Have you ever heard a woman say that she doesn’t dress for men but rather for her girlfriends? Meaning, her girlfriends will actually appreciate her outfit, whereas her boyfriend will either dislike it or simply be indifferent. Verily’s co-founder, Janet Easter, wrote of the moment her then boyfriend (now husband) revealed that he didn’t particularly love her bold lipstick or high-waisted pants. Our lifestyle editor, Krizia Liquido, has also shared that her husband isn’t a huge fan of statement necklaces, which she loves.
So are men and women really at odds with each other when it comes to women’s fashion? We took a poll, asking ten men and ten women their honest opinions on two sets of outfits—here’s what we discovered.
We gave our participants the choice between a subtle outfit and a slightly more interesting outfit. Before our experiment, we anticipated women to choose the more fashion-forward (striped sweater) look and the men to opt for the plainer ensemble (white sweater). As expected, the men overwhelmingly chose the subtle route, tallying up eight for the plain look and only two for the striped sweater. But what was the reasoning behind their choices? The men weigh in . . .
Johnny: Those stripes are throwing me off guard. Like, whoa, are you a part-time referee or something?
Ian: I’d prefer the plain sweater because the print on the shoes and bag together in the other look are a little too loud. I prefer a natural, casual look. Plus I’d imagine her butt would look nicer in the first pair of jeans.
Joe: The baggy dad jeans are a no.
Josh: I feel like the plain sweater option is such a classic outfit. A white shirt and jeans is time-tested. I also tend to enjoy tamer or lighter lipstick colors on women.
The common thread across the board was a dislike for boyfriend jeans. The more form-fitting denim option, as well as the outfit’s low-key vibe, was overall more appealing to the men. The women we polled, on the other hand, loved the boyfriend jeans and striped sweater, tallying up six pro-striped-sweater and only four for the plain. Here’s what they said . . .
Elisabeth: I love the striped sweater look because the play of colors and textures and prints creates so much interest. Even though all of those things are extremely classic, it’s so expressive and artistic to pair them all together.
Alex: I love the striped sweater outfit. I am very into the color-block but using stripes—stripes are in. I’m obsessed with the slouchy pant, and the accessories are on point. Cheetah + plaid combo for the win. All tied together with a bold red lip!
Ryann: The striped sweater with the leopard shoes is way more interesting.
Julia: I love stripes; the sweater is really cute and looks comfy! Also, I love a red lip.
A theme amongst the women was an appreciation for color, comfort, and creative flair. As we suspected, women were a bit more open to mixing it up than the guys were.
In a second set of outfits, we gave our participants fancy looks to choose between. The first look again was styled to be a more toned-down classic, while the second was more ostentatious. We anticipated similar results to the previous tally and were shocked to get nearly the exact same numbers. Nine out of the ten men preferred the red dress over the gold dress (dang!). Here’s what they said . . .
Nav: The red dress because the second looks like a disco ball.
Joe: The Donald Trump gold dress is a definite no.
Jake: The red because I like the Kennedys, haha.
Josh: The red choice is subtle while still being striking, which, to me, invokes more of a classy feel. It’s posh in the best way. The pairing of the red and black also works really well and is super-flattering.
Joey: The red dress strikes me as a little bit classier, for lack of a better word.
Nearly every male participant preferred the red dress for its classic appeal. The women, however, predominantly chose the gold sequin dress. Their reasoning was more commonly because the gold is more fun, as they expressed excitement over the ornate appeal the men had disliked.
Sarah: Gold, hands down. I don’t like red very much, and the gold is fun but simple. Not too fancy but looks like you’re out to have a good time in style. Also, those heels are *heart eyes.*
Alex: I’m not a shiny girl, but the cut of the red dress is a little old-lady and not flattering. The gold dress is more fun and young.
Emily: Gold. Who has time for safe?
Elisabeth: The play of texture is so fun with the lace shoes, the metallic sequins, the tassel earrings, and the beaded clutch.
Christine: If the opportunity presented itself, the gold dress is beautiful.
So, What Does It All Mean?
While we had our predictions before taking the poll, we were surprised at how much both the male and female groups fulfilled expectations. The most surprising result was how opinionated the men actually are regarding women’s fashion, with their comments coming across as much more adamant and definitive than the ladies’. One male participant even stated: “The two casual outfits would most likely result in us sitting down and talking about her life choices.” Sure, he said it with a smirk of sarcasm and a little laugh, but the point is, men do seem to care about our sartorial choices, whether we grant them a say or not. Women, who are stereotypically labeled as highly opinionated when it comes to fashion, ended up being much more lighthearted with their responses and more indecisive on which outfit they preferred.
While our results were as expected, we can all agree that at the end of the day, everyone’s tastes are subjective; as one of our male voters succinctly put it, “Honestly, it depends on the woman.” And with that, we women will wear what we want and find a man who appreciates our unique style all the more.