Right about the time we got married, my husband started a new job at a bank (which I am thrilled about), where he is required to dress professionally every day. I am a full-time student and work nearly full-time in the two-year-old class of a daycare, where I dress comfortably enough to chase around 16 toddlers and run the risk of being puked on at any minute. My issue is that no matter what we do after work, my husband insists on staying dressed up and I always feel like a sloppy mess. I don’t have the time, energy, or wardrobe to match his appearance when we go to dinner, hang out with friends, or go to meetings of clubs to which we belong. I do my hair and make–up every day, and typically touch it up quickly when I get home from work, but I still feel like a teenager next to my adult husband wherever we go.
I constantly try to get him to change into casual clothes in the evenings, but he’s developed an obsession with always looking “classy” and dismisses my feelings as crazy. When we are both wearing casual clothes around the house on the weekend, he’ll often change right at the last second before we go out, leaving me feeling like he’s trying to look better than me, which he swears he’s not. Needless to say, this has become a fairly regular argument.
I don’t deny that this seems like a small thing to get upset over, and I might even sound kind of crazy, but after months of feeling inadequately dressed, it’s started to legitimately affect my self-esteem. I’ve always been fairly self-confident and I haven’t felt this perpetually self-conscious since middle school. Not only that, but in my moments of frustration, I start to come up with these ideas that the reason he wants to always dress this way is because he thinks he’s better than everyone else – including me – which I doubt is the case.
I want to have a loving and mature relationship with my husband, but this whole situation just leaves me feeling consistently immature, both in physical appearance and in my actions. I’m headed for a career full of scrubs once I finish school this year, so this likely isn’t a problem that is going away. So how do I overcome my consistent feelings of being unattractive and underdressed? And is there any way to get my husband to understand how I feel? — Issues to A Dress
Let’s see, you feel inadequately dressed, your self-confidence has nose-dived lower than it’s been since you were an adolescent, you feel like your physical appearance is “immature,” and yet you think it’s your husband who has the problem because he won’t dress more like you when you to go out rather than the other way around? Yeah, that does sound kind of crazy, actually.
It seems like the effort you put into feeling bad about yourself and getting upset with your husband and creating conspiracy theories about him thinking he’s better than you and everyone else could be better spent changing out of puke-covered/ casual clothes into something a little more appropriate for a dinner out with your new husband. I have a one-year-old son; I appreciate the necessity for casual clothes when you have your hands full with toddlers all day. I also appreciate being on a budget and not wanting to blow much on clothes you don’t have to wear to work. But as a wife and as a woman, I also appreciate how important it is to feel good about yourself, and honey, puke-covered sweat pants isn’t gonna get the job done.
You really don’t have to spend a lot of money — or time — on a few items of clothing you can wear on dates out with your husband (or a ladies’ night out or brunch with friends or whatever other social opportunity you might have). You need 1-2 dark wash jeans that you can wear with a flattering sweater or a pretty top. Add one skirt, a pair of tights, one dress you can dress up or down, and heels and/or boots, and you have the basics for about 4-5 mix-and-matched outfits (oh, and don’t forget a cute handbag that will go with everything). Assuming you aren’t going out every single night of the week — or even if you are — that’s really all you need. You can wear the same 3-5 outfits each week. You will feel better about yourself and your husband will be happy his new wife is finally wearing something to dinner that a toddler didn’t pee or puke on.
I know you said you don’t want to put the effort into your appearance, but this is more than your appearance we’re talking about. This is your self-esteem and, frankly, your marriage. How unimportant must your husband feel that you can’t even spare five minutes to change your clothes and fix yourself up a bit to look good for him? You wouldn’t wear casual clothes to a job interview, would you? Well, why is a job more important that your marriage?
I suspect your feelings of inadequacy run a little deeper than just the clothes you’re wearing though, and I wonder if they stem from the fact that you’re still in school and working at a job you consider temporary while your husband has already started a career — a career in which he dresses like a real professional. I can see how it might feel like you’re at very different stages — stages that are echoed in your choice of wardrobe. Maybe it even feels like you’re being left behind. But this, like your daycare job, is temporary, and it doesn’t define you.
Hopefully, you will be married for a very long time, and over the course of your marriage, there will be periods when you’re doing well career-wise and maybe your husband is in a rut, and times when he’s flying high and you’re not feeling as successful. It’s important to use these opportunities to support each other and celebrate victories as a team. And if it feels like all the victories are “his,” remember that your time is coming. Your life, you marriage, and your career are all marathons.
… But that doesn’t mean you should never change out of your running attire.
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If you have a relationship/dating question I can help answer, you can send me your letters at [email protected].
Amanda November 16, 2012, 9:09 am
WWS! LW, do you know where I buy the majority of my clothes, including designer suits and dresses? Goodwill and the Salvation Army. You can buy a whole new wardrobe at these stores for well under $100 and donate clothing that you don’t want anymore. It’s great! Plus, the Salvation Army has their annual 50% off everything the day after Christmas, which I am already looking forward to. 🙂 Also, check out Ross stores because they are absolutely fantastic. I’ve bought several designer dresses there for under $15 each.
Basically, I don’t think you have an excuse not to have at least some dress clothes. If you feel inadequately dressed compared to your husband, it’s up to you to make a change.
Sara November 16, 2012, 8:31 pm
I think that Salvation Army and Goodwill are great places to shop… when you live in a city that is not economically depressed. I recently moved to an economically-depressed city, and the thrift store finds are not as great as my previous city. LW, It might be worth a trip to a Goodwill that is in a city/area that is doing well because they’ll have a wider variety of quality items for sale. Shopping is hard–especially when you are on a budget. Good luck.
muffy November 16, 2012, 9:15 am
An easy solution to all your problems would be to dress better when you go out with your husband. Bring a change of clothes to work etc.. Try to keep the casual work-wear clothes confined to work and the gym.
kerrycontrary November 16, 2012, 9:18 am
WWS! It only takes 5 minutes (or less) to get changed and throw on some jewelry. If you know you are going to go out one night, plan the outfit the night before. If you are going there right after work then pack a bag with clothes and makeup. Remember, if you look good you feel good, so maybe that’s what this is all about.
kerrycontrary November 16, 2012, 9:20 am
In addition, him changing out of his casual clothes when leaving the house on the weekends is not abnormal. I always wear comfy clothes around the house and then put on a real outfit before going out and about. I think a lot of men go through a phase where they actually learn how to dress as an adult (as opposed to jeans and any free tee shirt they can get at college events). These men then start purchasing nicer clothes/shoes. This is a GOOD thing. Why wouldn’t you want your husband to look nice? Embrace it.
ktfran November 16, 2012, 9:42 am
On Saturday’s, I totally wear comfy clothes all day and then if I’m going out to dinner, I step it up a notch.
As Wendy said, a pair of dark wash, well fitting jeans, a cute blouse, heels or boots and some jewelry is all you really need. If you’re only going out a couple times a week, one pair of jeans and two to three tops would meet all your needs.
Personally, I would spend money on jeans then go to some place like H&M or Zara or Nordstrom Rack and pick up a couple of cute, trendy tops. The sale racks at Banana and Gap are pretty awesome too, and a lot of the time, they have 30% off sale items.
KKZ November 16, 2012, 11:24 am
My husband was actually kind of excited to go buy dress shirts and ties when he was working a job that demanded that dress code (he’s in IT, so a lot of the time it’s more business-casual).
Sadly, because he has a linebacker build with a thick neck and long arms, finding his size of dress shirts at normal department stores like JCPenney was tough, and the Big&Tall stores were often too big for him. And he hasn’t worked a contract since then that had a professional dress code like that so all those shirts and ties have gone unused for a while (though he still pulls them out for family events – a button-down shirt and nice jeans are his go-to, and he looks pretty snappy in that outfit!).
oldie November 16, 2012, 9:18 am
Wendy’s title is off on this one and likely will influence comments. The LW’s husband has not complained about the way she dresses. Actually, she complains about the way he dresses and thinks it makes her look like a slob, which he has never said. The start to the letter is strange, with the excuse that she dresses down for comfort and not to ruin good clothes as a student and day care worker. This is reasonable, but it’s also not anything that she says her husband has ever complained about or criticized.
The husband’s bank likely has a dress code. His employer may even have reminded him that he will encounter a lot of customers out in the community as he shops and goes out to dinner, so he needs to always look professional. He may or may not have over-interpretted this advice, but seems to feel that maintaining a good image at all times will help his career.
Husband is not ambushing LW by changing to nicer clothes ‘at the last minute’ when they go out. Surely by now she is 100% certain that he will wear nice clothes to go out. It wouldn’t hurt LW to dress up a little more when they go out to dinner, although it seems her husband has never asked her to do this. If she feels uncomfortably clothed in the presence of a well-dressed husband, then she has an easy solution — dress to the minimum level at which she feels personally comfortable sitting next to her husband. I don’t get the idea of re-touched makeup with severe dress down to go out. Sort of incongruous match that likely looks a bit silly.
bethany November 16, 2012, 9:23 am
Good point on the ambush thing. I thought the same thing, too. If she knows he’s going to change at the last minute, why doesn’t she just put on a nicer outfit to begin with? It doesn’t need to be extravagant or anything, but if you ditch the casual jeans and sneakers, it makes a huge difference!
lets_be_honest November 16, 2012, 10:02 am
Even keep the casual jeans and throw on some heels. If I’m running late to dinner and in loose jeans and a tee, I’ll just throw on a pair of heels and a blazer and I’m all set to look slightly presentable, even in a 2 day worn tee. if you are a jewelry wearer, adding a statement necklace will do wonders too.
lets_be_honest November 16, 2012, 10:03 am
And maybe keep one of those cheek/lip stains in your purse.
Matcha November 16, 2012, 10:52 am
This definitely. Wear a nice sweater with a simple necklace, jeans, add heels. There, you look classy. Or throw on a dress and wear flats. Pull your hair back and put on some lip gloss.
I’m wondering what it is she considers under-dressed. Is he going out in a suit or business casual every time they leave the house?
MsMisery November 16, 2012, 1:38 pm
Guess it depends on what “going out” is. He doesn’t need to wear his bank suit to the movies, karaoke, or grocery shopping.
kerrycontrary November 16, 2012, 9:24 am
Yeh I’m picturing that they are wearing yoga pants/sweats around the house and then he changes into jeans and a sweater while she stays in her yoga pants. Not a big deal. I agree that the title is misleading, it should be “I want my husband to dress worse”
kf November 16, 2012, 10:50 am
Yeah, misleading titles is a recurring issue here and this is the worst one yet.
Eagle Eye November 16, 2012, 9:19 am
I’m going to read the rest of your response but can I just say how much I want that dress you posted? Holy crap that’s adorable!
Okay, on to your good advice…
bethany November 16, 2012, 9:20 am
As I was reading your letter I just thought about Barney from How I Met Your Mother. Yeah, he’s always suited up, but he doesn’t stand out too much from the rest of the group, because even though they’re usually dressed more casually than he is, they always look put together.
It really doesn’t take much to take an outfit from frumpy to nice. Put on a pair of “going out jeans” and heels/boots, and already your outfit will look much better. Have a couple of go to tops that will go with your jeans, and you can be ready in 5 minutes.
Also, if you’re on a budget, try out consinement stores- I recently got a pair of dress pants from Express and a pair of 7 for All Mankind Jeans for $21 TOTAL. And both pairs of pants looked brand new.
LadyinPurpleNotRed November 16, 2012, 9:24 am
I agree! All of my favorite clothes are from consignment stores. They have great stuff! It does wonders for your wardrobe without breaking the bank,
bethany November 16, 2012, 9:42 am
Oh, also another tip for saving money- Sign up for emails from your favorite stores. They almost always send coupons and they let you know when good sales are happening, that way you can plan to go shopping based around the sales.
bagge72 November 16, 2012, 11:59 am
This sounds great, but I find that this causes my wife to go shopping way more than she needs to because The Loft, and New York and Co are always having a sale!
KKZ November 16, 2012, 1:42 pm
I’d agree with you there, I unsubscribed from all the store emails because I was getting new coupons sent to me every other damn day and I just don’t shop that often – I usually do one big trip once a season, might venture out here and there in between if I need a particular item, but yeah. I found the email coupons to not be worth it. (I’m also one of those people who LIVES by e-mail and I hate having a cluttered inbox, it’s the one thing I’m kind of obsessive-compulsive about.)
EttaKit November 16, 2012, 9:24 am
I worked in a lab where we wore jeans and t-shirts everyday, then I was laid off so I wore pajamas all day while I looked for jobs. When my boyfriend (who works in an office) wants to go out, I dress for the occasion. That doesn’t mean I always put on a dress and heels, but dark jeans, cute boots, and a pretty top with some costume jewelry has become a go to outfit. I also own dresses and heels, and it takes me no longer to put them on than it does for me to put on jeans and a t-shirt. You say you touch up your make-up before you go out, so why not take the extra 5 minutes and put on something nice.
You make a lot of assumptions about your husband wanting you to dress better, but I didn’t read anything about him asking you to do that. If you feel uncomfortable with what you wear, you change it. It doesn’t have to be expensive, but just nicer than your daily work wear. Hopefully, this will make you feel better about yourself and your marriage will benefit.
My final point: Most people who live in casual clothes or scrubs for work, really enjoy dressing up. It’s a change from the norm, it is FUN, and it gives them a chance to show that they are not as shapeless as their work clothes might imply.
GatorGirl November 16, 2012, 9:25 am
While I do think Wendy’s advice is spot on, it is always a red flag for me when a man dismisses wife/girlfriend and calls them “crazy”. I definitely think you should take all of Wendy’s advice, but I think you should have a heart to heart with your husband too. Tell him how you’re feeling and how exhausted you are. You guys both should meet in the middle a little. You dress it up for date night at a nicer restaurant and he should tone it down for hanging out with friends watching football.
LadyinPurpleNotRed November 16, 2012, 9:29 am
But she is acting kind of crazy. He hasn’t said anything to her saying that he’s unhappy with how she looks or done anything that she’s said. She’s coming up with conspiracy theories (to steal Wendy’s word choice here).
GatorGirl November 16, 2012, 10:51 am
I don’t think she is being crazy. Her job requires more casual clothing and being a student usually leads to more casual clothing. Based on this letter, she hasn’t changed anything about herself. It’s the husband who has changed and is now dismissing her feelings of inadequacy. That’s why I said I think they should meet in the middle. She needs to step it up here and there and her husband needs to understand her concerns and help make her comfortble.
She’s not crazy is her husbands style has done a 180 in 6 months and it’s making her self conscious. That acutally seems pretty legit to me.
GatorGirl November 16, 2012, 10:53 am
correction – if her husbands style
LadyinPurpleNotRed November 16, 2012, 10:55 am
It’s for work and he discovered that he LIKES dressing up! Good for him! Maybe going back will bring his self esteem down. That’s not fair to him. He shouldn’t have to change to make her feel better because this is something that’s happening within her. He’s not saying that she looks like a slob and he’s embarrassed to be seen with her. He’s respecting that she can wear what she wants, JUST LIKE HE IS
GatorGirl November 16, 2012, 11:08 am
Well we can agree to disagree.
But if I knew something (so simple to compromise on) was upsetting my fiance to the point that he had to write into an advice column and was having issues with his self esteem – I would do what I could, with in reason, to fix the problem. If that meant I wore jeans instead of a dress to dinner, fine! If that meant I went with him shopping to help pick out some new things to make him feel more confident, let me get the car keys! Relationships are partnerships and need compromise from both parties, on just about much everything.
LadyinPurpleNotRed November 16, 2012, 11:12 am
But what if it makes his self confidence shoot down, like Guy Friday pointed out? That’s just trading one person’s for the other. It’s not necessarily that simple to compromise on.
