Would You Ever Let Your Romantic Counterpart Dress You?

Still looking for a romantic counterpart?  Talk to Isaac.

I did this fun thing on Monday night where I asked Abie* to pick out an outfit for me to wear the following day. He thought I was joking, I was not. The reason I enlisted his help was to understand, in real time and by example what it is those who cannot subscribe to this lifestyle — that is, one ruled by the predominantly (though not exclusively!) female tenets of dressing for oneself — find compelling about a woman’s wardrobe.

So after he got out of the shower and put on his (very tight) underwear, he opened my closet doors.

“There is so much stuff in here,” he said as he lifted a pair of gold shorts. (He put those down faster than he picked them up.) Then he turned around to ask if he could “use” the “other” closet. (What he meant was simply: can I look at the stuff you have in the coat closet you have claimed as your second closet, leaving my coats to gather dust in a corner of our bathroom?) I said yes and within fifteen minutes (a fairly long time to be browsing a single rack of clothing composed mainly of blazers) he came into our bedroom holding precisely the outfit you see photographed above. To me, it says nothing. It reads lazy. Arguably “basic.” Abie said he chose the dress that he did — turquoise and girlish, featuring a scalloped Peter Pan collar and the kind of flirty skirt they tell you about when explaining the nuances of what makes a manic pixie girl special — because it was “sexy; a nice bright color and form fitting.” He also said, “I like the prairie look.”

I found this endearing. I’ve never heard a heteromale refer to the prairie mode of dress amicably. And that he could further identify it — a style cue I have clearly carried out of my childhood into adulthood — as sexy? Remarkable! Per the boots, “chelsea boots,” he said (I know! Right?), “what could look more confident than just an easy dress and comfortable boots? They’re cool with no socks and accentuate your legs.”

He went on to ask me to buy him a pair.

The low common denominator in his pairing was seemingly a triple-threat combination of comfort, confidence and ease. It didn’t take rocket science to accrue that data but what I found especially interesting about his two-garment selection was the simplicity with which he aimed to dress me. I am a maximalist. More never seems like enough. A single dress makes me feel naked, like I’m not saying anything when there is so much to be articulated. What he seemed to be saying in response to my style was: I don’t get it. What he did say was, “I could have made a crazy concoction like the ones you do but prefer the easy route.” Which is okay (and re: his ability to concoct, likely untrue.)

What I’m surmising based on the outfit is a sort of proof of concept — one that suggests that if a partner self-identifies as “repelled” by the articulation of your elaborate outfit, there is a possibility that they find it so complex, so confounding, so downright stunning, they’re left wondering to themselves: I don’t even get what she’s wearing. Will I get what she’s saying?

Comfort said partner. Confirm that the answer is no but that the road to discovery will be fun as fuck.

*For the unfamiliar, Abie is my husband. I prefer to call him my partner-in-sex but by the rules of the English language and the societal constructs of terms we assign to one another, he is technically and legally my husband. We got married in 2012, I started airing out his dirty laundry in 2013, forced him to perform as a video subject in 2014 and as recently as last month, I exploited his vulnerable but incredibly charming request to have me help him get dressed in a story that culminated in this.


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  • erin

    I am my own boyfriend, so yes.

    Als – those boots with that dress might be one of my favorite combos ever! Good job Abie!!

  • My answer is no I would not… but then again maybe I should. I’m loving the prairie look. Gemma xx http://www.jacquardflower.uk

  • LP

    This outfit reminds me of something I would have worn 2011–2012 to a basement house show, accessorized with a nose ring, ombre hair, and idgaf attitude. I thought I was so hip!

  • ThisPersonSleeps

    Um you guys are super cute!

  • I need a whole series of this! How would he dress you to go to dinner with his boss? How would he dress you to go to A polo match, how would he dress you for a lazy Saturday… He obviously loves your stems bare! Nice Abie

    • JPMaven

      Omg yes please! This needs to be a series…NOW.

  • We cannot underestimate the prairie “aesthetic!” This happened once before when Willa Cather’s exacting prose (on heartbreaking/beautiful narratives of life on the prairie) was entirely underrated and overshadowed by her male contemporaries!! #PrairieCore

  • Lou

    I LOVE this outfit. Don’t think it’s boring at all; it’s sexy and confident. I love to see a beautiful woman who looks great, effortlessly stylish, but hasn’t belabored the getting dressed process. It’s almost like saying, “I’m more interested and curious in others/the world to construct a ‘crazy’ outfit.”

  • Allie Fasanella

    too damn cute

  • Josee Brisson

    The cutest thing I ever did see!

  • Maria Sheila Miani

    Loved the idea! So cute! and I liked that you expressed your own opinion on it..I do no often read all your articles, but this one seemed very interesting! 🙂

  • It kind of just looks like what he would wear if he identified as female and had your body. Or that’s just another part of it: Was he dressing you as he wants you or dressing you as he would himself? Hmmmm

  • If I had a romantic counterpart (I guess my cat doesn’t count), then yes. Occasionally. But only for a special occasion, like a romantic night out.

  • I guess.. that goes back to making sure you’re choosing wisely. If you’re into fashion/that world, hopefully you’d pick a counterpart that’s also into the scene, so having them dress you shouldn’t be that big of deal. But I can say that there are definitely some guys I’ve dated where.. I wouldn’t let them dress me haha.

