Fashion for Men: The Primer on Looking Amazing


Guys have been asking for a while on here for a piece on fashion for men. So I guess that makes this one a long time coming.

Fashion's important. How important? It's pretty important. It's not make or break always... but you know the saying: clothes make the man.

fashion for men

What you wear doesn't just define you as cool, sexy, or stylish. It also subconsciously affects how other people feel toward you.

Wear clothes that make you look amazing, and people will feel like you're amazing. Wear clothes that make you look different, and people will view you as different (good or bad as that may be).

Wear clothes that make you look ordinary, on the other hand, and people will view you as just that: ordinary. Boring. Not particularly noteworthy.

They'll hardly even notice you.

And thus, we have our focus on fashion: getting noticed, in a positive way. But not like what we discussed in the article on peacocking... the truly fashionable man picks clothes that fit him so well people don't even see the individual clothing items all that much.

Instead, they just look at the man himself and say "wow."


fashion for men

I chose the word "excellent" for the heading here because "excellence" is what you want to strive for and put the emphasis on in your own assembling of your fashion and style.

Fashion is an art form. It's making yourself appear more beautiful, more powerful, more put-together, and more competent. It's making yourself stand out from the crowd in attractive, noticeable, and, ideally, subtle ways. It's also about contrast and highlighting some aspects over others.

An extreme example of how fashion impacts perception is to think of someone from a rebellious youth subculture - the punks of the 1980s, the goths of the 1990s and early 2000s, the emos and hipsters of the late 2000s and early 2010s. Then take them and contrast them with, say, an urban gentleman, a business elite, or a trendy celebrity. And take all of those people and compare them with someone who spends all of his or her time at the beach, tanning and surfing and hitting the gym and drinking at beach bars.

There are some personality differences you no doubt see when you picture these people; but the biggest difference in your mind's eye are the fashion differences.

The punk / goth / emo has dark clothes, with lots of zippers, chains, and piercings, accented by sometimes colorful hair (pink or green, say, or bright red). The urban gentleman or business elite sports well-fitting clothes clearly made of high quality materials. The beach frequenter is wears loose-fitting, breezy clothing - t-shirts, shorts, and sandals - designed to show of his or her body, which is in shape, tanned, and as much a part of his fashion identity as the articles of clothing worn.

Which brings us to our first lesson on fashion: when you set out to put together a good "look" for yourself, you need to have a certain image in mind.

Fashion can be a way of expressing yourself... but usually, it's a way of labeling yourself.

We'll come back to fashion identities in a little bit. For now though, what I want to start with are those elements of fashion universal to all styles.


The Power of Red

fashion for menYou may have heard the advice that "if you want to be more attractive, wear something red." You've probably had the experience of walking down the street and having your eye suddenly caught by some girl wearing a bright red dress or shirt or jacket.

Well, there's research on red, too. The research was done first on the "woman in red," finding a notable increase in a woman's sex appeal to men when wearing red.

Then they did the research on men's sexual attractiveness to women while wearing red:

In many nonhuman species of vertebrates, females are attracted to red on male conspecifics. Red is also a signal of male status in many nonhuman vertebrate species, and females show a mating preference for high-status males. These red–attraction and red–status links have been found even when red is displayed on males artificially. In the present research, we document parallels between human and nonhuman females’ response to male red. Specifically, in a series of 7 experiments we demonstrate that women perceive men to be more attractive and sexually desirable when seen on a red background and in red clothing, and we additionally show that status perceptions are responsible for this red effect. The influence of red appears to be specific to women’s romantic attraction to men: Red did not influence men’s perceptions of other men, nor did it influence women’s perceptions of men’s overall likability, agreeableness, or extraversion. Participants showed no awareness that the research focused on the influence of color. These findings indicate that color not only has aesthetic value but can carry meaning and impact psychological functioning in subtle, important, and provocative ways.

That's from "Red, Rank, and Romance in Women Viewing Men," published in the Journal of Experimental Psychology in 2010. The main points of interest from the study:

  • Men wearing red or pictured on red backgrounds are more sexually attractive to women

  • These men were NOT considered more likeable, more agreeable, or more outgoing; merely more sexually attractive

  • The sexual attraction boost the men received came as a result of being perceived as higher status due to the presence of red

  • The wearing of red had no effect on other men's perceptions of men wearing red being more attractive or higher status

(another interesting note about this study is that approximately a quarter of its length is nothing but citations referencing other research - I guess the researchers were very serious about backing their experiments up with citations of other works... work in the sexual attraction space is rife with method-questioning, it seems)

An interesting side note from the same research:

We fully expect our findings to generalize to dynamic skin displays, because female primates, including women, are extremely adept at detecting and decoding blood flow changes in the face (Changizi et al., 2006), and women have been shown to be more sensitive to the perception of red stimuli than are men (Hurlbert & Ling, 2007). As such, women seem particularly well equipped to pick up subtle, shifting, red coloration displayed on men’s faces.

The authors are thus saying they believe that blushing/flushing and reddening of the face may lead to men being perceived as higher status and more sexually attractive, which is the first time I've heard of this.

Another interesting note:

Red displays by men may not only influence others’ perceptions but may influence self-perceptions as well. This seems particularly likely with regard to artificial red (e.g., red clothing) that the individual is clearly cognizant of displaying. Wearing red may subtly enhance a man’s sense of his status or power in a given situation, which in turn could influence his thoughts, feelings, and actions in that situation. Thus, a man in a red tie may give a more confident business presentation, a man wearing a red football jersey may play more aggressively (see Attrill, Gresty, Hill, & Barton, 2008), and a man wearing a red shirt on a date may be more forward and assertive. In fact, in many instances, red likely exerts an influence on self-perception and other-perception in joint fashion. For example, the red shirt that Tiger Woods typically adorns on the final day of golf tournaments likely provides him with a confidence-boosting reminder of his alpha status in the golf world as it simultaneously reminds his competitors that they are probably facing another long day on the course. Interestingly, the results of our research suggest that Tiger Woods’ choice of apparel may make the ladies in the gallery swoon, as well as the competitors on the course wilt.