GatorGirl November 16, 2012, 11:28 am
I guess I just see a middle ground on this. The husband doesn’t have to wear suits all the time and the wife doesn’t have to wear bagging jeans and t-shirts all the time. There is a middle of the road. He could wear tailored khaki’s and a polo or buttondown and she could wear nice dark denim and say an embelished cotton shirt. Neither have to make HUGE changes but just a little meeting in the middle can make everyone happy.
And I think the reason I’m so solidly in the compromise boat is because she mentions at the end that for her career she will be wearing scrubs. It’s not just that she hasn’t graduated and moved onto her “big girl job” yet. It sounds like this will be a life long difference between the two and they both are going to have to give a little to be happy.
LadyinPurpleNotRed November 16, 2012, 11:30 am
I think part of the problem is we don’t know what he’s wearing or what she’s wearing (as it’s pointed down thread a little) so it’s hard to determine if either is uncalled for. See I don’t think her job factors in…she’s talking about when she’s not working…she’s going to have to change if she’s wearing scrubs, so that’s not an issue–it’s WHAT she changes into.
Riefer November 16, 2012, 12:11 pm
It’ll actually be easier when she’s in scrubs, because then all her other clothes can be nice. Right now she needs dress-down clothes for the daycare, plus nicer clothes, so that’s two wardrobe categories. When you’re in uniform, that takes care of one category, so the other one is all you need to worry about!
lets_be_honest November 16, 2012, 11:36 am
About her never having a job that will require dressing nicely – Imagine people that wear uniforms to work. Like if I worked at McDonalds, just because I had to wear their visor and polo shirt, doesn’t mean I would never buy clothes for when I’m not at work. its really not much to expect that she can handle buying some outfit staples to make her look more presentable.
I can’t imagine this guy is wearing a 3 piece suit to the grocery store either though. This just seems like such an easy fix I can’t believe its a big issue. Like others have said, if she feels badly about the way she looks, buy a nice pair of jeans, some cute black flats and a few decent sweaters. So easy.
GatorGirl November 16, 2012, 11:39 am
I agree it’s an incredibly easy fix. And I think a lot of the issues are her own insecurities that need to be worked through. But if he is that far to the dressy extreme (which is what I assumed from the letter but could be totally wrong) I think he should tone it down a little. Since wearing a full suit all the time is kind of strange.
GatorGirl November 16, 2012, 11:09 am
And, I make it a point to make sure I never dismiss his feelings or tell him he is acting crazy. Because that only makes a person feel worse. No matter how silly a feeling is, it shouldn’t be dismissed.
bittergaymark November 16, 2012, 2:11 pm
Oh whatever. If somebody IS fucking acting CRAZY — they should be told that they are acting crazy. We cut people too much slack for things because of their feelings. People like this LW need to fucking grow up and deal with reality.
Lindsay November 16, 2012, 11:12 am
Yeah, I don’t think it’s a 180 so much as he learned how to be an adult and dress better. Some men never go through that stage, so she’s actually pretty lucky. I don’t think it’s fair to him to expect him to start dressing down after he’s found out what makes him feel good. And generally, self-esteem problems usually go deeper than what another person is wearing.
katie November 16, 2012, 11:19 am
see, what i dont get though is which extreme is it? is he the one who is wearing his suits to grocery stores and casual restaurants? or is she the one who is wearing nothing but sweats and toddler stained shirts when they have a date night?
neither one is right, and both of those situations need some dialing up (or down). there is a common ground where both of them can be comfortable. if she is more comfortable in more casual clothes, fine. if he is more comfortable in a little dressier set of clothes, fine. but neither one of them should be swinging so extremely in either situation.
LadyinPurpleNotRed November 16, 2012, 11:22 am
True… We don’t know what exactly he is wearing. Is he wearing jeans and a sweater? Because that looks classy, but that wouldn’t be over the top to go to the grocery store in. Is she wearing jeans and a sweatshirt? Also fine for the grocery store.
Fabelle November 16, 2012, 12:14 pm
I find it hard to believe he’s going out in a suit everywhere– she says his job requires him to “dress professionally” so I was thinking just, nice shirt, maybe a tie, & some dress pants. Nice khakis, even. Who was it that mentioned Barney from HIMYM? Like, I don’t think the husband here is like THAT, haha.
ChemE November 16, 2012, 9:28 am
I couldn’t afford any of those items. I mean, I guess I could, but I’d hate myself for spending so much money.
Wendy November 16, 2012, 9:42 am
Eh, I included the links as ideas. For some people, saying “dark wash jeans” or “cute dress” doesn’t mean anything without a visual. I look for apparel inspiration in magazines or blogs all the time and then go find cheaper versions of what I like on eBay, in consignment stores, or wait for sales.
Wendy November 16, 2012, 9:45 am
Also, plenty of people can afford $150 pair of jeans and wouldn’t hate themselves for spending the money. I have bought lots of designer jeans, sometimes even at full price, and don’t hate myself because I wear them basically every day and they make me feel good about myself because they’re flattering on my body, last for a really long time, and are super comfortable.
ktfran November 16, 2012, 10:02 am
Yep, once a year, I’ll buy a pair of designer jeans, specifically AG. Only because my body shape is hard to find pants that fit properly. The pockets have to be placed just right and they need the right amount of stretch so I don’t have saggy butt. And don’t get me started on length.
Anyway, investing in one pair of super nice jeans every so often is a good idea. They last forever and don’t lose shape. There really is a reason they cost more.
Wendy November 16, 2012, 10:06 am
I like AG (especially for those of us with some curvy hips), Seven for All Mankind, and J Brand. I usually get 1-2 new pairs a years and wear them 6 days a week. I get them patched when they start fraying (usually in the thighs) and I’ll cut them into shorts when the ends have gotten to ripped up to wear long anymore. I’ve had some pairs that I’m still wearing 4-5 years after I bought them. For non-designer jeans, I like Gap, but for my body type, I haven’t found any other jeans that make me look and feel as good as these.
MissDre November 16, 2012, 10:20 am
I have really round hips and butt with a super tiny waist. I’ve been wearing apple bottom jeans but I’ve so outgrown that adolescent style, and I can’t find any other jeans I can wear that fit my shape! If I can get the jeans up over my hips, they will be gaping at the waist! I’ve never heard of AG jeans, will they fit me??? I’m not big either! I’m only a size 10!
lets_be_honest November 16, 2012, 10:26 am
Have you ever tried Levi’s? I know they make like 60 different types for all shapes and sizes.
MissDre November 16, 2012, 10:31 am
I have, I think they have a line called Curve I.D. or something like that, they all looked horrid on me. I’ve never been able to find a pair of jeans that looks nice on me like my applebottoms, but I’m tired of the big apple pockets on the butt, and everything else they have now seems like it was made for 19 year olds.
lets_be_honest November 16, 2012, 10:35 am
Apple pockets sound cute! But yea, that brand I think is made for the younger crowd. And Curve ID is what i was talking about, so too bad. I have exactly no ass, so I can’t suggest anything else.
TaraMonster November 16, 2012, 11:23 am
I have the SAME problem. Have you tried Express? A few years ago they had a “Curvy” line, which looked AWESOME on me, but they no longer make it (sadface). But they still have decent jeans and they don’t have embellishments, big pockets, weird whiskering, or rips. They cost a bit more than I like to spend for the quality, but they usually have a buy-one-get-one-for-cheaper deal. I bought two pairs of colored jeans in there for like $110 a couple weeks ago.
I think these are the closest to that curvy line they used to have:
Marjorie November 21, 2012, 2:40 am
Both Joe’s Jeans and 7 make curvy cuts that have worked well on me. Curve ID didn’t work for me either.
Nikki November 16, 2012, 3:54 pm
Levi’s rules. They measure your waist and hips and offer a style. I could always find jeans that fit but they never looked good. I don’t mean to be crass, but since I’ve starting wearing Levi’s my boyfriend checks out my bum more, and I feel way more confident about wearing jeans.
Desiree November 16, 2012, 11:15 am
I have the same body type, and I wear Express jeans. You have to grab the right style (they have a curvy cut that actually fits over my hips without gapping at the waist–yay!), but I really like them. Full price they run $60-$120, but I often get them on sale.
MissDre November 16, 2012, 11:19 am
I’ll look into those too!
TaraMonster November 16, 2012, 11:34 am
Whoops. Didn’t see this when I posted.
Seconded! Obviously. Try ’em, MissDre!
MissDre November 16, 2012, 11:37 am
I checked out the site, but they all say low rise…. I’m not so sure low rise is right for me, I’ve got a very round butt…. I’ll continue researching tho! Thanks for the tips Ladies!
Jessibel5 November 16, 2012, 11:27 am
I have the same type of bum/hips/waist and I find that American Eagle jeans fit me really well.
ktfran November 16, 2012, 12:11 pm
AG jeans are really soft and have a great stretch, as in I can wear them a few times without washing and they don’t lose shape. I would say most are medium rise. Not too high, but not super low. They have several different styles. Anthropologie and Nordstrom carries them. I know other places do too, but I usually pick up a pair at Anthropolgie.
Also, if you do ever go to a Nordstrom’s. Have a sales person pick out a whole bunch for you and see what fits. They tailor for free too.
Violet November 17, 2012, 4:38 pm
MissDre, PZI Jeans are great for your shape, they have no gaping at the waist.
Kate November 16, 2012, 10:21 am
I very much agree that jeans are worth the investment. Premium denim has the perfect amount of stretch, holds its shape, and it lasts and lasts. If you find a brand that fits you just right, it’s so worth buying them new for $150 (or used, as others have pointed out). I have tried inexpensive skinny jeans and jeggings, and they quickly sag and lose their shape, which looks awful and makes me feel self-conscious. If you get a pair or two of premium, wash inside out in cold water as infrequently as you can, and hang dry, you can wear them all the time and they’ll last season after season. Once they fade you can keep wearing them as casual and get a replacement pair for dress.
Also, Wendy, adorable sweater – I just bought it on Amazon. Thanks for the reco!
ktfran November 16, 2012, 11:50 am
That is exactly what I do!
kerrycontrary November 16, 2012, 10:54 am
Agree with the designer jeans. I only have 3 pairs of jeans, they are all designer at full price but I’ve worn them for 2-3 years with minimal color fade and no loss of stretch or fit. I TRY to find inexpensive jeans but none fit. I’ve literally started crying in the express dressing room because all of their jeans made me look fat and feel horrible.
bethany November 16, 2012, 11:03 am
Express went through a rough patch with jeans, I think. I worked there in college and their pants were the only pants that fit me for like 10 years. Then a few years ago I went in and NOTHING fit and everything looked shitty. Keep in mind I can still fit into dress pants I bought 10 years ago- I haven’t changed size/shape at all. Then last month I gave their pants another shot, and they fit perfectly! I got some sweet Jeggings that I’m in love with.
KKZ November 16, 2012, 11:30 am
This makes the frugal old lady in me clutch her chest in panic. Could I afford it? Yes, but I could never see myself spending that much on a single pair of jeans. Like, EVER. My ceiling is probably around $50 and then they have to be pretty damn special jeans.
I do get a lot of clothes, including jeans, at Plato’s Closet though, some of them designer. I get a huge kick out of paying $11 for $80 clothes.
LK7889 November 16, 2012, 9:46 am
Same here. I felt bad for spending my $30 in birthday money on a couple of pairs of pants that actually fit me at the annual tent sale. I kept thinking, “I know I’ve lost twenty pounds and need to go down two pants sizes but I’ve got so many other things that I need to spend this money on!”
katie November 16, 2012, 10:11 am
haha.. last year for christmas i ended up getting a couple hundred dollars in gift cards and i went to the buckle and spent all of it on one outfit. its my only “nice” outfit, and my first ever pair of skinny jeans, and my ever pair of boots.
but i still hate that i spent all my christmas money in one shot that year. ugh. i could have bought so many more things…
KKZ November 16, 2012, 1:50 pm
I get that way too! I don’t object to higher-priced clothes necessarily, but it drives me nuts to spend $100 for just 3 pieces of clothing, even if they are really nice and high-quality clothes. “I could have bought so many more things…” <<< This, exactly.
Of course it's a Quality vs. Quantity issue, but I think it's psychological for me. If I'm gonna spend $100 in one shopping trip, I wanna come home with BAGS of stuff. That's why I love places like Plato's Closet, outlet malls and second-hand stores (do they have PC in other areas of the country or is it a midwest/Ohio thing?) because I can walk out with BAGS of quality stuff.
Which reminds me, I need to find a tailor, I have two pairs of jeans I bought at Plato's that fit great in the waste and are too long and I don't have a denim needle for my sewing machine and can't sew a straight line to save my life anyway…
EttaKit November 16, 2012, 3:17 pm
Plato’s Closet is in VA, too. It’s always fun to stop in there, spend 30 dollars, and come out with a bag full of clothes
lets_be_honest November 16, 2012, 10:10 am
I rationalize spending money on clothes using the CPW formula.
CPW = Cost Per Wear
So if I find a pair of jeans that fit amazingly (and really how often does that happen?), and say they are $150, but I know I’ll wear them for years, probably dozens of times or more, then in my mind they’re only costing a very minimal amount for each wear.
lets_be_honest November 16, 2012, 10:13 am
Also, say you find you like a specific brand, look for an outlet store. I love Sevens, and I can get them for close to half the price if I drive a bit to the outlets.
iwannatalktosampson November 16, 2012, 10:33 am
Love the cost per wear formula. It’s so, so true. Whenever I save money on things they last at most one season and then I have to buy new the next – so in the end I’m not really saving money.
lets_be_honest November 16, 2012, 10:50 am
That’s so true too. I get a shirt at H&M for $12, I’m wearing it twice if I’m lucky before it starts falling apart.
Matcha November 16, 2012, 10:57 am
Exactly. God, this is going to sound like an infomercial but I was walking by a gently used/secondhand/whatever the trendy word is store and I walked in. I saw a pair of Lucky Brand jeans (one of my faves) for $18. I was like, Jackpot!
LadyinPurpleNotRed November 16, 2012, 10:58 am
Plus it’s an extra boost knowing that you got a GREAT pair of jeans/sweater/dress/whatever for a great price!
TaraMonster November 16, 2012, 11:38 am
I got a Lucky skirt a few years back at a Church sale for .50.
I was especially in love with Lucky at the time, too. I walked outta there feeling like I stole something haha.
lets_be_honest November 16, 2012, 12:05 pm
The term “gently used” makes me cringe thanks to a certain unnamed blogger’s copper pot discussion.
CSP November 16, 2012, 11:36 am
I do this all the time. I have my “Work Purse” that is big and stylish but I use it all winter (I have a summer one too.) So If I spend $200 but use it 200 days then it is a dollar a day. This same formula makes me hate all my bridesmaid dresses.
lets_be_honest November 16, 2012, 11:47 am
Hahaha. Donate them to one of those prom dress for girls who can’t afford them places. You know you’ll never wear em again.
So true about purses, moreso even than clothes. If you get a nice, but basic, bag you can use that for 6 months, take a break, go back every season to that bag. They’ll last forever if you take care of them.
MMcG November 16, 2012, 2:48 pm
HEART COST PER WEAR!! That’s how I justified my investment coat purchases… I will hopefully be able to wear them for decades which in the long run will be more cost effective than buying a few new crappy coats every other year.
