Men are from Marks & Spencer, women are from Topshop

A recent survey found that one in four men don't like what their partners wear.

But are they brave enough to say so?

There is no better indication of the fact that men and women will never really understand each other than what they each think about the other’s clothing. (Actually, their completely antithetical attitudes toward communication and expending effort go some way to elucidating their utter incompatibility too.)

But for the purpose of this article, let’s focus on a recent survey that found that almost one in four men don't like what their partners wear. From bitter experience, the “don’t like” bracket seems to span everything from “Holy crap, what have you got on?” via “It’s not very frilly” to “If you leave the house in that, I will pretend you’re not my girlfriend/wife/babymother”.

I once met a boyfriend to go to the cinema in an outfit I thought was terribly cool. Within five minutes, he told me, “You know, if it was based on looks alone, I probably wouldn’t be going out with you. BUT YOU’RE SO CLEVER!” More recently, a man looked at a photo of me and asked why I was dressed like an Amish person. I declined to go into a lengthy explanation of fashionable minimalism and just put on some hot pants instead.

The thing is, one in four women probably don’t like their partner’s clothes either. It’s just that this much we knew, because women are active participants in the remorseless quest for self-improvement, and they foist this upon the ones they love too.

But men are more content to take the easy road: they won’t tell you if you look dreadful, because you might get cross. They don’t want to hurt your feelings, quite rightly. And you might get cross.

So herewith, a simple guide to getting dressed, for the benefit of both sexes.

1 Don’t dress like a widow. Or a fat person. (Thanks to my mother for these.)

2 Especially don’t dress like a fat person trying to hide the fact that they’re fat. Or like a thin person trying to show off the fact that they’re thin.

3 Wearing a red dress won’t make you feel any happier.

4 If your top smiles when you sit down, it is too tight.

5 If the man opposite you smiles when you sit down, your top is too low.

Now go forth. And don’t be too honest with each other.