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Shopping With Your Husband

I think it’s safe to assume that most husbands and boyfriends do no put clothes shopping with their significant other at the top of their fun-couple-things list. However, like taxes, shoveling snow, and changing poopy diapers, clothes shopping is one of those things you just have to buckle down and do, because naked is not an option. As we approach the upcoming summer season, now is as good a time as any to suggest/guilt your partner into the idea of buying some new clothes. I’m not proposing a total makeover or wardrobe overhaul, but, in general, seasonal changes are legitimate reasons why your spouse may need to update/upgrade his closet. Like all arduous tasks, I find it’s smart to go in with a plan. The following outline is the best approach I’ve found for getting my husband into new clothes.

Step One: start with a honey-do. Have your hubby go through his clothes and put aside everything beyond saving, e.g., garments with holes, rips, set-in stains, etc. Suggest he may also want to get rid of items that no longer fit. The no-longer-fits can be donated, while the beyond-saving pieces can go out with the garbage. Offering to help is one way to assert your influence in this process, while at the same time making it less of a chore for him. But, really, he needs to be the one to go through his garments. This way he can see what things he needs.

Step Two: make a list of everything that needs to be replaced, how much it will cost, and where to get it. Also include things he’ll need for upcoming events, like holidays, weddings, or summer vacation. Depending on how extensive your list, you can decide whether to shop for everything in one go or spread it out over several trips/weeks. Also, consider if upgrading is an option. If you had to throw out all of his polyblend sweaters because the elbows have worn out, maybe it’s time to look into cashmere or wool knits. Keep an eye out for deals like Fourth of July or summer sales, discount codes, store closings, and outlets. If nothing else, be sure to stock up on socks, underwear, and undershirts.

Step Three: plan and prep for your shopping trip. Once you have the list, your stores, your budget, and your coupons, pick a day and put it on the calendar. I’d advise leaving the kids at home and setting a certain amount of time for your trip. Putting a time limit on how long you’ll spend in each store (if you are going to multiple places) will keep you focused and on task. Also, allow for breaks, especially if you do decide to fulfill your whole list in one day. Lastly, prep your partner. Let him know this will take time, that this is a necessary task, and that he’ll have to try things on. In fact, he may have to try on multiple sizes if he’s unsure which size will be his best fit. I also like to keep the functional aspect of this whole exercise on the forefront by reminding my husband that he no longer has black dress pants that fit, that we are replacing the shirts he wears for work, that the cargo shorts he wore every Saturday last summer have holes in the pockets, etc. This type of reinforcement will keep his “eye on the prize” and keep your shopping trip focused.

Step Four: reward. Once you have finished shopping, regardless of how much money you spent, how many things you weren’t able to find, or how much your significant other complained, set up some positive reinforcement for your honey and let him know how great he looks in his new clothes. Then, when you get home, get the clothes washed, pressed, and hanging up in his closet ready to wear. Have him put those purchases to use as soon as he can for some instant gratification. Of course, if you’re shopping for a wedding suit, you want to wait for the wedding, but for everyday things, get those in his rotation so he can enjoy the fruits of his (your) labor.

Of course, not all husbands and boyfriends see clothes shopping as a grueling punishment or a necessary evil. Some may even enjoy it. If that’s the case, then go out and have fun. Maybe even get drinks after. But, for those significant others that need a bit of cajoling, start with a plan and stick to it. Or, you can let them fend for themselves, with the stipulation that, if they keep wearing ratty old clothes, you just won’t ever leave the house with them again.

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