I hope to move into investment bag purchases next… 😉
Taylor November 16, 2012, 6:14 pm
lbh, are you in solar? Cuz “cost per Watt” is a big deal in my world. Just curious =)
iwannatalktosampson November 16, 2012, 10:29 am
I think it’s to each their own. I am also kind of appalled at the thought of spending over $100 on a dress. But I regularly drop $100 on yoga pants. And boots I make another exception for. I <3 steve madden boots – but those suckers aren't cheap. Also I've noticed the things I do spend money on last longer. Like I have an 8 year old pair of lululemon pants that are still stretchy and usable. I bought two pairs of victorias secret yoga pants and they didn't even last 3 months. So if you look at clothes as investments if very often cheaper to get the more expensive/quality brands.
CSP November 16, 2012, 11:38 am
But you could put a stylish outfit together at Walmart, Kohls, or Target just as easily. These examples give you ideas. I get ideas from the JCrew Catalog but can’t always afford what is inside it.
Anna November 16, 2012, 11:51 am
You can find stuff way cheaper if you know how to shop. My last shopping trip I got a pair of dark wash trouser jeans at Sears for $4. I also got 4 tops and a pair of black leather knee high boots. Total cost? $80. I’m a clearance rack shopper but I still look good.
Eagle Eye November 16, 2012, 9:30 am
So, here’s my own personal journey re: clothes – a few years back, while in college, I decided that I wanted to learn how to look “nice.”
1) First, spend like 5- 10 minutes online every day looking at fashion blogs, I actually recommend blogs like collegefashion.net because they have fairly easy to replicate styles, nothing as complicated as high fashion street style blogs, but those are good too, and start to figure out what you like.
2) Goodwill/ Salvation Army are your best friends, start buying clothes there and see what you like/ what fits you (if you decide that you really don’t like them, return them – remember that returning them is tax deductible!)
Once you kinda figure out what your style is/ what works with you and your body shopping is much less of a thing (i.e. I now know that I look best/ feel most put together wearing Levis jeans, jersey dresses with big wide belts, this opaque muted colored tights/ knee high boots and converses and v-cut t-shirts and sweaters), that is my style, so I shop accordingly and everything generally works together in my wardrobe…
Eagle Eye November 16, 2012, 9:31 am
Oh also, remember a dress is 1 decision and its only 1 article of clothing that needs to be clean at any given time, dresses are your friend!
Fabelle November 16, 2012, 9:35 am
Yes to your point about dresses. People always say shit to me like “oh my goodness, you’re SO dressed up” when I put on a dress, but the reality is that I was just too lazy to put together more than one item.
MissDre November 16, 2012, 9:47 am
Same here, I LOVE wearing dresses because I don’t have to try and put together an entire outfit. I’d wear a dress every damn day if it didn’t get so cold in winter…. As it is, I have more than 20 dresses but only 2 pairs of pants…
ktfran November 16, 2012, 9:56 am
Same here. But it’s mostly because I’m super skinny, have long legs and not much of a butt, so finding pants that fit properly is hard. Unless I want to spend money then get them tailored.
I wear dresses 90% of the time. The other 10% is spend in a nice pair of jeans.
kerrycontrary November 16, 2012, 10:00 am
I’m the same and I wear dresses because of this as well. I look awkward in most pants. ktfran I would suggest designer jeans because a lot are made for the long and skinny legs. I swear cherubs sang the first time I put on a pair of Paige brand jeans.
ktfran November 16, 2012, 10:04 am
I LOVE AG jeans. That’s pretty much all I own right now.
As for black pants for work, I am told Theory makes pants for people with my body shape. But they’re $230. One of these days, I will invest. Or buy them on sale.
I have’t tried Paige. I don’t love Jbrand. Or Citizens.
kerrycontrary November 16, 2012, 10:52 am
I have a pair of citizens but I don’t like them, they are a little too low cut for me. I love Sevens and Paige. I usually just go to nordstroms and have the girl pick out jeans for me then try on like 12 pairs.
bethany November 16, 2012, 11:04 am
I love Paige and J Brand (I think that’s what it’s called?)
Fabelle November 16, 2012, 11:20 am
Gah, this whole thread is making me want to buy jeans now. I HATE jean shopping because it takes so long to find a flattering pair. I’m like a 2-4 but I have high hipbones so it takes a while to find jeans that fall exactly the right way. I only have 2 pairs that I regularly wear now, because I figured I’m too old for glittery back pocket designs 🙁 ha
ktfran November 16, 2012, 12:07 pm
I know. I need to buy a new pair of jeans soon. It was been a while.
Milla November 16, 2012, 8:58 pm
Yep, me too. Dresses and skirts are so much more comfortable than jeans, and I like them so much better. Once I started dressing more nicely all the time, I found that I felt so much better about my appearance. People would remark upon how nice I looked and what a great outfit I had, and as somebody who had been . . . uhh, shall we say, plain in high school, it was a HUGE confidence booster. It also helps my students take more seriously, since I’m a grad student and teach people who aren’t always much younger than me.
I’ve spent way too much money on clothes, but now I’m really happy to have them. Even high-end stores like Anthropologie and JCrew will give you great deals if you know how to shop them right (I’ve gotten a $10 dress at Anthro, for example). Consignment and outlet stores are amazing if you don’t want to watch the sales!
bethany November 16, 2012, 9:43 am
Dresses are my best friend in the summer! It’s so easy! And when you think about it, they’re cheaper than pants and a top!
LK7889 November 16, 2012, 9:57 am
This is very true. I bought a couple of cotton sun dresses last year that were on sale for $10 a piece and they are my favorite summer clothes! Easier/cheaper than pants and a shirt AND more comfortable!
Muffy November 16, 2012, 9:34 am
collegefashion.net is great. I’m still in university but even for after graduation it’s great. All their clothes are affordable. They have how to dress like [x character from tv shows] and then give you some examples with affordable clothes. You should check it out LW!
lets_be_honest November 16, 2012, 10:20 am
Yes! Blogs are great for ideas. I love collegefashion, although I feel a little silly being old and going on it. I also like KendiEveryday.com and gap or jcrew usually have an option to buy a whole outfit, I get some ideas on those too.
Fabelle November 16, 2012, 9:32 am
Wait, so is your husband even actually saying anything about this? or is he just responding to you when you’re like “Honey, please change out of those nice clothes for dinner!” From your letter, it definitely seems like this issue is allll yours (which you do own– “I might even sound kind of crazy…”in my moments of frustration, I start to come up with these ideas… he wants to always dress this way is because he thinks he’s better than everyone else – including me – which I doubt is the case.”)
So you realize that you’re the problem, & that your problem is making you feel awful, yet you want to focus on getting your husband to dress down more? Noooo. I mean, I’m sure you look nice ENOUGH in your casual clothes, but if you feel like a slobby adolescent when you’re next to your professionally-dressed husband, then…it’s time to spend a little on new clothes.
“I’m headed for a career full of scrubs once I finish school this year, so this likely isn’t a problem that is going away.” Not to pick on you, but what does this mean? Are you planning to wear your scrubs out once you get to this point in your career? I mean, I’m not the fashion police or anything, but please don’t do this. I realize reading clothing tips & tricks can come off as condescending, but I hope you don’t get defensive.
I buy half of my work & dress-up clothes from Marshalls. You don’t need to drop a whole paycheck on clothes– just get some dark-wash jeans, like Wendy suggested, and a few pretty tops & heels. A well-fitting dress & stockings. It doesn’t take very long to change your clothes, so if your hair & makeup is already done, all you have to do is shuck your work clothes & your ready. You will feel better about yourself if you take the shift your attention off of your husband & place it on yourself.
Look, there have been moments when my boyfriend comes over right from his teaching job in a dress shirt, dress pants, & tie, & I’ve already changed out of my work clothes into yoga pants & tank top. Usually, I’m just like “oh shit, you look so much better than me” & run upstairs real quick to change. It’s not that big of a deal. Other times, yeah, I just say “fuck it” & go out as I am. Yes, I get carded & feel like people are wondering about our age difference, but it can be something to laugh about when it’s not the norm, you know? So you should put in effort at least say, every other time.
Lindsay November 16, 2012, 11:05 am
Plus, wearing scrubs out can be kind of gross, depending on what you come in contact with on the job. Even if your job is fairly clean, a lot of people see people with scrubs as restaurants and the grocery store and assume they are spreading germs or bodily fluids…
CSP November 16, 2012, 9:37 am
LW – Organizing your closet, shoes, and accessories will make changing super fast. I took a bunch of wall mounted key ring holders and hung them in the wall of my closet and hang my necklaces from there. I have a display earring holder and a bracelet holder (I got them at michaels). My shoes are organized. By doing this, it makes you remember your stuff and not spend time untangling them. It shows that you appreciate your things and makes it that you aren’t digging through your stuff.
MISS MJ November 16, 2012, 9:43 am
My husband graduated from law school the year before I did and worked in a nice office downtown where he was required to wear a suit. During that year, I was still a law school student and dressed most days jeans and sandals. When we would go to lunch downtown or out after he got off of work, I dressed up to his level. It never occurred to me not to because, yeah, I’d stick out in a nice restaurant full of professionals on a Thursday at 5:00 if I walked in wearing in jeans and sandals. No wonder the LW feels immature and out of place. She looks immature and out of place.
LW, get some dressy, adult clothes. Put them on when you go out to dressy, adult places with your dressed up, adult husband. You will feel like a dressy, adult woman. And there is nothing more confidence building than that. Also, I’ve been told its sexy as hell.
iwannatalktosampson November 16, 2012, 9:48 am
This letter makes me want to talk about myself right now. I (normally) have to wear a suit to work everyday. Barf. Suits are so uncomfortable. Skirt suits were invented by a total asshole. Why would I want to take little itty bitty steps everywhere?! I got shit to do and places to go people. So when I get home I immediately change into some lulu’s. They make my life complete. There is no greater joy I get in this world than getting home from a long day and pouring a glass of wine and putting on yoga pants. It’s the one moment my life feels complete.
So now making this about you LW – why don’t you guys try to have a few romantic dinners in every week and only go out a few nights. Going out every night sounds exhausting to me. You can also start naked Thursdays. That’s always good for new couples.
lets_be_honest November 16, 2012, 10:22 am
LOL’s at the tiny steps because of skirts. Hate that too.
painted_lady November 16, 2012, 11:55 am
I used to have this adorable skirt suit that was light gray and the skirt was a pleated a-line. Super cute and fairly comfortable. It was my lucky interview suit.
MMcG November 16, 2012, 2:52 pm
On the tiny steps front… and I am not saying this is you IWTTS… but I see on the metro all the time women in skirt suits that they clearly bought off the internet and they haven’t unsnipped the X in the back over the slit – so they have to walk awkward! Drives me crazy… same thing in men or women suit jackets or anything with a slit/vent — they gently stitch it closed during shipping and you have to take it out before wearing!!!
I only once got the nerve to say something once though… because it isn’t like “your tag is sticking out” it’s “you have an X that you need to remove for your clothes to work properly” and the poor girl looked at me like I was nuts.
bethany November 16, 2012, 3:05 pm
I see that ALL THE TIME, too!!! Drives me nuts!
MMcG November 16, 2012, 3:32 pm
Thank you bethany… sometimes I wonder if my pet peeves are shared by others or if I’m just a little persnickety!!
iwannatalktosampson November 16, 2012, 3:50 pm
Haha luckily I’m not that dumb. All my skirt suits are really fitted and go in at the knees creating that hour glass shape. They make me look great – but I am an angry, angry individual. So I’m sure my scowl cancels out the hourglass figure situation.
MMcG November 16, 2012, 4:21 pm
I think the scowl just makes you more intriguing!
ktfran November 16, 2012, 9:53 am
Looking good makes me feel good. And when I feel good, I have more confidence. And when I’m confident, I’m happy. And I make others happy too because it’s like a drug. Who doesn’t want to be happy?
LW, if spending a little bit of money – and I’m sure your husbund would support this investment, I think of most clothes as an investment – will make you feel better when you go out, do it. And maybe, just maybe, if you put in a little effort, when you’re home from a night out with the husband, it will be all he can do to keep his hands off of you. Sex, it’s another happiness drug.
I promise within a couple weeks, your self inflicted spiral into negativity will be cured.
ktfran November 16, 2012, 10:08 am
Also, when you look nice, people compliment you. Bam. Another mood booster!
Can you tell I’m a fan of dressing well?
katie November 16, 2012, 10:03 am
oh, LW, i feel for you… i really do. i have no fashion sense. i never really cared what my appearance was anyway, and after years of being made fun of and being brainwashed by a terribly strict dress code, i dont even feel comfortable in anything else then pants. so thats all i wear. its dumb. when i worked in kitchens, it was easy though, because kitchen pants are kind of like sweats, so it was comfy. but now i have to actually wear “nice” clothes, but at the same time, they cant be too nice because i still work in a kitchen almost daily. its a weird thing to reconcile.
anyway, if you dont feel good about what your wearing, why dont you change into something you do feel good in? im really not one who should be giving this advice, because i obsess over what to wear to very simple things, i freak out if people have seen me in the same outfit, i hate dressing up because i never know what to wear…. so really, LW, just dont be like me. thats my advice.
also, i wonder how much of this is your internal issue vs. what your husband thinks/feels/says to you/ect. are you picking up on him not liking what your wearing? he is actually saying things to you? if you personally feel under-dressed then dress up a little more. thats an easy fix. if you dont want to dress up, then wear whatever you want. just own it, whatever you choose to do.
KKZ November 16, 2012, 11:41 am
I have no fashion sense either. Clicking on the links Wendy included made this glaringly apparent to me. I am SO bad at putting outfits together. I mean, I can match a top with a pair of pants, but accessorizing? Layering? Cute scarves and long necklaces and shit? Mixing different prints without looking like a bad PIcasso painting? Ugh. I sometimes try to replicate what I see in catalogs and on mannequins and feel like a total poser. Like the trend right now to wear dresses/skirts with boots, I like that look so I went and bought some boots… only they are totally the wrong kind of boots to do that look with, the length is not right. They look great over skinny jeans, though, so at least it wasn’t a total loss, but still, story of my life, fashion and I don’t mix.
I tend to stick to a lot of solid colors and neutrals because of this, and end up in pretty bland outfits that skew towards a monochromatic look. I’m so sensitive about things that might clash (even though clashing is kind of “in” right now, with the whole colorblocking thing) that I tend towards monochromatic looks and rarely make a bold color choice. I actually went out a limb and bought dark red skinny jeans at H&M earlier this fall. I have never had a non-standard color of pants before. And I really had to talk myself into buying them in the middle of the store.
Eagle Eye November 16, 2012, 11:48 am
FWIW it just takes so much trial and error (and time) to get it right, or even begin to feel like you’re getting it close to right. I will admit that I had NO fashion sense until I decided that I would, and really, I would give yourself a budget to play with, and feel free with returning clothes. I bought a bunch of stuff at Goodwill that just didn’t end up working with my style, so I gave it all back, not a big deal.
Basically, I would chose one thing that’s on trend and see if it works, like boots, or dresses with belts at the waist, and then kinda experiment with alot of different options (dressing rooms are your friend). And see where it goes from there
KKZ November 16, 2012, 2:13 pm
Dressing rooms are not just my friend but a MUST. I have a disproportionately large bust and a short torso so I have to be sure everything fits and sits right up top. I also know I can’t pull off certain trends. Anything with a belted middle or an empire-waist is pretty much off limits for me. For one, it cuts me in half visually; for two, my boobs almost NEVER fit in the designated boob section of the garment unless I get a 2XL and then it’s too baggy everywhere else; and for three, belting just creates a shelf for my boobs to sit on and makes them look even bigger. And belted things are SO in right now and look so cute, I just don’t have the body for them.
