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How To Deal With A Boyfriend Who Wants To Tell You What To Wear

When do significant others have worthwhile opinions on their partner's fashion choices — and when do they need to just shut up? The Fashion Mailbag is here to help.

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Graphic by Chris Ritter for BuzzFeed

Graphic by Chris Ritter for BuzzFeed

I plan to attend a wedding as my boyfriend's date this month. The couple getting married are his friends. I want to wear a dress that's a little edgier than we expect the crowd there to look (pastel skirt suits are what I envision). I think the dress is cool and appropriate for the occasion but my boyfriend thinks it's inappropriate and wants me to wear something else. We've had a few bad fights (plural!) about it. What can I do?

Your question has two important components. One, how do you deal with a romantic partner who wants to have serious input on your wardrobe? And two, what is appropriate to wear to a wedding if you're attending as someone's date?

FIrst, the relationship part: nothing is more odious in a romantic relationship, to me, than a partner who tries to control the other. You can't control other people any more than you can get delete all the "#jeah"s from Ryan Lochte's Twitter feed. It is an exercise in futility. I know you feel the same way because you're fighting against his attempt to control you instead of lying there like a wet noodle and letting it affect you. Knowing very little about the arguments and nothing about your relationship I don't know if he's a manipulative fighter. But I'm guessing not, because he's not doing a very good job of convincing you that you're wrong, and what abusively manipulative partners do very well is convince you that you're wrong when you're not at all wrong.

The other question is, does he just disagree with you on THIS outfit or does he try to control what you wear all the time? I had a boyfriend who started telling me not to wear my hair up a few months in. I didn't care what he thought and wore it however I wanted to, but God how annoying that was. It didn't last. That was a small red flag among many.

So if your boyfriend isn't manipulative or hyper-controlling or just interested in fashion the way Simon Van Kampen was when he took his wife Alex shopping in St. Barths in those awkward Real Housewives of New York segments, then your relationship is probably okay! Now as for the fashion part of this question: I admire your steadfastness with this edgy dress. However, if your boyfriend really strongly objects to it you might want to reconsider wearing it. He knows these people better than you, and he may also know what will sartorially fit in there better than you.

You may not want to sartorially fit in, and I'm normally a fan of NOT doing like everyone else does. However, at a wedding you should really try to look appropriate. I believe guests should wear whatever they want to a wedding as long as they honestly believe it won't compete with the bride's dress. If you were going to Snooki's wedding, you could show up with maxi pads stuck to your privates like pasties and no one would look twice, probably since Snooki would probably do every loud thing she could think of, like project hologram GIFs of her flashing her vagina everywhere you look. But if you're going to something a bit stuffy? Don't show too much skin, maybe also don't want to wear anything that's solid neon, and don't turn your breasts into a shelf just for the sake of having something to set your drink on.

If you still think he's just being crazy about this and your dress is totally okay, then wear the damn thing. He'll get drunk right after the ceremony anyway and stop caring. Stuffy weddings are always the booziest, which is one thing to look forward to.

Have a fashion question for Amy? Write her at

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