This month’s Feminist Fashion Bloggers post theme is “Dating, Relationships, and Motherhood.” Since I’m not a mother, I’ve got little to add to the motherhood portion of the theme, but I do have a partner (A.), so I thought I’d write about that.
A. is more or less entirely uninterested in fashion, style, or really much of anything to do with clothes. Obviously he gets dressed every morning and isn’t waltzing around town in his birthday suit, but it’s purely functional for him. Having a partner who’s totally uninterested in something that you (ostensibly) blog about provides some perspective. I don’t think I would’ve ever become someone who lives and breathes fashion, but it’s hard to get too wrapped up in it when you’re around someone who’s utterly unconcerned about it.
I’ve noticed a few things about the dynamic, though, and I’m curious if anyone else has noticed similar things with their partner.
- I tend to dress down a bit when he’s around. Not that I’m Glamourpuss McGee most of the time (okay, ever) but I feel obvious when I dress more nattily than usual. When he’s not around, I’m more likely to stick with it for the day and get comfortable feeling obvious (however unobvious I may actually be – it’s not like I’m wearing an evening gown to the mailbox or anything). But when he’s around and dressed casually (as he usually is), I’m conscious of the dichotomy in dress between us, and I often gravitate to less fancy outfits.
- On a related note, I’m more conscious of my clothes when he’s around. Maybe it’s a just a familiarity thing, and if I saw one of my friends as consistently as I see/saw A., I’d feel similarly, but I find myself being very aware of my outfit (or more accurately, my level of fance) when he’s around. I think it’s because I value his perception of me, and I worry (almost certainly without cause) that my conscious dressing negatively impacts his opinion of me.
- Conversely, there’s no pressure to dress a certain way. I could be wearing a potato sack and A.’d still think I looked great. He’s never made comments about wanting me to dress (or not dress) a certain way, and I’d be gobsmacked if he started now. This contradicts the last sentence of the previous point, but that’s gut emotion, and this is evidence-based observation; the two don’t always line up.
- My sartorial decisions are mine alone. I am a bit baffled by people (mostly women, in my experience) who say something along the lines of “I’m wearing this because my [male] partner likes it,” because it seems like an odd power dynamic. It’s often not a two-way dynamic (typically women wear things for their partners rather than the other way around), and it’s a bit too close to reinforcing the “women as ornament” role for my liking. I realize this is a simplistic reading, and perhaps I’ll elaborate on this another time, after it has percolated a bit more.
- Because I’m restrained in my interest, my interest is focused and thoughtful rather than broad and based on consuming as much as possible. I think carefully about what clothes I buy and why I’m buying them, because I’m conscious that I already have more than I need. A.’s wardrobe is a fraction the size of mine, and mine is, by Western standards, modest. He gets by fine with what he’s got, so I pause before I purchase. If I can’t articulate clearly and quickly why I want something, it stays on the shelf. I’d likely do this anyway, but since I have a clear idea of the size of his wardrobe, it helps crystallize the difference between what I want and what I need.
So, does any of that sound like you? I’m guessing some of you have partners (not necessarily male) who are uninterested in sartoria – what’s your experience with it?
Editor’s note: It’s Friday night, so that means this post originally appeared on the remarkable and witty Interrobangs Anonymous blog, home of our friends Millie, Katie and Chelsie. Go visit!