And because going braless is not an option for me and I have yet to find a really reliable strapless bra that actually supports me (no need to suggest stores or brands, I promise you I’ve tried them all, and I’m on the train to reduction-surgery-town anyway), all things strapless or one-shouldered or off-the-shoulder, also out. Or sheer. Or with a very low-cut back that would expose my bra strap. Or spaghetti-strapped. Or halter-necked (I do have a multi-option bra that has a halter setting, but having the weight of my boobs hanging from my neck really hurts!).
Not making excuses by the way, just saying I have done some trial-and-error already and been dismayed at how many trends just don’t work for me. *sadface*
JK November 16, 2012, 2:26 pm
KKZ more than trends, I thnk it´s important to know your body, and how to dress it. I love Trinny and Susannah and they have an interesting take on body types: http://www.trinnyandsusannah.co.uk/take-the-body-shape-quiz
KKZ November 16, 2012, 2:48 pm
I had their “What Not to Wear” book when I was a teen! And it definitely helped point me towards some good stuff for busty women, like wrap tops, and told me what to avoid, like thin horizontal stripes and empire-waisted things. I also used to watch a lot of “How Do I Look?” when I still had cable.
I also read “Tim Gunn’s Guide to Style” a couple years back and that helped a lot too (plus, you know, I <3 Tim Gunn). I have always been attracted to peasant-style/hippie clothes which is typically not very fitted, but when Tim pointed out that baggy/unfitted/billowy ("blousson" is the word I think he used) tops are bad for a big-busted lady, I was like, holy crap, you're right, these do me no favors.
The biggest eye-opener from his book, though, and I'm sure it's mentioned on fashion shows too: If you are overweight, don't hide it in baggy clothes, that just makes you look more overweight. Even fat people look good in fitted clothes (fitted, not clingy, though). He said go to the mirror and put on one of your tops, reach around to the back, and pinch the extra fabric until the garment is fitted to your shape. See how much better that looks? And he was totally right! All hail Tim Gunn! 🙂
JK November 16, 2012, 2:49 pm
I <3 Tim Gunn as well. I think I love fashion gurus, period. hahaa
lets_be_honest November 16, 2012, 11:54 am
Get yourself some cute, funky heels or flats. I wear black, grey and navy 90% of the time, but add brighter shoes.
MMcG November 16, 2012, 12:08 pm
I second the cute shoes!! i can’t accessorize for my life but even if I am just wearing my watch I feel more put together if I am wearing a pair of bright/shiny shoes and I don’t have to think about it 🙂
KKZ November 16, 2012, 2:23 pm
I am on a mission right now for a close-toed (but not pointy), low-heel or flat, “professional” shoe that I can wear with socks (like those thin trouser socks, not gym socks, of course). Which sounds simple enough but has proven tough. I prefer to wear socks whenever possible because I get nasty eczema on my feet and they stink, crack, and get itchy if I go barefoot.
I have some cute black-and-purple plaid ballet flats I got this spring that I have not worn as much as I thought I would. I do wear a lot of purple on top, but the purple in the shoes doesn’t match the purples I wear in clothing and I am just so convinced someone’s gonna notice and judge me for it.
Now here’s a clueless question: Neutral, un-patterned trouser socks + ballet flats (with slacks and a blouse, for example). Yea or nay? I honestly don’t know if this is totally acceptable or a complete no-no.
jlyfsh November 16, 2012, 2:28 pm
have you ever tried the socks that just go over the bottom of your foot. i know they have a name, can’t think of it right now. but the basically just barely go over your toes and heel. anyway, i have similar issues. i just cannot go without socks of some kind. even knee highs don’t work for me. but, those little socks seem to be the way to go for me. they keep my feet happy and you can’t see them. might be worth checking in to!
lets_be_honest November 16, 2012, 2:33 pm
I wear those almost every day. You can get them cheap at Payless if you have one near you.
jlyfsh November 16, 2012, 2:36 pm
but do they have a name?? it’s driving me nuts. they must have a name, right?
lets_be_honest November 16, 2012, 2:40 pm
jlyfsh November 16, 2012, 3:02 pm
KKZ November 16, 2012, 2:59 pm
I had some once but I’m pretty sure they got lost in the wash.
Should I take this to mean that visible socks + ballet flats are indeed a bad look?
jlyfsh November 16, 2012, 3:01 pm
i need a visual to accurately judge.
lets_be_honest November 16, 2012, 3:05 pm
I hate to say it, but I wouldn’t do it. I think some people maybe could pull it off, but it makes me think of parochial school. I second the peds suggestion and knee high pantyhose.
MMcG November 16, 2012, 3:36 pm
It does work best when you have long enough pants that you can’t REALLY tell… but yeah, I see where the parochial school comes in.
bethany November 16, 2012, 3:08 pm
I wear black socks with black flats (and pants) at work, but that’s just cause I don’t care. If I wear flats with jeans/leggings on the weekend I don’t think I’d wear the socks.
Kate November 16, 2012, 3:58 pm
KKZ, yeah, I think socks with ballet flats are bad, so if you want to wear those I’d go with either tights or the low peds. But socks and flat boots, definitely. Wouldn’t ankle boots accomplish what you’re looking for here? Or, what about those “smoking slipper” shoes that are in right now? Those probably work with trouser socks.
MMcG November 16, 2012, 2:56 pm
I rock neutral trouser socks with flats… and also knee highs! i initially hated them, they were up there with nude pantyhose on my list of don’ts… but quite frankly I’m reevaluating all of that (esp. since nude is no longer that awful burnt beige color… and if some nude hose makes my feet feel better in my shoes than I am all for it)
jlyfsh November 16, 2012, 3:01 pm
hose make my feet sweat worse, is that weird? and then they get this weird odor that only happens when i wear knee highs/hose. my feet are little divas that require very special circumstances apparently.
MMcG November 16, 2012, 3:34 pm
I don’t think it’s weird… my feet are sweating no matter what (sorry TMI) and I’ve found that hose/tights are the only things that will prevent blisters. Nothing worse than a pair of shoes that you thought were happily worn in killing your feet because you went barefoot in them and ended up walking around too much.
lets_be_honest November 16, 2012, 3:38 pm
Same here. I have the stinkiest feet and I have tried everything to fix that. I actually have gotten into the habit of washing them when I get home bc I honestly have smelled them when laying down. Gross.
Fabelle November 16, 2012, 12:23 pm
Don’t feel bad, I’m the same way (with the whole favoring neutrals thing) & most people think I’m pretty put-together. If you’re not a color/pattern person, that’s fine! I’m a bit OCD with it– I hate, hate, hate “clashing” things to the point where I feel off if my underwear color doesn’t go with my clothes (even though nobody is gonna see it)
Anyway, sometimes I’ll pick a pattern-y shirt to wear, but I make sure it has black or gray in it so that I can easily match the rest of my outfit. If I wear color, it’s usually just on a scarf or shoe. I think this is fine & I don’t drive myself crazy trying to mimic neon or clashy pattern trends. (Basically because my head would explode if I even tried.)
KKZ November 16, 2012, 2:41 pm
I’m the same! All of my patterned shirts are easily paired with my neutral pants. I LOVE colors and patterns and prints, I’m just not confident at all about pulling them off well.
My mom still picked my clothes out for me each morning until I was in junior high-ish; when I took over, though, I just kept putting the same things together that she used to. She’s legit OCD and hates, hates, hates clashing, so I guess I picked that up from her and got stuck in a cycle of outfits that are all in the same color family, too afraid to branch out.
My best friend won a Macy’s makeover with Clinton Kelly two years ago and has shared what he told her. She dresses very nicely and is a joy to shop with, and I try to keep her and her tastes in mind when I shop (i.e. “Would Danielle like this?”) and that has helped me feel a little more confident, and a little bolder, in my choices.
lets_be_honest November 16, 2012, 3:04 pm
kkz, you seem like such a sweet, charming person. All of the comments I’ve read from you make me smile.
lets_be_honest November 16, 2012, 2:51 pm
Oh, I guess I’m ocd too. I always have to have my underwear match my bra.
JK November 16, 2012, 2:56 pm
OH god me too
Fabelle November 16, 2012, 3:29 pm
This makes me feel so much better, seriously. You would not believe how much people make fun of me for this! Like, every boyfriend/FWB I ever had, plus all my friends.
I had on a matching bra/thong set today, but the bra didn’t look so great under a shirt & I had to change it last minute. I’m disappointed every time I pee, because I remember I don’t match 🙁
jlyfsh November 16, 2012, 10:04 am
I kind of feel you because I hate getting dressed up and I don’t really spend a lot on clothes. I’ve always worked jobs (actually up until the one I have now) where I’ve had to have two sets of clothes because the one I wear to work is going to get muddy, bleached or I’m going to spill some kind of buffer on it. I like to keep my ‘real life’/non-work clothes simple. And dress things up with comfy cute shoes (my favorite pair of red ballet flats only cost me $8 at a jcpenny sale, and I put a pair of $5 inserts I have in them when I wear them, makes them so comfy!), scarves, jewelry, etc. And you don’t have to go crazy when you shop! I probably spend out of pocket about $150 to $200 a year on all of my clothes, shoes, and accessories. And I manage to clothe myself very well. I shop sales, consignment shops, etc. It can be done.
I also don’t think you have to match him exactly when you go out. Just because he’s wearing a suit and tie for example doesn’t mean you have to wear a dress with heels. It’s partly how you accessorize and carry yourself.
So the next time you’re going to dinner when you take the 5 minutes to do your make-up and hair, change in to your ‘nice’ jeans and throw a scarf on. Wear your ‘nice’ shoes, etc. And if you don’t feel like dressing up that day, don’t! But, don’t take it out on your husband. He obviously just enjoys the clothes he started wearing.
Leah November 16, 2012, 10:21 am
I totally agree with WWS on why the LW might be feeling insecure and what steps to take to fix it, but holy hell! I did the math and you linked to $1001.65 worth of clothing! Pre-tax! Pre-shipping!! I had a friend who worked full-time at a daycare working with infants and toddlers and she barely made above minimum wage. And this was a large company!
LW, Wendy is right that you may feel better about yourself getting some dressier and more professional looking cloths, even if you don’t technically need them yet for your career. I go to class after work and keep my professional clothing on and it makes me feel and look much more serious about my program! It also doesn’t very many pieces to mix and match and have a great wardrobe.
The thing is, it does take some time and effort to shop for this stuff, especially if you’re not used to purchasing this kind of clothing and are trying to do it on the cheap. I highly recommend cheaper stores like Target, JC Penney and Kohls and limiting yourself to the sales rack. You could also try vintage stores or the Salvation Army. It’s amazing what turns up in those places! Also, check out the sales at hip clothing websites like Modcloth and Ruche. It’s very easy to sort by price and ignore everything over, say, $20 so you don’t get tempted. Teen clothing companies like Alloy or Delia*s are also a good source of trendy and affordable accessories, though most of their clothing will look too young.
It’s definitely doable putting together a good wardrobe on a budget, but it will take some time! Good luck!
lets_be_honest November 16, 2012, 10:24 am
Target is a great suggestion for inexpensive basics and trendy clothes. I’m always surprised at what they have there.
iwannatalktosampson November 16, 2012, 10:34 am
SERIOUSLY!! When did Target get so trendy! They have the cutest work appropriate pumps. (I consider work appropriate to be close toed and 4 inches, haha)
lets_be_honest November 16, 2012, 10:37 am
Haha, ditto. My feet are more comfortable in heels at this point than in sneakers or flats.
GatorGirl November 16, 2012, 10:42 am
I love Target! Kohls is also a surprisingly affordable option with all the coupons/sales they do. The nicer lines like Elle and LC have some great pieces.
Jessibel5 November 16, 2012, 11:30 am
I am slightly obsessed with the LC line! And as ashamed as I am to admit it, the Kardashian Kollection has some really cute things…
Leah November 16, 2012, 11:45 am
When I worked a law firm, one of the younger, female attorneys would pair very conservative suits with pumps from Jessica Simpson’s line. It looked fabulous!
MMcG November 16, 2012, 2:58 pm
I have purchased numerous pairs of Jessica Simpson shoes and I have never been disappointed!! She’s got some awesome wedges which give a little height but are still comfy… just fashion forward enough for me to not feel like a loser, without being 6 inch platforms 🙂
Leah November 16, 2012, 11:44 am
Also, when you’re trying to figure out how to dress professionally or just more “adult”, I highly recommend you watch back seasons of What Not to Wear on TLC. That show has given me so much information on how to put together outfits! Like wearing neutrals with one or two pops of color, and using color/texture/shine to make outfits more interesting. The makeovers are super inspirational, too!
SweetPeaG November 16, 2012, 12:02 pm
I think Wendy put those links up as suggestions. Maybe the LW could splurge on ONE of those items?
I do fully support the Target and Kohl’s suggestions. Have you seen Lauren Conrad stuff at Kohl’s? Her stuff is so adorable. A lot of her stuff has a vintage/romantic/feminine vibe to it, which I love! And the jeans in her line fit me like they were made for me.
lets_be_honest November 16, 2012, 10:29 am
Polyvore.com is awesome for ideas too. Plus you can “make” outfits with clothes you already own. I use it almost everyday to document outfits I’m wearing that I know I like and will want to wear again. Makes for a very easy dressing.
summerkitten26 November 16, 2012, 10:31 am
WWS! LW, the way you dress can have a HUGE impact on your self esteem, and comparing yourself to your well-dressed husband isn’t helping any! But you know what? Making that tiny change can have large repercussions! I was volunteering between jobs for a few months so I wasn’t out of the house every day, and I started to get dressed up, even if it was to sit in front of my tv as I applied to stuff. My parents made fun of me (why are you wearing a cocktail dress when you haven’t even gone outside?!), but I felt LOADS better just taking that effort to dress up FOR ME. I was going to have to put on clothes after my shower anyway (man, I miss living alone), so why not pick nice ones? Yes, I was a little ridiculous about it, but my point is that the way you feel about your appearance influences the way you feel about yourself in general.
Besides that, you don’t have to spend a lot of time and/or money to have pretty clothes, either. Someone above recommended organizing your closet to make grab-and-go outfits easier. It’s worth it! If I wake up late for work, I’m wearing a dress because it requires NO effort. Plus, if you can see what you’ve got, it makes it easier to shop your closet.
Definitely sign up for emails from your favorite retailers, because it makes it easier to catch good deals on quality investment pieces, but don’t feel as if everything you wear has to be $200 pants this, $150 shirt that. If you mix investment pieces with well-made cheap finds, you’ll look pulled together without having to spend your entire bank account. If you have the patience, check out stores like Marshall’s, TJ Maxx, Kohls, Century 21, and even Forever 21. They have well-made pieces for surprisingly cheap, and then you can pair a cute, professional looking F21 shirt with cute, professional looking (Machine Washable!!!) pants from Banana Republic that you got for $15 on sale and not have to worry about puke or whatever else comes out of little kids. Knowing and feeling that you look good will do wonders for your mindset.
You guys, I’m going to go shop at Kohl’s and Century 21 now. That’s what I’m going to do with my day off work.
Lindsay November 16, 2012, 10:33 am
I am really awful at dressing myself, so I understand. I gathered from you letter that the goal was to find a way to make your husband stop dressing up, but the solution to fixing your confidence is not to make other people feel less confident about themselves. Wendy’s right. You don’t have to buy expensive clothes, just ones that are clearly made for dressing up. I know plenty of nurses who weae scrubs all say and who also dress up too. It’s not mutually exclusive. In fact, it makes putting together a wardrobe easier and cheaper because you don’t have to worry about spending lots of money and time on work clothes.
Lynn November 16, 2012, 10:39 am
Yikes. In my experience – when you dress up, you feel significantly better about yourself. I like to dress down when I get home, but I always want to look my best when I’m out and about. So I think if you motivate yourself enough to want to look better, then you’re going to feel better.