The researchers here are speculating that not only does wearing red make you more attractive and confer higher status, but knowing that you're wearing red may make you feel more attractive and higher status - leading you to act more attractive, more assertive, and higher status, and thus upping the boost you receive.

Back to that old adage. If you want to be more attractive, wear something red.


You Should Be Wearing Size “Small”

fashion for menThe signature of Hip-Hop culture has long been baggy clothing, a descendant of prison culture, where men had belts removed upon being arrested (so they wouldn't hang themselves), and ended up having their pants sliding down past their waists. In the ghettos of the 1970s and 1980s, where an urban black culture ravaged by crack cocaine saw a large portion of its men going into and out of prison, a stint in the lockup became something of a rite of passage, and baggy clothing a signal that you were "hard" and a "real man."

As often happens with fads and trends beginning among the lower socioeconomic classes, this began to migrate up to the middle and upper classes as "cool," too ("dating" was another of these trends that began, in the 1900s and 1910s, with the poor and migrated up).

The only problem was, as "hard" as baggy clothes made a guy appear, they didn't make him look GOOD.

They didn't make him sexy.

In fact, while they did make him tough, they also made him rather non-sexual.

Which is all well and good if your main purpose in how you select your clothing is to impress other men... but if you'd instead rather be dressing yourself to be impressive to women, you need to dress a little differently.

After I graduated from college, I decided to select some tighter-fitting clothes and try them out. I'd been wearing large, loose, baggy t-shirts and jeans for quite a while, but I realized I was dressing to impress men, not women... and I realized, "Wait a minute. Who cares what random men on the street think about me? I want the WOMEN to look at me and say 'Whoa!'"

The first few days of wearing size small t-shirts and tight-fitting jeans, I found the clothes a little uncomfortable... but there was no denying I looked good. I still had a big gut then - I hadn't spent much time investigating weight loss yet - but the instant I was wearing better-fitting clothes I started getting compliments:

  • "Whoa, Chase, you got ripped!"
  • "Damn dude, you look good!"
  • "Chase, your arms look a lot bigger!"

I'd been concealing my form in baggy clothing, I realized, and doing so in very unflattering ways. Even though my newer, smaller, tighter-fitting clothing showed clearly that I had a guy, no one noticed that... I've since realized that people just assume you have a big gut if you wear baggy clothing anyway. Very similar to the style of clothing popular among women in the early 2010s and satirized as "tit curtains" by a blogger named Maddox:

pregnancy shirts

Male or female, baggy clothing makes you look fat.

And decidedly NOT sexy.

Unless you're a giant, or living somewhere in Asia (where the sizes are markedly smaller), you should be able to fit into shirt size "small." For reference, I am six feet tall and about 160 pounds, and size small fits me well and looks good on me. If you're significantly larger than I am, you may need size medium. If you're a bit smaller than I am, you might want to go with size extra small (I own some pieces of clothing in XS as well - cuts are different).

What happened for me when I was growing up, and what I think happens for a lot of other guys, is that you get some sort of ego-attachment to being able to say, "I wear size large!" as if wearing a large-sized t-shirt makes you a bigger, more powerful man.

Actually, it usually just makes you look fat.

Buy size small (or smaller). It makes you look good.


Contrast is King

No doubt you've heard of "color coordination" when it comes to selecting clothing. And this is important - you want your:

  • Shoes
  • Belt
  • Watch
  • Other accessories

... to match, no doubt. In fact, if you can purchase shoes, a belt, and a watch of similar design, color, and material, you can create a very "integrated" look that people will not be able to quite put a finger on, but will just know that they like.

But really, in the grand scheme of things, this is a smaller, more subtle detail. It's worth getting down, but there's an even bigger difference you don't hear about all that often:

Contrast.

What's contrast?

Contrast is wearing clothing items that stand out from one another, without crowding each other out. Check these examples out:

fashion for men

Each of these men looks very good in what he's wearing, because of the kinds of contrast going on:

  • Contrast of the color of clothing items against other clothing items
  • Contrast of the color of clothing items against his skin color

The man in the first photograph, for instance, looks darkly charming because of the contrast of his all-black clothing with his white skin color. A darker skinned man wearing the same all-black outfit doesn't look nearly as good, however; nor does this man look quite as good if he wears an all-white outfit. However, if a black man puts on an all-black outfit like this and adds in a bright white tie, or if a white man puts on an all-white outfit and adds a black tie or black buttons, it can look very good, because of the contrast.

The man in the fourth photograph has contrast primarily between the clothing items he has on; this outfit looks equally good whether his skin is pale white or dark black in tone, or anywhere in between. The light gray outer shirt offsets the bright pink t-shirt underneath, and the lightness of the top colors are balanced out by the dark color of his jeans.

In selecting clothing, environmental considerations are also important. For instance, if you'll be meeting women in a crowded bar, nightclub, or party, the fourth look probably isn't a good choice because women will likely mostly just see your upper torso and higher, which means they won't see the contrast the dark jeans provide. If you cover up the model's jeans with your hand and only look at him from the waist up, his style becomes decidedly less appealing (because there's markedly less contrast).

There are other scenarios in which a woman may not be able to see how your lower body style matches up with and contrasts against your upper body style; e.g., in a classroom setting where everyone is sitting down; in a cafeteria; at a conference for work or in a meeting; in a crowded train; any kind of social function where people are sitting down or packed in tightly together. That means that generally, unless you're primarily meeting women on the street during day game, you want to stick to making sure you have enough contrast on your upper torso that you look good regardless what your pants or jeans look like.

Several more examples of contrast:

fashion for men

fashion for men

In both examples, the model on the left is wearing clothing with little contrast, while the model on the right is wearing clothing with clear contrast. Your emotion on comparing the models usually just feels like the man on the right is the sharper, more powerful, "cooler" man.

The reason why is contrast.


Always Wear a Coat

I spent time in Los Angeles with a fashionable friend of mine some years back, and I noticed that even though it was quite warm outside, every time we went out he had a coat on.

"I always wear a coat," he remarked when I asked him about it. I thought about it, and I realized why.

If you scan back up over the images of men above considered "fashionable," you'll note that every single one of them has multiple layers. You can be fashionable with only one layer of upper body clothing on, but it's hard, and you just don't get the same level of "cool" and esteem that you do with a second layer on.

