11/ 09/ 2008

Judging men by their clothes

The way a man is dressed is probably one of the top if not the most important aspect of his first impression on me. In general, a person’s outfit is a statement of their attitude toward life and also says a lot about their taste. But because so many men are so careless about editing their wardrobes, most women go ape shit over any guy who shows any flair or any personality in their style. If you goal is to get with most women, learn something from those guys, or consider this tip from Men’s Health.

MH advises that men try something “ballsy” like:

Suede New Balances with a designer suit (no tie) for an event at a swank lounge; a classic tweed jacket over a retro T-shirt for a dinner party; plaid wool pants with a hooded sweatshirt and Chuck T’s for a concert.

I actually don’t recommend this approach, firstly because “breaking fashion rules” is no longer a novel approach to style. Stylish people have been breaking old-fashioned conservative fashion rules for decades, even, while creating new ways to stay appropriately dressed for all occasions. I’m not saying you can’t do it too, but don’t think you’re reinventing the wheel.

Secondly, if going against the mainstream is what you want, know this: classic tweed jackets over retro T-shirts ARE the rule now, and have been for at least five years. Trust me–I asked the the 2,719 men in tweed jackets walking down Second Avenue in the East Village yesterday and the 5,326 men bar hopping in retro tees in Williamsburg last weekend. (Ok, I didn’t, but if I did, they would have agreed.) If your goal is not to be a slave to trends, going the way of the hipster is NOT your answer.

Consider this, too: ninety percent of the time that men branch out of their natural style, they miss the mark–at least that’s how it feels from my female perspective. On the right man, say Common, for whom good taste seems to come naturally, flair goes a long way. On most others, it just screams fashion victim and looks like you’re trying too hard. And nothing is more unbecoming of a man than trying too hard.

At the end of the day, it’s fairly clear to a woman whether a man has natural fashion sex appeal or if he’s just experimenting with his clothes. There’s nothing wrong with the latter, but we know. (Some of us even like it–especially, as I’ve noticed, those of us who are afraid of lack a flair of our own.)  Thing is, there are some men I’d even consider to be fashionable, who have artistic points of view and whom I like looking at; but something about their style is off-putting. Pharrell is an example … he’s got an attractive face, he’s a respectable artist, he definitely has personal style, and yet, I would never date him. In all honesty, it just looks like he spends too much time getting dressed in the morning, and the ensemble is always interesting but not always perfect. He’s a classic example of someone with great ideas who needs a fashion editor of sorts.

I personally prefer a guy who knows what he likes, even if it’s slightly boring, and sticks that look rather than trying to emulate someone else’s, or to convince others that he’s “fashionable.” What matters to me more than ballsy fashion statements are details–are his clothes well-fitted and crisp, does he keep his nails clean, and does he care about shoes? The saying about shoes is forreal, people. We look at men’s shoes. If they’re dirty, old, too chunky or the wrong color, these are clear signs that he has no idea what he’s doing. And probably has smelly feet.

The truth of the matter is, if you want the key to the wardrobe inside a girl’s heart, forget what YOU’RE wearing, recognize OUR style, and you’re gold. I think one of the most flattering and memorable pick-up attempts ever was when a guy came up to me after making brief eye contact at Best Buy, looked at my dress (which I designed) and shoes, and said, “I’m sorry, I just had to tell you I really love your style. That dress is so great … you look really good.” I very nearly gave him my number, but I wasn’t single and I was preoccupied; but I think I will remember that moment for a long time.

Aside from a vague recollection that he was wearing a hat, I don’t remember a thing about his outfit.

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I'm a 30-something multimedia creator from New York. I do videos on Youtube centered on open discussion and co-mentorship. Once a month, I host a Q&A with inspiring people from entrepreneurs to athletes and more on The itsme Podcast. Be warned: I can be opinionated. But it's all love! Please follow and subscribe, it would mean a lot! :)

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