Your Style Girlfriend

    Style Advice: Give it Out or Keep to Yourself?

    3rd August 2012

    YOU get an undershirt! And YOU get an undershirt! Everybody gets an undershirt!”……

    “What are you wearing?”

    These were the first words out of my mouth as I climbed in the back seat of my brother’s car. Back in Wisconsin for the weekend, Aaron was picking me up to go downtown on Saturday night. His fiancée Jess sat to my left, and Bryan, my brother-in-law, rode shotgun.

    What?” he said innocently.

    “You’re wearing a…wifebeater!” I replied, spitting the last word out like it was soda gone flat. As if that settled things. “Were you running late from the trailer park?”

    “Megan, It’s hot out!” he replied in protest.

    He was right. It was hot out. A heat advisory had been in effect since I’d been home, not uncommon for Wisconsin in the summer. But still, I’d never seen my brother in a ribbed white tank top, and I couldn’t understand why he’d think to start now. Like picking up a smoking habit in your twenties; what’s the point? Realizing how I sounded, though, and trying to be conciliatory, though, I acquiesced. He had driven out of his way to pick me up after all.

    “You’re right, I replied. “It is hot out.”

    Silence and then…the car exploded in laughter around me.

    Before I knew what was happening, Jess was pulling a t-shirt out of her bag and handing it to my brother, and Bryan was digging a shirt out from under his seat. At the next stop sign, they pulled these new shirts on over what they had on. I looked around the car in confusion, waiting to be let in on the joke.

    “We just wanted to see if you’d say something!” my brother in law answered in between laughs. He was layering his new shirt over a neon orange skin-tight running shirt that had previously escaped my judgey eyes.

    “I mean, Megan,” my brother pointed out, “when have you ever seen me in a wifebeater?”

    “I’m mad you didn’t notice my dri-fit shirt,” my brother-in-law added.

    Good point. I laughed too, but was a little horrified at myself. Am I so predictable that my family can place easily won bets on my inability to hold my tongue when it comes to matters of style?

    {I love a Dri-Fit shirt as much as the next girl, just keep it in the gym – not at the bars}

    And worse, am I that likely to point out the bad, rather than look for the good?

    Just because I write about guys’ style everyday on here, doesn’t mean every guy is looking for me to make him my project.

    On the other hand, the fact that my male family members know not to wear ribbed tank tops and workout shirts out for a drink on a Saturday night is definitely a good thing.

    Tell me:

    Do you try to “help” others with style advice? Or do you keep your mouth shut no matter what someone has on?

    And does the answer break across gender lines – do women more often make fashion suggestions to guy friends and co-workers, boyfriends and husbands? Or do guys add their two style cents just as often?

    Like me, do you think you’re “just trying to help?” Are you trying to stop, or are you simply doing your part to make the world a more stylish place?

    Tell me in the comments!

    • Jessy

      I don’t, unless I’m asked for it. But no one ever ask. That’s too bad, I would love to help.

    • Mike Thompson

      I try not to give unwarranted ‘advice’ to friends or family. If I see something I like, I make sure to point it out. But that doesnt mean I dont have an internal struggle to hold my tongue when I see things like wrap-around sunglasses or socks with sandals.

    • LachlanS

      I try to keep it to positive advice I guess. I only really like to give negative advice before a purchase.

      • Style Girlfriend

        Interesting point! So you make the last-ditch effort to keep your friends from making style mistakes at the point of purchase?

        • LachlanS

          If I can! I can’t always be there to save the day

    • Kai

      I make fun of my dad all the time. Between his high top converse with long white tube socks and jean shorts… Well, you get the point. It’s not mean either, we just have that type of relationship. He makes fun of me too when I wear bright colored socks with cuffed chinos. But what does he know. haha

      • Style Girlfriend

        I guess as long as you both can dish it AND take it :)

    • Matt

      If it’s my friends, I say things all the time and it’s probably on the mean side like “come on man, that shirt where’s waldo?” or “So glad you dressed up man, especially with those Nike running shoes.”

      To speak on the wife-beaters, I wear one every single day. If I don’t, I feel completely naked as if I forgot my wallet or something. I need to. I have tried to get away from them, especially when I’m just wearing a t-shirt, but it’s impossible. Hanes will have me purchasing a package of 3 till I’m dead.

      • Style Girlfriend

        Oh, I’m not hating on the necessity of a good undershirt or tank top, but it’s meant to be worn UNDER another shirt is all I’m saying..

