Remember gauchos? Yeah, sorry to bring that up. I vaguely remember them trying to make a comeback last year by disguising themselves under the new name “culottes,” and everyone responded with “lololololol NO.” It was the equivalent of someone wearing a Groucho Marx mask and thinking they could legitimately get away with it.

groucho marx

I’m no fashionista, but I like to think I have a decent eye. You may not be able to tell by my wardrobe choices, but you’ll just have to trust me when I say my outfits reflect my bank account, not my fashion sense. The last time I had extra spending money was 2009 (thanks, Busch Gardens Entertainment!), so I’ve chosen skip any trend that high schoolers wear, including, but not limited to, flannel shirts tied around my waist, hippie headbands, and high wasted diapers jean shorts. Looking at 16-year-olds to find out what will only be “hip” for one season is a flawless savings plan. Us practical grannies need to stretch our incomes with purchases that will be socially acceptable for more than a few months.

Although my closet only gains 1-2 new items a year, I earnestly try to avoid wearing anything that screams “I’m from 8 years ago!” Re: Gauchos, American Eagle flares, baby tees, anything that requires a cami underneath, etc. But here’s the catch:

We tend to dress not only for ourselves, but for who we want to attract. And [most] men have no clue what is “in.” They just like what they like.

Last week, my fiancé told me he’s really into girls wearing one shoulder tops. So was I! In 2010. The occasional one shouder cocktail dress these days is fine, but shirt versions just remind me of going to TGIF’s for a drink after a long night of work at Cheeseburger in Paradise during my first year out of college. This is nothing against any of you still showing off your right shoulder like it’s a third boob, sticking it in the faces of bartenders to get a drink, but that’s just something I can’t do in good conscience.

What do you do, then, when your boyfriend/fiancé/husband tells you he is really attracted to a style that brings you back to a time of Yellow Tail wine and The Black Eyed Peas? Or what if your boy toy thinks he’s “fashion forward,” so he buys you futuristic platform shoes and says “these will look really hot on you”? In both cases, you want to respect his wishes…without losing respect for yourself. Because no self-respecting woman will wear one of these (in public):

choker

I should take a moment to clarify that a good man won’t dictate what you wear, and you never need to dress a certain way just to make someone like you. I’m simply saying that, if you’re like me, you like to take your man’s opinion into account because it’s fun to make him happy. That’s all.

Anyway, the key to respecting his opinions while also respecting your reputation is setting boundaries. If he likes velvet animal print, maybe find some jewelry that subtly pays homage to The Lion King without making you look like an 1980s sex worker. Or if he’s into white eyeliner circa 2001, use some white eyeshadow on your lid (blended into something less aggressive at the crease) as a grown up version of his middle school fantasy. If he requests jean capris with no pockets on the butt, look him square in the eye and say, “Absolutely not.”

Something like my fiance’s affinity for one shoulder shirts is a manageable dilemma. I can’t promise I’ll wear them on a regular basis, but for a Tuesday night dinner date when there’s only a 5% chance we’ll Instagram the experience, I’m happy to throw on one of my old tops and let him take a long, hard look at my left collar bone. You’re welcome, sweetie.

Maybe you have no idea what “looks” your straight, male counterpart enjoys. I highly suggest asking– if not for fashion ideas, then simply for entertainment. Besides the normal stuff that all guys can’t help but like (v-necks, bandage dresses, daisy dukes– not to be confused with the diapers shorts I mentioned earlier), you may be surprised at what he finds attractive. Who knows? He could think messy buns are the hottest thing of all time. In that case, congratulations on the easy road ahead of you. But maybe he’s into dark purple lipstick. Or Jesus sandals. These are things you should know, and maybe—just maybe—you can work with them.