Dating is a universal maze. We are the rats running through it, gazing incredulously upward for the lunatic scientist handling the experiment nowhere to be found. In the chance that you’re one of those privileged creatures who unravels the maze and finds a female rat to accompany your journey, you’d better hold onto her.

There’s only one, tiny, little problem? We see…you like that she’s smart (feel free to replace ‘smart’ with bookish, sensible, sweet, any trait of your choosing), but you’re not crazy about the fact that she dresses like it. You’d like to hold onto this girl, but you’d also like her dresses to hold your attention. Well, here’s a few ways to help you conduct a little experiment of your own – Getting her to dress hotter. That is, without getting dumped in the duration.

The Subtle Hint    

ATTENTION: Keyword = Subtle. It’s too easy to make this a difficult situation (i.e “Honey, you’d look so much better if you didn’t wear that frumpy crap”). Instead, get her when she’s feeling confident (post-great-sex will do just fine) and go with something like – “God, you’re hot.  Do you even realize how hot you are? It’s totally not necessary, but if you wanted to, you could really afford to show it off. ” Add a genuine grin, a brief tug at her waist or a (non-demeaning) tap on the ass and let it go. Don’t expound (i.e dig a grave). Just drop the hint and keep moving. Moving targets don’t get dumped.

Let The Best Girlfriend Do It

Another take on the subtle hint option – subtly implying the nature of your fashion-based pickle to her bestest friend. For example, it’s Friday, the three of you have shared a meal and some laughs (but not the check, you pay the check). Your lady excuses herself to the restroom. Giving a (believably) loving look as she saunters away, you turn back to her best friend (maintaining aforementioned, genuine grin) and say, “She’s so gorgeous. Does she know how gorgeous she is? I don’t want her feeling like she has to wear sensible clothes all the time. She shouldn’t feel the need to hide herself! Please make sure she knows that, will you?”

Be assured – girlfriends tell each other everything, the message will be carried across without making you look like an ass. But be careful – if your lady’s best friend is defensive – disregard this option entirely.

Buy It For Her

Don’t be a jerk – not lingerie. Never go straight for the lingerie. It’s not only tactless, it’s tasteless. Peek at the tags in her clothes, find out her dress size, go to a store whose mannequins make you salivate and buy a few, simple, but nonetheless satisfyingly hot, dresses, skirts or blouses (NEVER jeans). Don’t worry, the woman working the floor will help you. All you need to know is her size and a favorite or commonly worn color. Then, give your lady the shopping loot and tell her you felt she deserved some new, stunning clothes to suit her ever-stunning figure. You’ll know if this worked immediately by whether you receive oustanding sex and a sexily-dressed girlfriend, or the painful omission of break up sex and a scathingly enraged ex-girlfriend.

Note: A good preventative measure is once more consulting the best friend for favorite clothing stores. A bad preventative measure is going to any store whose name features the words  “Pussy Cat,” “Bondage Babes,” “Naughty and Nice” or anything along these lines.

Include Yourself

Tell her you’re tired of your own wardrobe. You’d like to rebuild. You say (something like), “Sometimes, I just get the feeling I’m not doing myself enough justice with the clothes I wear. I like to think people should take pride in their appearance, don’t you? Maybe we should go shopping soon, the both of us. It’d be fun.” This obviously won’t work if you’ve already undeniably mastered the art of dressing well. But, on the off chance that there’s room for improvement, capitalize on that, and invite your gal along. Make it a team thing rather than a baby-please-stop-dressing-like-my-fifth-grade-teacher kind of thing.

BEWARE: It’s not only possible but likely that your lady’s womanly instincts will rear up, causing her to ask if you’re interested only in her improved wardrobe. Stay confident and clear-headed. Deny everything.

Hire A Personal Shopper

Many a woman make a living by assisting other women in shopping. Crazy, right? But nonetheless true and to your benefit. These women can be hired out hourly and often make great gifts for special occasions. If you’ve got the dough, do it. Tell the shopper your secretly stored ideas for recreating your lady’s style and send her out on the hunt. Your girl will feel pampered and adored, so much so that her suspicions concerning your motives will be entirely stomped out by her new, patent leather pumps.

Take Precaution: Just because the personal shopper is a professional, don’t assume complete candidness while explaining your intentions. Girls bond by telling secrets and spilling blood. Be clear, but clever about it. Insure that your blood will remain running where you need it and not on the Bloomingdale’s dressing room floor.

For The Brave: Be Straight Forward

If you’re the honest type, the type incapable of anything other than directness,  don’t worry – there’s still hope. Not all women take offense at constructive criticism so long as they are confident in the connection and your sincerity. Start by telling her the positive truth – flattery is not cheap so long as it’s founded – and then dive in. A good example of transition goes something like this: “You know, you’re always talking about the celebrities and friends you find so beautiful. But you’re just as great looking. If you don’t believe me, try it. Wear something that makes you feel sexy and you’ll see that everyone else will find you sexy, too.” Don’t tell her she’s disappointing you with her plain attire. Tell her you can’t wait to see her all dolled up. Tell her you’d like to stroll down the sidewalk with her on your arm, while watching other men enviously size her up.

IMPORTANT NOTE: Be prepared to stroll down the sidewalk with her on your arm, while watching other men enviously size her up.

That’s it, fellows – a step by step guide to getting your partner’s garments upgraded. The success rates will vary, considering the stealth and style of your execution. So long as you think before stuttering, everything will turn out FINE. And so will your woman.