Guest Post: Plight of the Fashion Blogger’s Boyfriend

Being “Boyfriend of Jean” comes with important duties — tasks such as taking blog photos and knowing when to say, “that makes you look tall.” But the number one responsibility that accompanies dating a shopping-happy 5-foot-tall lady is, of course, taking her shopping.

I’ve written this post to give a male perspective on a few retail establishments, partially in hopes of providing some guidance, but mostly to let all the fashion blogger BFs out there know: you’re not alone, dude.

Click below to continue reading…

(“Man Score” represents the maximum number of minutes a man can tolerate being inside each store. Having a smartphone is assumed. If not, divide scores by at least 2.)

Abercrombie & Fitch, Abercrombie (kids), Hollister, Gilly Hicks, et al

This family of stores is decent at first, but quickly becomes nauseating. Literally. I have on several occasions walked out of an A&F; in desperate need of Tylenol and an airsickness bag. I would rather drink ten shots of SoCo Lime than spend an hour in one of these wood-shuttered, perfume-drenched, techno-pumping caves.

A few redeeming qualities: men’s stuff without a moose on it is usually OK, adequately organized, relatively inexpensive, and really good looking employees (Hooray for discriminatory hiring practices!).

Man Score: 15 minutes

Recommended plan of action: Ear plugs, nose plugs — any kind of plug would be helpful, really. Otherwise, hold your breath and try to get out before the 16-year-old behind the counter offers you a job.

Forever 21
The only store a guy hates more than a Forever 21 is a two-story Forever 21. Any purse-holding man who’s been made into a temporary clothes rack while following a woman around in tight figure eight patterns knows what I’m talking about. I’ve been to flea markets better organized.

Some stores are starting to carry a men’s brand, which seems like a lower quality H&M.; I forget what they call it, and I don’t really feel like looking it up because whatever it is doesn’t change the fact that when people ask me “Where did you get that?” I would have to tell them, “Forever 21.”

Man Score: 45 seconds

Recommended plan of action: Bad sushi, too much Indian food, ruptured knee ligaments, a severed limb — if you have any of these cards to play, by all means play them now. Your second option is trying to embarrass your shopper as much as possible. Try on women’s hats and sunglasses or wander off into the lingerie section and start dispensing unsolicited underwear advice. Sure, you might have to leave the Forever 21 with mall security, but you’ll have left, right?

Theory has a few things going for it. Firstly, it’s small, well organized and not crowded. This prevents aimless wandering (see: Forever 21). The music doesn’t suck (again, see: Forever 21, Abercrombie). Employees are friendly and know that a guy in the fitting room can help facilitate a purchase. Compare this to a store such as Forever 21, where fitting room attendants assume the only reason a man would need to be in there is for hanky panky or shoplifting.

Also, a nice touch is the men’s magazines Theory keeps on the benches around the store. Usually Details or GQ. These are magazines some men would rather not admit to reading, so we take secret delight in situations like this where we are “forced” to read them. However, the magazine bonus is nullified if you make us come here twice in the same month.

Man Score: 32 minutes

Recommended plan of action: Find a padded seat in a quiet corner, hunker down and start familiarizing yourself with fine Whiskeys and the dos and donts of boat shoes. This is as good as it gets, but look at it this way: at least you’re not at the Coach outlet.

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  1. oh my Gosh, I almost laughed my tears out! Your BF is so funny! I'll definitely forward this to my husband. I'm sure he has a lot to add on. 🙂

    Posted 7.20.10 Reply
  2. aimeehx3 wrote:

    I love this post! My bf doesn't even shop with me. I gave up a long time ago because I'm just better off shopping solo. NYC now has a 4 story Forever21. Haha… it would be the day when my bf goes there with me.

    BTW, your bf is a very good writer. I like his writing style.

    Posted 7.20.10 Reply
  3. Lol…loved reading all of your funny comments!

    Anonymous @8:28am – he works in the creative industry and they do not require professional attire. And the next time he tries to shoo me out of a F21, I'll be sure to pull up your "words of encouragement."

    Anonymous @ 9:32am – lol! I'm sure you can use your imagination.

