Love and acceptance go hand in hand. Having learned this lesson through trial and error sometime in my mid-20s, I made sure to apply it to the continuation of my dating career, a mission that proved to be particularly difficult when faced with men of, how shall I put it, questionable sartorial aesthetics. From square-toed shoes to violently patterned Carhartt sweatshirts to Givenchy skirts artfully layered over leggings, I encountered—and practiced Buddhist levels of patience on—men of all stylistic visions. Yet, no PC approach could have prepared me for the prospect of bringing a certain Yamamoto cape–donning ex to a family dinner. In what I still consider to be one of my weakest moments, I resorted to the trusted-yet-cowardly “it’s not you, it’s me” cop-out, figuring it was for the greater good of sparing him my Russian father’s inquisitive stare. Months after our breakup, I wondered whether I had been too rash in disregarding an otherwise excellent human based on something as superficial as his outerwear. After all, isn’t there an entire school of thought centered around the notion that a man’s wardrobe eventually becomes a reflection of the tastes of his significant other, a sartorial spinoff of the popular “Behind every successful man is a great woman”? And so I turned to a group of women with far better track records than I in the dating department to see if a man’s tastes, or at the very least his wardrobe, can, indeed, be changed.
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