Why women often feel the need to change their man's style - whether he likes it or not.
-Faye Brennan, BettyConfidential.com
We love makeovers. We can't wait to watch them on Friday mornings on the Today show and on Tuesday nights on What Not to Wear. Unfortunately for our boyfriends and husbands, this love makes its way into our personal lives. For some reason, we like to consider our men our "little projects."
Admit it: before you even get serious with a guy, you probably take mental note of things you'll change about his look once you're officially dating. You say to yourself (or your friends), "His pants havegot to go," and "He needs a haircut… bad," as if you're some sort of style expert like Stacy and Clinton.
In the beginning of your relationship, you approach the situation cautiously. Maybe you surprise him with a nice J. Crew sweater or a statement watch "just because." Then, you start dropping hints of how much you love that outfit you saw in the store window or that he looks good in blazers… he should wear them more often!
Once you reach the point when you're totally comfortable in your relationship, the claws come out. You tell him flat out you're taking him shopping or to go get his hair cut, even if it's against his will. You threaten to throw out his favorite shirt that has the holes in it. When getting ready for Sunday brunch, you drop the bomb: "You're really going to wear that?"
Most likely, your guy hates this. He swears up and down that he's not setting foot in a mall with you and that there's absolutely nothing wrong with what he has on. But his efforts are useless. He can only fight the "man makeover mission" for so long until he eventually surrenders. You win, and you have the stylishly dressed arm candy to prove it.
Consuelo B., a 33-year old from Florida, knew that her boyfriend needed a makeover after their first couple of dates. "His style tended to be the oversized polo and worn out khaki pants," she recalls.
And yet, she waited until after they were married to begin her attack. "I headed to the mall on a mission," she admits. "But I found that his style was not the product of bad personal taste, but of few available options. He's 5'7", and mainstream stores don't stock clothes for shorter men."
Consuelo shared her findings with her hubby, whom she says wasn't offended by her makeover efforts. In fact, the couple used the experience as inspiration to start FortheFit.com, an online clothing retailer and manufacturing company for shorter men. "Now, he has a very well-stocked closet, and wears clothes that fit his personal style and body shape."
For Consuelo, her makeover mission turned out to be a blessing in disguise. And in general, it's rare that a guy comes out of a style transformation looking worse than before. Sometimes it's just because he doesn't know any better, which is why women like Brenda Braxton of BBraxton grooming for men, think it's our responsibility as women to give guys a clue.
"The idea isn't to make him feel there's something wrong with his look - even if you think it's screaming, 'Help me!'" she says. "But, I think you should take it upon yourself to 'guide' him through the process."
For instance, Braxton notices that men are clueless when it comes to keeping their hands clean and groomed. "There are several reasons men don't think about this important grooming feature," she says, "and one is because we women don't call them on it enough. If you see it as an issue, you need to know how to approach the subject and have it be heard in a positive way. Even if that means you give him a demonstration of the benefits of nail grooming, and tell him you love a well-manicured hand to hold and touch you."
Braxton has a valid point - how would our guys know their hands are too rough for us unless we tell them? And who else will let them know that those baggy pants don't do their hot bodies justice? All of this guidance is in the name of making them look better, right?
But, the question is: do we even have the right to insist or force our men to make these changes to their looks? If "true love" means not wanting to change the person, are we making a mistake by not accepting them as they are, ill-fitting clothes and all?
Or, as women who've been raised to follow "style rules" and keep every hair in place (oh, and have soft skin, pedicured toes, be groomed down below, and have the latest trends in our closet), is it our job to help guys in the areas we know much more about?
Tell us: What do you think about giving your guy a makeover? Have you ever been tempted to do it, or have you already done it? How did it go?
Faye Brennan is assistant editor at BettyConfidential.
Read more articles on BettyConfidential.com