    Burnt Sienna – your comment brought a smile to my face : )

    Karen – you're right, ppl rarely reflect upon the bfs/husbands that have suffered when they see nice big shopping hauls. Those who are willing to go really are the best : )

    Posted 7.19.10 Reply
  4. MoneyMaus wrote:

    Your BF is a great writer! What an awesome guest post 🙂 Always nice to delve into the mind of man a bit, huh?? I'd feel lucky if my future BF would ever come shopping with me as past ex-BFs have REFUSED…but, who knows!! 😉

    Posted 7.19.10 Reply
  5. D wrote:

    Dead on with the F21 post! haha. My partner and I can't stand to be in there that long. It's just so overwhelming!! I prefer shopping online for that store, if I had to

    Posted 7.19.10 Reply
  6. I am Khatu wrote:

    LOL. That's why most of the time I shop alone, I get more accomplished that way.

    Posted 7.19.10 Reply
  7. Soo wrote:

    i <3 that picture of your bf! my man cannot survive more than 5 minutes in a store without throwing random hats on my head and acting ridiculous, basically embarrassing me.thankfully, there is a sony store near my BR petites; he enjoys j.crew; anthropologie has enough random stuff to keep him occupied for 5 min and he loves getting his shoes waxed in nordies while i venture to the bag section so i lucked out there! 🙂

    Posted 7.19.10 Reply
  8. This is hilarious and completely like my BF, except I drag mine into Anthropologie and then J. Crew, maybe Banana Republic, and on and on. My BF has the same gag reflex for Anthro that yours does Abercrombie, so when I go to Anthro now, he high tails it to the Apple store. Problem adverted. Except when he comes back from the Apple store and I'm STILL in Anthro.

    Posted 7.19.10 Reply
  9. Jimin wrote:

    ohhhhhh man my boyfriend HATES FOREVER21! or… any store that sells..anything really. except… okay he hates any retail store that ever existed. I like shopping for him more than he does haha! thanks for this post mr. extra petite! he's a good sport, lucky girl!

    I think I can speak for everyone here when I say we look forward to more posts from him, and of course I look forward to YOUR posts too!


    Posted 7.19.10 Reply
  10. maybegirl wrote:

    This is such a great post! Your BF is so funny. I like the idea of the man score. I will definitely ask my male shopping companions what they think of this. Although, I think they will most definitely all agree on the hatred of F21. I can barely stand going in there for too long. My last purchase from them was online.

    Posted 7.19.10 Reply
  11. jen wrote:

    Hahahha, so funny. Your bf has a great sense of humour. And of course, I had to immediately forward the post to mine 😀

    Have a great week!


    Posted 7.19.10 Reply
  12. Karen wrote:

    This was such a fun post that I'm sure my bf would appreciate too! People don't usually link shopping hauls to boyfriend suffering 😀 but I think the ones that do agree to accompany us, even through boredom and nauseousness, are the best kinds of guys 😉

    Posted 7.19.10 Reply
  13. Sara wrote:

    AWESOME POST! I laughed especially at the part about men following their ladies in an endless figure 8 because my man was just doing that to me on Saturday! hahaha

    Posted 7.19.10 Reply
  14. Nelah wrote:

    My husband will probably agree to all these points. I feel bad for him when he goes with me but he never complains. Some of the stores plays music wayyyy too loud and I can barely stand inside myself (forever21 that is). Shouldn't stores provide a relaxing shopping experience so that shoppers spend more time and money instead of trying to rush customers out the door with annoying music??

    You and your boyfriend are so cute together!! He has great sense of humor.

    Posted 7.19.10 Reply
  15. lol I love this post Jean! Your bf is hilarious! there's no way on earth will I be able to get my husband to do a guest blog for me..he cant even take pictures right =) <3 love it!

    Posted 7.19.10 Reply
  16. I love that the BF of PAG has stepped forward into the limelight to give his POV. This is fantastic and, bottom line here, it shows how supportive he is of you, and that's what truly warms your readers here. His post is hilarious, yes, entertaining, yes, but above it all, it shows he's your #1 fan, and that's what's awesome.

    Posted 7.19.10 Reply
  17. sophia wrote:

    PAG ~ your bf is a great writer! I like his humor and writing style. My bf insists I shop with my friends or sister, but on the off chance that he does accompany me, all I can say is THANK GOODNESS for his bberry!

    They should conduct studies on how much sales revenue would increase by adding a lounge area for the bfs/husbands hahaha.

