How To Give Your Man Fashion Advice Without Hurting Their Feelings

There's just something intangibly sexy about a man who dresses well, and if your partner has a great sense of style, then consider yourself lucky.

Rebecca Suhrawardi, a freelance fashion journalist, tells Vogue that just about 30% of men have a strong sense of personal style and an aesthetic that doesn't need to be messed with — but what about the men that don't fit into that group? After all, if you abide by Suhrawardi's estimate, then the vast majority of men have yet to master their sense of personal style, and by statistical probability, your partner may be one of them. And while that's not to say your partner has terrible taste, he simply might not know what his taste even is — prompting him to gravitate toward whatever is easy to incorporate into his lifestyle and doesn't involve a lot of thought or effort, like cargo shorts and a t-shirt.

The good news, however, is that even if your man hasn't updated his wardrobe since his fraternity days, there's still hope. Following these tips will help you encourage him to do better — without risking the relationship or hurting his feelings.

Show him plenty of photos

If your partner isn't well-versed in fashion or hasn't yet begun to explore his own personal style, using photos for reference can help him zero in on what exactly it is that he likes — which can help you give advice he will understand and be receptive to. "Men generally respond well to visuals," personal menswear stylist Susan Kantor says via InStyle. "If I'm trying to illustrate how a well-fitting shirt or jacket can make you look like you've lost 10 to 15 pounds, I'll bring a picture of a well-dressed celebrity like Ryan Gosling or Jon Hamm."

Consider compiling a Pinterest board of menswear looks you love and having your partner browse through them, making note of which once he most gravitates toward. After he gives you feedback on a large enough selection, you can begin to assess similarities in terms of color, texture, and overall vibe and will be able to steer him in the right direction based on that.

Use positive reinforcement

Having the type of relationship where you can be open and honest with your partner about how you are feeling is a good thing, but that doesn't mean it's okay to cut them down or criticize them about their personal style (no matter how strongly you feel about it).

When offering advice or suggestions related to your partner's style, it's important to keep it positive. Instead of telling him he doesn't look good in what he's wearing, stylist and wardrobe consultant Jen Ublasi recommends via the Chicago Tribune that you keep your comments specific and related to one aspect of his style as opposed to the whole look overall. Saying something like "that shirt color isn't complimenting your skin tone, but you always look super hot in this color instead" tends to go over much better than "you don't look good." Not only are you giving him a nice compliment, but you are offering him an alternative to what he is wearing in a way that doesn't embarrass him or make him feel bad about himself.

Over-compliment him

If you are in a relatively new relationship or simply don't feel comfortable offering unsolicited advice about your partner's appearance, Jen Ubalsi also recommends over-complimenting him on the way he looks when he does wear something you love (per Chicago Tribune). While you aren't giving any direct advice or recommendations on ways he can upgrade his style, your compliments will make him feel confident in whatever it is that he's wearing, making him more likely to wear things of that style more often. If a man notices that you seem to like it when he wears a particular style, he will be more apt to put the time and attention into clothing choices that best reflect that style — and what's more, he will subconsciously think that dressing that way was his idea all along. Win.

"Men respond best when you frame things with praise and the understanding that they love to make you happy, so try stressing how happy that blue Ralph Lauren shirt he wore the other day made you," Rebecca Suhrawardi says via Vogue.

Take him shopping

One of the easiest ways to ensure your partner is adding stylish pieces to his wardrobe is to simply join him for a day of shopping. Not only does this allow you to give him real-time feedback and advice on his clothing choices, it also provides a perfect opportunity for you to spend a quality afternoon with your sweetie (and do a little shopping yourself!).

Relationship expert Lauren Frances says via Chicago Tribune that taking your partner shopping and complimenting him when he tries things on that you think look good can help the process of trying to spice up his wardrobe feel more lighthearted and less like you are trying to change him. Suggesting a shopping trip is a good way to subtly add your input without him feeling criticized about the way he looks. (She does add, however, that if you are going to take him shopping and encourage him to buy clothes, you should at least offer to pay since it was your idea).

According to Sonia Rykiel, PR director Lola Rykiel, taking your man shopping and encouraging him to dive headfirst into a style overhaul can help introduce him to interests and habits in fashion, appearance, and self-care that he may have previously been intimidated by, which can leave him with a much more confident attitude and disposition overall (per Vogue). And after all, confidence is the sexiest thing a man can wear.

Encourage him to focus on fit

If all else fails, making sure your partner is at least wearing clothes that are well-fitting can go a long way. Even if you aren't crazy about his personal style, as long as the clothing is well-tailored and fits his body the right way, you'll likely be pleasantly surprised at how "well-dressed" and sexy he looks in just a t-shirt and jeans. That's because how you wear something can often make more of an impression than what you are wearing.

Regardless of your partner's body type and weight, Primer Magazine says that clothing labeled as being "slim fit" tends to be the way to go — even if he isn't a slim guy. While many people believe that wearing baggy or loose-fitting clothes can help hide areas they're insecure about, the truth is that excess fabric can make your man look heavier than he actually is. Slim fit clothing can look more flattering on all parts of his body.

It's important to remember that "slim cut" doesn't equate to "too tight," as that can look equally unflattering. As a general rule of thumb, the clothing should hug his body as closely as possible while still being comfortable and leaving him with a good range of motion. Encouraging your man to find a good tailor to properly fit his wardrobe to his body type is a great way to subtly improve his style and leave him feeling confident in his fit.