With raised eyebrows, viewers watched Kanye West storm through girlfriend Kim Kardashian’s enviable closet to toss out her entire wardrobe on a recent episode of Keeping Up with the Kardashians. Since the beginning of their relationship, the rapper-turned-fashion tyrant has slowly but surely massaged his Armenian doll out of her love of drag queen makeup and pageantry steez. Though many fans shrugged the transformation off as the artist’s desire to turn Kim into his personal female doppelganger, Kimye’s ongoing style story has raised an interesting question: how much say should your partner have over your style?
Women have been dressing men for years, and many of us find that dynamic quite normal. Girl meets boy. Girl picks out boy’s attire for the rest of eternity. Like a home-cooked meal, dressing your man is regarded as an affectionate gesture. However, when it comes to a man boldly enforcing his fashion rules on a woman, folks tend to get squirmy. To Kanye’s credit, his initial overhaul seemed to be a push to get Kim to appreciate her natural self, free of the beauty gimmicks. Nothing wrong there. But, if style is a physical manifestation of freedom, do women—with all of the societal gag orders we already have—deserve masculine chains around our closets?
Days following the clip's release, Youtube was flooded with comments. One viewer quoted Kardashian's remark, “Kanye has inspired me to be more of an individual,” and sarcastically added "Rearranging your wardrobe to his personal specifications is certainly a great start to that.” Another viewer said, “Kim has no mind or backbone. I would never let a man throw away all my clothes or shoes. NEVER!” Surely the fact that most of us have a 'love-hate' (or 'hate-hate') relationship with the duo accounts for some of the more annoyed responses. In a real life scenario, would there be as much venom spewed over the matter?
“This Negro stays on me,” New Yorker Romona Robinson humorously remarks of her style-dictating boyfriend. “He finally got me out of Calvin Klein [and] black all of the time. A pop of color does a lady good.” She admits that his approach was “annoying” at first, because she’s simply not consumed with her look 24/7, but he’s equally concerned with her opinion of his style. “He shows me most things before he buys them. He knows suits turn me on.”
Texan Krystal Franklin thinks a woman’s style is very unique and that not every guy’s opinion on fashion is valid. “Depends. We should definitely consider their opinions and feelings, but most women aren't dating a fashion designer, so they wouldn’t get it.”
Married couple Mike and Janean Couch have an equal say in each other’s style, but they like to focus on coordinating. “I like to have a say in my partner's style because we are a reflection of each other, and if she looks good, 'we' look good,” says Mike. “When we coordinate, I think it shows people a little about our personalities,” Janean chimes in. “It lets people know we communicate with one another and it shows that we know each other well. He has a great sense of style, though, so most of the time I just like to see how he pulls his looks together.”
What Kanye’s doing to Kim is actually not much different than the actions of the more cutesy couples above. However, he has the means to employ a stylist and replace the thousands of dollars’ worth of clothes he tossed out like weathered dishrags. What it boils down to is choice, and we as women have the right to either let our lovers into our closets or to kindly show them to the nearest seat.
Does your partner have a say in picking your wardrobe?