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Feb 24, 2010

Peter's Makeover: DAY 2 - the naked truth

Cousin Cathy here and I've no time for niceties.  Let's get started.

What a day I had yesterday!  Feeling somewhat defeated after Monday's underwear power struggle, I was determined that Tuesday I would put my foot down.  You don't ask a New York model to create your new look and then quibble over a pair of holey Hanes.  

I decided it was time to act like adults.  As soon as I arrived at Peter's apartment, I stripped the man down to his threadbare Jockeys and got to work.

We started with basic grooming (fans of large pores can supersize these by clicking on them). 


Right off the bat, I told him it was me or that third eyebrow under his nose.  My first victory of the day.

Next, I archived each and every thrift store orphan in his wardrobe -- on Peter himself -- under the harsh glare of flash photography. 

Look, I know many of you are fond of Peter -- we all are -- and I am not suggesting that every item in his wardrobe is a ratty old castoff just one loose button shy of the rag bag.  But the reason Peter does not have a look is because he picks up stray clothes the way other people pick up stray cats: impulsively and without any thought to his own long-term needs.  He has relied on his own charm and good looks long enough!  

You can view the highlights of Peter's old look (or NON-look) archive here, or simply view the slideshow below.  (Fans of paper dolls should really enjoy this.)

Next, inspired by all of your marvelous comments yesterday and feeling a little peckish, I sent Peter out for bagels and coffee while I created a nice little bundle destined for the trash thrift store.  I'm hoping he never notices.

Next, we explored the cluttered and confused world that is my cousin's accessories collection: sunglasses, hats, watches, etc.  It's not unlike the underwear: a few gold nuggets but mainly dross.  It's all too tedious to go into here but I'll share some highlights:

How would you like to see your man walk around in these, which for some reason Peter cannot bring himself to either discard or have repaired -- after ten years.


And then there's these.  I don't care if they were designed by a Issey Miyake, they scare me.

Can you see why by the end of the day I was experiencing severe abdominal cramping which turned out to be only bad cream cheese, thank God?  The stress of having to pare down -- and then chic-ify on a shoestring -- Peter's wardrobe into something approaching a look is starting to show up on my complexion. 

The hats, well, I think I can work with these.

Of course it might be easier if they actually matched the scarves, but that would be too much to ask.

Look, I'm running late, darlings.  There's a lot more to tell but I must get started.  Today Peter and I go shopping!

Oh, before I forget, about Peter's old-look wardrobe:

Would you keep the striped Land's End polo?  Could anybody's look include a striped Land's End polo? Readers, I already dumped it.  Heaven forsake me!

So have any of you ever tried to make over a man or does the very prospect of it keep you in bed with the cats, the remote, and a Whitman's sampler?

Can it be done in less than one week?

Tell me it's possible and that I'm not the crazy one!  It's him, right?


  1. I liked the clear, bold colors on you best - you must have the "Winter" coloring. The solid blacks and navy blues really made your features "pop". Even the solid white looked good. The dark blue check shirt was nice. I am thinking earth tones, yellows and light blues are not your friends.

  2. As I've tried partner's wardrobe over the years, I've learned that simply buying knew stuff will not keep him from wearing hole-y black and white gingham from the thrift store.

    One must analyze WHY the clothing was brought home in the first place, and then find away to introduce new items that work with those interests.

    See, just because *I* like a shirt doesn't mean that HE will. I may be able to see the vision of him in lavender stripes, but he just doesn't, and will continue to wear ratty old flannel.

    So, when I buy him new stuff, I make she it's something acceptable to me AND acceptable to him. Plaid is always acceptable, as are shirts with snaps....

    It seems peter goes for solid colors, and has a penchant for polos. Thus, you need to ask why, and see what you can do to fit new look items into those requirements....

    Make sense?

  3. I think making over a man is kind of like any rehab process. He's got to really want to do it and be invested in his own recovery. Luckily for Cathy, Peter is totally on board. A week might be enough time for her. A 30-day program may be order for others.

    When I met my husband, he had a half dozen black, long sleeved, button down shirts. Hello? Johnny Cash called and wants his wardrobe back. 25+ years later, there's not a black button down shirt in the closet. That's some progress, I guess. Then a couple years ago, he was buying these young men's tees with skulls and such. Not the greatest look on a 50-something who just got a new hip, not a skateboard. We do what we can, Cathy. Sometimes it's one step forward and two steps back.