I budget for about $100-200 a month for clothes, shoes and things of that nature – it just depends. I know my budget isn’t realistic for everyone, but find what you can afford and then find places to shop within that… so whether it’s Neimans or a consignment shop, you can find lots of cool stuff.
JK November 16, 2012, 10:40 am
I kind of get where LW is coming from. When I was working fulltime I wore scrubs from early morning til night from monday to friday. And after I got home I was usually too tired to put on much more than pjs. BUT when we went out I would make an effort to dress a bit better.
Now I´m pretty much a SAHM (except for a couple of hours a couple of times a week when I return to the scrubs), and when I´m at home of course I wear sweats, but to go out, even if just to get my eldest from kindy I wear at least jeans, and skirts in warm weather (I love skirts). But, my husband DID bug me about not dressing nicely when we go out (when we first met I dressed pretty well all the time) so recently I´ve been making a bit more of an effort when we go out to dinner or whatever.
I also don´t like spending a lot of money on clothes for myself, but now that I´m older, I´m starting to appreciate investing in clothes and shoes, I much prefer having one pair of great shoes that will last a few seasons than 2/3 pairs of crappy ones thast won´t even last one season. I gues it helps that I´m more of a classical dresser, I don´t really follow trends so my clothes don´t age.
All this to say my advice to you would be learn to dress for your body. Make an effort to dress a bit better when you go out (ike others have said it takes next to no effort to throw on a dress). If you don´t have much room for clothes in your budget, shop wisely, get some classic items that you can accesorize. Accesories are cheap, and can totally change an outfit.
Older and (hopefully) wiser November 16, 2012, 10:47 am
H&M.Very affordable. But I know that when I don’t have the energy to dress nicely, wear makeup etc., it means I’m depressed.
Sue Jones November 16, 2012, 10:49 am
I used to have this one friend when I lived in Seattle who was a full time yoga teacher. So of course she spent all her time in yoga clothes. She lived in a group house with my boyfriend at the time and whenever I went over there she was always dressed up when hanging around the house. When I asked her about it, she said she liked to dress up after work because she spent so much time in yoga clothes, which by the way weren’t as cute as they are now. So that could be a solution. Have some dressier outfits that you where when you are NOT working and keep the grubby ones for home. A lot of medical professionals, who spend their days in scrubs do the same.
j2 November 16, 2012, 10:52 am
The element that seems to be missing is what the others are wearing “when we go to dinner, hang out with friends, or go to meetings of clubs to which we belong.”
The guy is required to dress professional at work — what are his peers wearing at “club meetings”? Are they eating at Five Guys, or more upscale places where men wear about what he does at work? What are they doing when they “hang out with friends”? Is it grilling in the back yard? Etc.
(This reminds me of my father. He always said dressing was easy for him: jeans or coat+tie.)
bethany November 16, 2012, 11:08 am
MMMMmmmm 5 Guys. YUM.
j2 November 16, 2012, 11:48 am
Bacon cheeseburger, extra crispy fries … lunch time!
lemongrass November 16, 2012, 11:00 am
While the husband didn’t actually say he wants the LW to dress better, I don’t think that it would even be a bad thing if he did. He feels good about himself dressing up and I’m sure he wants you to feel the same way about yourself, which you don’t right now, so the solution is for you to dress up to.
I tell my husband all the time if he needs to change in before we leave the house. He works a blue collar job and wears holy old shirts for working and doing jobs around the house. I have separated his “nice” t-shirts and his work ones so that if we run to the store he knows what to change into. I also bought him some nice sweaters that can be dressed up/down so it is a quick fix before we leave the house. I have no problem saying to him “wear this instead” and he doesn’t take it as offensive.
We definitely wear sweatpants/pjs every minute of home-time though 🙂 Once he was going to run to the store and he was wearing pjs and I told him that he had to put on jeans first and he didn’t want to. After a couple minutes of arguing he put his jeans on OVERTOP of his pjs so that I wasn’t “right.”
SweetPeaG November 16, 2012, 11:20 am
So, I know this is a gender stereotype and one that probably needs to be changed…
But, I think a guy hearing from his female significant other that he needs to change or what to wear to a certain event takes it MUCH better than if it were the other way around. Maybe the LW is feeling like the typical gender roles are a little screwed up here. She’s the woman… isn’t she supposed to be pretty and polished?! Maybe that’s part of her being so upset.
That being said, it is obvious they might both feel a little better if she takes the extra minute to care about her appearance before they go out. Both genders should put in the effort to feel great.
KKZ November 16, 2012, 11:47 am
My husband’s go-to for a casual afternoon out – like if we go run errands together or something – is usually a polo and jeans. The only reason this pisses me off is that he wears his polos to work too, and even though he has a TON of them, he’ll end up using up all his favorite ones for off-work time and then complain that he’s out of clean ones for when he has to work. (I am the sole Laundry Fairy in our house. Laundry and dishes are the two things he refuses to compromise on, which annoys the hell out of me because it’s not like I love doing them either…anyway, that’s a topic for another thread.)
Guy Friday November 16, 2012, 11:03 am
I constantly try to get him to change into casual clothes in the evenings, but he’s developed an obsession with always looking “classy” and dismisses my feelings as crazy. When we are both wearing casual clothes around the house on the weekend, he’ll often change right at the last second before we go out
So, here’s another point I hadn’t seen brought up yet. And, truthfully, I don’t know if this applies to everyone or if it’s just me, but it’s a realization I came to about 6 months ago and I’d be interested in hearing if other people have had this happen to them too. So, here it goes:
I always used to be a slob. I mean, a real slob. I’d wear baggy clothes, do the “free t-shirt” thing, etc. Before I went to law school, I had one dress belt, one pair of khakis, 3 dress shirts, 2 ties, and one suit. Seriously; I didn’t even own a sport coat. In law school, I bought a couple more shirts and ties, another pair of khakis, a sport coat and another suit (mostly when I started interning for the public defender’s office and was in court more than once a week), but really I pretty much had no dress wardrobe to speak of. But then I graduated law school and I started working as a lawyer, and it started to . . . matter, I guess. I mean, my mentor at the public defender’s office NEVER wears a suit; he’s strictly a khaki and button-down guy, and keeps a sport coat and a tie on the back of his office door to throw on when he’s going to court. And I know a lot of lawyers who come to court in sweaters and khakis, despite local court rules calling for a tie and coat. So it’s not like it’s part and parcel for the job, necessarily. But for some reason, when I started appearing on the record as a lawyer, I started having the urge to look a little less like I just graduated law school. So I bought more khakis and suits, learned how to color coordinate shirts and ties (though those boxed sets are still my best friend 🙂 ), and basically suggested to anyone who wanted to get me presents to focus on dress socks, nice belts, ties, shirts, etc. And not only did I buy suits, but I spent the $30 or so per suit to get them tailored correctly, so they fit me like they’re supposed to. I started getting my dress shoes shined, and invested in rubber overshoes for the winter.
Since I started doing this, however I’ve started to feel a personality shift in me toward how I look that’s more than just “He’s grown up.” Two days ago I was in court in the morning for a quick 5 minute hearing to set a future date — my client wasn’t even there — so I wore khakis and a button down and a sport coat and sneakers, since I was going home after that to work on an appeal. One of my coworkers was in court on one of his cases and joked to me “Nice shoes, Guy.” And he was kidding, and we laughed, but for the rest of the day it bugged me that I hadn’t worn dress shoes. My wife and I went to a wedding a few weeks ago, and I deliberately wore cuff links and a tie tack I had just gotten because I felt like wearing a suit and tie with no added accoutrements wouldn’t feel special enough. When I’m not wearing a suit, I am very conscious of it; I don’t feel as attractive when I’m just wearing jeans and a t-shirt. I usually have to wear a nice sweater or a polo shirt and khakis if I’m going out. I mean, I’ll wear jeans and a t-shirt, but only if I’m doing something like helping a friend move or painting or something like that.
Here’s my point: he may be “obsessed”, as you put it, because his mind has shifted because of his work to a point where he’s so used to wearing “classy” outfits that he can’t just go back to wearing “regular” outfits. He’s gotten used to seeing himself in nice clothes, so when he sees himself in anything else he feels under-dressed and slobbish. I don’t think it’s necessarily a bad thing; it’s just a thing, and I think it applies to him because his not demanding you match his level of dress makes me think he recognizes this is his own mental thing rather than some opinion on how society should operate.
(Of course, I could be crazy. Am I crazy? Anyone else have this happen to them too?)
lets_be_honest November 16, 2012, 11:14 am
Not crazy, I was/am the same way.
Eagle Eye November 16, 2012, 11:36 am
Yes! I’m a grad student, but even still the mostly female population of my program always looks put together and interesting, I don’t have classes everyday but when I do I really try to put in some extra effort into my outfit (even though when I’m working, home or not, I wear real clothes, sweats don’t let me focus).
Anyways, the other day I was feeling pretty out of it so I looked a bit sloppier than usual, and I kinda felt self conscious about it the whole day.
CSP November 16, 2012, 11:56 am
This is a totally normal part of the “real” world. I think most people in school are very casual. Then in the real world, you start to realize how a good outfit can make you feel better and how the world starts to treat you better. Waiters, shop assistants, it is amazing.
My husband is in his 30s, and has had a wardrobe shift like you say. When he is mowing the lawn, it is one thing. But if we are even just going to the mall, we both make more of an effort because it shows self respect.
theattack November 16, 2012, 12:09 pm
This exact same thing happened to my fiance. He used to be a ripped off cargo shorts kind of guy, but now that he’s a lawyer, his casual wear switched from ripped t-shirts to polos. It all makes sense, and I really appreciate it!
CSP November 16, 2012, 12:56 pm
I have one other comment. I had to think at lunch and come back. When you are 20 and young and look like a slob, you look like a student. As your 20s go on, you start to look less college and more homeless. I think that has a big affect on things too
MMcG November 16, 2012, 2:59 pm
Agree CSP!! That’s so true of so many things you can get away with in college…
MISS MJ November 16, 2012, 1:14 pm
Not crazy at all. I think once you get used to wearing “grown up” clothes, you just cannot go back. Even when I’m working from home, I tend to put on make-up, a “real” outfit (not a suit or anything, but something I’d wear out to dinner), and fix my hair. The times when I don’t, I notice it, you know? And it bothers me. My husband is more or less the same. He’s perfectly happy sitting around the house in sweats or an old t-shirt and shorts. But, he would NEVER leave the house in them. He’s a jeans, nice shirt, belt and “real” shoes guy.
lets_be_honest November 16, 2012, 1:20 pm
My bf adjusted his dressing after we were together a while and his baggy pants weren’t cutting it. He says he likes when I pick out outfits for him when I’m shopping but I brought home boat shoes (sperry’s) for him once and he nearly had a meltdown over them. It was pretty funny. They got returned and he went back to his sneakers. Oh well.
MISS MJ November 16, 2012, 1:32 pm
My husband hates to shop, but he likes it when I buy things for him when I’m shopping. So, we have a rule. I’ll buy it, and if he doesn’t like it, that’s fine, but he’s taking it back. Fortunately, I’ve got a pretty good read on what he likes.
redessa November 16, 2012, 2:11 pm
The same thing happened to me when my parents decided to enroll me in a rather uppity private school starting in 7th grade. I learned very quickly about brand names and how to dress well. (A strict dress code at the school didn’t hurt.) Even outside of school, it became my norm to always be very put together.
Then I got married started having kids. I learned not to wear such nice clothes because a) we couldn’t afford it and b) they were less than kid friendly. But when I go out of the house, even to wal-mart, I still cannot bring myself to wear sloppy t-shirts and “lounge” pants. I’m not hung up on brand names anymore and my wardrobe is not nearly as nice (or expensive) as it was when I was a teenager, but I still feel the need to make an effort. And when we go on dates, it’s my husband who usually says “If you’re wearing that, I feel like a slob.” And then he’ll change his clothes.
Once you’ve gotten used to dressing up more and how that makes you feel, I don’t think the desire ever goes away. With the exception of highly physical/messy activities (yard work, furniture refinishing, exercise…) I would always prefer to be over dressed than under.
SweetPeaG November 16, 2012, 11:08 am
I don’t understand “not having time” to change before you go out? What does that mean? No, I want to know! It takes 1 minute to change… especially if you have a few “go to” outfits! don’t think you need a crazy extensive wardrobe to make this work either. A cute little black dress that fits you well will go a long way. Even jeans that fit nicely, a pair of heels and a fashionable top. Honestly, even adding new earrings to an outfit that you’re sick of can make you feel great. You’ll feel so much better if you don’t go out with toddler puke on your clothes! Even if you are hurting for money, I am sure if this is a big enough problem that you have to write in for advice that the two of you can spare some extra money to buy a few things that make you feel great! This is a problem so easily solved!
But, maybe the problem is deeper. Maybe you need to seek counseling if your self-esteem problems are that immense. I am not judging you there. I have suffered from low self-esteem and body hatred for what feels like my ENTIRE life. It sucks. I get it. So, if you are feeling that low… talk to someone.
Other than that? Maybe apply to go on “What Not to Wear”! I wish someone would nominate me so hard… I will take the dose of public humiliation just for the $5,000 worth of clothes!
lets_be_honest November 16, 2012, 11:16 am
Confession: When I started dressing better, I was a little nervous that my friends would no longer think of nominating me for WNTW and that made me almost rethink dressing better. haha.
Matcha November 16, 2012, 11:08 am
Aaaand now I’m looking at fashion blogs and thinking about shopping. I blame all of you!
MaterialsGirl November 16, 2012, 11:13 am
So to mimic what others have said of dressing up etc. After my freshman year of college, I swore I would never wear sweatpants to class again. I felt like a bum, I would call asleep and just not take things seriously. For me personally, dressing up even in jeans and a sweater just made me feel like ‘ oh yeah, it’s go time.’ As a tall woman (6 feet) finding clothes that are long enough has been a struggle, but as I’ve had practice, I know what looks good on my body and what I should spend my money in. I refuse to waste money on something jut because it’s on sale.. Half the time it’s not a good fit for me. When looking through my closet, yes, most items are Jcrew and I probably paid a bit for them ( although I try to wait for sales), but you know what? These clothes are all OLD and they sti look great! I have pants from 5 plus years ago. Shirts and sweaters that, gosh.. Okay old! Quality stuff will last and it makes you feel polished especially if it fits properly. More than anything, fit is important as is how the item will wear. Be careful with certain jeans because too much stretch will not last and you’ll have saggy butt after three wears. If it helps, go to Macy’s or jcrew and use the personal shopper. It’s free most of the time and is really helpful even if you don’t buy everything or anything. Just knowing what to look for ( certain darting or dress styles). Word of advice: every lady needs a wrap dress. You just can’t screw that up
JK November 16, 2012, 11:15 am
Wrap dresses are awesome. They make you look great, they´re comfortable. And if it´s basic they can be easily dressed up or down.
MaterialsGirl November 16, 2012, 11:22 am
And they can go from summer to fall to winter easily!
Jessibel5 November 16, 2012, 11:39 am
I wish someone would make a sweater wrap dress. I have been looking for ages for one, but have never found one. I love sweater dresses in the winter, and wrap dresses are so flattering. Has anyone ever thought that they just wish they could be a designer to be able to design what they want? I find I often think this when I’m looking for something plain (basic little black dress, plain black pumps, you get the picture) and everything comes with googaws or doodads on it lately! It took me two years and 200 stores to find my LBD that was perfect!
