Man Repellers Vs Repelling Menswear: Shouldn’t Men Wear What They Like Too?

Man repellers vs repelling menswear: Why do women dictate what men should wear but wear whatever they like?

Hands up if you’re guilty of this: Wearing whatever you damn well like no matter what the man in your life thinks, but then insisting that you wouldn’t be seen dead with him wearing that football shirt/those shoes/that shirt and tie combination?

I have to sheepishly put my hand up and say that I have thought those things before, and I’m not proud of it!

However, I AM proud to be part of the #iwillwearwhatilike revolution. I love the fact that my little corner of the internet encourages women to be free of style rules and to stop worrying about what others think about what they wear and thinking they should dress “age appropriately”.

So what I thought this week was… Should #iwillwearwhatilike not apply to men as well? Should they not be allowed to go out wearing things that make the lady in their life cringe or think that it’s an outfit that’s just not working (or “not doing them any favours”, for want of a better expression) even if THEY like what they’re wearing?

I can hear women everywhere saying “Er no, of COURSE they can’t wear what they like…” – and I know it’s the first thing that we think: Men need to be told what to wear… don’t they?!

Double standards

So while that response IS amusing, and one I’ve often heard women saying in jest, the fact is that if the tables were turned, women would be HORRIFIED to hear a man say that about a woman. Women have long been fed up of being told that they can’t do this and can’t do that, from serious things like having the vote to trivial things such as wearing leather trousers after the age of 40. Any strong, modern woman certainly does not give two hoots about what other people think about what she wears, and that includes the man/men in her life.


But isn’t the idea that women don’t give men the same freedom to wear whatever they like, despite what we think of their dress sense, somewhat… wrong? And ultimately hypocritical? After all, the number of fashion bloggers that blog about their “man repellers” (any item of clothing – or a whole outfit – that they love but that men think is awful) is growing. Almost every week I read a post where the blogger has featured an outfit they loved but their husband/boyfriend/partner etc. has seriously questioned what they were wearing (like Rachel the Hat did only last week).

And why not continue to wear things that he doesn’t like? Not exactly the end of the world, is it?

So it’s definitely double standards for women to wear what they like but then expect a man to conform and wear what SHE thinks he should be wearing. We just need to ease up on the criticism of what men wear and try to think about it the other way round.

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And if he WANTS to clash prints and wear football shirts and socks with sandals, we’re just going to have to grin and bear it if we don’t want to be labelled as hypocrites.

Just remind yourself (and him) of my mantra: Always wear what you like, but always be occasion appropriate.

And if he doesn’t, you have my permission to say, “You’re not going out wearing THAT, are you…?!”*


*Disclaimer: I cannot be held accountable for any marital/relationship disagreements as a result of taking heed of this advice, which is given with my tongue firmly in my cheek 😜

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Why is the Way We Look to OTHERS More Important Than How We FEEL We Look?

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  1. Zaeobi
    13 August 2018 / 10:29 pm

    I think the difference between men & women in this respect is that, stereotypically, a man wearing ‘whatever he wants’ usually translates to him not putting any effort into his outfit. It’s one thing to put together an outfit with different colours/ textures and silhouettes and wear it despite the naysayers saying that you can’t wear leopard or clashing colours past 30 or whatever. It’s quite another thing to roll out of the house in a crumpled football shirt because you didn’t even look at yourself once in the mirror before leaving your bedroom 😛

    I mean, even with socks & sandals – it’s a quirky trend with women because you’ll see them pick out looks that work with a particular colourway or thickness of the heel. Whereas most men in socks & sandals are just wearing a ratty pair in Texas, without any thoughts towards how they look together 😛

    • catherine
      15 August 2018 / 4:23 pm

      You’re absolutely right, Zaeobi – but then I admire anyone who puts effort into an outfit, no matter what the end result is. There are also plenty of women who don’t put effort into what they wear, much in the same way that men don’t!!

  2. 19 June 2018 / 1:51 pm

    Hee Hee!! I cannot imagine for one second that Keith could ever look anything other than totally dapper and fabulous. You have a point though!!! Happy weekend lovely xxxxx

  3. 24 November 2017 / 12:56 pm

    YES to this! Thanks so much for the shout out.. my man repeller outfit is definitely one of my faves this year. I have to say i never object to anything Salvatore wears, but thats because he wears the same thing over and over again. He has the same top 5 times and hes happy with that. I try and push him in to new designs sometimes but it never sticks.. i have learned to respect what he likes is up to him and like wise him for me, yes he may have a laugh at my chosen outfit now and again, but secretly i think he likes that i dress a bit peculiar now and again (remember my old outfits back in the day.. he used to think they were hilariously brilliant). So i guess it is literally dress to please yourself and have respect for every other that does too. Great post as always catherine xx

  4. 23 November 2017 / 8:09 pm

    Have to say my other half is a well-dressed Clash fan (yes, I've tried to get him to wear an AC/DC t-shirt, but he's faithful to one band! 😉 ). And he can do smart-but-casual as well as older punk gent too.