The outer layer doesn't have to be a coat. You can often get away with having a light t-shirt on as layer #1, and a light button-down shirt left unbuttoned and open with the sleeves rolled up as layer #2... this way, you can still look very fashionable even in warm weather.

Another way of doing multiple layers that's been in vogue the past couple of decades among the more well-to-do (but seems to be on its way out) is wearing a dress shirt or polo shit as layer #1, and a sweater loosely tied around the neck and draped over the back, shoulders, and chest as layer #2.

What's important to note is, the forms this takes may change with time, but the principle remains the same: wearing multiple layers allows you to be more interesting, more fashionable, and show more contrast in your look.

If you want to look good, always wear a coat (or another shirt) on top of your bottom-layer shirt.


fashion for men

The first section of this post was focused on overall universal elements of fashion that always apply and always will. The exact details of fashion will change with time - someday, suits and t-shirts alike will be antiquated pieces of clothing that no one but people making movies that are period pieces will wear anymore.

But red will still be sexually stimulating and confer status upon its wearer, well-fitting clothing will still look better than poorly fitting attire, multiple layers will still allow you to accomplish more fashionably than a single layer will, and contrast will still be king.

The rest of this article will be devoted to the specific things you can do with clothing and accessories to improve your look right now. Because fashions change as the years wear on, this part of the post may not be as relevant if you're reading it in 2023 as it is if you're reading it in 2013, or it may not be as relevant if you're living in a vastly different culture with very different fashion expectations than what we have in the West right now.

That said, the focus here is on accenting your style in attractive ways, and even if specific examples seem not to apply, there's likely some way you can find a similar twist on a similar clothing item to make it work in a way that that's attractive, trendy, and stylish.


Above-the-Neck Fashion: Limit to Facial Hair, Hairstyles

Depending on whether you're part of a subculture (or not), you may be around people who get piercings - sometimes lots of piercings - and even tattoos, or other forms of modifications for their face.

My advice: don't do this. It's generally not attractive.

It has another downside as well, in that it limits your mobility among different classes, cultures, and subcultures.

A giant nose ring or a bright pink mohawk might serve you well with the 1980s punk culture, but you're going to have a very difficult time dating professional women, girls from the middle or upper classes, or women hailing from a different country with a conservative culture.

Keep your above-the-neck fashion limited to attractive facial hair and a great hairstyle. Anything more than this is very restrictive of your choice with women, and not advised.


Cool Accessories: Pick One

There was a time in my life wear I wore loads of gold jewelry. I had:

  • gold braceletA gold necklace

  • A gold pendant

  • A gold watch

  • A gold belt buckle

  • Four chunky gold rings (two for each hang)

  • A gold bracelet from a website called IcedOutGear.com exactly like this one:

I won't say I'm ashamed of that period of my life... but I certainly wouldn't advise you to dress like I used to dress back then. It got me a lot of attention and a lot of comments, but reactions do not equal results. You make yourself more of a curiosity than you do a sex symbol when you load yourself up with accessories.

After that phase, I moved down to a silver necklace and a pair of silver rings - one an iron cross, and the other a square ring with a sapphire in the middle - along with a braided leather bracelet that women repeatedly told me made me look "like a bad boy."

Cool accessories like these can help when you're newer to meeting women and your vibe is not down well enough yet - you're not smooth enough, edgy enough, or sexy enough yet.

The more powerful your presence gets, though, the more you want to dial down the accessories. They become unwieldy tools for communicating coolness - you yourself are far better at it than any accessory can possibly be.

These days, my rule is "pick ONE accessory." My one accessory is a Tibetan mandala pendant, similar to this:

mandala pendant

It's simple, it's elegant, and it's eye-catching in contrast to my lack of any other kind of accessory. It has a good backstory, too; when women ask me about it, it's very easy to say that it's from Tibet (and it is; I had it mailed to the U.S. expressly from there) and that it means "whole world" or "healing circle" (this is what a mandala represents in Tibetan Buddhism).

Accessories are an okay crutch to lean on when you're new, but the better you get with women, the fewer of them you want to have on.


Coats: Red and Fur

black coatI have two kinds of coats I like to wear most:

  • A red patterned coat from Guess

  • A black coat/parka with a fur-lined hood and a waist-sash from Uniqlo

I also have some really cool leather jackets from a leather store, and a beautiful tailor-made cashmere overcoat. I still like to wear these out sometimes, but red coat from Guess and the coat with the fur-lined hood from Uniqlo are my favorites, simply because I just get better responses when I'm wearing either the red patterned coat, or the fur-lined coat.

The coat with the fur-lined hood looks similar to the image on the right, except with a black material with a matted finish rather than the plain (and boring) surface of the coat in the image.

The red patterned coat from Guess I can't find an example of on the Internet - there was only one of it when I purchased it in 2009, and no others in the store, and I haven't seen another since, out and about or on the net.

If you're thinking you wouldn't be able to pull this off though, here're a few examples of men sporting red coats and blazers and looking good:

fashion for men

Because understatement is key in fashion, you'll usually want a darker red than a brighter one - a coat closer to the tone of the second or third images above is ideal (the fourth image is a little too bright for my tastes, and the first one's going to be a little difficult to pull off in most situations).

If you can find a red/burgundy patterned jacket like what I found at Guess in 2009, that might be your best bet for a stylish outer layer you can wear in any non-extreme (not too hot, not too cold) weather. However, those are hard to come by.

This also makes for a point worth emphasizing - the article of clothing in my possession I get the best reactions from women out of - that red patterned coat - is done in a style and color it's very difficult to find. So, don't assume that just because you don't see something everywhere you look that means it doesn't look good and isn't attractive or fashionable.

The best fashion is some mixture of understated, popular, and unique or uncommon, all rolled up into one.


Zippers, Buttons, and Buckles

This one's something of a fad built on top of a larger trend. The fad - what's current in the 2010s - is zippers, buttons, and buckles.

The larger trend, though - the one that's universal to human fashion throughout the ages - is clothing that's more complicated than it needs to be, in attractive-looking ways.