Also, I find that if I get basics in neutral colors (my friends make fun of me for all the black I wear, but I reply “I’m a New Yorker, we don’t BELIEVE in color” as a joke) if I have a pair of funky heels I feel like my outfit is sexy. I am very particular to snakeskin, crocodile and lately, flourescent colored pumps. I just bought a pair of hot pink pumps that make me so happy!
kerrycontrary November 16, 2012, 11:54 am
Pretty sure anne taylor occasionally has them.
Jessibel5 November 16, 2012, 11:57 am
Oooh, thank you!!!! I’ll keep an eye out!
GatorGirl November 16, 2012, 11:36 am
I love wrap dresses!! So comfy, so stylish. They give almost every body type a great shape. My only problem is the cross over on the chest area tends to flap open. But a cami fixes that.
JK November 16, 2012, 11:46 am
Yeah, I dont have a problem with that, since I´m flat hahaha. ALSO, wrap dresses are the only type I can use at the moment since I´m breastfeeding. 🙂 so added bonus.
GatorGirl November 16, 2012, 11:55 am
oh your so smart! After we’re married in the spring we’re going to start trying soon and plan to breatfeed so I know have an excuse to start stocking up on wrap dresses!!
MaterialsGirl November 16, 2012, 12:50 pm
Breast feeding dress!! Awesome. My bf’s SiL was wearing just a tshirt the other day and had to go feed our nephew.. Made me think.. So do you just lift your shirt up and go? I mean, I would t want my tummy to see daylight?!?! Wrap dress offers good solution.
lets_be_honest November 16, 2012, 1:03 pm
They make shirts like that too. Surprisingly nice ones. I had gotten them as gifts for a pregnant friend and she still wears them even after stopping breastfeeding. I think I got them at Babies R Us or one of those Pea in the Pod maternity stores. Check them out, I imagine it makes life a bit easier.
JK November 16, 2012, 1:14 pm
Yeah, I just use regular clothes (when I wear like a tshirt I have a cardigan over to cover up), but wrap dresses are a great solution
redessa November 16, 2012, 2:14 pm
The baby is laying across your tummy, so it’s still covered. 🙂
bagge72 November 16, 2012, 11:31 am
WWS! Oh and don’t become one of those nurses who feels the need to never ever ever change out of her scrubs, I see that all of the time for some reason.
JK November 16, 2012, 11:36 am
It´s because scrubs are the most comfortable thing in the world. Think pjs, but acceptable to wear in public (for those of us that work in healthcare at least haha)
bagge72 November 16, 2012, 11:46 am
Haha I hear that all of the time, but you still don’t have to wear them to everything!
JK November 16, 2012, 11:51 am
Yeah, I was never one of THOSE people. But I do get the appeal hahaha
Just Max November 16, 2012, 1:09 pm
I get that “scrubs are the most comfortable thing in the world” but, after wearing them in a say health-related environment (medical office, hospital, etc), and around people that are potentially sick (with…whatever), wouldn’t your scrubs be dirty? full of germs? or something?
I am a bit germ-o-phobic and I can’t stop picturing tiny monster-looking germs clinging to those scrubs, and then climbing on my couch. 😮
JK November 16, 2012, 1:17 pm
Yeah, I´m an OT, so no bugs and stuff If I were a nurse I probably would take them off as asap. 🙂
weiwei November 16, 2012, 11:34 am
this has got to be the only women ever that has complained about a guy dressing nicely… i always shower guys (friends and significant others) in praise when they get dressed up, hoping to encourage them to do it more often.
Jessibel5 November 16, 2012, 11:44 am
What’s the saying? Men in a tailored suit are the equivalent of women in lingerie?
lets_be_honest November 16, 2012, 11:50 am
Oh god this is so true, for me at least. I LOVE when my bf has to wear a tux. Its like girl porn.
Jessibel5 November 16, 2012, 11:53 am
That is a fact. I’m partial to the three piece suit, myself.
bethany November 16, 2012, 12:44 pm
omg, I LOVE a man in a nice fitting suit!
Jessibel5 November 16, 2012, 11:35 am
What confused me about this letter was, what is the LW’s definition of casual? I work in an office where we have NO casual days, and am wearing dress pants/dresses/skirts/blouses 5 days a week. I deem jeans, regardless of color or cut as “casual” because of this. I only have 2 pairs of jeans because I so rarely get the chance to wear them! So while I was reading it, I was thinking to myself “would it kill the husband to put on some jeans to go to dinner occasionally?” and actually had thoughts of him going to Target in polos and khakis. However, if the LW is wearing yoga pants and exercise gear all day/night, and then out to dinner, that’s no good. There are nights we go to dinner in jeans, and there are other nights we dress up a bit more, depending on where we’re going.
Jessibel5 November 16, 2012, 11:56 am
I’m sitting here imagining nameless, faceless husband getting dressed up in a suit every single time they go to dinner, regardless of where they go, and it’s making me chuckle. That would probably annoy me too if that was what was really happening.
MMcG November 16, 2012, 11:45 am
LW – you are not alone, but I have to echo what everyone else is saying here that it sounds like a self-esteem issue and your husband looking nicer my have been a trigger, but he isn’t the problem.
I would like to suggest that you watch a couple of episodes of What Not to Wear on TLC… they have made an art form of taking women who emphasize comfort and function over appearance and getting the people on the show to make the connection between outward appearance, putting a little effort into yourself (a common theme is new moms getting trapped in the sweats, but also folks like you who don’t have office jobs and their work-wear bleeds into everyday and special occasions) and improving confidence, self-worth, etc etc. They also emphasize body appropriate clothing and buying the right pieces so it isn’t difficult to switch up from day to evening or whatever. The shows where the people dress crazy inappropriate are fun too… but not the problem you’re having… and I think seeing the experience others have and the impact it has on their lives/work/family could be eye opening for you… esp. since you seem to be looking forward to these challenges in your career in scrubs.
JK November 16, 2012, 11:48 am
Seconded. I LOVE What Not to Wear. The Tim Gunn show (canpt remember the name, don´t know if its still on) was pretty good as well, and he has a list of things every woman should have in their wardrobe, which might be a good starting point for LW.
LW November 16, 2012, 11:46 am
I know everybody hates when the LW comes back to clarify what they should have said in the article, but I should have said what I wear on a daily basis. I never wear sweats, running clothes, or anything along those lines to school or work. I do have nice dark wash jeans, which are what I wear on a regular basis, typically along with a well-fitting v-neck t-shirt or sweater and a scarf. I typically either wear flats or boots, not tennis shoes. Also, as I said before, I always put effort into my hair and makeup, which I touch up throughout the day. I would actually say I’m dressed better than a lot of the people I come in contact with my age. That said, when I say we go out for dinner, I mean somewhere casual to grab something because we don’t have time to cook. We belong to a lot of different organizations (mostly at my school), so we usually come home after work for 20 minutes or so then have to be on our way to whatever we’re doing that evening. When we are specifically going out on a romantic date, I make sure to dress appropriately. This isn’t an issue of me not looking how to look nice, it’s just an issue of professional clothing not fitting into my everyday life. To answer j2’s question, these are all super casual events that I’m talking about. If I dressed to match my husband, I would definitely be overdressed compared to my peers. Finally, I feel like everyone got the impression that I wrote this letter to get advice on how to make my husband dress differently. I know he doesn’t want to change how he dresses, and I think that’s ok, I really do. I wrote for advice in overcoming my own insecurity, which I admitted to multiple times. This isn’t about my husband, this is about me. I know that sometimes feeling uncomfortable about what you’re wearing or how you look is common for a lot of people, and I was looking for advice on how to overcome my own feelings, not trick my husband into looking like me.
Fabelle November 16, 2012, 2:31 pm
Wait, when did this post? Why has nobody seen it??
Anyway, we don’t hate it when the LW comes back & clarifies unless the clarifications are totally wacky & should’ve definitely been mentioned in the letter. So don’t worry. Many people were wondering about what you were actually wearing, so this is helpful to know.
It sounds like you’re fine. Your clothes are cute, but not business casual, which is fine since that’s not the job you have. So I’m not quite sure why you feel so insecure? to the point where you’re thinking your husband is getting off on looking better than everyone else? I’m guessing this is actually stemming from some underlying issue, like Wendy suggested in her advice.
“…we usually come home after work for 20 minutes or so then have to be on our way to whatever we’re doing that evening.” So, wouldn’t you expect that everybody would understand like, you both are dressed in your work clothes? There’s no reason to feel unattractive when I’m sure the people around you assume that “oh, that guy just got off from his corporate job.”
With that said, maybe you can clarify your feelings of insecurity to get more specific advice? Do you feel less attractive than your husband due to the attire differences? Are you afraid everyone around you is judging your relationship? I mean, if you know that you are dressed better than your contemporaries & that you “know how to look nice” then really, what is there to feel terrible about? Unless your husband truly IS doing or saying things to make you feel bad.
jlyfsh November 16, 2012, 2:34 pm
i think if it’s a new name/email address maybe it has to be moderated?
LW November 16, 2012, 2:48 pm
I just posted from the comment box at the bottom instead of an account so it was moderated. I didn’t used to feel insecure about the situation at all. I realize it’s pretty normal. I think the real issue started when he started changing right before we leave the house on the weekend. I would be thinking “oh, this is nice, we’re dressed similarly and I can feel like we’re on the same page for once” and then right before we walked out of the door, he’d come out of the bedroom wearing khakis and a dress shirt. That would make me feel like he thought what he was wearing wasn’t good enough, meaning what I was wearing wasn’t good enough, and I didn’t understand why we both couldn’t just go to the mall in jeans for once. I think it just all morphed from there. Don’t get me wrong, this isn’t like some extreme insecurity that is ruling my life or making me depressed, but it does cause an occasional fight when I feel like I have to change out of an outfit I thought was both cute and comfy to keep up with my husband’s fashion.
LadyinPurpleNotRed November 16, 2012, 2:52 pm
you don’t have to. Wear what makes you comfortable, just like he should. If that makes him more secure and happy, then so be it. You should do the same for you. Wear jeans and be comfortable.
theattack November 16, 2012, 2:54 pm
This might be a really stupidly simple suggestion, but why don’t you just ask him what he’s planning on wearing far enough ahead of time for you to figure out what you’re going to wear?
LW November 16, 2012, 3:11 pm
I’ve tried that, and we actually used to sometimes do that before we lived together, but he always says he doesn’t know. He’s not an outfit planner unless it’s for a big event (in which case we would have coordinated anyway), he usually just goes to the closet and gets something. And I’m not kidding about the last minute. He gets dressed for things three minutes before we have to leave and he always looks good. It’s like a superpower. Or maybe it’s just because he’s a guy and it’s easier for them. Probably that.
theattack November 16, 2012, 3:20 pm
But I mean, can’t you force him to think about it ahead of time? I’m sure that my fiance has no idea what he’s wearing before he throws his clothes on either, but if I asked him to figure it out and tell me he would. You could say something like “If you plan on changing out of your casual clothes when we leave for the mall this evening, I’d like to know now so that I have time to plan my own outfit out.” If he can figure it out three minutes before, he can figure it out three hours before.
Fabelle November 16, 2012, 3:24 pm
I think actually you are onto something with the “he’s a guy & he’s easier” thing. Dudes can go from sloppy to stellar in like, 2 seconds. I think you’re thinking about this wrong, though (& this is based on your other comments below). He’s your partner, but not in fashion. Sure, guys have is easy in certain ways (like I just said), but I think women always look more polished in casual clothing. Guys in casual clothing tend to look like they’re not even trying, but it’s not the same deal for women.
Example: Nicer bars, lounges, & clubs that will NOT hesitate to turn away dudes dressed in jeans will let in girls if they’re wearing jeans.
Fabelle November 16, 2012, 3:25 pm
(& I get that these establishments are always trying to raise the women to men ratio, but still)
MaterialsGirl November 16, 2012, 3:27 pm
Oo okay. I would be pretty jealous of this superpower. It’s hard to look good! When I used to take the el to work, it was hard cause I would be wearing jeans or khakis and very basic tops. Now compare that to every other fool going downtown for their corporate job and I look like a straight up suburban mom, although completely appropriate for where I work (steel mill.) definitely made me feel like, oh. I look like stupid. Or if I was meting friends after work for a drink… And I’m the only person rocking not skinny jeans and a cardigan. Laaaaame. This is why I like winter:-) good coat an no one cares what’s underneath!
jlyfsh November 16, 2012, 2:58 pm
well i think this is something that has to change with you like you said, you have to deal with your own insecurity. if you’re happy and he’s happy, then you have to learn to let this go. unless he’s saying, are you going to change? then the only person putting the pressure to keep up with his fashion is you. does it really matter in the long run that he wants to wear khakis and a dress shirt to the mall? it would seem that there were other issues going on below the surface that were causing you to feel judged by him if he’s not actually judging you. even if they’re not large enough to cause you to be depressed, etc.
LW November 16, 2012, 3:07 pm
He can be somewhat judgmental of other people sometimes, what they wear, how they speak, etc. A couple of his brothers and friends dress pretty metro-sexually, which he’s starting to pick up on, and they get together to go shopping and frequently make comments on how lamely other guys are dressed. I doubt he feels that way toward me, but you combine all that with a day when your hair is funky, you’re feeling fat and you’re hangry (hungry/angry – I love that word) and things can go downhill fast.
MMcG November 16, 2012, 3:16 pm
LW – I’m so confused and this response makes me think it has almost nothing to do with the clothes or appearance… he and his friends like to dress well and judge other guys. So what does that have to do with you?
Have you and your friends ever made judging comments about someone’s appearance? And would you have wanted your husband to assume that you meant it as a ridiculously passive aggressive way of telling him he looks like hell? No, probably not.
On one hand you sound really put together and confident and on the other hand you sound depressed… have you considered talking to you husband about how this makes you feel? perhaps talk to someone solo? It just seems like you are looking for things that your husband does to make you feel bad, and as someone wrote below he married you 6 months ago and seems to love you and enjoy being with you — so why are you twisting his metrosexuality and/or male competitiveness into something that is wrong with you? Sounds like he is finally able to wear some nice things and take pride in his appearance… which is a great thing!?!
LW November 16, 2012, 4:03 pm
I’m just trying to give the picture about the whole culmination of things that make me feel like I need to dress better. It’s not like this one thing makes me self-conscious, it’s just part of the perfect storm that leaves me feeling this way. I’m definitely not depressed, I’m just talking about this one problem that I’m having because that’s what I wrote the letter about. I’ve tried telling my husband how I feel, but like I said, he pretty much just shrugs and tells me to get over it, or looks at me like I’m crazy. This really isn’t a huge issue in the grand scheme of my life, but it’s something that I realize is a problem with myself that I’m trying to correct. I don’t feel depressed about how I look every day, just enough to realize that it’s becoming an issue that I want to put an end to, if possible. I realize this might just have to be something that I get over, which I probably will eventually. I just wanted to put this ugly side of myself behind me sooner rather than later.
MMcG November 16, 2012, 4:17 pm
LW – what in the world do you mean by this???
“I just wanted to put this ugly side of myself behind me sooner rather than later.”
What ugly side? What are you talking about? And LW, it doesn’t have to be one specific thing… sometimes the perfect storm is all any of us need to get off-kilter and some well-placed readjustment (books, counseling, etc.) is all that is needed. I don’t think your husband is helping by brushing you off, but I would guess it’s not because he is trying to be unsupportive – he just has no idea how! Do you know what would make you feel better, can you give him that level of detailed instruction? Or do you not know and just want him to stop changing his clothes which seems to trigger some issues with you?? Have you thought about marriage counseling? Did you do premarital which may give you someone to fall back on?? It just seems so early in the marriage to be having these types of feelings and doubts… and I really wonder if there aren’t other insecurities about career,finances or something also lingering in the background.