    Posted 7.19.10 Reply
  18. Sulora wrote:

    Hahah, that was really clever! So funny! I love it when my boyfriend says, "that makes you look tall" too 🙂

    Posted 7.19.10 Reply
  19. Nick wrote:

    Thanks for all the kind words everyone. I had a feeling some of my experiences might be universally understood, but I wasn't sure.

    Ping – I can't believe I forgot to mention the kids' department. I also despise it. Bloomingdales is the worst.

    Andy – Funny you should say that. I was dragged into a Joann Fabrics last weekend and went around suggesting Jean choose the most obscenely tacky fabrics I could find. Ironically, I actually chose the fabric she ended up buying. I'll be sure to try silly walks in the future.

    Bryan – More stores should set up male-friendly waiting areas. Like small-land at Ikea, but for grown men. Complete with the latest issues of the Economist and Wired…maybe they could even serve beer? Actually, this sounds like a great idea for a chain of in-mall lounges/bars.

    Posted 7.19.10 Reply
  20. Bryan wrote:

    Very Apropos!

    As guy in the same boat (wife @, I will add a few plugs:

    – Loft: Like Theory, seating noted next to dressing room at multiple locations, seems like they got the message. Now they just need a copy of the Economist..

    – Express: Combining the stores into guys and girls years ago was a great move (even if ExpressMen sounds like a group of comic book super heros). Of course, I like Euro-Dance music and brightly colored shirts.

    On the other hand, if you must go to Victoria's Secret, go first. That way your S.O. doesn't have to carry your bags as he wanders to some other (any other) store.. call it a free tip.

    Posted 7.19.10 Reply
  21. Vicky wrote:

    LOL. Just forwarded this post to my husband. He will most appreciate this post, since he has to suffer through most of our shopping trips with me. 🙂 Forever 21 is something I can't even stand, so we went there only twice total, period. Lucky him. Another store that I tried to get him in once (after trying very hard of course) was "Talbot". I went in simply because they had a petite section. He agreed after I asked him 5 times "Do you really not want to go in?" He finally gave in and said "If you really want to." His first word going into the store was "Puke." You can imagine how many seconds we ended up staying in that store. After we got out, he sighed with relief and added,"Their music sucks too." I found that experience very entertaining.

    Posted 7.19.10 Reply
  22. Ariel wrote:

    This was so funny! Hahaha the plan of action for forever 21 was hilarious! xxxx

    Posted 7.19.10 Reply
  23. Andy wrote:

    Too funny – Kerry told me that I had to read this post, and I can completely relate. It's even more fun when she makes trips to Joann Fabrics or something like that. I get to carry rolls of fabric around and practice my Monty Python "funny walks" while holding a curtain rail in one hand. Guaranteed to reduce time spent in the store.

    Posted 7.19.10 Reply
  24. Anonymous wrote:

    Does the bf have some suggestions for how a girl can make it up to her man at the end of a long shopping trip, where her man has not only been patient but had to feign interest (for upto 6-7 hrs) and help pick out "figure-flattering" apparel?!?! 😉

    Posted 7.19.10 Reply
  25. Anonymous wrote:

    He certainly is a keeper!!! =D – my bf was all for taking me shopping in the "honeymoon period" of our relationship. Now he cringes at the word "SALE" and hopes I do not get to the mail fast enough to discover one!!! LOL

    Posted 7.19.10 Reply
  26. This is a GREAT post! BF of PAG my husband could have written EVERYTHING you posted (except about the Theory outlet ONLY because we don't have one AND he has been stuck in one too many Coach outlets before :P). We can't even walk into Abercromie and Fitch – I'm glad you put it into words for me 🙂

    Posted 7.19.10 Reply
  27. roxy wrote:

    this post is hilarious! My bf sounds exactly the same

    Mine hates H&M; & F21 for the same reasons. Cluttered and large


    Posted 7.19.10 Reply
  28. Anonymous wrote:

    By the way, what profession is he in? Does he work in a field wear he has to wear business clothes? I'm sure we'd all love another guest post about styling men's outfits — business or otherwise.

    You guys make a really good team! Looking forward to more posts!

    To your bf: Thanks for taking all the wonderful pics of Jean, they are a great supplement to all the helpful posts she writes. And when you're in another 2-story F21 (lol!) just remember you are not just keeping your girlfriend happy but helping her pass on much appreciated info to her blog readers!

    Posted 7.19.10 Reply
  29. Wow, the author is still snoozin' but he'll probably be thrilled to wake up to such lovely comments.