Why do human beings find clothing that's slightly more complicated than it needs to be attractive and appealing? My guess is it's a simple penchant for novelty. You see a standard looking leather jacket next to a jacket with some bells and whistles on it:

fashion for men

The one on the left is somewhat appealing, though mainly because it's shiny in the lighting of the photograph, and that's not an advantage you'll have the majority of the time while out with that coat (e.g., in a café or in a bar). The coat on the right is far more interesting, and makes it an easy conversation piece. You'll tend to get a lot of, "That's a really cool coat," compliments when you have an item on with extra zippers, buttons, and buckles (not to mention shoulder straps, as in the coat on the right above).

The exception: if you are naturally very good looking, go with a plainer-looking coat. This is to distract less attention from your face, which is naturally providing you with a "style" advantage. If you're not very good looking by nature - e.g., moderately good-looking or less - go with zippers, buttons, and buckles to accentuate your looks and fashion.


Shirts

dress shirtI wear button-down shirts whenever I want to look good, and any time I plan to meet girls. The only exceptions to this rule are the gym and the beach.

I've experimented with t-shirts, long-sleeved t-shirts, polo shirts, and the like, and I've just found that I get a warmer reception from women in a button-down. The t-shirt as layer #1, button-down shirt as layer #2 on top of the t-shirt usually works okay too.

Nearly all of my "going out" dress shirts come from Guess. I find the button-downs at Guess are consistently and considerably cooler and trendier than the things you'll find at other stores (like Express, which is what pretty much every guy everywhere you go who's trying to be trendy is wearing, and you don't stand out at all wearing). They're no more expensive than what you'll find at Express or Abercrombie or anywhere else, either.


Scarves

A scarf is a great attention-getter and a great accent to nearly any look. The fad in 2013 is BIG and often COLORFUL scarves, but I'm pretty confident you can expect this one to pass pretty quick and we'll be back to standard-sized scarves by next year (standard-sized scarves are still attractive and appealing, too, despite the bigness trend).

Some examples of men wearing (standard-sized) scarves:

fashion for men

A scarf is an item you can add to any outfit to instantly make it trendy. If you're wearing it in party / bar / club situations, be prepared to have women ask if they can borrow your scarf (and for some of them to try and make off with it). For some reason, nothing stirs up kleptomaniacal tendencies in party girls quite like scarves do.


Belts

For belts, I prefer a smooth clasp buckle, rather than the standard-issue buckle you see on most belts. Anything with the standard hole-and-tooth look just strikes me as extraordinarily plain and unoriginal looking.

This is the only kind of belt you will usually find me wearing:

fashion for men

It used to be next to impossible to find belts with clasps like these, but I guess they're becoming more popular because it's less difficult to find them now than it used to be.

A look like this is just cleaner, more attractive, and more elegant than the hole-and-tooth look you'll find on 99% of belts, in my personal opinion. You'll also tend to get a bunch of compliments on it (provided your belt is showing, that is), but that's almost beside the point; it's just nicer to wear.


Chunky/Blocky Watches

diesel watchI often don't wear a watch at all, simply because I don't like the feel of having something on my wrist. It's vaguely uncomfortable, and it tends to catch on things.

However, when I do wear watches, my preference is for blocky or "chunky" watches, like the one on the right from Diesel (that's my preferred model, the DZ1114). The chunky/blocky watch face style strikes me as more modern, attractive, and attention-grabbing than the more traditional circular watch style common with most watches.

It also tends to get a lot of attention, and you'll get a lot of questions about it. Commonly it's, "That's a really cool watch... I haven't seen a watch like that before. What kind is it / where did you get it?"

When I was younger, I used to be a fan of wearing Rolexes (well... counterfeit Rolexes; I didn't have the funds for real Rolexes - but I did own a couple of very convincing fakes), and those get a lot of attention too, but it feels very much like you're trying for attention. With an attractive-but-uncommon-looking watch from an unrecognized brand, you instantly have a way of being cool, fashionable, and unique, without having to pay top dollar to look that way.


Jeans

Here again I'm a fan of Diesel:

diesel jeans

I just like the cut and fit of these jeans - they're very well made. I've owned True Religions, and still wear a pair now and again, but they tend to strike me as more feminine than anything else, whereas Diesel has a more masculine feel to it.

That might just be superstition - I had a "lucky" pair of Diesels that I'd end up taking girls to bed in almost every other time I wore them when I was still fairly new to pickup, though that pair got stolen out of the wash one night in Southern California, by some clothing thief who I can only hope, out of sheer spite, isn't getting the same mileage out of them that I got.

Whatever kind of jeans you buy, make sure they fit very well. If you go to a higher-end jean store, they'll frequently have specialists on hand who are great at helping you pick out jeans that will look good on you and be well-fitting.

A good pair of jeans can set you back about $200. But, one good pair is really all you need - if you wash it once a week, you'll be fine.

Oh, and, with tight-fitting jeans, you'll generally find you're a lot more comfortable when you skip the underwear. It also makes things a lot, shall we say, easier when you've got a new girl you're rounding home plate with. The less there is to take off, the better off you are.


Sneakers

camper sneakerI used to wear big chunky white Nike sneakers, and girls hated them. I'd have girlfriends with even just ordinary fashion senses ridiculing my footwear. It wasn't even like I had anything especially different... they were your standard pair of basketball sneakers.

They just didn't look all that stylish.

These days, I only buy sneakers from Camper, which has "fashionable" sneakers in the style of the one on the right.

Not only do Campers look good, but they're thin enough that if you buy a dark-colored pair, you can often get away with them in place of dress shoes if you work in an office that's relaxed enough.

And on top of that, they sure are comfortable.


Cowboy Boots

Nothing says "style" like a good old-fashioned pair of cowboy boots:

cowboy boots

The above are the sort of boots I like best - the shape, look, and material (distressed leather), although I usually buy brown, just because brown works with more colors.

Cowboy boots offer you a few advantages:

  • They stand out, giving you something cool and different to wear on your feet, which is an area that most men wear unoriginal / standard dress shoes, at best

  • They look tough, manly, and grizzled, far more than dress shoes - which make a fella look like a prissy businessman - and sneakers - which make a guy look like an overgrown kid. No one wears cowboy boots but manly men

  • They add a few inches of height to you - and height is an attraction trigger. It can be overcome with a variety of things, but there's no denying that adding inches to your height adds a little bit to your attractiveness, no matter how tall (or not) you are

I usually get mine from Aldo - they're the best shop I've found for consistently cool cowboy boots - but feel free to shop around.


