How to Fix a Fashion-Challenged Boyfriend

Adrian Fernand – Australia’s seriously stylish agony uncle and creator of – answers your questions on life, the universe and everything. This week, Adrian has advice on how to deal with a boyfriend’s wardrobe which needs to be raided by the fashion police!

Dear Agony Uncle,

After years of hanging out with well-dressed gay men, I find myself cringing at my new boyfriend’s fashion sense. He looks great naked but is it wrong of me to want more? Help me, Agony Uncle!

Fag Hag, Melbourne

Dear Fag Hag,

When someone’s clothes look better on the floor than on their person, presumably they would look absolutely smashing in a bonfire. Now, I’m not suggesting you go all Guy Fawkes by busying yourself collecting kindling, used newspaper and other assorted bric-a-brac, but I do feel that a ritualistic wardrobe cleansing is required. Meddling with a paramour’s appearance is never easy and that gentle remark about a pair of ill-fitting trousers can be perceived as a hypercritical verbal petrol dousing.

Start with a positive: compliment a piece of his clothing that truly suits him (and he loves), then suggest that he wears that particular item the next time you are planning to head out together. Instigate an impromptu shopping expedition—never plan one in advance for it will surely end in a break-up—and pick pieces for him to try that are inspired by the ‘one good piece’. Highlight how it suits him and why it’s reminiscent of what he already owns; and if all goes well, it’ll be in the (shopping) bag. Once he trusts your sartorial judgement, it’ll be a natural transition where he will refer to you for fashion advice, thus allowing you to influence his grooming and overall aesthetic.

Failing this, rely on your gays as an outlet for your paper doll, prêt-à-porter perfection, and your boyfriend for indoor exploits only. You said it yourself—he doesn’t need clothing to look his best!

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About Adrian Fernand

Adrian Fernand is a writer specialising in screen, television and fiction. As the Agony Uncle for etiquette and social protocol site, I Do Believe I Came with a Hat, he responds to the quandaries facing polite society in a modern world. He has in excess of 90 pairs of shoes. Follow Adrian on Twitter @AdrianFernand
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