    PD – that IS evil, lol! But hey, F21 once or twice a year is expected…he can pay his dues : )

    PetiteXXS- the apple store is a fave hideout for him as well.

    Diary of a shopper/Ping – "treats" are always good. Smoothies and beer are favorites on this end as well. And kids departments are also DEFINITE no-nos. I can't understand why a grown man wouldn't want to hang out around the little girls' fitting room..? lol.

    RL – haha, he pretty much lied down, set up all the props and the camera settings – all I had to do was climb up a stool and snap. No artsy skillz here, sadly : (

    Anh, Angie – I'm so glad you enjoyed it! But future posts…lol, we'll have to see. I guess we didn't expect a male writer to be well-received on a female fashion blog.

    Rainy days – he's a creative writer so he jotted down the article (probably to relieve stress after a painful shopping trip). I thought it was pretty amusing so we decided to post!

    Anon @ 2:51 – wow…unheard of! And @stylepint your boyfriend not only accompanies you to F21 but also picks out items for you that are on-point? *mouth gaping open*

    Petite Republic / ReallyPetite – stores really need to have more comfy couches and waiting areas with reading material, TV, or treats. I think it could do wonders for sales.

    Anon @ 3;57, you know, my bf also found Uniqlo to be ok. I think it's because it has a decent men's selection and is still kind of "new" to him. Mine would also totally agree about the snobbish and off-putting high-end shopping (not that I need to be browsing there anyways).

    Cynthia – I used to work at a few of the AF stores and would often come home feeling unwell – headaches, read eyes, sinus irritation, etc. It's THAT bad!

    Posted 7.19.10 Reply
  30. CynthiaC wrote:

    Hey PAG Boyfriend,

    I'm a GIRL and I agree with you re: Abercrombie (and family). Cannot STAND the smell there. However, if you asked me like back when I was 25, I probably would have told you otherwise.

    Posted 7.19.10 Reply
  31. This is hilarious! When I know I am going to for long trip of shopping (when I say long, I mean 5,6 hours), I usually go by myself. I understand that there is only so much shopping men can take. If I just need go to go the mall to look for something quick, hubby is usually very good at going with me and patiently wait until I am done. You're right, he refuses to go to F21 though.
    Last week to enter my giveaway for a beautiful necklace at

    Posted 7.19.10 Reply
  32. Anonymous wrote:

    this post is hilarious! your bf tells it like it is really well * )

    the husband can't stand F21, is ok with uniqlo, finds high-end shopping off-putting and snobbish, trying to get into the groove of indie shops, loves vintage shops and flea market, has no problems with zara and find the men's section in H&M; men "cheapskate-looking" -rolls eyes-

    that said, he is really patient and waits for me (note, elastic timing) to finish shopping. his latest modus operandi is to walk around the area, check out watch shops (i have no patience with these) or just about anything that piques his interest, then meet me, hopefully to head home / a restaurant to soothe his tired legs. he does appreciate shops that have seatees / magazines for men.

    Posted 7.19.10 Reply
  33. This is too funny!!!! 😀 I hope Mr. PAG will guest blog more often!! 🙂 He made some very good, sharp points. If women already have a love/hate relationship with Forever 21, it is given that a guy will despise it :p

    Funny stuff!! 😀 You two are adorable. Who came up with the idea?? It's nice that the BF enjoys shopping with you, even if he has to use his Smart phone when you're trying something on 🙂

    Posted 7.19.10 Reply
  34. Anonymous wrote:

    I love ur bf's "Recommended plan of action" for f21. lol

    I think i'm one of the lucky girls who has a bf who likes to shop as much if not MORE than me. :]
    I usually finish stores faster than he finishes his stores.

    I'm a lucky gal.

    Posted 7.19.10 Reply
  35. nicole wrote:

    This is such an awesome post (read: funny, witty and true) because there are definitely a lot of guys out there who can relate (in more ways than one, I'm sure) to what your boyfriend experiences when going shopping with the girlfriend. I hope you tweeted this, if not, I'm about to; it's a great read!

    Posted 7.19.10 Reply
  36. stylepint wrote:

    Great post, he should do more guest posts! =)

    Most of the time, I like to shop on my own so I don't have to drag anyone with me. But my BF actually enjoys coming along with me since he used to work at JCrew.

    Even when we went to Forever 21, he'd actually pick out stuff he thought I'd like and he wasn't too far from my picks. Though, we do better when there's a men's department so when he starts to get bored, he'll head over and look at the manly clothes instead.

