Let her take your tie-dye, but hold on to your bong!


by Cyn Collins

Dear Cyn,

My girlfriend and I have been going out for several months now, and she’s started to strongly hint that she thinks some of my clothes—faded jeans, Ecko shoes, a tie-dye t-shirt—are dated and not flattering. I appreciate that she’s the one who spends the most time looking at me, but I don’t see what’s wrong with my clothes. How much say should a significant other get over a person’s wardrobe?


Dear Marc,

Weeellll…as long as she doesn’t try to take away your bong, I can’t say I blame her, although I love faded jeans. Tie-dye? Neo-hippy? Or are you over 55? Then she can’t say anything, unless she’s 25 and a keeper. Don’t blow this off—it sounds like she cares. She wants you to look good, or at least pretty good. Since she’s not demanding about it, you might just want to compromise a little. You’re who she chose to be with, and it sounds like she’s now thinking long-term.

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A couple things here. You say “some” of your clothes are dated and not flattering. You have others? What time period are they from? The 70s are coming back, as is the Depression era, I hear from an artist/fashionista (and, unfortunately, from economists). Maybe the others can be brought to the fore and worn more. If you can’t see what’s wrong with your clothes, you may be dazed and confused from staring at your tie-dyed navel a bit too much. Since she’s hinting, not telling (a gracious way to be, under the circumstances), propose a compromise: you’ll wear less tie-dye and faded jeans and those shoes which I imagine are crap, but still get to wear them some of the time. When you go out, you’ll acquiesce to wearing something both of you like: still comfortable and casual, but more flattering.

Ask her to shop for you and help you buy some clothes. Hit some awesome thrift shops like Lula’s Vintage Boutique—Haley’s the best at sizing you up in an instant and fitting you with groovy clothing at a good price. Everyday People in Dinkytown is very fun too. Finding a few alternative outfits for variety doesn’t have to suck, even if you hate shopping (as I suspect you do). You will never have to set foot in a friggin’ mall, unless you like that sort of thing. Then there’s J. Crew and the Gap—I know, they’re a cliché, but they have basic, good, timeless stuff, and you won’t have to change styles every two years. Get some Converses or Steve Maddens or Keen, which will go with your free-wheelin’ comfort-lovin’ ways.

I realize I cruised right past your question about how much say she should have. Some, of course. You’re in a relationship now. Your life is no longer entirely your own. But at the same time, you can get up, stand up, and fight for your right to go rasta. Occasionally. (If you’re not from Jamaica, very occasionally.)


Published 2/12/09. Photo by Andy Weisner (Creative Commons).