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If your main squeeze's idea of dressing up is wearing pleated khakis with his "dressy" denim jacket, it's time to stage a spousal style intervention that's guaranteed to stick.
"Style success comes when he's interested and cares about the process," says Michelle Horne, the president of Putting It Together Image Consulting in Ottawa. She shares her advice on how to get your guy on board.
1. Inspire him with pop culture
If your spouse doesn't have a clear idea of the style statement he would like to make, not to worry -- inspiration is all around. From TV programs to magazines to style blogs, there are countless ways for him to get a better idea of what he likes and doesn't like.
"Men who pay attention to pop culture and what's going on around them naturally keep in step with contemporary style," says Horne. "Right now we're seeing a lot of 'Mad Men' influence in men's hairstyling, which means using more hair products and making more regular visits to the barber. Skinny suits and ties are also making a comeback."
2. Work on his fashion sense as a team
Rather than forcing your partner into a total style overhaul, start slow and work together. "It's tempting to want to go through your spouse's closet and get rid of his stuff, but if you work on it gradually, together, he'll really see more of the impact and get excited about the possibilities," says Horne. "Every new season is an opportunity to look at ourselves with fresh eyes and to see how we have changed and how we feel about what we are saying with our clothes."
And don't be afraid to call in the professionals. "If your partner needs a little extra incentive to get him out shopping, speaking to a professional about proper fit and colours can really make a big impact," she explains. "Anything you spend on your appearance is an investment, and if you're buying things that don't suit you, you're wasting your money. They're just not going to be worn."
Page 1 of 2 -- Discover four more ways to spruce up your partner's style on page 2
3. Help your partner find a style that suits him best
Rather than dictating your taste to your significant other, ask questions to help him find out what kind of a statement he would like to be making with his style. "Your spouse should not look like he was dressed by you. Just because something fits physically, doesn't mean it fits emotionally," says Horne.
"If you find a gorgeous sweater for him and your spouse is saying, 'No, it's just not me,' he may just be slightly out of his comfort zone. Or perhaps he really doesn't feel like that article reflects his personality," she explains.
4. Ask him questions
When Horne works with clients she puts a lot of effort into determining their clothing personality. "I ask questions that help them make a decision about their style based on their head, their heart and their gut," she explains.
Do this with your partner. Once you're out together and he's trying things on, ask questions like, 'Can you tell me why you like this particular shirt?' or 'Where were you thinking of wearing this?'
"Often men are basing their style on what's functional, what's comfortable and what's practical, so it's just a matter of helping them voice and understand their style preferences," says Horne.
5. Bring back date night
If you feel it's time to call in the grooming professionals, why not schedule a spa day for two so you can get some pampering as well. "If his facial cleansing routine starts and ends with a bar of soap, introduce your man to the wonderful world of facials and manicures, and reinvigorate your date nights at the same time," suggests Horne. "Many spas are open late, so you can treat yourselves to couples relaxation and rejuvenation and then head out together for a nice dinner afterward."
6. Dress as if you were on a first date
Your spouse likely paid more attention to style earlier in your relationship. Try to remind him about his former (more fashionable) self.
"I advise my clients to get dressed with a first-date mindset. It gets you excited about your appearance and you really project that confidence to the people around you," says Horne. "It's not that you don't think your spouse is attractive, it's just that throughout any relationship there can be a shift in priorities away from appearances," she explains. So get dressed up, encourage your spouse to do the same and head out on the town.
By being tactful, asking the right questions, having fun and returning to that first-date mindset, you'll help your partner see that taking good care of himself and his appearance shows respect for you -- and for himself. Plus, your spouse just might love the attention he gets from having such great style so much that he'll soon be volunteering his old denim jacket and pleated khakis for the charity bin.
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