Myth: A husband may dictate what his wife should wear.
Myth 2: A husband has no right
to say anything about what his wife wears.
Truth: There’s a middle ground.
This issue has come up on my social media feed. I can’t address relationship issues but I can address the clothing and style issue.
From me, you get the truth.
Before I get to the style issue, I will state one bottom line: no man has the right to dictate anything about his wife’s choices. That’s controlling and abusive.
That said, I don’t see anything wrong or unhealthy about a man having his preferences about what his wife wears or about stating them out loud. And I don’t see anything wrong or unhealthy about a woman respecting her husband’s preferences and even working with them.
First of all, a woman does have to look attractive for her husband. There are those women who might think “he’s supposed to love me no matter how I look.” That’s true, but that doesn’t mean you’re not obligated to love him and try to make him happy. Looking attractive for your husband doesn’t mean that you have to get dressed up fancy (unless you’re in a situation that calls for that). It’s okay to wear a jeans skirt and T-shirt for those casual times. But if your jeans skirt is fitted and it makes your bottom half appear shapely, it will make a big difference. Same with a fitted T-shirt in a pretty color that makes your face glow. I remember reading somewhere that men actually find women more attractive in that kind of casual wear because they feel that these women appear more approachable.
If finding your fitted, flattering clothes is difficult and time-consuming, you need to make time to weed out your wardrobe. Get rid of anything that doesn’t fit you and flatter you. If anything needs cleaning or tailoring, get that done. Finding a flattering outfit, even a casual one, should be as easy as opening your closet and/or drawer and grabbing the first things your hands touch.
Second, there’s the issue of the man’s preferences. Most men I know don’t care about clothes or style and it’s usually the women who care and who tell their husbands what to wear. But there are men who do care and who have preferences, and yes, I do know a few men like that. Maybe these men are more artistic and have their own tastes on that. Maybe they’re going with what they like about their respective mothers’ looks. Maybe they’re going with what’s worn by the women in their social circles. Some men even consider fitting into their social circle as a shidduch criterion, as do some women. I do not see anything wrong or unhealthy about any of this as long as everyone is respectful about it and no one expects anyone else to change who they are.
So what do you do if your husband has preferences about what you wear? As long as he’s respectful about it, I say it’s okay and even healthy to respect those preferences and work with them.
For example, if he has a favorite color, find versions of that color that flatter you, and incorporate them into your wardrobe along with other colors that you love. My husband’s favorite color is blue and I love wearing teal, turquoise, and aqua.
For another example, if he likes a specific style, see if you can find a way to incorporate that into your wardrobe. You’re not obligated to wear a style that doesn’t flatter you or suit your personal style, but you should at least give it a look. If he sees how bad you look, he likely won’t want you to wear it anyway.
One thing I’ve noticed is that while most men don’t care about clothes, many men do have preferences about their wives’ hair coverings. This may have to do with their mothers or the women in their social circles, but there it is. Again, you’re under no obligation to wear a covering that doesn’t flatter you or doesn’t suit your style, but if you can find coverings that he does like and that do work well for you, wear them.
Again, no matter what, he may not dictate what you wear or don’t wear. However, his stating his preferences respectfully is not dictating, and you respecting those preferences is not caving. Who knows: You might discover something new that you do like. And making your husband happy is something I hope you like and enjoy.