Tailors

You won't want to visit the tailor when you're just starting out with getting your fashion sense down, but once you know what kind of clothes you want to wear and how you want to look, I very much advise finding a good tailor and either:

  1. Having your store-bought clothes tailored to precisely hug your frame, or

  2. Having custom clothes made for you from scratch.

That second option can be pricey, which is why I don't suggest you have it done until you know exactly what kind of clothing you want (and won't have completely changed styles in six months). I also don't suggest this if you can't afford it - it certainly adds to the look, but if you haven't handled your finances to the point where you can easily pay for custom clothes, don't go into debt just to get these. There are plenty of things in the store you can find that will fit you reasonably (or sometimes even really) well.


Fashion for Men Wrap Up

chinese jacketFashion's one of those things that most men never learn about because most men aren't exposed to it. You'll get hints about looking fashionable here and there, and there are images of fashionable men all around you on TV, in the movies, in print, and online, but if you're not paying close attention to what they're wearing, you won't learn a whole lot about how to dress yourself any better.

Worse, because fashion is an acquired taste - you're not born knowing that scarves are great accessories; fashion is different at every era in every civilization across the globe - it takes time and exposure to current fashion to understand what looks good and what doesn't.

While in China once, I purchased a very cool all-black traditional Chinese jacket. It was a big hit once I got it back to the States (everybody wanted to know where I'd gotten it; the answer "Shanghai" would either get me big smiles or blank stares); I'd wanted a Chinese coat like that ever since watching Chris Tucker sport one in Rush Hour 2. It just looked bad ass.

Anyway, I lost that jacket in a bar when I set it on the back of a barstool some years later and someone made off with it, by accident or not, and I bought another one in China a little while later. That one I took to a tailor to have it taken in a bit so it'd better hug my frame; but the people there told me it looked terrible that way.

The tradition in China was for the sides to be straight up and down; that looked good to the Chinese.

To me, it just made me look fat. But they refused to take it in; they were just looking out for me, they said - they didn't want me to look bad.

Fashion is a big adventure. You'll combine a lot of different, interesting pieces from all over the place, and some of them will work well together, and some of them won't. You'll get feedback from people and refine your style as you go. You might realize that a treasured item really isn't all that flattering on you, and end up setting it aside. You might discover that the style of clothing you once said you'd never wear looks great on you, and you come to like it a good deal.

You don't need to make fashion the center of your life to get good at it. You just have to be a little interested in making yourself more fashionable, more captivating, and more unique, and pay attention to the things people tell you about you when you're out and about.

Most important of all, pay attention to what strangers say - because the people closest to you are usually more interested in you staying like the you they know.

The people who don't know you from Jack are the ones who'll be telling you how it really is, for better or worse.

If you'd like some further reading on the subject, and some recommendations for how you can look good on the cheap, check out our (rather long) thread on the discussion boards, "Affordable Fashion."

And, I'll see you next time-
Chase

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Comments

Gem's picture

Hey Chase, I really


Hey Chase,

I really appreciate this article, much of the effective fashion tips you listed I knew next to nothing about (other than dressing in well fitted clothes, the bulk of this article was very new to me).

I had two questions to ask the first of them being what do you think about the issue of wearing light colors vs. dark colors? I've heard that typically lighter skinned people look better in darker hues and vice versa. I am of a darker complexion and have always adhered to this rule (my wardrobe consists of mostly lighter colors now), do you think the rule is true or of much significance?

My other question was about how to dress when you are rather muscular (and whether you should follow any extra rules or make any exceptions to your listed suggestions)? I've gained a rather large amount of muscle in the last 9 months (30 lbs) and it has affected my fashion somewhat. I've found that I like to hide my figure usually in small, well fitted dress or long sleeve shirts (instead of wearing more short sleeve and tank tops getting extra attention when I don't always want it) but that lately there have been some days where I've thought to myself and dressed accordingly to the flawed idea of "it doesn't matter what I wear because I'm buff" and worn just like a t-shirt and jeans or something else very bland like that. Is there a certain degree of "if you have it flaunt it" with wearing tank tops and short sleeve shirts that I can and should use, or should I stick strictly to the fashion tips you listed above? Tell me what your ideas on this matter are, hope to hear from you.

Thanks,

Gem

Chase Amante's picture

Colors and Muscles

Author

Gem-

form-fitting shirtI meant to include bright colors in the article; completely slipped my mind. Yes, bright colors go much better with your skin tone if you're darker; duller colors are better if you're lighter. You'll see black guys, for instance, who can very easily get away with bright orange or bright pink shirts because they look very good against their darker skin tones; white guys don't look quite so good in these colors. Conversely, dull colors don't look as sharp on black men as they do on white men because of the lack of contrast. You'll even see it in terms of building colors; go to the Caribbean or South America or Southeast Asia or the Mediterranean and you'll see brightly painted houses everywhere; go to North America or Northern Europe or East Asia and it's predominantly dull colors on the buildings. Even building colors contrast with the skin tone of the majority inhabitants of these areas.

For things to wear to show off your muscles, usually you want a form-fitting shirt like the one on the right for looking good while showing off. It's best with the sleeves half way up your bicep - I've worn shirts with sleeves both below my biceps and above them, and consistently gotten best reactions with the sleeve midway down the bicep, like what's shown in the picture. However, you'll get different kinds of girls being more or less attracted to you depending on the different attire you wear. e.g., you'll get classier women wearing a form-fitting t-shirt like this than you will wearing a tank top, but not as classy as you'll get if you're wearing a dress shirt. However, sometimes you may not want "classy" or "educated"; sometimes you may want some sexy, saucy beach bunny instead, in which case you'll want a t-shirt or a tank top.

Women won't look at you and say, "Wow, he's really muscular!" when you have a dress shirt / coat on, so you'll lose the "awe" factor of big muscles. However, they WILL still look at you and say, "Wow, something about him makes him seem really powerful and impressive." I had a girl once describe an extremely muscular friend of mine (who was in a dress shirt and jacket) as looking "very healthy." So you get more of a subtle, but still powerful, effect from your physique when more covered up.

