24 August 2015

ObserVation: Fashion Sense

usie Jay asked in the post ObserVation: Getting ready to go out about how my wife reacted to the change in my attitude, from in the past showing no interest at all, to now actively helping her choose what to wear while getting ready to go out. 

 [Ed: Half way through writing a reply as a comment, Madam realised that it was going to be a little long and so ended up as a post instead.]

Well in general quite positive.
She is happy that we have now another aspect of bonding in our relationship.
This change in attitude is one of the positive things I attribute to Abigale’s appearance on the scene. Now controlling the overdone external 'negative attitude' as barrier to not having to talk about female related things and possibly give the game away. 

Our ‘getting dressed dialogue’ has now overflowed into when we watch the box together. We have in Germany a TV program called "Shopping Queen", where a top dress designer to a particular theme, gives five woman 500 Euros each and a 3 hour time limit to go shopping and at the end get a makeover. They can take a shopping companion to help out; they are driven around, filmed the whole time and reminded constantly of the time and money left, sometimes they are down to the last second and cent when finished. 
Five shopping sprees over five days, at the end of each day the shopper presents themselves to the rest of the group on the catwalk. Points are given in secret also from the dress designer. The one with the most points at the end of the week gets a money prize. On Sunday afternoon there is a collective repeat of the 5 episodes. 
Sometimes on we sit and watch, but only if no alternative is on. 
There is usually no alternate on.. 
Well actually in the past the wife would watch, while I would have my face buried in a notebook, tablet whatever, lost to the world. She would now and then try and start a dialogue going by asking / remarking about something that was going on. I would look up and say something like ‘sorry darling, what was that?’ She usually would give up in frustration after I repeated my standard answer a few times.

Now - and this in part is Abigale's doing - I do not clam up or show total disinterest concerning what I use to think was a taboo for men. Now I give up my humble opinion when talking about ‘girl stuff’. Of course this ‘joining in’ didn’t just appear overnight. I went softly softly into this. Not really tactical, just subliminal, always trying to keep just under the surprise level of ‘Hey! What’s going on here?’ I see this as one of the ways to let Abigale dimly shine though my boy facade and anyway it’s fun! 
Well, on the TV shopping front it didn’t take that long to get into the swing of things. We both now give up our preferences and discuss what we would prefer the shopper to wear from what she has looked at / tried on and at the end if the makeover would match or not. 
Interestingly enough we usually have the same opinions and tastes. You know the situation, one would say something, the other looks astonished and remarks 
‘I was just about to say that!’ one then laughs/giggles together (yes giggles (not too girly my side)) and so on. We have been together over 40 years, it’s understandable that we rub off on each other, even in silence. 
MrsA is sometimes a little surprised to what detail I would go, when e.g. the eyebrow colour should be black and not brown with that particular eye shadow (I hold back on suggesting which product name and number would look better, that would be a right giveaway if I did!). 
We now have fun making jokes and rolling our eyes at the programs sometimes silly commentary and when some of the women have no idea how to dress themselves even with a friend tagging along. She is not surprised any more that I give up an opinion, has rather got used to it in fact and now asks actively what I think unless I get in first. 
The only thing during the program is I have to be constantly on my guard to think but not say ‘Oh! That’s nice, wouldn’t mind that, maybe in blue’ or at the other extreme 
‘I wouldn’t be seen dead in that!’ 
I almost put my foot in it once, literally. The woman was trying on shoes to go with the dress she have an eye on. MrsA remarked “that’s a nice pair, they would go really well with my new summer dress”. I almost blurted out ‘Yes they would, I have a pair just like that in the cellar, shame they won’t fit you.’ 

[Ed: Madam's misses wears a size 2-3UK. Madam a 9.]

With browsing my wife’s woman’s catalogues, scouring the online shops for clothes and shoes in my size, reading up on all manner of do’s and don’ts and watching umpteen YouTube videos with tips and tricks, I now think - I hope – I have developed a little ‘fashion sense’ in and to female attire and accessories (my boy fashion sense, if it exists, is still on the starting line).

These days I don’t restrict myself to what I like to see on my wife and the women in our circle of friends, but also to give up a spontaneous opinion when looking at someone passing on the street or a remark about someone’s appearance when they appear on the box.

I had to go to the DIY store to buy some stick-on hooks for the bathroom. As I was waiting in line to pay, I saw that the cashier had long blue nails with all manner of art work, each nail slightly different. I was fascinated. After paying and just before leaving, I complimented her on the lovely nails. To begin with, I think she was a little taken back at my remark as it coming from a man. But then came a big smile and a warm ‘thank you!’. I won’t say I made her day, but I could see she was quite chuffed that I had said something.
Some time ago we were watching ‘Let’s Dance’, one of the girls had a gorgeous mint dress on with all the trimmings. My heart beat faster. I said Wow! What a lovely dress and the colour!
The wife agreed and we discussed it in detail and then moved on to the other dress creations swirling around the dance floor.
What I thought at the time was ‘Wow! I really do need this dress to go with my new heels!’ (see picture). 

Not all people have an eye for mode and a lot of it is recycled hype anyway, but most people have some sort of dress sense. I have been told not only from my wife but also friends (girls) that I seem to have more sense / taste when it comes to clothing the female form than to my own male clothing conventions.
I must say I fully agree and it’s a darn sight more fun to!


  1. If you ever are "out" to Mrs A it might change again. In my own case, Mrs H asks me very sincerely what I think of each outfit she wears out and knows very well when I say, "That looks really good", that I mean it and am not just giving her a "yes dear" as in the old days.
    From what I've seen Abi, you have way more fashion sense than I ever will! Oh, and while I"m at it... your shoe collection makes me weep with envy by the way!

  2. True, it might change again at least with a different slant. Mrs.A takes me also very sincerely when I give my opinion, the “yes dear” days are gone.
    This weekend we spent an hour deciding on a coat for autumn. She had ordered the same coat in 2 sizes. She tried them both on, we weight up the pros and cons to the fit and if one made one look like a teddy bear or not. If one could wear a thick or thin cardigan underneath and if it showed or not. If the front zip would close and one didn’t look bloated. We got into quite a lot of detail. In the end ‘we both’ where happy with the choice and only one had to go back.
    A highlight of the day.
    It’s difficult to say anything about one’s own fashion sense, I know what I like and this is reflected in my Pinterest boards. To my shoe collection, well I’ve put a stop on buying, well for this week anyway. They take up so much space! I may put a post together and ‘expose’ them adding my very limited wearing experience.
    It may be fun.
    I know it will be painful!

  3. L's usual comment to someone wearing anything different on TV is often, "What on earth is she wearing?" I have learned to bite my tongue, especially if I think it's actually rather stylish. Once I offered the comment "it's peplum dress", which got me a strange Look and the response, "How do you know that? You're just weird".
    Guilty as charged, M'aam.

    Thank you for this post Abi (and for all your help and advice about Susie's blog.)
    Today I was very good. I saw two pairs of shoes in my size (8) and I didn't buy them. One was a pair of wide-fit black Aerosole flats (good job I'm not dyslexic) in Red Cross. I thought they wanted too much for them at the time, but having just Googled the brand I may change my mind if they are still there next time.
    I complimented a girl at work on her sparkly party shoes. (They were *very* spangly.) And she has tiny feet. She said she was a size 2, and could only find ones that fit in the children's section.
    One the other hand, if I see a petite woman wearing a really nice pair of shoes, I know that even if I could find them in my size, they will probably look wrong.
    Actually, not only have I complimented one of the till girls in the Co-op on her colourful nails, but also one of the boys who worked there. That got a smile (but no discount..).