I started dressing differently after meeting my S.O. but here’s why it’s okay

Recently, Taylor Swift has been in the headlines for a couple reasons. But one really struck a cord with me personally. It’s being said Taylor is back to dressing like she used to, as in before she started dating Calvin Harris. That she’s dying her hair back to its natural color, the way it was before she met Calvin. There is an unspoken assumption that Taylor has “changed” for her new man. At first I was like, ugggh, why does this have to be about a man? And also, who changes the way they dress for a significant other and then I was like, oh wait, I did that.

Before I met my boyfriend, I would describe my style as athleisure meets wannabee grunge. I either wore all black athletic clothes with a hat or I wrote daisy dukes with a flannel and a crop top.

For many years, THIS was my single-girl aesthetic.

I either wore NOTHING-

Dressed like a tomboy-

Exposed my midriff-

Or tried to rock what I call “gothic business lady.”

This photo literally makes me cringe. Yes, my shirt says “No Frills.” I know not of what I do.

You get the vibe right? It’s like, short shorts, stomach exposed, hats, flannel or ALL BLACK.

This photo was taken a couple weeks after I met my boyfriend.

I look like I’m trying to go to the club in that outfit. Heels and denim shorts? Yikes Madi girl, what are you trying to get into with THAT outfit? (To be fair, I was going to a Kanye West show and it was HOT out!).

The strange thing was, I fully felt like this ~vibe~ was me! I felt like after 27 years on this planet I had discovered my aesthetic soul mate in these garments. “I’ll never not wear this leather hat or these flannels!” OR SO I THOUGHT.

And then I met my boyfriend. A man who I would describe as, ~the prep king~. Boat shoes, patterned button down shirts, a wish-list at J.Crew.

Our styles conflicted. To put it mildly.

This was us four months after dating. I look like a no-nonsense creative director of a hair salon. My boyfriend looks like a Harvard professor. We look like we’re having a meeting to discuss how I’m going to redecorate his living room. We don’t look like a romantic pairing.

And then, without really thinking about it, my style started to change.

It started from a practical stand-point. His friends are older and married. Some have kids. We go to nice brunches and not boozy brunches. I have to hang out with his family. I can’t wear daisy dukes around his friends and family!

He told me how J.Crew has an online outlet and I was intrigued. I wore a button down chambray top one time and he (and all my coworkers) loved it. Everyone said that I looked “so professional.” Nobody ever complimented my baseball hats. I went shopping with him to all his favorite prep stores and was shocked that I liked so much of the women’s clothing there. Maybe I don’t have to shop at Forever 21, forever?

It’s now almost a year later with bae and I’m wearing collared shirts! I’m wearing outfits entirely from J.Crew, a place I once laughed at and said, “I’ll never shop there! That store is for ladies!” I’m wearing sailor stripes and not flannel! I’m wearing denim jackets OFF MY SHOULDERS! I’m not wearing all black anymore either, because my all-black aesthetic wasn’t vibing with his mostly-pastel palette.


Then I noticed I wasn’t even reaching for my old clothes anymore. I realized that I wore a lot of my single girl gear because I thought they were cute outfits for going-out and picking up guys. Cut-off shorts and a crop top was my idea of “sexy.” Those old outfits were my version of a low-cut cleavage-baring shirt. In retrospect, these outfits make me shudder, but a year ago I thought it was the hottest I was ever going to get.

Maybe, I’m just getting older. Maybe it’s my boyfriend’s influence on my fashion. Maybe I’m being insecure and want to please him with my new fashion? Or maybe I was insecure before and wanted to please random men with my crop tops and small shorts?

Either way, I don’t *think* there’s anything wrong with changing your style for your S.O. Hell, I got my boyfriend to put on a flannel and swap out his Sperry’s for the occasional Nikes, so the aesthetic makeover goes both ways in our relationship. I’m sure some of my friends may be whispering how “Madison changed for her boyfriend,” but I really don’t think I’m mourning the loss of my cut-off shorts and teeny tiny tops.

Changing your style in a relationship may signal unbridled compromise on someone’s part, but for me, it signaled the start of a new era. Most people’s fashion choices change over the course of their lifetime. In college, I wore a purple hoodie almost every day! Whether your style pivots because you’re growing up, breaking up, moving, or entering a new phase in your life…we all shift our outward ~look~ and it shouldn’t matter if you did it for or with your other half.

Goodbye gothic-business-lady and party-outfits, I’m okay with not needing you anymore.