    Posted 7.19.10 Reply
  37. This is way too funny. What a sweet guy. My hubby would never spend two minutes in Forever 21 let alone write a witty blog post. Hold on tight he's a keeper! =)

    Janice (Couture and Crayons)

    Posted 7.19.10 Reply
  38. LOL- you are hilarious! My hubby usually just patiently waits or goes to a different store.

    F21 along with other stores needs to have a "waiting section" for our men! 🙂

    Posted 7.19.10 Reply
  39. lol!! this is pretty darn true, mine hates forever 21 too! but 32 minutes in a clothing store? i dont care how many magazine it has, your bag carrier has the patience!

    also, AE has pretty comfy sofa with some music (possibly bad) video playing as well.

    I used to make my bag carrier bring his DS around so that he can be entertained. works pretty well.

    Posted 7.19.10 Reply
  40. Ping wrote:

    haahha…my bf says try a 3-story forever21 in SF. i try not to go too often. lol

    my bf accompanies me to all shopping trips. he's great holding stuff for me when i have too many things in my hand. hahah

    he normally likes beer as a reward. the only store he refuses to go into is the kids departments.

    Posted 7.19.10 Reply
  41. Angie wrote:

    Hahahaha I nearly fell off my chair laughing 🙂 What a great guest post. This is some serious comic relief after a day of crunching viscosity values and figuring out the minute difference between stress and strain (which are both operating nicely on my brain right now). I feel bad because my bf gets headaches even before entering Forever21 and hunkers down in a nice leather chair somewhere far, far away and plays on his smartphone xD I pity the poor guy and usually leave him at home 🙂

    You should have Mr. PAG continue guest blogging. You two are an all-round power couple!

    Posted 7.19.10 Reply
  42. janice NY wrote:

    Lol! Awesome post. You're so lucky the BF accompanies you shopping and takes pictures for the blog. I usually shop solo (or drop him off at some electronics store and agree to meet in 30 minutes) to avoid the whining and persuasion NOT to buy things.

    Posted 7.19.10 Reply
  43. Anonymous wrote:

    He so eloquently captured my husband's feelings about Abercrombie and Forever 21!

    Posted 7.19.10 Reply
  44. lol!!! omgosh, this is such a great post! i've heard many of my guy friends say the same things:) that's nice of the theory outlet store to provide magazines for men haha!

    Posted 7.19.10 Reply
  45. Good work, Mr. PAG! Because of your post, I'm going to take my temporary clothes rack to see Inception.. and any other sci-fi/action flick he'll ever want to see.

    Posted 7.19.10 Reply
  46. RL wrote:

    Haha, so interesting to finally hear from the man behind the camera. And by the way, the first photo is awesome! I literally almost thought it was a stock photo. Well done, Jean! (I'm assuming this was your styling/photographing?) Looks like your bf isn't the only one whose great with the camera.

    Posted 7.19.10 Reply
  47. Ha, ha! My husband got a serious kick out of this. He said he completely empathizes. Our guys are such good sports following us around all the stores! I usually try to stop by Jamba Juice first, because as long as my husband has a Jamba Juice smoothie in hand while we are shopping, he is happy.

    Posted 7.19.10 Reply
  48. PetiteXXS wrote:

    Lol… I'm sure my hubby can definitely relate! Any place that has a couch or seat and I've got myself at least 30 min of iPhone time to browse! Otherwise he always complains about my "tight figure eight patterns" as you so aptly called it! Forever21 is probably the worst offender, I can barely stand the store myself and so I take pity on the guy and send him off to a nearby Apple store.

    Posted 7.19.10 Reply
  49. Anh wrote:

    OMG. Hilarious!!!!!!!!! This might be the first time I actually use the "forward" icon in any blog post to send it to my hubby. I hope Mr. Petite Asian Girl has plans to continue guest blogging for Ms. Petite Asian Girl =)

    xoxo Anh @ 9to5Chic

    Posted 7.19.10 Reply
  50. PD wrote:

    Haha this is a hilarious post! I share the same sentiments about Hollister & Forever 21 actually, but they do have some nice stuff so I usually suck it up and browse anyway. I want to show my boyfriend this post but I've been planning to ask him to accompany me to F21, so maybe I'll do it after. *evil grin*

    Posted 7.19.10 Reply

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