    Josh | The Kentucky Gent

  • Alex

    My boyfriend would pick the exact same outfit. Every dress I have that is cut like this is his “favorite.” Le sigh.

  • La Vintage Vida

    I would do this just to see what my SO would come up with. As for Abie’s choice, the man has excellent taste. YOU picked out a winner there!

  • Oh this is fantastic because I recently let my husband dress me for a week! The man had a blast doing it and even created a theme every day (which were entirely cheesy). Not my top wardrobe choices, but a fun experiment! mollygoodearle.com/i-let-my-husband-dress-me/

  • Andrew B

    Insane amount of cute going on

  • Jessica Watters

    Hey Man Repeller! Such a huge fan and to answer this question, as much as I love my husband I definitely would not let him dress me!

    XO, Jessi

  • Lua Jane

    You guys are adorable couple. I do prefer your own elaborate and slightly complicated style, to what he dressed you in, but his choice is interesting.

  • I don’t know if I’d let my husband dress me, but I sure as shit love taking him shopping with me…and not just because he usually ends up paying for it.

    He chooses things I’d never even consider, and more often than not he’s right – especially with dresses, which I’m terrible at picking out for myself. I’m way too conservative, and he’s always trying to get me to show off more.

    The only thing he doesn’t get to shop for with me is shoes. He picks out way too many 4-5″ heels for me. I know that I own way too many flats, but I also don’t want to fall over and break myself!

  • I can’t imagine letting my husband dress me. Talk about overwhelmed by choice! He’s also really into a 60s/70s aesthetic without it looking too costumey. Speaking of:
    He criticized what I wore once- admittedly it was a little eccentric, but in my defense I was really feeling my Kate Hepburn run through the 70s phase. Wide leg trousers with a faux fur capelet… to the movies. Hey- it was at night!
    Anyway, I told him I’d seen pics of his exes and if he ever criticized my clothes again I’d get a pair of overalls like one of them. 8 years later, not a peep. That man sure hates himself a pair of overalls.

    • Selina Moses

      That Heburn outfit sounds truly fantastic

  • I think I’ve only asked my boyfriend for advice once in 4 years and he only told me what I already knew (I was on the fence about a skirt). I do think this would be a fun experiment, even though I think I know what he would pick out for me.

  • T to the J

    When’s the baby due?!, NOT calling you fat, but I know cute little baby bumps when I see them.

    • Leandra Medine

      I am not pregnant. 🙁

      • T to the J

        I suck 🙁

  • Rachelle Ramilo

    I would definitely wear that same outfit! Your husband has a good taste. 🙂


  • soniadelvalle

    He was playing it safe! Make him choose at least 2 garments next time! (there needs to be a next time obvi).

  • Lauren Burns

    That’s actually one my favorite things I’ve seen you wear! Maybe he should be a stylist!

  • He is definitely your best accessory. Husbands are so delightful!

  • Amelia

    Alexa Chung vibes.

  • First of all let me tell you this might be one of my favourite posts yet.

    My answer is no. First of all because the question can’t be applied to myself right now, because I don’t have a boyfriend, but if I had one I wouldn’t (unless he was stylish as fuck, like some kind of male-fashion-blogger-style of dude), because I really enjoy dressing myself.
    On the other hand, Abbie did a really good job, you look dang good in this outfit!

    Julia xx

  • I’m always asking my boyfriend what I should wear (because I can never decide; basically, it’s me being lazy) and he always makes a good choice.

  • It doesn’t even look like you! The simplicity is unrecognizable. I can see his point but I love the way you dress. Super adorble photos and fun experiement, would love to him in dress you in your normal layered look! x Tali


  • tontytonty
  • Super cute. Not sure I would! Some of his taste in clothes is questionable. 😛


  • Love these kind of posts – always interesting to see how sartorially challenged our boyfriends really are! I like this outfit on you though! I actually would let my boyfriend dress me, but only because I have a really simple wardrobe so there would be little room for him to fuck up. Having said that…

  • I actually don’t think that a bad outfit at all. The boots add just a little bit to avoid blah.

  • He definitely does not want you to be desirable to other males haha
    Looks good on you though as your legs are very long !


  • Selina Moses

    It works as a simple outfit because the dress is a statement by itself. I like it

  • Rebecca Arendse

    This is such a strange coincidence. I’ve been doing a write up of you as part of Women’s Month in South Africa and your article would tie in great with my writeup. Kudos to you for trying out this experiment. I might ask my man to do the same, just out of interest.

    Rebecca / http://www.thetrendyintern.wordpress.com

  • Chetna Singh

    Well done Abie! Considering the Peter Pan collar is making such a big comeback! Very cute!

  • Anoushka

    I quite like this outfit! The dress is cute, although I probably wouldn’t wear it. I would definitely not let my boyfriend dress me, he lives in hoodies and trainers I’m not pleased that he’s allowed to dress himself! Tbf he would love this outfit, I reckon a lot of guys are secretly into the whole girly girl next door Zoey Deschanel look!

    Anoushka Probyn – A London Fashion Blog

  • Pepper

    My boyfriend commented on the amount of time that I spend dressing in the morning because sometimes I change after I am fully dressed. So, I let him pick something out for me and I promised that I would wear it. I looked like a flight attendant on an airline run by the LDS church. You got off easy!

  • Holly Laine Mascaro

    Can this be a week-long series please?