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How can I tell him that his clothes are putting me off him?

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Question - (31 July 2015) 4 Answers - (Newest, 7 August 2015)
A female United Kingdom age 51-59, *ollyhock writes:

I met a very nice man online and we've been on a few dates and have got on really well. Nothing physical has happened between us. Before we actually met we chatted a lot online and he ticked a lot of the boxes in what I'm looking for - we share the same interests, he's kind, considerate and has a great dry sense of humour.

The only problem is the way he dresses - it is terrible! We're both in our late 40s and he dresses like an old old man. His jeans are about two sizes too big and a bit too short he holds them up with a big belt and he wears a fleece and glasses that look like something from the 70s (and not in a cool way).

I do like him, but his clothes are stopping me from being physically attracted to him. I know I'm being shallow, but his clothes are so bad that he looks a bit odd.

How can I tell him? Is it possible for me to gently persuade him to get some more up to date clothes and dress more like the man of 49 that he really is?

Any advice?

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A male reader, mfj78 United Kingdom +, writes (7 August 2015):

Hi there,

As we get older we do naturally become more picky. Whether it be with jobs, relationships, investments, friendships or our foods. In general we are less willing to compromise and more understanding of what we do and don't want.

We have earned the right to know what we want and, within reason, seek that out. Experience all so tells us that sticking with something that's got an annoying or frustrating fault isn't going to get any easier to bare. We also learn that people rarely change.

Example - When I was 17 I had to get a job that was low paid, even if it meant sweeping floors or washing glasses, as my lack of age and experience meant I couldn't pick and choose.

Now, I have the experience to choose a job in which I get a leather chair, cigar holder, key to the executive washroom AND an assistant to wipe my nose for me...if I get paid more than minimum wage and don't have to sweep the floors then that's a bonus!

Now when it comes to the opposite sex I am far picker now than when I was younger. Basically I look at the bigger picture. Do I like their friends? Do they present themselves well? Do they have the right number of heads? If the answer to any of those things is no then I am afraid I pack up my knapsack and run for the hills.

Now this chap is a nice person you say. Splendid. I like nice people. He has a sense of humour? Great! A nice guy who tells jokes, sounds fine so far. You get on well, have plenty in common. Another big tick. But then he turns up looking like Barney Rubble. Oh dear oh dear.

There is nothing wrong with slipping into something comfortable, im here in my casual cravat, oldest dinner jacket and softest opera pumps - its great to unwind.

However there is a time and a place when a gentleman needs to know when to put the casuals away and effortlessly change into something with a little more, panache.

Part of being a mature adult is forming an ability to look after ones self and present a good impression. Clearly your friend was in bed with a belly ache when that lesson was dished out.

Being serious for a moment, whatever ones views on stereotyping, the fact is that we all do it to a greater or lesser extent even if we are not consciously aware we are doing so.

Others judge our appearance and although its sometimes unfair, misguided or over generalized we do so for a reason - experience of life tells us that people who look a certain way, tend to behave a certain way or have a certain type of personality.

Without realizing we signal a hell of a lot to those around us with the way we dress, the clothes we wear and the way we look.

Rightly or wrongly, we see men (or women) dressed in clothes that are the wrong size, outfits that clash, and/or simply look awful and instantly assume that the person in question lacks a basic ability that most of us have: to dress ourselves with a reasonable degree of accuracy and co-ordination.

The way this guy dresses is the presentational equivalent of talking with an open mouth, staring, interrupting others when they speak or scratching our backsides in public - things most of us learn on our bumpy road to adulthood not to do.

One of the reasons we judge is that in any workplace there is always a minority of staff who struggle to get on with others, produce shoddy work, lack discipline and the ability to fit in and get on. You know the type - nobody respects them, always turning up late....One thing each of these Gormless Georges and Cant Be Arsed Charlie's have in common? They look like they need to be dressed by their mothers.

Of course how he chooses to dress is his choice. He probably wouldn't like the bright pink trousers, leopard print silk shirt and boating hat I have changed into since starting this epic (and rather long winded) response.

BUT if he is wearing trousers that are way too big and short, daft glasses and has an image that suggests he should be tucked in bed by 9pm with his teeth in a glass with a cup of Horlicks then that's not going to give the impression of being a dynamic, confident guy who has his finger on the pulse.

To be honest I think trying to change him and get him to wear different clothes would make you feel like his mother.

