Bad Shoes, Good Sole

 My boyfriend has great taste in everything but footwear. How do I get him to change his shoes without sounding rude?


oof. that's not good.

oof. that’s not good.

Dear Virginia,

Let’s address “great taste.” The first thing you need to do is really assess the rest of his closet. Is it rife with message tee’s and twotone stitched denim? If so, then I commend you because you must have already had the depth of character to look beyond his wardrobe and find something loveable on a completely super-physical level, and I suggest you try not to get hung up on his footwear this late in the game.

If your issue is more a matter of a dude with a basic awareness for apparel do’s and please-oh-please-God-dont’s, that just happens to keep a pair of cowboy boots in his fashion blind spot (like the grey ones in my closet) then there a couple ways you can handle said predicament. One would be to take a note from the girls in category A and try to see past the offending footwear. While we’re notorious for lacking in sensitivity when you play the how do I look game in the foyer before dinner, that doesn’t mean we don’t have feelings too. There’s a good chance he genuinely likes his shoes and might be hurt if you’re too harsh in your rebuke.

If his footwear is really terrible and your motivation is born from that selfless center of your heart that just wants to protect him from mocking and ridicule, then as with children and animals, conditioning and manipulation is the answer. This involves a two-pronged attack: positive reinforcement for all choices not involving shoes. Positive reinforcement of shoes he owns that you dolike: i.e “I love the way you look in your brown woven wingtips,” and voila, the more he wears the wingtips and the less he wears the Reebok’s to dinner with your friends. Second prong: give him more pre-approved choices (like the popular vote). Buy him some shoes. Mask your disgust as a present. Don’t go straight for the double monks, try to gear the purchase toward his own tastes, but steer him in the right direction. If he somehow doesn’t own Converse, buy him a pair of chucks. Or a pair of Desert Boots. There is nothing they won’t work with. After all, the more shoes piled on my closet floor, the deeper my cowboy boots are buried…

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