Clothes men like/Clothes women like

I used to have this dress–a pretty simple, I guess I would call it shirtdress, navy blue with white dots. Pretty much this one: although mine had long sleeves. It came with a white belt, but I wore it with a navy belt with a silver buckle.

Every time I wore it, at least one man complimented the dress. No women ever did.

I could never figure out why. I loved the dress and it was extremely easy-care. It was the kind of dress I could throw in a suitcase, scrunched in a corner even, and then I could pull it out and wear it and it looked fine. Throw it in the wash, throw it in the dryer, it came out looking fine.

It did not show a lot of skin. I don’t even think it showed cleavage. I never could figure out why men liked it. (Although as I said, I liked it–but mainly because it felt good and never had to be ironed or fussed with at all.)

At the same time I had a mostly blue plaid suit that my mother gave me. The jacket was pretty much this: plaid is similar but was a little larger. It came with an A-line skirt and straight-leg pants. I didn’t like it as much, as it was itchy, but whenever I wore it (which happened, there were dry-cleaning crises and such), at least one woman admired it and said I looked great. No men ever did.

I actually thought it looked kind of creepy with the pants and usually wore it with the skirt, but I got compliments–from women of course–even when I wore the pants. The closest thing I got to a compliment on it from a man was my husband saying my mother’s taste wasn’t as bad as I thought.

This one, being dry-clean only (and kind of itchy) did not get nearly as much wear but it did get me wondering. How come only men seemed to like the one, and only women seemed to like the other one?

(My apologies for ugly looking links. For some reason the computer demanded that I go to the desktop and use Internet Explorer to do the automatic link-thingy and I just wasn’t in the mood.)

Well, add one more man to the list - the dress looks fine (even if I might not complement you on it) but the plaid - UGH!

Do women complement you on it just so you wear it more often and take yourself out of “competition”?

I don’t know either, but you seem to be on to something.

A friend of mine said women like the idea of fashion, while men like the idea of costumes.

I’ve always liked simple casual clothes on women. Even when formal, I don’t like seeing “buttoned up” formal, I like slightly loosened and comfortable looking.

That dress looks pleasantly comfortable, and I’m sure it would swish in an alluring light summery way.

The jacket looks scratchy and constricting, and tastelessly unimaginative. It’s what female politicians wear before they get a stylist.

I don’t much care about fashion or style - I tend to dress for comfort most of all. I figure if the essential parts are covered and I’m neither freezing nor roasting, I’m dressed right. My husband doesn’t see things that way.

Every once in a while, he’ll get fed up and take me clothes shopping. The things he picks out would *never *have caught my attention. If they fit my comfort criterion, I’ll go ahead and buy, but just to please him. The one line I do draw, tho - he loves black, and I prefer colors, so I have to control that.

Thinking about my own reactions to other people’s clothes, I find I compliment a woman if I like the pattern of her top or dress - I love abstracts in pretty colors. I never pay much attention to pants or skirts, and unless a man is in a tux, he’s probably not going to get a comment from me on his attire. I’m pretty sure I’m atypical in all this - I’ve been told as much.

I’ve also noticed that women tend to fawn over more tailored/fitted/“masculine” outfits, whereas, as a man, I prefer seeing more floaty, feminine clothes. Maybe I’m old-fashioned like that, but I think in general, men prefer “pretty”, whereas women prefer “stylish”.

I would hazard a guess that if you put up a woman in a sun dress vs. almost anything else most men would pick the sun dress. Your first example seems to fall into that kind of category - light, simple pattern and probably swishes as you move. The jacket looks uncomfortable and tight.

Yep, bitches were sabotaging you. :smiley: That’s a beautiful dress.

I have had a woman express the view to me that a man who compliments a woman’s dress is disguising a compliment to the shape of her body. Whether or not that’s true, I would be leery (so to speak) of praising a woman’s clothing, particularly at work.

This. When I was in my early twenties (the late eighties), I had a Falcon’s Crest type dress. Very plain, but with a tailored waist and huge shoulder pads (shut up!). I’ve never been a size two girl, but even back then, it made my size eleven look tiny. Guys loved that dress. Women, on the other hand, never said a word about it. I just don’t think it was visually interesting enough for them. Yet for men, it made me look “flirty.”

I have a fashion how-to book from the 1960s that has a list of clothing attributes men tend to find attractive. It includes the color blue, collars, and simple shapes. So I guess your dress won in all three of those categories.

I’d agree that when men like a woman’s clothes, it’s generally because the clothes show off her figure.