It ends up depending on your crowd. If you want "understated," dress in a button-down (you can roll the sleeves up if you want to show off a bit in a dress shirt and you have larger forearms). If you want to be really obvious with your muscles, and excite the more excitable girls (at the expense of some of the more "refined" girls), go t-shirts / tank tops.

Chase

E's picture

Always wear a coat?


Hi Chase,

Great article. I've been looking forward to it. You said that men should always wear coats, but what if if the man is muscular? Don't we want to show off our arms?

Chase Amante's picture

Coats with Muscles

Author

E-

You'll want a thinner coat for when you need to wear one, and might want to stick more to wearing an open dress shirt over a t-shirt when using layers when not, or a blazer with a button-down shirt.

See my comment above for thoughts on showing off muscles openly versus wearing tightly-fitting dress-shirts / blazers that still let women see you have a powerful physique without openly showing off musculature. You'll generally attract different kinds of women depending on how blatantly (or not) you show off your body.

Chase

Michal's picture

Thank you. I hope some day,


Thank you. I hope some day, someone will help you as much as you have been helping me for past 8 months.

NeoPrince's picture

Relating to the unambitious?


Chase, I remember that you once mentioned about having a harder time with less intelligent girls. I also have the same problem with unambitious or less intelligent people. Someone who has goals, I can relate to the skill or business they try to excel at, how they work so hard to make an art. How do you relate to people like baristas at Starbucks or workers at McDonalds? My family is well off because my Dad worked his ass off to take us from below Average Joe to rich, but most of my friends are poor. My friends are ambitious and we are all good students and I can relate to them. I just wish I could relate to my friend's less ambitious family members a bit more, usually we talk girls and sports and such but I wonder how I could get closer and be less of an "other". So far I've worked on my fundementals and reducing my judgmentalness. Basically, how do you relate to those in a lower class. It's a strange problem, because I've grown around the poor and yet can't relate to most of them since only the ambitious ones became my friends. If I could break out of this shell and relate better to the masses, It would be great.

Chase Amante's picture

Re: Relating to the unambitious?

Author

NeoPrince-

Unambitious people don't relate the same way ambitious people do. Even among lower socioeconomic classes, you can still find people to relate to who are ambitious, in their own ways - the car thief who only steals the best cars, or the auto technician who takes great pride in his level of skill, are a couple of examples of guys I've known and spent time with in the past.

When you run into truly unambitious people though - and you'll meet them at every level of the socioeconomic class; when I lived in Southern California, I met more middle class people whose entire goal in life was to stay right where they are and just hang out forever than I'd ever met in my life! - the relating is really more about just hanging out with them, drinking beers, and doing nothing. You just sit around and stare at the television together; maybe crack a couple of dirty jokes. There's not much to talk about, because they don't really do anything. The main thing is spending time together killing time and being comfortable.

With the unambitious, time and a warm smile and eyes and a few off-color jokes are really your best tools for building a bond. Too much talking is what signals you as an "other"; the surest fire way to get suspected of being one of those unrealistic dreamer types among the unambitious is talking too much.

Chase

Inane Rambler's picture

Unfortunately as far as I


Unfortunately as far as I know, Express is pretty much as high end as we have around here.

One thing I have been going with is a longer hairstyle. Not quite "rocker hair" or anything like that, but definitely way longer than most guys have.

Chase Amante's picture

High End

Author

Well - there's always ordering online (and getting free shipping)!

Long hair will certainly help you stand out. It's a polarizer - some girls hate it, while others are enamored with it.

Chase

Anonymous's picture

Thanks Chase!


Thanks man I asked you for this awhile back and you delivered.

Zac's picture

Using my gut,


Chase,

you awesome man. while i have to differ and say that baggy clothes looks well if you know how to manage it. I'm a dancer, and occasionally i have people look at me like "Wow". I think you more concern if people can't pull it off i assume? Anyway i would thank my elder brother and the idols i see on tv as i am able to always put something nice on my body even if i am doing an activity like dancing or even soccer. It's practice much in early days, but now it's more of gut feeling, if i can pull it off. Plus i have a decent body, i pretty much have good reactions. IT helps.

I'm sure your article will help a lot of people. :D Cool stuff !

Zac

Chase Amante's picture

Baggy Clothes

Author

Zac-

I've seen a few people pull off baggy clothes okay. You might have a different way of wearing them, but the normal way baggy clothes are worn they're worn in a way that hides the body, which means that any attractiveness you manage to build tends to be in spite of making yourself look less sexual / more amorphous. If you have a really tight image with clothes and accessories and colors and designs put together perfectly, you can pull it off, usually still just with a certain subset of women that are accustomed to men dressed that way and respond to men dressed that way, however (i.e., of the crop they're accustomed to, you're the cream of that crop).

Anyway, I might suggest playing around with fashion if you haven't tried anything new in a while. You might, say, be having people telling you clothes are cool, but changing clothing you might find you actually start seeing more attraction and receptiveness from women and more women regarding you as a sex object.

If they already do though... well, maybe you really do have baggy clothes figured out ;)

Chase

Zac's picture

Sex Object


Argh, damn... I would say i am not that level of figuring it out. but i take note. :) Don't worry Chase, i wear smaller clothes too. :D but i would say people find me intimidating and also at times, "awe" when they see me wearing baggy clothes. I have to note, it can be confusing when the way you being receive can be polarizing, at times.

I shall definitely try scarf more, i receive some great comments once,

Btw, i saw your response to Christie. Guess i am a guy who loves sharing emotions with women too, but a women left me once because i could not give her a relationship, or shall i say marriage, as she was looking for that, although she did try to hide that fact while we were in a casual relationship. There's also some fault in what i did, but i guess you can't always have the best of both worlds, in sharing emotions with women and having it casual. It depends on the girl though.

