My Boyfriend Dresses Like A Slob & I’m Embarrassed To Go Out With Him

I work in the fashion industry and aesthetically pleasing things make me happy. I understand that the average person may not be that into fancy clothes, but I at least expect a basic level of grooming. Unfortunately, my boyfriend doesn’t meet that expectation and it’s starting to drive me insane.

  1. Shabby chic is not a thing! When I first met my boyfriend at a festival, I found it endearing that he looked laid-back and relaxed in his clothes. It was nice to be around someone so fun. When we got back home, we went on a couple of dates and I noticed that his laid-back look was just how he dressed daily, and it didn’t look so cool in an everyday setting. He always seemed like he just rolled out of bed. I started feeling very embarrassed about taking him to my favorite brunch spots because people would stare. I have resorted to hanging out with him at home to avoid the embarrassment.
  2. He won’t buy new clothes. When I try to ask him about his look and even coax him into the menswear section at department stores to try on new clothes, he says that he doesn’t need new clothes and he’s happy with what he has. He says it’s freeing not being in suits and stiff clothing, but I feel he takes it too far! Who doesn’t like dressing up once in a while?
  3. He won’t dress up for special events. He once turned up to my friend’s wedding in joggers, a t-shirt and sneakers. It’s safe to say that I was mortified. He shrugged it off and said I was being silly, but the thought of introducing him to my circle of friends was too unbearable, so I got him to leave by lying about needing time to hang out with them one on one. If he won’t put in effort for something small like looking nice for a wedding for my sake, can I really count on him to be there for me when I need him?
  4. He says that his way of dressing helps his creative process. He’s a conceptual artist and he claims that dressing the way he does puts him in the zone to get the most of out his creative process because he feels the most comfortable. I’ve tried to ask why he doesn’t save his “comfortable” look for the studio and he says that he’s so used to it now and doesn’t see any reason to change it.
  5. He doesn’t iron his clothes. It seems like he’s lazy and puts no effort into the way he dresses—he just throws on whatever’s available and leaves the house. Surely, the least someone can do is iron their clothes, especially if they’re already worn out! I sometimes wonder if this attitude will begin to seep into other areas of the relationship.
  6. He looks homeless. You can’t even tell that he has his life together when you see him. I guess his fellow artist friends don’t mind because they consider it an extension of his creative expression, but to the rest of the world, it’s not acceptable. I can’t stand the thought of walking around with him looking like that.
  7. He’s charismatic, which draws too much attention. Another reason I stopped going out with him is that he’s a very friendly person and likes to engage people. If he dressed OK, this would be fine, but the way he dresses is already embarrassing. Why draw more attention to himself and me?
  8. He refuses to take fashion advice. He always comments on how nice I look, but when I try and give him some fashion advice by suggesting different ways he can style his outfits, he brushes me off and doesn’t take me seriously. He thinks it’s vain to put in so much effort into how he looks. I’ve tried to tell him it can be an extension of his creativity but he won’t budge. The people he works with are more often than not his friends, so he’s around artistic people most of the time. This makes it harder to convince him to try something different.
  9. He credits his fashion sense to saving the planet. He says that his way of dressing is environmentally friendly because it’s cost-effective and doesn’t contribute to waste. It sounds noble, but he always wears the same four outfits all the time and he refuses to change them until they’re falling apart. Even then, he’ll look for clothes on sale in the least appealing styles imaginable. I don’t know what to do with him sometimes.
Hannah is a twenty-something-year-old freelance writer, obsessed with reality TV, and all things sweet.