It has been my (totally anecdotal) observation that men tend to prefer women’s clothing that is simpler and/or has smooth transitions–in other words, the complete antithesis of that plaid jacket, which is extremely busy with sharp transactions and distinct colors. Women often seem to prefer more complex structure and patterns. (Perhaps greater cultural exposure and consideration of fashion has left women bored with simpler elements?)

That’s not to say men don’t like colorful clothing on women, but I think a colorful piece of clothing is likely to be favored by more men if the color transitions are more gradual, with any sharp contrasts punctuated by structural elements.

Frankly, about half of what women do in the makeup and fashion departments is only done because they’re keeping up with the Janes. Men just don’t care that much.

In particular, it’s always my impression that obviously complicated and exaggerated fashions show a lack of confidence. The blue dress makes me think “This is a woman who’s comfortable with herself and isn’t trying to hide, compensate or compete.” (And perhaps it is helpful to see that it’s not actually the dress I give a damn about - it’s what the dress implies about you, both physically and mentally.)

That thought ran through my mind, but on balance–I don’t think so. My conjecture is that the suit somehow said “made an effort” and they were recognizing that effort, perhaps unconsciously. I mean, these were women who sure didn’t compliment me every day, and they didn’t have to say anything. (Same for the men of course.) A lot of times I did in fact make an effort and nobody said anything.

Here’s a guess. Hmmm, how do I say this tactfully… Well, if you happen to be, uh, busty, the dress would show off your shape a lot more. The coat would hide your shape.

So the male compliments might be the polite equivalent of “Wow! Great T**s!”, and also would give them an excuse to give you an up and down look for a second more.

(Not trying to be rude, just IMO.)

I suppose the suit was appreciated by some because they like clothes that make a statement, even if that statement is: “I’m a time traveler from the 70s.”
Some women like that plaid suit for reasons which are analogous to why some men like this type of car:

The dress, on the other hand, could have been worn a century ago, today and likely a century from now. Just like a man’s dress shirt, dress pants and dress shoes.

Maybe. But personally I see the opposite- the women that dress plain and frumpy don’t seem to have the confidence to try and look good. Claiming they don’t care is a smokescreen for lacking the confidence in pulling off a look.

If you don’t put effort in your appearance, it’s easy think that there’s no point in bothering.

I don’t know that guys necessarily prefer “pretty” so much as they tend to prefer “girly.” Or maybe to them girly=pretty, and we’re saying the exact same thing in different ways. I mean, how many threads have we had here on this very board where multiple guys offer the opinion that every single woman in the entire world, no matter what, would look better with long hair than with short? Even in the face of multiple women saying “No, my hair looks like ass when it gets long” or “Long hair tends to make my face look really long/short/unbalanced”? To these guys, the girly option is automatically the attractive option for all women, no matter how unflattering it might be to any given woman. The androgynous/mannish look is automatically the less attractive option, no matter how flattering it might be to any given woman.

Women, otoh, tend to be much more focused on whether something is overall flattering to an individual. Does that color bring out your eyes? Make you look sallow/washed out? Make that handful of gray hairs stand out like spotlights? Does that cut smooth out your figure? Make you look 20 pounds heavier than you actually are? Create/spotlight weird bulges you don’t seem to have in other clothes? Visually eliminate weird bulges you do have in other clothes? Is that cut making your face look totally round? Kind of horsey? Giving you a giant forehead or jaw? Are those bangs and layers totally evening out your giant forehead or jaw?

It’s a specific detail vs. big picture thing.

I can’t offer an opinion on either of the OP’s outfits without seeing them on her, because what they look like on her and what they look like on a dummy will bear only a passing resemblance to one another. On the dummies, however, neither of them strike me as such great shakes. The jacket seems rather loud, and although I overall like the lines it’s making on the dummy, I think the shape might be a little overexaggerated. The dress is a nice color and scale of print, but it looks kind of dumpy and shapeless on the dummy.

Maybe its a gender power thing. Men like feminine, women might think youre letting the side down or somethjng, with the dress. And the suit might appeal to some women because its looks businesslike and powerful.

as a woman, I think the dress would look much better on just about anyone, but the suit does look more professional, I guess. Still like the dress a lot better.

Yeah. I don’t much like either of them, but the jacket at least has a shape, so I guess I would prefer that to the dress.

My husband is one of the few men I’ve ever met who doesn’t just look at the clothes or me, but looks at me in the clothes. I think women are a little more likely to look at the person in the outfit–the whole effect–not just the body or the color. As suggested above, I think that’s a matter of training.