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My newly married mate Birdy turned up at our local some years ago wearing a very tasteful t shirt, jeans and shoes combo something hugely out of character for him because he usually dresses like a 14 year old surfer whose body is growing too quickly for his clothes.

This outfit was different; understated, approaching chic everything matched effortlessly and featured brand names not splattered across the garments like he’d fallen asleep on the train and been graffitied.

My mate Youngblood looked Birdy up and down, then turned to me and we exchanged a glance of Carlton Draught syncopation, both of us harbouring the same suspicion.

“You didn’t buy those yourself,” said Youngblood and, while Birdy spluttered denials, we soon pinned him down like eight grand a day barristers working a trademark infringement case for Microsoft.

Birdy pursed his lips, then smiled lightly: “Yeah alright, Alicia (his wife) did” .

Allowing your girlfriend or wife to buy (or suggest) clothes for you is very often a sensible thing to do; girls, god love ’em have been dressing up dolls since they were pooping green, so many view their partners as an extension of this habit.

And if it’s making you look a little more suave, a little less like a bogan housebreaker, does any man really have a problem with this?

In my short time on the planet I’ve managed to have relationships with a buyer for Bloomingdales, a fashion magazine editor, a designer, two stylists and a boutique owner: denying them the opportunity to correct my yobbo ‘taste’ would have been cruel and unusual.

It can, however, be a little schizophrenic when you cycle out of a relationship and suddenly your dress sense changes completely because your new love hates everything the last girlfriend thought looked “hot”.

It can also get tricky when you hook up with a girl who has absolutely no taste whatsoever, who dresses like Kerri Anne Kennerley gone mad with a Bedazzler, and she wants you to look like an oiled up extra from Underbelly.

Another trap for new players is when an older man starts dating a much younger woman and lookie, lookie he’s suddenly stepping out in skinny jeans and various other 20 something accoutrements that’s he’s just a little past being able to pull off.

I once even had a girlfriend who, frustrated by my endless parade of black t shirts, jeans and Converse shoes told me she would break up with me if I didn’t buy some new clothes. I wonder how’s she doing?

Most of the time, however,
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the battle for sartorial influence is far more mundane: your wife or girlfriend may buy you a “nice shirt” every now and then, she’ll lead you to safety when you’re about to embarrass yourself with footwear that features Velcro or she’ll moan about one particular pair of shorts because they’re stained with chicken fat or paint or bong water.

You love the item in question because it’s super comfortable or you were wearing it when in you met those two French sisters in Thailand in ’99 (and then when you went to visit them again in 2001 in Toulouse).

You could hook my goolies up to a car battery in Guantanamo Bay and you still wouldn’t get that t shirt off me.

Then you go to the wardrobe one day, look around for your daks (or t shirt or baseball cap) and they’re not there.

With mounting panic you check all the usual hidey holes, the dirty clothes basket, the washing machine, the thought leaking into your mind like rainwater “she wouldn’t dare, would she?”

But dare she did, she has . and you’re actually considering calling the council to find out where they dump their rubbish so you can retrieve a 12 year old pair of board shorts.

Who says men aren’t sentimental?

I’m sure you’ve all got a piece of clothing your other half despises, or perhaps it’s an item they’ve bought you and it sits in your closet, lonelier than Bill Henson at a Miranda Devine dinner party.

Never try to change the way anyone dresses. The new guy wore thongs out of the house a few weeks ago and although I wouldn’t be caught dead wearing that kind of footwear it is his body and he can cover it, or not, however he pleases.

As long as no one tells me how to dress they can wear what they like. I once had a boyfriend who liked what I wore when we were first seeing each other and then decided that my wardrobe wasn’t appropriate once the relationship had settled in. Needless to say he hasn’t been around for a long time.

Back when paying cash for petrol was the norm I had a girl friend who had NO (none, nada, zip) sense of style. Her fashion sense was ruled by the dollar, or more to the point, spending as little of it as she could. She considered Supre to be a quality designer label and loved the last season discount bin at Big W.

Birthday and Christmas presents where from the high end brand store, Ruben F Scarf and would find them stuffed into back of the wardrobe, or added straight to the car washing rag pile the moment she left. Eventually, she would demand to know why I wasn’t wearing that nice poo brown and lime green nylon shirt. And as such I would be forced into dressing like a rejected Wiggle on a bad trip.

Sometimes in quiet moments I reflect on what I ever saw in that shelia, and then the mental picture forms of 23 feet of hose pipe and a golf ball and the bad shirts don’t seem so bad. If a dove is the bird of peace, the swallow is surely the bird of love.

I agree that you shouldn’t try to change the way a person dresses, and I’ve never cared that much anyway. When I first met him, my ex used to think wearing pyjama tops in public was a fashion statement, and it didn’t bother me. I wouldn’t want someone trying to turn me into some mini skirt with stilettos wearer either. Love me, love my jeans.

Having said that, I will admit that when I briefly dated an older man and he wore a polo shirt with the collar turned up, I had a moment of secret cringe.

Having had several women over the years try and change my wardrobe ,
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i’ve steadfastly stuck with the type of attire that i feel comfortable in .