    Two of my Scottish girlfriends, however, are married to Italian men. They said that despite the image of Italian guys being the style icons of Europe, they got the only two with no dress sense! My friend Jacqueline says her hubby is the only man who can destroy an Armani suit as soon as he puts it own. She even instructs the poor man on what to wear when he collects her from the airport! That made me laugh, but I do think that's taking it a weeee bit too far, mind you.

  5. 18 November 2017 / 10:24 pm

    Such a great post. I try not to tell my husband what to wear. Unless it doesn't match or has holes. Then yeah. If he needs new clothes he has me buy them now.

  6. 18 November 2017 / 1:55 pm

    haha! Too funny, but true. I think most women think that way. My husband is not a fashionista for sure. He's been wearing the same clothes style since high school and I'll never change him.

  7. 18 November 2017 / 12:31 pm

    You are so right, Catherine. When I think of the times I've tried to steer my husband in a different fashion direction, it has usually backfired. And I realized I just had to let it go because I certainly do not pay any mind to his occasional comments on some of my outfits! So to be fair I hold my tongue, unless he asks for advice. It's not easy though! 🙂


  8. 18 November 2017 / 12:22 pm

    Catherine, first of all, your disclaimer at the end made me laugh right out loud in my coffee! And yes, I agree completely that we must do away with this double standard. I remember the night when I first met my husband, he was wearing his Army uniform and a man in uniform will get me every time! Then we had scheduled a date where he obviously would be wearing civilian clothes. And I was suddenly stricken with this idea, "Oh no. What if he dresses terribly? What will I do? It might be a deal breaker." I really did think that. Am I not the most horribly vain person in the world? Our date was super casual and he showed up wearing cargo shorts, a Grateful Dead tee shirt, and sneakers…and in all honestly, he was hot dressed that way! I quickly came to realize that this is style. Although over the years, I have occasionally tried to glam him up a bit, he always looks so uncomfortable when I do that it has no appeal anyway. He is and will always be a jeans/cargo shorts/tee shirt kind of guy. And that's fine. Because he is sexy as hell when he is dressed in a way where is clearly, confidently, and comfortably himself! Another great post from you and my oh my, your husband is handsome!!


  9. 18 November 2017 / 7:36 am

    I want to know whether this includes tucking in T shirts. I adamantly refuse to let him do that….and he used to. That needs to be excluded from he can wear what he likes. Stamping my feet on that one.

  10. 17 November 2017 / 9:38 pm

    Love your disclaimer haha! I'm am horrifically guilty of doing this. My only saving grace is…. no… I have nothing.

  11. 17 November 2017 / 9:12 pm

    Funny, most women are using some version of “my husband wears what he wants, but he has impeccable taste”. I think the real challenge comes when he wears something awful and you can still let it slide. I wouldn’t say I would do that. Not because of my embarrassment but because I wan t the best for him.

    We both ask for and listen to opinions about clothing from each other. Why? Because we trust that our spouse loves us and wants us to look good in our clothes and occasion appropriate. So yes, I sometimes pass on items he feels are less than flattering in cut or color and he does the same. This violates the “I will wear what I want” credo for both of us a bit. We are, however, fine with that to have a second, loving opinion of our outfits.

  12. 17 November 2017 / 9:00 pm

    My husband wears whatever he likes, but he has such good taste, I don't ever need to roll my eyes!

    • 18 November 2017 / 3:53 pm

      I'm with you, Lisa! I'm lucky my hubby always likes to look good – and he has great taste too 🙂
      Hugs to you both
      Suzy xx

  13. 17 November 2017 / 8:58 pm

    Always great posts from you, Catherine, thank you. When I first met hubby, my Dartmoor boy wore fleeces and Rohan every day, with loads of ex-work suits filling the wardrobes. We met, he moved over here and his lifestyle and his outfits changed, pretty quickly actually and the latter without my influence. I think!
    Fleeces were swapped for cashmere knits, slim jeans replaced the trekking trousers. Suits were worn with open necks, and in the past few years he's started wearing suit jackets with jeans. He's done all this himself, adapting to occasions his new life created. So I did a post on him in the summer. So no muttering under my breath disapprovingly needed, he wears what he likes and I like it too! Hugs, x.

  14. 17 November 2017 / 8:54 pm

    I am incredibly fortunate because my husband, who is a Frenchman and grew up in Paris, has excellent taste. I've never had to question anything he's worn. And he knows better than to question me on what my wardrobe choices are! Catherine Lartigue–no longer Urbanski but I'm not technically savvy enough to change my name in the comments.

  15. 17 November 2017 / 8:42 pm

    My husband does ask me what shoes/shirt to wear with which trousers for going out, but on a daily basis he wears whatever he feels comfortable in, particularly as there's no dress code at work (we work at the same place). If I'm honest, I'd like him to look a little bit smarter (wearing my cast off running shoes isn't a great look) but he does get up in the middle of the night so I have to let him off!

    Emma xxx

  16. 17 November 2017 / 8:11 pm

    Hee Hee!! I cannot imagine for one second that Keith could ever look anything other than totally dapper and fabulous. You have a point though!!! Happy weekend lovely xxxxx

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