DRESS­ING DOWNS ARE A GOD­SEND

Who lets their hus­band-to-be veto their wed­ding dress? Stylist Li­adan Hynes did, and is glad he saved her blushes

Sunday Independent (Ireland) - Life - - FIRST PERSON|TOP FIVE -

As a rule, I like to shop alone. I es­sen­tially shop for a liv­ing, so shop­ping to me is not a leisure ac­tiv­ity. When friends sug­gest an af­ter­noon spent brows­ing, I have to re­mind them that it would be like me sug­gest­ing that we hang out at their of­fice. I don't want to faff around in shops. I tend to buy, then try on at home.

More than this, though, I’m gen­er­ally not in­ter­ested in the opin­ions of oth­ers when it comes to pur­chas­ing clothes.

As I get older, I find that, in­creas­ingly, I keep to a uni­form. I know what I like, and what tends to work and, mostly, I stick with it. If I like it, then I'm happy. Bar one rather im­por­tant ex­cep­tion to this rule: the hus­band.

I'd like to think it's mainly be­cause if any­one shares the ob­jec­tive of you look­ing your very best self, surely it's your hus­band. And, if any­one is go­ing to be com­fort­able not beat­ing about the bush when it comes to in­form­ing you that you look down­right ridicu­lous, it is he.

I bought a pair of navy, white and pink trousers in Marks & Spencer re­cently. “Clown pants,” the hus­band said im­me­di­ately when I walked out of the fit­ting room. “Like some­thing mothers used to wear in the Eight­ies,” he fol­lowed up, hav­ing taken an­other baf­fled look at said pants, which, an­noy­ingly, is ex­actly what my own mother said when she saw them.

One of the first things the hus­band no­ticed about me when we met was that I was wear­ing what were later de­scribed as ob­nox­iously large Prada sun­glasses. They've long since been re­placed.

Once an out­fit has been given a thumbs-down, I find it al­most im­pos­si­ble to take it se­ri­ously. He's gen­er­ally an­noy­ingly right about th­ese things, which makes it even harder to ig­nore when he doesn't like an out­fit.

Most of th­ese gar­ments have never made it be­yond the front door. Oth­ers have been worn de­fi­antly a few times, be­fore re­tir­ing in quiet de­feat. A pair of MC Ham­mer dropped-crotch harem pants, which I fondly imag­ined had a sort of eques­trian look to them, made it to the bot­tom of the stairs on sev­eral oc­ca­sions, to be greeted by hi­lar­ity or head shak­ing. Need­less to say, they never made it any farther, for which I am now thank­ful.

Maybe it's also to do with the fact that he knows me bet­ter than any­one — if he doesn't like some­thing, it's prob­a­bly be­cause it's not re­ally suit­ing me.

A pair of leather hot pants, which in­duced a sub­tle raised eye­brow, and a silent be­wil­dered shak­ing of the head, have never made it out of the wardrobe since. I now ad­mit to my­self they might be a touch Fred­die Mer­cury.

I have never re­ally been able to take a leather biker jacket se­ri­ously af­ter he pointed out its sim­i­lar­ity to Sandy's cos­tume in the fi­nal scene in Grease. De­spite sev­eral brave ef­forts, it has never made it past the last out­fit check in the hall mir­ror.

A dress bought for Christ­mas Day, and worn in a de­fi­ant spirit in the face of a mild query as to whether the at­tached flouncy cape was re­ally a good idea, has been con­signed to the char­ity bag.

I got mar­ried last year and, bar my mother, the hus­band was the only per­son whose opin­ions I took into ac­count when it came to the pur­chas­ing of The Dress. The first op­tion was jet­ti­soned af­ter I was told, in no un­cer­tain terms, it was too short — peo­ple pos­si­bly glimps­ing your un­der­wear is not some­thing you ever want to worry about when it comes to a wed­ding dress.

I'm al­ways baf­fled by the no­tion of keep­ing the dress a sur­prise for the groom. Does any man ac­tu­ally care what the wed­ding dress is like, be­yond the fact that the bride looks nice in it? Is the sur­prise of whether you've gone for pure white, ivory or cream re­ally an es­sen­tial in­gre­di­ent to the en­joy­ment of his big day?

If he doesn't like it, surely this is feed­back that is bet­ter re­ceived at pur­chas­ing stage, rather than in a frozen smile at the top of the aisle — we al­ways know when our other half doesn't like what we're wear­ing.

It kills me to ad­mit it, but my lovely navy, white and pink M&S printed trousers have yet to make it out of the wardrobe. And now that the sum­mer’s over — and with it the sort of hot weather that makes wear­ing that sort of thing ac­cept­able — it's un­likely they ever will. It’s prob­a­bly for the best.

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