It’s not OK for your husband to dismiss your concerns as crazy, but it also isn’t ok to make your self-esteem issues his problem because he is wearing khakis. At the end of the day you should feel at your most comfortable and secure with your husband and it’s a shame you don’t feel that way. I wish you luck!!!
LW November 16, 2012, 4:28 pm
I just mean that I don’t want to keep getting mad over something small that shouldn’t upset me. I think that’s an ugly side of me that I don’t like – I don’t want to be that person, so I’m trying to change myself. That’s why I wrote. He doesn’t need to do things differently to make me feel better, I do. I think it would be nice if he would sometimes change into jeans since he knows it would please me, but I’m not requiring or expecting it. I’m just trying to figure out ways to deal with my own internal issues.
MMcG November 16, 2012, 4:19 pm
Also, LW – do you realize that you declared that you aren’t depressed, and then later in your message acknowledged “I don’t feel depressed about how I look every day, just enough to realize that it’s becoming an issue that I want to put an end to”? That indicates to me that there are days when you feel down or depressed
Putting a label to something doesn’t make it a bad thing. Maybe it isn’t depression, maybe it’s anxiety, or sadness or a gluten imbalance… but you aren’t feeling right and trying to brush things aside isn’t going to make things better.
LW November 16, 2012, 4:32 pm
Ok, I shouldn’t have used depressed the second time. When I used the word the first time, I meant it in the clinical sense and the second I was just using it in terms of being upset for a short period of time. Honestly, I feel bad and we have these fights, but usually I’m over it in an hour. This isn’t some kind of life-altering problem. It’s just a small one that I didn’t have an answer for within myself, so I wrote in for advice from someone who I thought might.
MMcG November 16, 2012, 3:19 pm
Also in my world jeans = khakis, they are both fairly casual pants to be wearing doing numerous things. So I am not seeing how khakis and a button down (with no tie) is that much different from what you are wearing. I do see though that you are getting wrapped up in thinking that people are looking at and comparing you, and therefore judging you more harshly, and I have to ask == who cares? Why do you care what some stranger at a mall thinks when you are comfy and your husband is comfy and you are enjoying your day?
mf November 16, 2012, 3:54 pm
This. Exactly. If he doesn’t care that you dress casually, and you like dressing casually, then what’s the issue? As long as the two of you are happy, that’s what matters. If you are feeling self-conscious, then it IS an issue of insecurity.
In other words, the solution to this problem is NOT to get him to change his clothes. It is either (a) change your own clothes, or (b) be self-confident enough to walk beside in your casual clothes without worrying what other people think.
jlyfsh November 16, 2012, 3:20 pm
hmm yeah i can see that. i think unless he comes right out and says something i would try to ignore. which is hard i know. especially you’re having a bad or off day. but, those days maybe stop him and say wait i need 5 minutes and do something special for yourself to boost your self esteem. change up your scarf or hair, try a different lipstick, put on a different pair of pants that make your butt look good, just something to give yourself a little edge.
*and being hangry is awful. have you had the nature valley granola things before? they are amazing and travel well, and they have chocolate in them and are only 80 calories. i always have a box at work and one in my purse in case of emergencies 😉
lets_be_honest November 16, 2012, 3:29 pm
I got a chocolate covered potato chip in my Birchbox. Amazing and only 60 calories.
MaterialsGirl November 16, 2012, 4:10 pm
What?? My birch box had men’s cologne (which smells awesome and I’m wearing it. I think it was too citrusy for guys), Oscar blandi texturizing, hand soap, and full size lipgloss. NO chocolate potat chips. Wtf!
lets_be_honest November 16, 2012, 4:30 pm
Yay! A fellow Birchboxer! You cannot imagine how excited I am to get that box in the mail. Its ridiculous. I got the Oscar Blandi too, but the rest different.
LW November 16, 2012, 4:35 pm
I’ve been planning on asking for a birchbox subscription for Christmas. Is it worth it? It looks so fun to get a girly package every month!
MaterialsGirl November 16, 2012, 4:42 pm
It’s the best!! I bought myself the year subscription. Figured instead of buying full priced creams and things that I have no idea if they’ll work, I should try them out and get exposed to fun stuff. It actually has curbed my impulse drugstore buying so well worth it
lets_be_honest November 16, 2012, 4:53 pm
I got the 3 month one as a gift and added a year when that ended. Its $10 a month. If you can “waste” that, I highly recommend it. I’ve found some great products and the ones I don’t like, I give to my sisters. Its like a little present once a month.
Taylor November 17, 2012, 10:52 pm
What is this magical birchbox thing of which you speak? Also, I luu-uv the term hangry. Confession time, I totally thought I made it up.
lets_be_honest November 16, 2012, 3:27 pm
That’s really weird. I can’t think of one guy I know that shops with friends or comment on how other guys dress lame. I could see how hearing that would make you think twice about yourself. Just remind yourself he’s with you for a reason and if you’re happy, he probably is too.
MMcG November 16, 2012, 3:54 pm
I know plenty of guys like that… maybe not the metrosexuality of it but the competitiveness. One guy gets a great shirt or watch or something, gets some compliments, tells his friends they are scrubs, and the peer pressure and race to dress to impress is on! Particularly if you are in industries or areas where there is more emphasis put on appearance or labels or something… a professional job in a small town is not the same rat race as a professional job in NYC for example.
Jiggs November 17, 2012, 12:52 am
Yeah, if I were wearing jeans and a nice embellished t-shirt regularly and my husband went around make fun of dudes wearing jeans and graphic tees I might get a complex after a while.
kris_ November 16, 2012, 4:49 pm
LW, based on what you’ve said in all of the comments above, this would drive me nuts too. Unfortunately, there’s no real easy solution. You can let him know that it bothers you when he changes right before your going on a casual outing though it sounds like you’ve already done this. You could change everytime that he changes, forcing him to wait however long is needed for you to feel comfortable and confident after his last minute change. Maybe he’ll get the hint to at least change earlier if he has to wait all the time. You could also see if he’d be willing to compliment you on your outfits more (I say this since he apparently does at least somewhat notice what people are wearing. If he didn’t, it’d probably be a lost cause). Just letting someone know you like how they look can do wonders for confidence.
Otherwise, the only change can come from within. You need to tell yourself that you look awesome and what your husband wears does not add or detract from that in any way. Go out shopping with some female friends so you can compliment each other on outfits or anything else that you can think of that would make you feel better.
GatorGirl November 16, 2012, 3:22 pm
It sounds like what you wear every day is what I wear everyday! So I obviously think you dress well. Maybe try thowing a dress or skirt in here or there? Or a blazer? Everytime I put a blazer on I feel more fancy. Also a statement necklace or a new shade of eye shadow do wonders for my confidence.
I don’t think any of us has magical advice to help you get over your insecurity. Is it possible that he over dresses for the school related events because he is nervous? I always over dress when I go to school related events with my Phd candidate fiance because I’m nervous. (I only have a bachelors degree which makes me feel inferior but thats for another thread.)
iwannatalktosampson November 16, 2012, 3:53 pm
Oh my gosh I love when LW’s come back to clarify. Alright now on to read what you wrote..
kerrycontrary November 16, 2012, 4:23 pm
I just don’t know what sort of solution the LW is looking for. You don’t want your husband to change how he dresses, you don’t want to change how you dress….sooo?? The only thing I can think of is to burn all of your husbands clothes or something. If you want to deal with insecurity then you need to do things that make you feel good about yourself. Set a goal, such as running a 5K or raising X amount of dollars of a charity walk and then do it. And like Wendy said about helping Hurricane Sandy victims-the best way to feel better about yourself is by helping others.
LW November 16, 2012, 4:38 pm
I don’t know, I just all these smart ladies might have some brilliant tips. Like “When I feel like I look like crap, I look in the mirror and tell myself five things I like about myself.” Except less lame. I’m pretty sure Amy Pohler did a really sweet video like that was great. Maybe I’ll just go try to find that.
LW November 16, 2012, 4:39 pm
MaterialsGirl November 16, 2012, 4:46 pm
Okay how about this:
What’s one thing that you really like about your appearance all the time? Or at least know you can control and really rock out? For me.. Eyebrows. My eyebrows are the bomb, especially if I’ve just had them waxed. If I feel a little frumpy elsewhere, at least i know I’ve got my eyebrows tamed and framed.
Maybe for you it’s your lips and you love a specific lipgloss that really takes it up a notch. Focus on those types of little things.
kris_ November 16, 2012, 5:07 pm
Hmm, how about:
“I already look amazing so I don’t need to go change.”
“I’ve been running around with toddlers all day yet still have enough time/energy to make myself look great.”
Choose something about each day’s outfit or make-up and tell yourself how great it looks.
the_optimist November 16, 2012, 11:46 am
Has no one brought up that Britney photo yet? That’s a brilliant choice, Wendy!
Also, LW, just try to dress up. Do it for yourself first. See how it makes you feel. I, for one, know it helps me feel better just to change my clothes, to look a little more polished and put together. You’d be surprised at how much better you might feel with a little effort. 🙂
JK November 16, 2012, 11:50 am
So true. Maybe I don´t really feel like dressing up, but I do (usually at the insistence of my husband or daughter) and then I feel SO MUCH BETTER.
ele4phant November 16, 2012, 11:51 am
Look, I get it. I just finished graduate school, while my boyfriend works downtown in a major (although admittedly still pretty laid back) city. Sometimes we would meet up for dinner and he’d be dressed nicely while I’d still be in the threadbare, stained, and rumpled clothing I threw on that morning. You do feel a little inferior. Not just because of the clothing, but because I had no *reason* to dress nicely. He had a career, and I was still a student. Sometimes it felt like I was the one behind or not yet grown-up, and our differences in clothes were signaling that to the entire world.
The answer though is not to harangue him into dressing down, its for you to try to step it up. Dress how you want to feel, even if no one is expecting or demanding it of you. Lots of people have given some great suggestions that should be easy and affordable to pursue, so I won’t go through that, but there are plenty of ways to dress up without too much effort or money.
If you ARE happy with how you dress, then let it go. It doesn’t seem to bother your husband, so stop letting it bother you.
Anna November 16, 2012, 11:52 am
Sounds like this LW needs to be nominated for What Not to Wear!! Stacy and Clinton could help.
BecBoo84 November 16, 2012, 11:55 am
I have to say that I disagree with Wendy slightly, only because how the LW dresses doesn’t seem to bother her husband at all. If you want to change clothes before going out, by all means do so (and it sounds as if that might be a good esteem booster for you), but don’t think you need to do so for your husband, as lucky for you, he doesn’t seem to mind.
lets_be_honest November 16, 2012, 12:16 pm
I don’t think there’s anything wrong with the idea of dressing nicely for your husband though.
Vathena November 16, 2012, 12:02 pm
I echo what everyone else has said. My husband and I have a similar inequality of work-wear – he works at an international organization and wears suits almost every day (he has an entire dresser drawer full of ties!) and my job is in a lab where it’s mostly hoodies and Crocs. I’m usually the best-dressed person around here, and that is not saying much. 🙂 I’m on my feet and in and out of various protective-equipment situations during the day, and my belief is that a great pair of high-quality comfortable ballet flats and some “investment jeans” can change your life. I feel so much more put together just having on my swank shoes than I do with sneakers – even with the same jeans-and-t-shirt outfit.
jlyfsh November 16, 2012, 12:22 pm
i’m glad there’s another lab person on here. i once wore a ‘nice’ shirt to work because i had an appt i was leaving early for and everyone was like well aren’t we fancy now, haha. all for a button down and jeans. i think they might have gone in to shock if i ever wore a skirt or dress to work for some reason.
MaterialsGirl November 16, 2012, 1:07 pm
I get that at my office too! Lab/manufacturing. I’m best dressed but it’s not saying too much. I do try to look cute though and keep the holey band tshirts to nil. A dress would just be inappropriate here
jlyfsh November 16, 2012, 1:20 pm
oh yeah wearing a dress at my last job would have been impractical too 😉 although sometimes i do miss my holey band tshirts. hard to get away with that now, there is no, but the pH buffer is just going to ruin this shirt too excuses now. however, people here still don’t dress up. you can tell when there is a meeting or presentation by the general lack of reefs and cut offs.
Vathena November 16, 2012, 1:54 pm
Oh man. Yesterday I wore a blazer over my t-shirt and jeans and everyone commented on it. (In a complimentary way, but still, I definitely stuck out!)
EttaKit November 16, 2012, 3:28 pm
I was in a chemistry lab for five years, and after I was done with my lab work I had to help in the wet lab. So I went from getting stained with pH buffer to getting soaked and having fish poo all over. And every evening, I went to class after work so I changed into something nicer. The guys I worked with seemed completely surprised that I was able to wear heels and nice sweaters and always commented. It was like they thought I dressed in holey jeans and t-shirts from high school all the time.
Elle November 16, 2012, 12:45 pm
LW, unlike everyone here, I think you should relax. Your husband loves you just the way you are (remember, he’s married to you!). All of this is in your head.
Accept that he likes to dress up. Accept that you like to dress comfortably. Focus on things other than the clothes you wear for your self worth.
My style is pretty casual. As a college prof, I have to wear dressy clothes (all my colleagues do, students expect it), and I just hate it. I love wearing jeans and sweatpants and t-shirts (who doesn’t, right?). So when I go out on weekends, I wear t-shirts and jeans and comfy shoes. And I see all these other girls wearing really nice clothes, and I’m a bit jealous. Because those girls look good, and I could look good too if I wore the clothes I left at home! But then I realize that I’m actually more comfortable (and a lot warmer in the winter!) than all of them, and I like that more!
When you go out, keep in mind that people don’t have time to judge you by what you’re wearing (really, it’s all in your head!). They’re thinking ‘what should I have for dinner?’ or ‘do these pants make me look fat?’. So relax. Or change your wardrobe and wear uncomfortable clothes like the rest of us.
One more thing – LW, notice how all advice here is how you should change yourself. It’s not that people generally believe that dressing up is better, but that it’s controlling to have your spouse dress the way you want them to.
Vathena November 16, 2012, 1:52 pm
I agree with the thrust of your comment, but I think most of the advice here is reacting to how she feels under-dressed and that in turn makes her feel bad. So it follows that the suggestion would be to try kicking the style up a notch, and see if dressing better translates to feeling better. (Also, there is nothing wrong with jeans and t-shirts, but if a person is willing to seek out “nicer”, better-fitting jeans and t-shirts, they are just as comfortable and look polished.)
bittergaymark November 16, 2012, 2:43 pm
You’re making a HUGE assumption here and that is that he is as genuinely unconcerned with her appearance as she thinks he is… I wonder though. I wonder.
theattack November 16, 2012, 1:00 pm
I’ve been either a college student or an unemployed graduate with very few clothes at all for the entirety of my relationship. My wardrobe currently consists of two pairs of blue jeans, several t-shirts (most of them free), three very thin long sleeve colored shirts, and a few sweaters. In the summer I also have two dresses and one pair of shorts. Needless to say, when my fiance comes home in his suits, I am very under-dressed. If we go somewhere while he’s still dressed up, I always worry that I look like his sex worker instead of his fiance. But guess what? He doesn’t care at all, and because he doesn’t care, I don’t care that much either. Yes, he appreciates it when I try to look nice for him, but most days that’s just impractical. Seriously, I wouldn’t worry about this. As my best friend loves to tell me, you’re spending too much time alone in your head. Just appreciate how sexy he looks dressed up, and maybe occasionally try to be sexy for him too.
lets_be_honest November 16, 2012, 1:05 pm
Lovely theattack. I laughed at the sex worker comment too.
