In a world full of disasters, injustice and suffering, a group of bored men waiting outside a Topshop changing room is one of the saddest sights in human existence. And according to this sight and hideous publications that scream feminism on one page and tell us we're fat on another have told us, it generally goes: “Women like clothes; men like football”. But that's not true anymore, is it? Men wear ‘manscara', exfoliate regularly and have opinions, but would you want your boyfriend going one step further and actually dressing you?
It's something I began thinking about when Kim Kardashian's Kanye-style makeover began with the self-proclaimed creator of the leather joggers (ergh) and wearer of encrusted face masks rampaging his way through her wardrobe while Kim stood back and tried not to cry. She may claim she dresses herself but the evidence is clear: before Kanye she looked like something Paris Hilton regurgitated after too much Asti and after Kanye its all Lanvin, Riccardo Tusci and other “edgy” designers with mixed results.
Watching the scene unfold it was hard to know whether to loathe her for even allowing this to happen or him for blatantly trying to repackage his girlfriend into Beyonce 2.0. Kim's transformation may have impressed the fashion crowd and set her apart from every other LA rich-kid-turned-reality-star but is this a good idea in real life? Are men capable of understanding the complexities of high waisted garments?
The challenge was simple: allow my boyfriend to pick three outfits without me interfering, arguing, helping or threatening to withhold sex if the outcome was truly hideous. But with three wardrobes and an admittedly ridiculous array of coats to choose from my Kanye wasn't exactly thrilled about this. After all, this is a man who only buys clothes when something falls apart and doesn't understand the difference between branded trainers and non-branded trainers. I was doomed.
So while sitting on a step like a punished child I watched him handle various clothes with all the ease and enthusiasm of a man queuing to buy tampons in Boots. While Kanye went at Kim's past with a hacksaw to create his perfect Barbie doll, he not only tried to think of what I would like but what would be appropriate for this never-ending winter. After some umming and ahhing the first look was complete: a vintage striped batwing top with ripped skinny jeans, DMs and a vintage camel and leopard print collar coat “because I know you like leopard print.” Clearly he wasn't interested in plonking me in a leather dress that made me look like a sausage bursting out of its casing (see many of Kim's “maternity” outfits) and for that, I was grateful.
As he was desperately trying to get out of this unscathed the second look was even simpler: a printed skater dress with a fur coat and ankle boots, a perfect outfit for when you can't be bothered to wear anything interesting. Dresses were pretty easy but separates caused lots of sighing and head-holding, and it was at this moment I began to feel incredibly smug. Many times he's fought eye-rolling when I said I couldn't find anything to wear and look at him! All flustered and fed up just like me on any given evening where a skater dress and ankle boots won't do. Eventually he stumped for some wool shorts and vintage sweater, two things I would only wear together if I wanted my hips to look as wide as a bus but I wouldn't dare lecture him about proportions. He's suffered enough.
This was a hideous experience for all involved but as I've lived to tell the tale: I definitely wouldn't recommend letting your boyfriend do a Kanye. “You want your guy to think you're really hot,” said Kim last year. “I'll put something on and he'll say, ‘No, that doesn't look good,' and I'll trust him.” Good for you, love, but personally I'll wear what I like and leave my boyfriend outside the changing rooms, where he should be.