A few times, I’ve seen things on my social media feed about women wearing what men prefer. And I’ve seen different attitudes to it. There are women who feel that their husbands have every right to say something about what they wear and who feel that it’s a team thing. There are other women who feel that if a man wants a woman to wear or not wear something, that’s a red flag of a controlling type. Then there are the women like me who take the middle ground.
Before I go any further, I will say that no man has the right to dictate what his wife wears or doesn’t wear. That actually is controlling and abusive.
That said, I do say that a woman needs to look attractive for her husband. He’s the most important person in her life (not including her children) and he deserves to see her looking good. This does not mean that she has to get dressed up fancy except for situations that call for that. It’s OK for her to wear a jeans skirt and t-shirt for those casual times. The key is to make sure that her jeans skirt fits her properly and makes her bottom half appear long and shapely and that her t-shirt fits her, flatters her top half, and is in a pretty color that makes her face glow.
If finding something pretty and flattering is difficult and time-consuming, then you need to make time to weed out your wardrobe. Go through everything and get rid of anything that doesn’t flatter you. If something needs cleaning or tailoring, get that done. Then, organize your clothes- tops here, dresses there, skirts there. Finding a flattering outfit, even a casual one, should be as easy as opening your closet and/or drawer and grabbing the first items your hands touch.
Some women think “he’s supposed to love me no matter how I look.” If he’s a truly good guy, he will, but in that case, why wouldn’t you want to make him happy too? You might think it’s a small thing, but it’s those small things that make a difference. While most men don’t care much about fashion or style, they do notice how a woman looks.
I also think a man has the right to state his preferences and a woman is right to respect them. Most men are not into girlie things like fashion/style and couldn’t care less about what their wives wear. But some men do have preferences. It could be because they do actually like fashion and style- I know men who do. It could also be because he travels in certain circles and wants a wife who will fit into those circles. I know at least one woman who specifically wanted a husband who would fit into her circle and I don’t see anything wrong with it. I do agree that no one should sacrifice any part of themselves for the sake of fitting into any social circle, but it just means that if the woman doesn’t fit naturally into the man’s circles, they’re just two good people who aren’t bashert.
Regarding the man’s preferences, I do not think the woman needs to sacrifice her own style, but there’s nothing unhealthy about respecting his preferences and incorporating them into her look.
For example, if he has a favorite color, work with that. Find versions of that color that flatter you and have them in your wardrobe along with other colors you love.
My husband’s favorite color is blue. Here I am wearing versions of blue that flatter me. But as my friends and family know, I love other colors too and my favorite color is green. I don’t limit myself except to colors that flatter me.
I’ve read many times in secular fashion magazines and books that men prefer a woman in jeans and a t-shirt because she looks natural and approachable. If your husband does prefer jeans skirts, have a few in shapes that fit and flatter you and wear them for casual times.
Some men even have preferences about hair covering. Maybe it’s about what his mother wears or maybe it’s about the women in his social circle. As with base items, work with that. If he likes hats as a hair covering, then have a few flattering hats in your covering arsenal and wear them at least sometimes. If he likes shaytls, find a great shaytlmacher and get yourself one that flatters you and wear it. If there’s a covering that he likes but that you don’t like, talk with him and figure out a compromise.
My husband loves my mitpachot and so do I.
Ultimately, if he’s a good guy, he’ll remember that what you wear is up to you. But if he is a good guy, there’s nothing wrong with making him happy even on this seemingly small thing.