Zac

Anonymous's picture

hostel logistics


Hey Chase I travel a lot and usually stay in budget hostels,Ive found that there are great benefits to staying at hostels such as getting foreigner treatment which you have said makes women more open to being your lover quickly ,and disqualifys you from boyfriend role.But sometimes you feel like a kid in a candy store whos mom wont let him buy anything,because there are so many girls that are staying their temporarily but their is a major lack of privacy when staying in mixed rooms with 4-8 people,which makes the logistics bad.Ive thought of paying extra for a private room at the same hostel but that can get expensive quick ,and im on a budget.Where would u recommend I take a hostel girl for a quick liason?Also any tips on hostel enviroment
dos/don'ts in general?

Chase Amante's picture

Hostels

Author

Anon-

You can sometimes get away with sneaking into a girl's bed once everyone else is asleep in a hostel, and gradually escalating with her there. If you had a good vibe going on early, this can sometimes work - play it by your gut feel. If you think you can get away with it, try it and see, but make sure you've built up some sexual intrigue beforehand so it isn't weird or shocking (or unwanted).

Other than that, you can just get the girl to stay in with you in the evening and wait until (hope that) everyone goes out for the night, and just be quick about things. Pull the covers up and turn off the lights.

If you must stay in the bigger room, you kind of have to get used to escalating and sleeping with girls in situations in which other people may walk in on you or are sleeping in the room. Some girls hate this, but a lot of them find it quite exciting.

Chase

dick's picture

too unique


Hi Chase,
There are lots of stunning points that you have made in this post.
Actually, I actually dress like what you have suggested.
But everyone saw me would look at me differently, I don't understand.
(NOTE. I'm going to university in a town with 80,000 people)
First, my mom told me that I'm out of current, because I don't dress like most other guys.
Some other people sometimes come to tell me that, whether I'm going to a wedding or not? Or just tell me whether I'm running a fashion show on campus or not?
Should I just keep it this way, or just to lower my key a little bit?
Thank you, Chase.

Chase Amante's picture

Overdressed

Author

Dick-

It sounds like you're a little overdressed for your area.

When I lived in Washington, D.C., I used to wear a blazer and a dress shirt every time I went out. That was how people dressed there, and it was fine.

When I moved to California, right away I had meatheads picking fights with me in nightclubs because I stuck out like a sore thumb, and girls were being cold to me because they felt I was either a) tryhard, or b) out of their leagues. I eventually ditched the blazer, and moved over to the red plaid jacket I mentioned in this post, and people started being very warm with me.

You usually want to go a little bit overdressed compared to how everyone else in town is dressing, but not SO overdressed that you look like you're headed to the ball. Enough to stand out and look good, but not so much you look like you "don't get it."

Probably a bit of toning down is in order for you - but try to find the line where you're better dressed than average, but not so much that you look like a stiff (to them).

Tastes are relative, and somewhat different from place to place.

Chase

Anonymous's picture

did anyone else catch this ?


Men wearing red or pictured on red backgrounds are more sexually attractive to men....is that a typo?

Chase Amante's picture

Typo

Author

Anon-

Yes, that's a typo. Fixed. Don't throw away all your pictures of you against a red background just yet...

Chase

Pm61591's picture

Shorts and sexy vibe


Hey Chase been waiting for a fashion article for a long time and you did not disappoint. I'm guessing there will be more articles on fashion since this was just a primer, but this one definitely helped me. You made it clear and simple in understanding what to wear and how to wear it without specifically telling me what to wear. Not sure if that makes sense but now I feel like I can finally go clothes shopping free of stress. So thanks for the insights I will definitely be using this as a guideline. I have got to ask you how you feel about dress shorts or casual shorts? I've been reading a lot of fashion blogs and some say yay and some say nay on shorts but none of those blogs talk about looking sexy they are more about style. Any suggestions? Also, about having a sexy vibe do you advise that I turn the vibe on even though I do not know the girl or should I build a little bit of rapport before hand. For an example a girl i did not know said my pants were ugly. Now I wanted to say in a sexy tone of course...then why don't you take them off? However I did not say that for it was at a house party and I didn't want to sound creepy. So pretty much would saying stuff like that be out of line or would it benefit me in doing so. My example may be a little too extreme but any suggestions or insights would be awesome.

Chase Amante's picture

Re: Shorts and sexy vibe

Author

Phil-

Shorts generally aren't "sexy," per se, so much as they are relaxed and comfortable and chill. If you're at a relatively laid back college-style house party where there's beer pong and beer funnels and the like, or you're hanging out near the beach or in a beach bar (or, even better, you're at a college-style house party just off the beach), shorts are often the most appropriate thing to wear for blending in with the atmosphere. In my opinion, you can mix in some sexy with shorts by putting on shorts and flip-flops with a long-sleeved button down shirt with the sleeves rolled up. You usually can't get away with wearing dress shirts at house parties / beaches without looking too formal, but if you couple shorts and sandals with the dress shirt you're perfect.

As far as mixing in some sexual humor, you're right that the wording was a bit off in that example and probably would've been a bit too strong - the other thing you'd have run into was that because this girl is challenging you, if you respond by telling her to do something, she's likely to say "no," which gives you negative compliance.

So instead, you'd say this:

Girl: Those pants are ugly.

Phil: Are you suggesting I take my pants off right now?

Thus, rather than telling her to do something, you playfully misinterpret her as asking you to do something (i.e., disrobe).

The sexual vibe itself you don't want too strong at the outset usually - a little playfulness (think "raised eyebrow") at the start is enough. As you get deeper into the interaction, you'll gradually dial up the intensity... you want it to be a mutual buildup, rather than you just walking in and saying "hello" already turned on, and her neutral and wondering what's the deal with THIS guy?

Chase

Mark's picture

White belt


I'm not sure whether or not this would be peacocking, but a white belt draws a lot of attention. It is also a really good way to get contrast in an outfit.

Chase Amante's picture

Re: White belt

Author

Mark-

It may be some light peacocking, though peacocking in general can be good for upping short-term mating odds. I agree though - been a little while since I've worn a white belt, but they do stand out, and often look pretty cool.

