Fashion Compromise: Keeping The Other Half Happy

Quite often it’ll surprise people that I won’t buy certain things because I know my husband won’t like them.  I work full-time and my husband and I have separate spending accounts, so, in the eyes of many, I should be able to spend my money how I want on whatever I want.  When we were dating, that’s largely how it was, though the longer we dated, the more I realized I cared about what my now-husband thought when it came to my fashion and style.

I find this is true of many people in relationships.  Most of the time, people in relationships ask the opinions of their significant other when it comes to style and fashion, because in most cases, it’s clear our other half cares.  Most of the time, it’s easy to cues from the other half regarding what to definitely wear based on how they react to our style.  But there’s also the dark side of things–wearing stuff you know he doesn’t like (but you love).

Is there a way to balance things you love, and pieces he hates? Yes!  It’s called the “Fashion Compromise”, and it’s just a matter of figuring it out, and then abiding by the rules.

For us, it all started with the “Pug Pants”.

Yes, The Pug Pants.  They’re a pair of fabulous, dusky purple, satin pants made by Seven for Express, circa… oh, say 2002 maybe?  I lusted over them for months, where they sat far out of my college-student budget at around $170 (if I recall correctly).  Months later, I scored a pair on clearance, for a severely reduced price, and was super excited.  I wanted to wear them everywhere, but limited it to going out.  The first time hubs saw me in them, I’m pretty sure he asked me, “what the hell are those?!” and pretty much refused to be seen with me in them, coining the term “pug pants” and telling me they looked stupid.  Reluctantly, I changed.  I have tried wearing them other times and gotten the same reaction, and have downright refused to get rid of them over the years despite protests.  I still absolutely love them, and have worn them on the rare occasion that hubs hasn’t been around.

But since that incident, I started taking his opinion on things into account more and more. Often, if I think he won’t like something, I’ll ask what he thinks of it before I spend the money.  Why?  Because, largely, it makes my life easier.  I like that he cares enough to voice his opinion about things, and he likes that I care enough to listen (the majority of the time, at least).

Yea, sure, there are times were I like something so much, I buy it regardless of the fact that I know hubs won’t dig it.  My leopard print wedges, for example.  Hubs doesn’t particularly like wedges.  Or rompers–for some reason, my husband can’t stand rompers.  But quite often I’ll drop him a note with something I’m looking at and seek his opinion on it… and sometimes, I’ll opt not to buy it because he says it’s gross.

But that’s part of being in a relationship: compromise. He deals with my “questionable” taste when it comes to some things, and I deal with not buying something I like because I know he’ll hate it.  And vice versa.

And so the “Fashion Compromise” was born.

The “Fashion Compromise” is an understanding my husband and I have when it comes to style. When it comes to fashion-related purchases, I’m free to spend my money how I want.  However, if he is strongly against something I have purchased, he is free to voice his opinion about it.  Whether or not I take his opinion it into account is up to me.  Sometimes I do, and other times, I don’t.  And it works both ways.  We ask each others’ opinions quite often, and voice them just as often when something new is brought home (or worn for the first time).

It’s actually a pretty nice system, and works really well for us.  Granted, we’re pretty open with each other, and both of us have no qualms being honest about what we think of something.  At the same time, we both have no problems saying, “ok, you don’t like this… but I do, so I’m going to keep it and wear it”.  In both of our wardrobes, there are very few “Pug Pants” type items, that are forbidden from being worn around the other.  In fact, I think the Pug Pants are it, haha!

How to make it work for you.

Sit down with your other half and talk about it. The easiest way to put a Fashion Compromise system in place is to have a conversation about it.  You don’t have to treat it like an intervention, and it’s certainly not the time to argue with each other over fashion choices or money spent.  The conversation is simply a time to say, “hey, I know we don’t always see eye-to-eye when it comes to style, so…” and then talk about when you can ask each other’s opinions, and when you can voice them.

Come to an agreement about the compromise. It doesn’t have to be an exact thing that you have down to a science right away.  But start off with, say, that you’ll check outfits with each other before special events.  Or you’ll ask about new shoe purchases if he asks about getting new shirts.  Do what works for you both, and be willing to make changes to your system as time passes.  It’s not an absolute system.

Some key things to remember.

There are a few things you need to remember when it comes to putting the plan into action. Most importantly, voicing opinions about your significant other’s style choices is not, I repeat NOT, an opportunity to be mean.  There’s no reason to be a jerk towards the person you love just because you don’t like that color green on them.  So when you tell them your opinion about something they’re thinking of trying on, or have on, be honest but be nice about it.  You don’t need to berate them for making the choice, make fun of them, or otherwise be rude.  And the same goes for them when they tell you what they think.

If your other half decides to buy or wear something you don’t like, it’s not an opportunity to constantly let them know you can’t stand it. If you must, tell them once, “honey, I don’t particularly care for that shirt on you”, and then let it go.  If they ask why, feel free to tell them.  But don’t pout about it if they decide to go for it anyway, and don’t use it as an opportunity to berate them for it every 10 minutes.  You’ve said your piece, now let it go.  And, or course, they have to do the same.

Along the same vein, don’t whine or throw a tantrum if your other half vetoes something you like. You’re an adult, not a 5-year-old who was told they can’t have a bag of M&M’s at the grocery store checkout.  Respect your other half’s opinion, as well as the compromise agreement you two have come up with.

Take finances into account, too. If you have separate spending accounts, like my husband and I do, then it might not be as big of a deal if you spend money on things you like but he hates.  But if you share your money, then perhaps you need to set a dollar amount at which you’ll discuss the purchase and come to an agreed upon solution regarding it.

Will you give it a shot?

Or do you have a similar agreement in place now? I’d love to hear about it!

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