To be fair, I’m more than capable of shopping on my own. I know how to enter a store and purchase goods and leave with said goods and not fuck the whole thing up. It’s not so much as I can’t as it is that I won’t. If my wife died tomorrow, I’d be able to enter a store and leave with a smart purchase and go ahead and ford the river. But as long as she’s alive, I’m going to drag her into stores to make sure the one shirt I buy this year is a good one. This is the main reason people get married; it ensures someone is obliged to accompany you on shopping trips.
1. Determine the appropriate amount of time it takes to buy a dress shirt.
It’s incredible just how little I know about button-downs. I thought I knew the right amount. I would think to myself, I need a shirt that’s this color, and I would go into a store, and I would find a shirt that was the color I wanted, and I would find it in a medium or a large, and then I’d leave. What my wife taught me was that if this process takes less than half an hour, it is wrong.
2. Resist a new T-shirt.
My wife lives by a simple rule of thumb: I don’t need any more T-shirts. This is a guiding principle I use when shopping. If I’m looking at a shirt, I ask myself, “Is this a T-shirt?” If the answer is “yes,” then I don’t buy it. Or I buy it and just don’t tell my wife. To be fair, I have way too many T-shirts. I have accepted that one day, half of them will disappear indiscriminately.
3. Match my ties.
To be entirely honest, I was reticent to trust my wife’s instincts with ties because they’re traditionally menswear. But tie shopping is easy when I bring my wife along. I can hold up a tie and say, “Does this match?” If she asks me if I’m drunk, I know that the answer is a resolute “no.” Sometimes I think I’d rather have gout than be shopping, but I also don’t really know what gout is.
4. Understand shoes, period.
Shoes are honestly my weakness. I understand nothing about shoes. I take five minutes to shop for anything else, but I will take hours looking for a shoe that doesn’t make me look like an asshole. It’s incredibly difficult, partially because I am an asshole. But my wife is incredibly good at distilling what I need out of footwear based off my bizarre and unhelpful descriptions. I could say, “I need something effervescent and playful, but with an undercurrent of melancholy,” and my wife could come back with exactly what I’m looking for. Although to be fair, my description is usually, “I WANT I BLACK AND I DON’T WANT IT TO LOOK FREAKING DUMB.”
5. Remember that no grown man needs cargo shorts.
If there’s one thing I know, in my heart, it’s that only middle-schoolers should be wearing cargo shorts. But sometimes my wife likes to remind me when she catches me eying all that pocket space wistfully.
6. Purchase sweaters that don’t make me look like a tool.
There are two kinds of sweaters. The kind that say, “I’m wearing this because it’s brisk out,” and the kind that say, “I’m trying to look like a catalogue model but this sweater just makes me look like a douchebag.” My wife knows how to distinguish between the two.
7. Buy underwear that isn’t an embarrassment.
Underwear is the kind of thing only myself, my wife, and the TSA get to see, so it’s fair she has some input.
8. Find jeans that fit.
Jeans are simple. Some denim, three holes, a zipper, and you’re done, right? WRONG, YOU IDIOT. Stick to wearing sweatpants, you stupid idiot. Maybe you can ask one of the clerks at your jeans store to make sure your jeans fit right, like some kind of chump. Not me,though. I’m married.
9. Get hoodies that my wife will also want to wear, because she will.
It’s great to get my wife’s opinion, because she’s just going to steal it eventually anyway, so I want to make sure I get something she likes and will feel comfortable in.
10. Honestly, buy anything kind of expensive.
I rarely go shopping on purpose. It’s not that I would have a problem spending so much money on a nice jacket. It’s that I have no idea if I’m being an idiot. It’s just that my wife will know if I’m being swindled or if it’s real leather or whatever it is that make clothes cost more than, like, P500.
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This article originally appeared on Cosmopolitan.com. Minor edits have been made by the Cosmo.ph editors.