    • Levi Simpson Jones

      As long as my friends outfits have a personal bent I usually keep things positive. I do get annoyed when I feel that the only reason they’re wearing something because they saw it on a lot of menswear blogs.
      Also I feel your pain, my brother has worn tank tops with ripped sides out in public for the sole purpose of antagonizing me

    • joe.dumond

      i critique at work, silently.
      thoughts like, “oh that outfit again”, “no effort”, “that’s an IT guy”, “one break per pant leg should do”
      or “hethat looks good, don’t look at him too long though” , “nice shoes” , etc.
      at home, all my wife has to do is give me the eye, the quick subtle eye shift, up and down. and i know its time to get back upstairs and get in something more appropriate.
      i don’t mind it, just makes me realize I can’t get lazy.
      having seen the look many times, many people do it all day long.
      men helping other men is on the rise though.
      I think looking good is about attitude, so you’d want to help your friendscompany to increase the groups overall appeal (for lack of a better word?)

      • Style Girlfriend

        “One break per pant leg should do.” Hilarious. And nice to know you and your wife have your feedback down to a (silent) science. Makes things so efficient, no?

        • size12welve

          It’s the other way around for me. My wife tried to go to the mall yesterday in a ribbed tank and dri-fit workout shorts. I had to give her the ‘ehem and she she put on some shorts (over the dri-fit). I just smh. It so easy to look presentable… I just threw on a hanes v and some chambray shorts (9 in hem). The one thing I can’t let go of though is wearing is sneakers. I have 100+ pairs and love wearing them all. I know…I get it all the time…”You are worse than a woman”.

        • joe.dumond

          in the beginning, i would fuss. “but I just want to be comfortable.” now that clothing (won’t say sartorial) advice is much more available, I found you can look good and still be comfortable, whereas, looking good doesn’t always mean your Easter Sunday church outfit.
          Today my wardrobe is amply supplied with enough work (formal and business casual), resort casual, lounge and “sweatpant purgatory” ensembles that I can pick clothes appropriate for any occasion.Sometimes, I get lazy and I get called on it. and the majority of the times, I’ll go back to the mirror, put something else together and say, “there, much better.” with an outfit that probably didn’t take much more effort to put together. and the resulting smile from the wife is proof positive.

    • LV

      I think you should speak up, especially if that’s your hobby/interest/job.

      I myself am a systems/network security administrator. My friends and coworkers know my interests and position, and they will sometimes do the same thing your friends did. They’ll make common conversation about Google Docs or some other issue that they know I have a security beef with, and be amused by the rise/reaction they get.

      But if they were being innocent, my opinions would help them. Sometimes that comes across as wrong, especially in the IT world. “Oh great, there goes Mr. ‘No’ again, telling us what not to do…” But sometimes people take advice positively. “Oh, wow, I didn’t know that is a better way to do it, thanks!” There’s not much I can do about that or predict the reaction, either.

      In the end, though, they do get/see who I am, which should make me a little less boring, whether they like the speaking up or not.

      For style, I’m still not the guy who should be telling others about their styles; I’m still in transition, but I probably wouldn’t say much anyway. But that’s just me, and I’m not a style commentator. :)

    • thesilentist

      I don’t say anything. No point in offending people or coming across like a mean person. If someone asks, I’ll typically be diplomatic, especially in a group setting.

      If it’s in private or 1-on-1 and they really want my honest feedback, I’m happy to give it, but I usually don’t just say “this sucks”. I’ll say, “this sucks, because…” and “an alternative might be…” I’ve used that method to successfully get two friends to stop wearing Jerry Garcia neckties.

      I also figure that if any of them want to really know my more stronger views on style they could read my blog, which allows me to kind of address these larger wardrobe problems of society rather than making it just personal about them.

      • Style Girlfriend

        ha, well now you’re just making me feel like a bad person! I mean, he was wearing a wife beater!!!! (case closed…..right??)

        • Ryan

          Everyone in that car was also family, so I wouldn’t really hesitate from wearing critiquing them. But with strangers and friends, I’d be a little more subtle about it.

      • Dreadpiratehurley

        Wait, are Jerry Garcia neckties not okay? I mean, the shamrocks and pumpkins are worth avoiding, but I’ve seen a couple styles I like and wear one of them regularly.

    • TJ

      I try my best not to say anything bad, though God knows they may need it. I know that most of my friend’s don’t care and I think it can be kind of rude to call people out sometimes. I do compliment them when they wear something good, positive reinforcement I guess.

    • Guest

      OK, advice or not…that’s just dang funny!

    • Frank

      A friend of ours, who doesn’t care what she wears, adopted a son who is now 13. I used to talk about what a gentlemen wears, or has on him, around this young man and my son when the moment seemed right. I stopped when she referred to me as a “dandy – but not in the bad way”. I think she meant “not gay”. Personally, I don’t find someone thinking of me as gay insulting. Read the actual definition of “dandy”; that’s pretty insulting!

    • Off-The-Leash-Man

      So… are singlets not cool? I don’t own any because I’m not muscular enough to wear one, but I didn’t realise they’re uncool or something.

    • jt10000

      Jay, great point about context.
      If someone is OK with looking like a slob on their own time, that’s their loss.

      But It’s disrespectful to not at least try to dress right for an event that is important to the host/other people.