  4. I've been trying to make my man stop with the pleated pants and go to flat fronts for YEARS! Even buying him some, and gushing whenever he wears them (I guess when everything else is dirty). He says it will never happen.

    Otherwise, he dresses really, really well.

  5. I am convinced that Peter and The Boyfriend have parallel lives in a fashion-y way. Within his tragic collection, my fella has a white, stained sweatshirt from 1984; a black cotton turtleneck that's faded to grey; a "white" cotton long-sleeved button-down shirt that's yellowing and has been overpressed for years… and I mentioned the "Dad jeans" yesterday. Whoo. It's a whole lotta' look.

    The Upside is that The Boyfriend admits that he is stylistically stunted, and has agreed to go shopping with me (date TBD) and I know that once he sees how gorgeous he is in clothes that FIT and are fashionable, he will agree that aforementioned pieces will go straight to the trash – Because HE wants to look fantastic. Not because I'm doing it TO him. He's part of the process, and I think that's totally key to success here.

    I'm glad you went to Cathy for help, Peter. She's a wise woman. Listen. Learn and toss clothes that don't serve you with wild abandon. You deserve to show everyone the hotness that you are – and you know you are, right? TOTALLY hot. Can't wait to see what happens!

  6. Anything stained or shredded has got to go! Unless Peter's work or hobby is of a staining shredding type those are taking up valuable room in his wardrobe.

    Ill fitting...Cathy, use your good eye here, your cousin has a blind spot or two, or more. Many styles can be stylishly worn if the fit is right. And just between us girls, I'm glad you dumped that striped Land's End polo, Peter is not six years old.

    I hope the shopping trip goes well today. Please don't let the penny pincher in Peter take him to H&M, those disposable and not the best quality items are not doing him any favors in the wardrobe department. This is probably not the best time to let him give in to the siren call of thrift stores either.

    I challenge Peter to sew his own tees. It's easy! Oh oh, he might need a new machine, like a coverstitch, but think of the possibilities, any color any fabric in a tee that fits. Maybe there is a knit sheet waiting somewhere for a second chance in life.

    Cathy, keep up the good work! Great progress is being made.

  7. I totally disagree with you over the Miyake glasses, they're great. Just step on the other ones by accident :-).
    He needs either more red in his hats, or more blue/greens in his scarves, or both. Have him wear his favorite of either before his next trip to the thrift store, and only buy something that matches that.
    Anyway, I'd never let someone else in my closet :-). So hard to put myself in your shoes. Don't discount the thrill of the hunt though, you don't want to leave the boy depressed at the end. Just teach him to be more focused in his hunting.


  8. I can't wait to see the results! Cathy has made so much progress already. Lucky Peter to have such a handsome figure to dress, too.

    If you are looking for some visual inspiration, check out - two guys who know how to add color, pattern, and interest to an outfit.

  9. PS: took a look at the slide show.
    Cathy, just because it's from the thrift store doesn't mean it's inferior. The point is not to be a snob, the point is to object if it doesn't fit or suit him, which is totally different. In my book, he gets extra points for not paying much for stuff that he had the patience and good eye to find.
    Pete: don't let her -anywhere- near your cashmere sweater!

  10. Those broken sunglasses made me laugh but also wonder why they weren't thrown out long ago. I've kept broken things for sentimental reasons but recently I've had fun binning stuff that is neither beautiful nor useful.(A lot of that belongs to my partner - he's out of the country for a while so will never know!)The Issy Miyake shades should stay, just because.

  11. Yes to cashmere anything, and triple yes to good-quality thrift store finds. I agree wholeheartedly with Marie-Christine: you deserve thrift store bonus points for knowing how to separate the wheat from the chaff. (Or is that chaps?)

  12. Mostly agree, but dagnabit, I like that western style shirt on Peter. The rest can go! The Miyake glasses: they frighten me too.

  13. Cathy darling, you need to learn to embrace those fab Miyake sunglasses. Take a deep breath, smile vividly, and tell Peter they look smashing. It will make you a better person. Mae

  14. The Issey Miyake shades are fabulous! In all other respects You are doing a great job. Plough on.

  15. The Issey Miyake shades are indeed fabulous, but the look like they don't fit. If they don't fit, toss 'em. This goes for any of it.


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