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Is dressing like a wife ruining your relationship?

It’s school holidays which means parks all across Australia are packed with interesting conversation. In the holidays there’s no need for books or Blackberrys, the big issues are breaking next to the sand pit. So it was this week when I inadvertently became part of discussion about Kate Moss and a comment she made during an interview with UK Grazia magazine. Moss who’s been married to her guitarist husband Jamie Hince for almost a year said: “He would go mental if I started dressing like a wife! He likes me when I’m a rock n roll kind of a girl.”

The sand pit was outraged. Shocked. The mix of mums, working mums and mums-to-be were collectively appalled with opinions that ranged from:

“What’s she insinuating? That once women snare a man they stop dressing well and give up?”

“That’s the sort of dumb logic I do not want my daughter to hear. Ever”.

“What is a wife supposed to wear exactly?”

To:

“I’m so offended. Does she mean that everyone that doesn’t dress like a groupie looks like a wife? Does wife equal dag?”

“ She can dress like that because she has a chef and a cleaner at home doing the work of a wife. She gets to be the mistress everyday – no school runs for her.”

“Can someone tell her that 1954 called and wants its attitude back – and also its poncho.”

It was heated stuff.

I remember reading this interview and having an initial reaction that wasn’t too dissimilar to my comrades in the park. Primarily it was careless. Yet another throwaway line from a woman of influence that would leave a lasting legacy in the Google cache. Kate’s quite good at this type of clanger. Her last endeavor was- “Nothing tastes as good as skinny feels” - an unbelievably dangerous bumper sticker from a young girl who didn't understand the power of her image (she was a teenager at the time). She certainly understands it better now.

As a journalist I know that Moss was probably massaged into 'the wife' comment via a leading question. Then said comment may have been paraphrased into said headline. (What? We all do it.) I suspect that the point she was trying to make or thought she was making was closer to this: when you get married, busy and comfortable in a relationship don’t forget the person you were before you met him. Her point was less about conservatism and more about effort. Effort is respect for yourself as much as it is respect for your partner.

I agree with that sentiment.

Stop throwing your coffee cups at the screen and hear me out…

I am in NO way suggesting that a woman should dress to please a man. Her man. Your man. All men. Ever. I do, however, strongly believe that the secret to a long, happy, balanced relationship is to finish the way you started. Part of that is clothes you came in on.

It just is.

Journalist Helen Kirwin-Taylor from the UK Daily Mail believes that Moss is right. Literally. She says: ” I would never think about sitting down for dinner with my husband without slipping into something stylish and alluring, brushing my hair and applying lipstick".

Bet you wished you’d saved the coffee cup for her now, huh? And there's more:

“Every morning I resist the temptation to simply stay in my pyjamas — such slobbishness is one of the downsides of working from home — and instead put on lipstick and decent, fitted clothes. For it is the very act of grooming that reminds me I am a woman — and hopefully an attractive one. And before my husband gets home, if I am feeling unkempt, I change again”.

Kirwin-Taylor's interpretation is a too Stepford for most. Certainly for me. Life will always get in the way of your wardrobe. It should. Sad days, blah days, sick days, hangovers, can’t-be-bothered days - if it weren’t for the bad there would never be any good. There would be no joy in a beautiful pair of shoes, a slick of red lipstick or a ball gown.

Every relationship - wife or not - will have many days when wearing pyjamas around the house is the reality. But I don’t think those days should become the normality. For him or for you. Long dresses and suits every night at dinner is ridiculous but the psychology behind the ideal is not. Perhaps Kate was trying to say that you can’t really love anyone else unless you love yourself. How you dress can be a direct reflection of that love and has far, far more to do with how you feel about yourself than how you feel about another.

She just doesn't really have a way with words.

Paula Joye is Editor of www.lifestyled.com.au or you follow her on Twitter and Facebook.

185 comments so far

  • They live in a privileged fantasy world - this is simply not applicable to average plebs like myself. If I was supplied free couture I would be wearing it every day too, rather than my track suit pants.

    Commenter
    dianav
    Date and time
    July 06, 2012, 10:06AM
    • I think men are attracted to a woman who is happy, confident and who looks good in jeans and sneakers and/or stylish clothes.

      As for dressing like a rockers wife, I know men who are quite mocking of women who teeter around in extremely high shoes and who are fake (tan,hair, nails, eyelashes etc)
      Most men I know will tell you its more important that a woman keeps her weight down.

      Commenter
      sunny
      Location
      sydney
      Date and time
      July 06, 2012, 11:44AM
    • I am a wife and mother and manage to dress well without free clothes flung my way. So no excuse!

      I would not be caught dead in a pair of track suit pants. Being married is no excuse to dress like a slob. In fact, I reckon it is more of an incentive to dress attractively. I would be majorly p**sed off if my husband started dressing like he did not give a toss what I thought, or if I found it attractive or not. And he loves that I always present myself well.

      In the first throws of passion, you could wear a potato sack, but as time goes on, it becomes all the more important to make an effort, in many regards, including what you wear.

      Commenter
      AT
      Location
      Melbourne
      Date and time
      July 06, 2012, 12:14PM
    • @ sunny:

      Totally agree with you sunny! My husband has never been attracted to any of that "fake" stuff or to those over-high shoes. It's so important to cultivate a happy and confident personality. Because I've kept my weight down I still look good in jeans and T-shirts (though I can get dressed and made up too, when we go out).

      Commenter
      mum of four
      Date and time
      July 06, 2012, 12:15PM
    • @ AT

      well done!!!

      Commenter
      dianav
      Date and time
      July 06, 2012, 12:25PM
    • @sunny

      Dressing well does not mean fake tan, nails and the like. Or heels.

      It is not either or.

      Commenter
      AT
      Location
      Melbourne
      Date and time
      July 06, 2012, 12:26PM
    • I believe there is a cornucopia of clothing that lies between couture and track suit pants! Just because we don't have chefs, personal trainers, nannies and maids, does not mean that we can't also make an effort from time to time. Yes, I love having track suit pants moments, but I also enjoy dressing nicely when I leave the house. There are rules - trackies and uggs do not leave the house with me. It's not really that hard to pull on a pair of jeans and ballet flats. I mean... really it's not!

      Commenter
      T
      Date and time
      July 06, 2012, 12:49PM
    • Why thank you dianav, but I will let you in on a little secret, it really ain't that hard. You should try it!

      Commenter
      AT
      Location
      Melbourne
      Date and time
      July 06, 2012, 12:54PM
    • @ T:

      Yep, even with four little ones I never left the house in trackies and ugg boots. Always took the time to put on some jeans and shoes. I wonder if it's partly to do with the suburb you live in. My suburb isn't the most up-market, but it's certainly not what you'd call "bogan", so you don't see people dressed that way at the shops. Maybe if I lived in a suburb where everyone wears tracky daks and uggies to the shops I would too, just to "blend in"? :)

      Commenter
      mum of four
      Date and time
      July 06, 2012, 1:02PM
    • @ mum of four

      are you somehow implying that your socio economic status dictates your dress sense at home?

      Commenter
      dianav
      Date and time
      July 06, 2012, 1:30PM

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