I recently read a newspaper article asking husbands what they really thought about their wife’s dress sense.
They were all hugely critical. ‘I’ve seen sacks of flour with more shape,’ said one. ‘The dress screams middle-aged frump’ said another, while a third commented that his wife looked ‘like a cross between a Russian peasant and an Inca tribeswoman’.
I dread to think what my husband thinks about my 19 layers of assorted tops, jumpers and cardigans, all frayed and shabby. It won’t be flattering, that’s for sure.
As you get older, and particularly if you spend your life running around after children, comfort takes over from fashion, and gradually, you become so accustomed to throwing on the same baggy, frayed clobber that it becomes like a second skin.
Two decades ago I would never have ventured out wearing the sort of thing I wear nowadays.
Sometimes I shock even myself, and experience a mild panic when I find myself in the middle of Sainsbury’s dressed like an extra from Shameless. Sadly, it’s only on these occasions that I run into the yummy mummies from my daughters’ old school, who look at me with a mixture of horror and pity. Come to think of it, I’ve had the same look from my husband.
But if men think we dress so appallingly, why do they so often turn to us for advice when buying their own clothes?
A study found that 37 per cent of women buy their partner’s entire wardrobe, another survey found that two-thirds of men rely upon their wives to choose what they wear to work.
My husband wouldn’t buy anything without my approval. He’s even more insecure about clothes than I am, repeatedly asking whether things look okay.
In the article, husbands were then asked to pick something they liked from their wife’s wardrobe. Most came up with impractical outfits more suited to a wedding than day-to-day family life. If women were asked to do the same, they’d be far more sensible.
Heaven forbid that men ever shop for us. I recently bought two jackets and a shirt for my husband from a charity shop – he likes them all. Yet despite having lived with me for decades, I doubt he’d feel able to buy me a pair of socks.
But while younger women may worry about how they are perceived by the opposite sex, us middle-aged females shouldn’t fret about what they think. A survey of 2,000 men aged over 50 concluded that once they hit 37, they stop caring about how they look and adopt the Jeremy Clarkson look of baggy T-shirts and worn-out jeans.