Have you seen his living space? Don't be surprised if he lives the way he dresses. He lacks discipline, has no pride in his appearance so why assume he has pride in his home or work output? If he cant be bothered to find clothes that fit will he go the extra mile in the relationship? At work?

Sorry Hollyhock I think this is a guy looking for a mother figure to smarten him up, not a BF for you.


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A male reader, WiseOwlE United States + , writes (1 August 2015):

If you try to change him, it means you're not accepting him for who he is. I advise women against doing that. If he's frumpy, that's his nature. Before you make any effort to change his "style," I recommend you get to know him very well. Nope, you won't sell me on a grown man who doesn't know how to keep his wardrobe consistent with the era he lives in. If he likes to be frumpy, you'll have to accept him as he is.

He has no sense of style, and that moved you to write a post about it. Nobody suggested that you not date him, you're missing my point. I said, don't settle.

Too often mature women will put up with poor habits in men, claiming how much they like him. The truth being, they've lowered their standards; fearing age limits their options and right to select a guy who has the traits and attributes they want in a man. Then the relationship falters, only because in the back of her mind, he really doesn't offer her all the things she really hoped to find as her desired match. You've lived to be 49. That gives you the right to be choosey and a little shallow. You're not married, don't have a steady boyfriend, and you should be picky. Find your match. You can like him, but you're finding fault, then trying to dismiss it. Make up you mind.

You've put up with everything else in men over a life-time. The man you settle-down with should be the man you've been looking for. If he's willing to update his style with a few of your suggestions; go for it. If you see he is resistant to suggestion, there you have it. He'll continue to look like you're dating your grandfather.

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A female reader, Hollyhock United Kingdom +, writes (1 August 2015):

Hollyhock is verified as being by the original poster of the question

Thank you both for your responses.

WiseOwlE, your no-nonsense reply made me laugh and I do agree with you that everyone should make the effort, especially if they want to make a good impression.

He is very clean and tidy - shaved, smells nice, clothes pressed, and shoes polished. But he is soooo frumpy and square (I am so shallow). He wore chinos with a shirt on the first date - at that time it was just the glasses that were the horror. But following that we had casual dates so jeans and a more casual jacket were appropriate. But the style of the jeans and the fleece - uuugh! I wouldn't even let my dad wear them.

I do like him, and now need to find a way to persuade him to get with it in the fashion stakes. I'm not asking for a male model, but I would like to be seen with someone I don't find embarrassing dress-sense wise.

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A male reader, WiseOwlE United States + , writes (1 August 2015):

If you like a man of style, then that's what you have to go for. They can "tick all the boxes," and look good too! You have the benefit of choice; not taking whatever comes at you, my dear.

When a man is taking a lady out on a date, or meeting her for the first time; he should try to look his best. Super casual is neither appropriate, nor a way to impress a lady who has gone out of her way to look nice for the first date.

He is a slob, no matter how nice he is.

If you can't be attracted to him for that reason, keep him in the friend-zone and don't offer him "the prize." He's old enough to know you don't show up for a date looking like that. You wear fitting slacks, a pressed shirt, shaved, and with your hair neatly combed. If you have any!

Presentable in public! Not like you're home on the couch, with your feet up, and a beer in your hand!

Don't settle. It's not being shallow wanting a man who grooms himself and wants to look as good for you, as you try to look for him. Don't let being mature say you have to let men get away with anything. Too many woman let men slide, and then you find out the reason he is a slob; is because he needs someone to do all the work maintaining him and cleaning up after him.

No honey, it's not being too picky to be picky. Guys don't settle for what doesn't turn them on. Set a standard.

It's a red-flag, sister!

It isn't being shallow to expect a grown man to know when to dress appropriately for the occasion. It means he sees every situation the same, nothing particularly special. You are special; and he should always want to make you feel that way, and vice versa.

As we get older, we've learned a lot and found ways to improve ourselves. You are the finished product of your formal education, and the school of life. You should represent that, in every way you can. There are times to let it all hang-out, but not when you're meeting a lady you want to romance.

If he doesn't know how to look presentable, consider his hygiene just as bad. Masculinity doesn't require you to let yourself go. It's either he's just lazy, too cheap; or the guy is too broke to buy himself decent clothes. He'd make a lovely friend, but he's not your match. Nor should you get any notions in your head you should try to change him or dress him up. He should do that all on his own; because it's part of who he is. Not who and what you want him to be!

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