'd like to see him in.
tweet-hotpants tweet-hotpants 9 years
i have the opposite problem! my husband has way better style than i do, so i have to try to convince him to buy ME stuff. unfortunately, he doesn't love shopping...but some of my favorite clothes are things that he's gotten me when i wasn't even there.
brittanyk brittanyk 9 years
I just buy my fiance new clothes. I'll randomly pick him up a shirt I liked or a tie, just one or two things at a time and give them to him as gifts, basically. He's really good about wearing the stuff that I give him. To get him to change his hair all I said was that I think he would like good with whatever kind of style I wanted a couple of times and then one day he finally decided to get his hair cut my way and he liked it.
TidalWave TidalWave 9 years
Buy him new clothes, SLOWLY. Start out with just a nicer t-shirt. Once he realizes that is okay, then maybe get him to a polo. OR if possible, when out at a mall, start telling him how attractive you think other guys are in like "oh that guy looks so good in those jeans."
WhatTheFrockBlog WhatTheFrockBlog 9 years
Damn, I could've written this letter myself, pretty much. Except that I have been honest with him and then his feelings get hurt and then I feel really bad. :(
melizzle melizzle 9 years
Oh dear... it's hard to retrain a boy. You're truly going to have to accept him as he is. That being said, it is possible to polish him up a bit. Buy him something and say, "I thought you might like this..." Compliment on how good he looks dressed up. Like Laura said, boys can be just as vain as girls. :) Positive reinforcement works!
javsmav javsmav 9 years
Buy him clothes & go shopping with him when he needs to buy new clothes. My boyfriend wasn't so bad, but I've definitely helped his style along over the years. For the most part I've found that my boyfriend really doesn't care too much, so he appreciates my help. Of course, you don't want to treat him like a doll that you dress up--that's why shopping together is good. And of course, Dear's advice of complimenting is a great idea.
laura6567 laura6567 9 years
I think you should trick him. Seriously. Tell him you want him to go help you pick out some underwear (for you). He'll want to tag along for that. Then while you're at the mall, ask him to try on a pair of jeans. After he's put the new clothes on, tell him how hot he looks. Compliment his ass, tell him he looks amazing. Get the salesgirl to tell him how hot he looks. Boys are vain. Use that to help you.
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