DEAR ABBY: I have been working hard to advance in my health care career so I can give my family a decent life. I have worked my way up from poverty, paying my own way, earning my degree through the military and sheer determination.
I have reached a point where I would like to enjoy life a little more, but my husband thinks I am being "materialistic." We fight often over my wardrobe spending.
I believe the clothes I wear, mostly nice skirt suits and heels, are part of my job and image. I believe it has helped me to get ahead. I don't buy overly expensive items, but they aren't cheap. I wear the things I buy for years and have a $200-a-month budget for what I may need, even though I don't always spend it.
I think I have earned the right to shop a little, which will ultimately lead to bigger and better things for my family, so why does my husband make me feel so guilty? -- CLOTHES MAKE THE WOMAN
DEAR C.M.T.W.: Not knowing your husband, it's difficult to say, but I'll throw out a few ideas. Could he be insecure or intimidated by your professional image? Could he be jealous on some level? In what kind of environment was he raised? Was his mother's "uniform" a housedress?
If you are earning good money and your family is being provided for, then you are certainly entitled to spend some of it on yourself. And you shouldn't have to apologize for it.