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Husbands, Wives and Fashion

October 11, 2011

It is widely understood that men and women approach fashion from entirely different viewpoints. Men choose to buy clothes that do not go out of style and wear those shirts and pants for as long as they will fit (fortunately, the belts stretch out and you can wear shirts that are on the small side untucked). Women buy the latest trend and hold on to those items for 30 years until they come back into style and wear them again. This is observable by looking at about any married couples’ closet.

Take our closest, for example. There are a handful of timeless men’s items that sit in one small corner of the closet, and decades of women’s fashion (accessories, shoes, handbags…etc.) that fill racks, drawers and floors of our closet. What is ironic is that I am not allowed to wear certain shirts I bought in college while my wife can wear things she has had for 20+ years because they are now back “in.” My stuff never went ‘out,’ but let’s not complicate the issue.

To be a team player, I recently purged all kinds of old clothes to both appease my wife and simplify my life – the two usually go together. Old suits, ties, shirts, shorts…etc. Some shirts I had to get rid of because my wife would say, “You can’t wear that shirt you have had since college out in public.” If I hadn’t told her how old it and other shirts were, I’m still convinced it wouldn’t be a problem. I did decide to keep one of my favorite flannel shirts. Flannel definitely never goes out of style. Now I am not sure flannel is really ever ‘in’ style, but that is not my area of expertise – think function over form here people.

A widely known fact among married people is that most wives prefer flannel pajamas over any other fabric option if temperature permits. The evening female ritual begins with a bath and ends with the wife in bed wearing her flannel pajamas and reading a PEOPLE magazine. This is her way of saying, “I’m done.” This happens across millions of households every night. My wife has taken the extra step to customize her flannel pajamas by cutting them off at the knee so she doesn’t get twisted up in them while she sleeps (she rolls around like Regan MacNeil from the Exorcist when she sleeps, but let’s save that for another time). All of those pajamas made of other fabrics mostly collect dust. Again, nobody tells you that after almost 20 years of marriage your wife’s go-to sleepwear is 10-year-old, cut-off, flannel pajamas. Imagine the disappointment.

Despite having bags of clothes packed and ready for Goodwill, my wife looks at my newly cleaned area and says, “I think you forgot to pitch your flannel shirt.” I offered to get rid of my shirt if she would get rid of her flannel pajamas. Needless to say, my shirt and her PJs are exactly where we left them.

© Johnny Hea – 2011 All Rights Reserved


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