Who Are You Dressing For?
There’s a long-standing style musing: women dress for other women. The wisdom behind the sentiment maintains that since men aren’t as style savvy or detail oriented, women look for acceptance and praise from female friends. Despite this, I’ve noticed an interesting paradigm shift during my time working the boutiques with clients: many women are swapping out their traditional shopping partner (friends) for their man.
I love seeing men in clothing stores. They look as graciously out of place as (I suspect) I do shopping for a grill in Home Depot. I appreciate the effort to help and their patience about the whole endeavor. And while it seems that their ambivalence on your dressing room selections suggests a need for some style education for them, it is actually we who need the learning. Mainly that dressing for style and dressing for a man are two very different and, sometimes, mutually exclusive goals.
You don’t have to be an evolutionary psychologist to know that men are incredibly visual. When the body or its outline is visible or accentuated, they will respond more passionately. I always know which pieces my clients’ men will like best, and they are always those that highlight shape and curves. My beautiful client Kara’s (pictured) Diane Von Furstenberg dress is exactly that piece; it suggests her hourglass figure without flaunting, shows yet covers. At my request, she accessorizes with black opaque tights and matching platform heels to downplay the sexiness, but can just as easily rock bare legs and a serious heel. I’ll let you guess which option her husband might prefer…
Men don’t get edgy footwear or plays on proportion. Billowey and blousey (two silhouettes that are always fashion forward) are lost on them. The head to toe details that I tirelessly promote (both here and with clients) just don’t translate where most men are concerned. So when you come out of the dressing room to a dispassionate reception (something I see all the time), remember to ask yourself who you’re dressing for.
In my opinion, the overlap between what stylish women like to wear and what most men want to see is a small one. However, the following I can recommend to work on both fronts.
Susana Monaco Strapless Dress– This best-seller from Chelsea does require a certain body type, but it celebrates a woman’s curves and is a proven fan favorite among the men.
Susana Monaco Halter Top– If you’re interested in showing (the girls) and covering (the tummy), this top is ideal.
Diane Von Furstenberg Wrap Dress– This iconic design is the creation of a woman, yet satiates the style sensibilities of men because of its body celebrating, curve hugging silhouette.