Maybe if you are simply more comfortable not being dressy, dress up your casual clothes a bit. We talked about this a while back on here, but apparently men LOVE yoga pants bc they can see your ass better. Buy a nice pair for lounging and add a cuter fitted t.
theattack November 16, 2012, 1:49 pm
Oh man, I had a pair of yoga pants that made my otherwise nonexistent butt look SO good, but I haven’t been able to find them for about a month now. It sucks. I’m getting close to accepting that they’re lost forever and buying a new pair.
lets_be_honest November 16, 2012, 3:57 pm
Any particular brand? I share the non-existent butt issue.
theattack November 16, 2012, 4:46 pm
Actually just Old Navy ones. They were about $12, but I have no idea what they were called. They’re not high quality (obviously, they’re from Old Navy), but they did some really good lift action on my rear. I’m sure if I tried on some of IWTTS’s $100 yoga pants I wouldn’t ever want to wear my Old Navy ones again though.
lets_be_honest November 16, 2012, 4:54 pm
I am trying SO hard not to try those bc I know what’ll happen next and my CPW on those jsut won’t be high at all.
Trixy Minx November 16, 2012, 1:13 pm
I think the biggest problem is he is getting dressed up for EVERYTHING. Its gotta be weird that he is hanging out with his friends very well dressed and I’m assuming its a casual hangout? Like why can’t he dress down but still look nice.
I am very much like you. I am a jeans and t-shirt kind of chick. Only recently have my shirts become nicer because I found a place that sells Nordstorm basic tees for $2. Soo they are MUCH nicer than regular tees and are almost silk like. Add that with dark jeans and nicer flip flops and I’m looking a bit better than what I used to.
MMcG November 16, 2012, 3:09 pm
Maybe it’s just me, but I don’t think khakis and a button up is that dressed up to the mall… a slight bump up from a polo but he’s not wearing a suit or anything — it’s khakis!!! Am I the only person who puts khakis and denim in practically the same category!?!
As someone referenced above, most women in relationships would kill to have this problem since it seems to usually be the opposite (how can I get him out of the hole filled frat t-shirt).
LadyinPurpleNotRed November 16, 2012, 3:11 pm
I agree with you. To me (and I know I’m in the minority), but they seem less dressed up than dark wash jeans.
MMcG November 16, 2012, 4:00 pm
It just seems like she is taking him changing his clothes as a personal attack on her appearance… which doesn’t make any sense to me and leads me to believe that after speaking with her husband it might be worthwhile to take advantage of some of those fab college counseling services to see why she is seemingly basing her self-esteem and/r sense of worth on how others judge her appearance compared to her husband.
mf November 16, 2012, 1:36 pm
Look, there’s nothing wrong with being a jeans-and-t-shirt kind of girl. If that’s who you are, he should love you and accept you without trying to change you, no? (And it sounds like he does, so good on him.) But it works both ways. If he’s a suit-and-tie kind of guy, then you need to love and accept him too. If you don’t like the way you dress, than you should make some changes to your own wardrobe! But you don’t get to force HIM to change to make yourself feel better.
bittergaymark November 16, 2012, 2:16 pm
Nothing wrong with it — but nothing very attractive about it either… Frankly, I’m tired of ALL of America seemingly content with everybody going around looking like shit. Speaking of which… somebody — and I guess it has to be me — needs to tell twentysomethings everywhere that all these ghastly, messy bun hairstyles so many are so fond of wearing makes them look like shit. Seriously, enough with the hideously tangly buns, everyone! For the love of God… just stop! NONE of you are Natalie Portman, and frankly, even she can’t pull this look off…
lets_be_honest November 16, 2012, 2:19 pm
bittergaymark November 16, 2012, 2:25 pm
Why Shhhh? …Wait, wait! I think I totally get. Oh, l_b_h, how cleverly calculated of you!
lets_be_honest November 16, 2012, 3:09 pm
lbh is a little bun head. and i look JUST like natalie portman.
Actually, I really like the loose bun look. I’m surprised you don’t.
bittergaymark November 16, 2012, 3:20 pm
Maybe you do it better than most. Out here everybody out at the clubs is all dressed up but it looks like they FORGOT to do their hair…
lets_be_honest November 16, 2012, 3:23 pm
Hmm, I don’t think I would wear my hair that way if I were all dressed up for a club actually.
GatorGirl November 16, 2012, 3:31 pm
You know a lot of men find a nice pair of jeans and a white t-shirt to be very sexy. Throw on a little blazer and a pair of heels and damn.
I also rock the bun often. Usually a ballerina bun but still.
The real problem with twentysomethings is the notion that leggings or yoga pants are REAL pants that should be worn in public (like to class or the grocery store of heven forbid the bar).
lets_be_honest November 16, 2012, 3:34 pm
Even my young daughter knows that 🙂
I had a parent teacher conf. early this morning and last night she asked me to dress nicely, not in what I wear to take her to the bus.
ps I think yoga pants in public is ok depending on the setting.
GatorGirl November 16, 2012, 3:50 pm
Here and there a yoga pant is totally fine (like say you went to yoga and then straight to ther grocery store!!) but I live in a MAJOR college town and I can not handle the amount of spandex. It is obscene. It’s total Jersey Shore/Miami culture here and I can’t stand it.
This week I went with my fiance to a lecture of a well respected historian at his university. A bunch of undergrads where there (for extra credit of course) and I was appalled with their clothing choices. Sweatpants, hoodies, baggy t’s. Where is the respect people?
lets_be_honest November 16, 2012, 3:54 pm
Oh yea, that I would not be able to handle.
MMcG November 16, 2012, 4:02 pm
My friends and I had a rule in college, based on the endless amount of spandex we would see on people who had no business wearing it, that I would like to share with the DW community:
“Spandex is a privilege, not a right, and you have to earn it”
lets_be_honest November 16, 2012, 4:08 pm
Ready for the creeps? I walk into class in 8th grade one day and the teacher has written on the board “Spandex almost kills driver.” Finally, everyone is settled in their seats and he explains, to the entire class, that he saw me jogging and that he thought the car in front of him was so distracted by my jogging in spandex (8th grade, remember) that the car swerved off the road or something. Still grosses me out. Totally forgot about that.
iwannatalktosampson November 16, 2012, 3:58 pm
But but what if it’s lulu’s under taupe steve madden boots with a long white fitted t shirt with a taupe colored short leather jacket. Please tell me that’s okay because that’s what I’m planning on wearing to teh breaking dawn 2 premier that I’m leaving for in 1 hour!!!!
GatorGirl November 16, 2012, 4:04 pm
For you IWTTS, I’ll make an exception! Haha.
It’s just constant gym clothes all the damn time around here. I’m over dressed in my dark denium and Rainbow flip flops and and NFL t most of the time. And that is ridiculous to me!! And everyone is in parka’s and snow hats since the lows are you know 50 now. I can’t wait to leave this damn college town.
iwannatalktosampson November 16, 2012, 4:06 pm
Haha thanks. You’re my facebook friend so just for you I’ll try to take a picture and post it so I can get your official approval.
I get it though – Ethan hates that that’s all I wear. I’ve trained him to be proud of me when I wear jeans, haha.
GatorGirl November 16, 2012, 4:14 pm
Leggings are all I wear in the house. But I’m a jeans girl outside of the house. My new favorite is colored jeans, they are so fun!
lets_be_honest November 16, 2012, 4:09 pm
Jeez iwanna. Get some self respect and get changed. According to dw, it will only take you 30 seconds to find a suitable outfit.
bethany November 16, 2012, 4:01 pm
Wait– Leggings are totally pants. I wear them to the grocery store. Is that a no-no?
MMcG November 16, 2012, 4:05 pm
You are fine, I give you permission to shop in your leggings.
The issue I have is that some of the youngin’s today don’t seem to grasp that tights and leggings are not the same thing… and just because it looks opaque on the front of your shins doesn’t mean that is what it looks like on your ass. I have seen more often than I should have someone basically wearing opaque tights as pants with a not long-enough shirt over it.
IF IT HAS A COTTON INSERT IT IS NOT OUTERWEAR 🙂
GatorGirl November 16, 2012, 4:08 pm
Well, in my house, no. Leggings are not pants. But that’s our house. I think they are okay somethings if they are 1- thick enough (I can not tell you how many girls here wear sheer leggings and thongs or neon pink panties or blech) 2- your shirt covers your rear/lady bits.
Oh and 3- if you generally speaking aren’t a 18-21 year old kid who is obnixious and think they rule the world.
bethany November 16, 2012, 4:54 pm
All of my leggings are actual pants- not the tights acting as leggings, and when I wear them out of the house I usually wear them with a long shirt/sweater.
I also wear them with regular t-shirts a lot when I do yard work and stuff, but I think that’s ok…
GatorGirl November 16, 2012, 5:24 pm
My legging hatered is mostly because I live in a college town and it’s like a weird fashion plague here. It’s like guys in tank tops. I hate hate hate that look because it seems like 3 out of 4 guys here are wearing tank tops. Its just overkill.
kerrycontrary November 16, 2012, 4:16 pm
I think leggings are fine as long as you have a good body and they aren’t see through. When I wore them in college I always tried to wear long shirts with them (and they were more in style 3 years ago), but I think they are fine for college girls going to class if you go to a big state school. Maybe not appropriate at smaller, preppy school. I used to wear them to the bar as well with tunic-length bar tops and I think I looked good….
MMcG November 16, 2012, 4:26 pm
What are you doing checking out what the girls are looking like anyway??
MackenzieLee November 16, 2012, 4:42 pm
but now how am I supposed to get ready in under 30 minutes. You’re ruining the one power us 20somethings have. We’ve convinced society that throwing your hair on top of your head is not only acceptable but really trendy. Now I’m going to have to get up 20 minutes earlier to do my hair or stop spending so long playing with my makeup…..you’re ruining all the fun!
mf November 16, 2012, 3:48 pm
BGM, I hear you. I’m a high-heels-and-skirt kind to girl myself. My biggest pet peeve is people who wear flip flops anywhere other than the beach. For the love of god, GET A PAIR OF REAL SHOES! And they’re really bad for your feet too!
Personally, I really like making the effort to look good and I appreciate it when my husband does as well. But the thing is, it doesn’t sound like her husband minds that she dresses casually. She’s the one who doesn’t like the way she dresses. Except instead of changing her own clothes, she’s trying to change his. She doesn’t have a right to dictate his wardrobe choices in order to mitigate her poor self-esteem.
jlyfsh November 16, 2012, 3:52 pm
you should never live in a beach town then, haha. i don’t think the majority of people where i live wear ‘real shoes’ for about 75% of the year. but, the general attitude is not quite the same as other places either.
JK November 16, 2012, 4:10 pm
Sorry but flip flops are awesome. I live nowhere near the beach, but pretty much from late spring to early autumn thats all I have on my feet, especially if I´m wearing knee length skirts, or long to the floor peasant type skirts. And they look fine thankyouverymuch
mf November 16, 2012, 4:29 pm
Yeah, but they make you shuffle in this weird, unattractive way. And if you’re a woman, they do nothing for your legs.
JK November 16, 2012, 4:33 pm
I can walk fine in them, I definitely dont shuffle. And my legs look fine. Thanks for your concern. 🙂
GatorGirl November 16, 2012, 4:49 pm
Yeah, I have to say my shoes don’t make noise and my legs look pretty dang good in any shoe. I also almost never show my legs so…
Taylor November 17, 2012, 10:58 pm
Agreed! I love flip flops.
GatorGirl November 16, 2012, 4:16 pm
I live in FL so it’s pretty much standard that I have flip flops on. There are maybe two months a year I don’t have some form of a sandal on. My feet hate being in socks and shoes. They hate heels even more haha.
jlyfsh November 16, 2012, 4:19 pm
completely agree! and i have some very comfortable flip flops. i’m not sharing exactly how many pairs i have. but, i did get them all on sale so that’s something 😉
JK November 16, 2012, 4:22 pm
I used to hate flip flops til I discovered Havaianas, which are totally comfortable, and come in lots of styles, colours, and designs. I esp. love the slim metallic strap ones. 🙂
lets_be_honest November 16, 2012, 4:35 pm
I think the leather ones can be “dressed up” nicely in the summer too, as much as you can dress up with flip flops on.
JK November 16, 2012, 4:37 pm
The thing is some of us are more casual dressers than others. And I think it´s great, why does everyone have to dress to the 9s all day every day? It is certainly not the most practical for my lifestyle.
lets_be_honest November 16, 2012, 4:57 pm
Nothing wrong with that at all. I wasn’t bashing flip flops, just adding that the leather ones are pretty.
JK November 16, 2012, 5:02 pm
I wasnt really replying to you specifically. But there have been several comments of that type, so I had that in mind while typing. 🙂 Sorry!!
MackenzieLee November 16, 2012, 4:47 pm
I can’t believe I missed almost the entirety of the fashion advice postings! :((( But at least I missed it because I was shopping
lets_be_honest November 16, 2012, 4:55 pm
Its been one of my favorites yet!
Sarah November 16, 2012, 5:51 pm
A style blog specifically for women chasing around tiny ones!
Although really, if your issue is that you’re angry that you have to be the one to solve the problem you created for yourself, and the dreaded solution is to buy a few nicer shirts or blazers or whatnot, then really I don’t think you’ll find any useful alternatives
You Go Girl November 16, 2012, 10:45 pm
Many commentators have pointed out that the LW’s husband does not seem to be criticizing her, and she would feel better about herself if she found some nicer clothes for when they go out. I agree with them and think the LW would do well to buy some new clothes. But the problem could also be how the LW feels about herself when she does go shopping. Unfortunately many current fashion trends such as skimpy tank tops, low cut jeans and Jackie Kennedy slim cut dresses only flatter very slim women like Kate Middleton. Normal weight women weight women who have the slightest stomach bulge, which is most women, do not necessarily look good in the current popular supper skinny fashions.
It is still possible to find flattering fashions in classic styles such as simple tops, jeans and skirts, but the time required to shop for flattering clothes may seem beyond you when you are a full time student who is also working a demanding job. The good news is that the semester is almost over and Christmas break would be a good time to go shopping. If you hate shopping because it makes you feel bad about yourself, then bring a friend with good taste who can encourage you. I did this with an out of state friend who was visiting, who pronounced my wardrobe in need of updating. She insisted we go shopping and kept insisting shopping was fun while I protested loudly. But she helped me pick some nice clothes that I wear a lot. So good luck to the LW, as she shops for some new outfits.
Allie November 21, 2012, 3:13 am
In the words of the antiquated song:
“Hey, little girl,
Comb your hair, fix your make-up.
Soon he will open the door.
Don’t think because
There’s a ring on your finger,
You needn’t try any more
For wives should always be lovers, too.
Run to his arms the moment he comes home to you.
I’m warning you.
Day after day,
There are girls at the office,
And men will always be men.
Don’t send him off
With your hair still in curlers.
You may never see him again.
For wives should always be lovers, too.
Run to his arms the moment he comes home to you.
He’s almost here.
Hey, little girl
Better wear something pretty,
something you’d wear to go to the city.
And dim all the lights,
Pour the wine, start the music.
Time to get ready for love.”
Is it fair? Not hardly! Is it true? … yeah. You sound like you’ve got the hair and makeup well in hand, but even if you just keep a nice blazer and some cute boots in the back seat of your car, and throw them on over your shirt and jeans that you wear to daycare, you can spiff up in a bit before heading home (making the huge assumption that that’s your style, of course).
You’ve got a valid reason, and he should love you no matter what, but there’s no harm in keeping the honeymoon period going as long as possible– Good luck! (Working in a daycare and doing med school concurrently is pretty rough– kudos to you!)