Chase

DanM's picture

How to overcome Depression


Chase,

Can you please post a follow up post on How to overcome Depression
meaning more in-depth, how you changed your mindset. You talked about changing your attitude but did not explain in detail
or any self help related topic is fine. Your posts on Grit, it don't matter if you are smart, Master Anything , Get Motivated and Goal setting already helped me a lot.
Do you suggest any books on these topic's
I got motivated by your posts and stated learning to touch type.
I am actually touch typing this post which I have been postponing for years,

Thanks in Advance
Dan

Chase Amante's picture

Attitude-Changing in Greater Detail

Author

Dan-

Hmm, well, I'm not really sure how I'd go into attitude adjusting in greater detail - that depression article was basically the step-by-step process I used, laid out. Maybe take a look at that one again, and see if it clicks any better? If not, can you tell me what specifically isn't clear?

Glad to hear the motivational posts helped and that you're touch typing - very useful / important skill to get down for more and more reasons these days. I'll be getting up more of these over the next few weeks - particularly, a post on decision making due out sometime reasonably soon.

Chase

Woman's picture

Hygiene


Chase,

if you really skip underwear with your jeans, I hope you wash them more often than once a week. ;)

Thanks for the nice read again!

Chase Amante's picture

Washing

Author

Woman-

Yes - that's certainly a good recommendation!

Fellas, statistically speaking, men who go commando see greater sexual success than men who don't (or, perhaps, men with more sexual success eventually just start going commando) - but, for the love of funk, you probably want to try and wear more than one pair of jeans per week.

Chase

Wout's picture

What about this jacket/trainingsjacket?


Hi Chase,

So a couple of months ago back in en 2012 I bought a couple of clothing from a site dedicated to Hardcore music (as I'm a big fan of it). And wanted to know your thoughts about these 2 jackets I bought back then:
http://hooligan-clothing.nl/jackets/100-hardcore-trainingsjasje-zwart-bl...
http://hooligan-clothing.nl/jackets/100-hardcore-trainingsjasje-wit-navy...
(Btw I'm not a hooligan, it's just the sites name ;) )

First day when I was wearing this I heard 2 guys whispering to each other "Wow! Did you saw his jacket? It's awesome!" and also a friend said to me "Well, that jacket it really makes you cool and swag, you just stand out" while many other made jealous reactions somehow.. But anyways I think that this jacket is good, it has some very heavy contrast (maybe too much?) and uses some very bright colors. It also is available on a couple of Dutch, almost unknown sites and it also is in the smallest size they had (S) and it looks great on myself. But what do you think of it? And also what could I wear with it? I would love to add my red "V" t-shirt to it but I think the colors won't match at all. I also think that if I add a scarf to this it won't match.

I'm 18 years old and fully learning all these tricks and hope you could help me out, thank you for your help!

Chase Amante's picture

Jacket

Author

Wout-

Well, good to know you aren't a hooligan ;)

I checked the links, but both were broken / returning 404 errors. Generally, you can best gauge an item by other people's reactions - if guys are telling you the jacket's really cool, that's a very good sign, but of course you next want to get in front of pretty girls and see what they have to say and if you notice a change in their reactions to you (e.g., they act warmer because you're more attractive, or cooler because they don't like the jacket or it makes you look too bad ass or out of their league). Also pay attention to different reactions from different girls - some clothing items will move you up, making lower status / less attractive women colder to you, and higher status / more attractive women warmer to you.

Chase

bjcrispi's picture

When truly starting out


as a beginner, should you be striving for the higher status or lower status?

My end goal is being with high status women in society i.e. writers for a column in NY times, model, etc.

Andrew's picture

As a fashion geek, I feel


As a fashion geek, I feel like I should point out a couple of things. First, wearing denim on demin (as seen in the first picture) is very, very rarely a good idea. Second, while the trend in watches is toward larger dials and thicker bands, be careful that the watch doesn't overpower your wrist. A watch that is too big will make you look like a boy playing dress-up with his dads clothes. Finally, I find the Diesel jeans to be too baggy and too long (here's an example of exceptional fit http://www.esquire.com/blogs/mens-fashion/jeans-perfect-fit-0413). Overall, though, this is an excellent introduction to style.

Jason's picture

What about a single stud earing?


Hey Chase,

I love the site and all of the great information you provide. Keep up the good work.

Ive been told by a couple of people that I would look good with a stud earring in my ear (im african american). Even though I personally think it COULD enhance my look and add a bit of an edge, do you think I would be significantly limiting my options with certain types of women if I got one diamond stud earring in my ear? I want to be able to appeal to as many women as possible and not place myself behind the 8-ball simply because of a piercing.

Thanks!

Marty's picture

Shoes


Bearing in mind Chase's admonition about dress shoes, I dropped by a local family-owned store where I had previously got several reliable, heavily marked-down overstock or past-season pairs that had fetched compliments from women. I specified that I wanted masculine-looking shoes and actually said that they should be "not to prissy", which got a laugh from the sales staff... but came out with an excellent pair of Stacy Adams loafers. They are stylish, masculine and there is nothing prissy about them. They have a sort of "sculpted" look. Worth checking out.

john Q's picture

ay Dios mio. I love your articles


I found this web page looking online about how hard is to get a good girl. I mean I am the kind of guy that doesn't like to play around. I'm looking for the right woman to get married. I am a 31 years old 6.2 black latino guy 230 lb Will Smith type of skin color, and trying to get some muscles to see if I can attract a woman finally.
I got free questions for you
sometimes I leave my afro. is it better to leave my afro or cut my hair really low?
My body tends to sweat when I'm in a crowded place. I guess social shynes? do you have any recommendations for that?
I used to buy express now I got disappointed. I see guess is a good brand. can you recommend any others?
I have to say you really pull it out. you were able to find the confidence to ask girls out. they're is this girl I really like an the only way u told her she likes was by through email. how pathetic I am. anyway keep the good work. I love it

Anonymous's picture

belt


Hey chase,
Thanks for all the great advice you've given me, it has really helped. Ive been keeping my eye out for a really unique but good looking belt and the one you showed in this article caught my eye. Its not a big deal so dont worry about taking your time getting back to me.
Thanks for everything

lucifer's picture

Great, just a doubt about the coat thing


Great article, as usual!

I wouldn't totally agree with the coat, at least for my style/body.

I'm short and what I've got going on for me is that I'm slim fit, so I like button down shirts that highlight that.

A coat takes that away and makes me look puffier and even shorter.

If I'd have to go for a coat that would look good, though very high-end style, I'd go for an Armani coat, the ones that look a bit like from the navy.

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