Fashion & Grooming: Your Way To Be Charming

Want some good news?

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Being good-looking

Want some good news?

You can be good-looking enough for virtually any woman, without too much work.
This is because, for a man, being good-looking has far more to do with how you dress than it does with what you look like naked.
The bad news is that being good-looking will not usually do much for you by itself (women do reject men based on appearance, although not anywhere remotely near as often as men reject women for the same reason). Usually, all it will do for you is prevent you from being rejected on the grounds of looks alone. Good looks can also give you more approach invitations, and give you more freedom overall to make mistakes. So you may as well do everything you can to improve them.
We certainly do. But don’t expect this to change your life.

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Another piece of bad news is that there is only so much “universal” advice about fashion and grooming that can apply to all men. I’d rather tell you this upfront than pretend that there is a magic formula that can bring out the best in everyone. To make the most out of your looks, get in-person advice from someone who can see what styles and outfits look best on you and knows what they are doing.

Conveying your identity

Fashion and grooming serve a dual purpose. They do more than changing your looks; they also project an identity.
Here’s a thought experiment. Imagine that you are visiting a big city that you’re unfamiliar with. One night, you go out alone but you make a wrong turn and find yourself completely lost. You need to ask for help. You go to an intersection and see three different people, one on each of the other corners:

1. A man in a well-fitted suit with clean shoes, a briefcase, and a fashionable tie.
2. A man in ripped pants sliding well below the waist, big boots with metal spikes, a bandana, and a leather jacket.
3. A man dressed in shorts, sandals, and an oversized wool sweater.

Don’t read on until you visualize and think about how you feel about
each of them and which of them you’d ask for help.

When you imagined these people, did their clothing choices lead you to make assumptions about each of them? Keep in mind that I didn’t tell you anything about them – I just said it was “a man” each time. But if you’re like most people, you inferred other things about them based on their clothes. You might even have inferred physical characteristics. Was one man big, while another was small? Did they vary in strength? Were they of different races?

The purpose of this was to put you inside a woman’s head. Remember, when you first start interacting with her, she won’t know much about you, and your clothes are one of her most useful sources of information:

  • She knows that your clothes didn’t fall on you by accident. You chose to wear what you’re wearing and she will use that information to make assumptions about you.
  • She will make implicit assumptions about you without even realizing it. Before she even really notices you, she may already think you are “boring” “sexy” or “creative.”
  • She is going to assume that you behave and live a lifestyle similar to those of other men she has met who dress similarly.
  • She is going to draw on stereotypes from the media, especially films and television, and assume that you emulate, or are trying to emulate, movie or TV characters who dress that way.

So, how you dress is important not only for enhancing your looks but also for conveying your identity. She’s going to make judgments about you based on your clothes anyway, so you may as well have her make the judgments you want. This is another reason why one-size-fits-all fashion and grooming advice can be a disservice.

Putting an outfit together

  • Each outfit should have some basics (pieces that do not attract attention) and some artistry (pieces that do attract attention). For example, if your shoes and jacket are a bit flashy or edgy my preferred look then stick to relatively subdued pants and a shirt. Depending on your overall look, the artistry can be very subtle or very dramatic.
  • Peacocking,” or wearing extremely ridiculous and out-of-place outfits is outdated. Dress to attract some attention, but make sure what you’re wearing fits together, supports your identity, and doesn’t look ridiculous. Peacocking will attract a lot of attention, but it’s mostly surface-level curiosity and entertainment.
  • Make your clothes fit – why spend $80 on a great shirt that doesn’t fit if you won’t spend $5-$10 to have it altered? If it doesn’t fit you perfectly, get it altered so it flatters your body.
  • Speaking of fit, while I don’t generally suggest that you rely on women’s advice for how to dress, one thing most women are very good at is helping you find clothes that fit well. As long as you’re prepared to disagree with her about what styles to wear, take a woman shopping with you to help judge the fit. Alternatively, if you’re shopping alone, ask other women whether something you’re
    trying on fits you well. You can use this to start a conversation as well – it’s not a great opener, but if your primary goal at the time is shopping, then any woman you meet will be a bonus.
  • Suits are often very attractive if you can justify wearing them. Don’t be afraid to wear a suit to a nightclub with your friends. Be more afraid to wear one to a dive bar. Either way, take off or loosen your tie and unbutton the top button of your shirt.
  • Don’t be boring. If you dress just like everyone else, she will assume you are just like everyone else. Which would be a big waste after you’ve read this book and learned how to stand out from the pack.
  • If you’re overweight, black clothes make you look thinner. Or If you’re short, pinstripes make you look taller (and horizontal stripes make you look shorter). If you have a nice body, show it off with your clothes, but not too much – clothes that are too tight might make her think you’re gay.

Shoes and boots

  • Be taller – There are plenty of brands of very fashionable shoes and boots that give you extra height. A couple of extra inches will always help. If you’re under six feet (about 180 cm), a couple of extra inches will help a lot.
  • Creativity matters with shoes. Women notice shoes, which is why they must be stylish and clean. It’s a rare man who wears anything other than traditionally boring footwear. You can stand out through your choices here.
  • Don’t wear the same shoes two days in a row. This isn’t a fashion tip; it just makes your shoes last much longer.

Pants

  • Designer jeans are fashionable these days, khakis less so. Generic boring cotton pants are death.
  • The fit of a pair of jeans is very important. Different brands and styles are cut in different ways. Make sure you know what you’re doing; don’t just guess. Expensive jeans are expensive because of the cut. It’s usually worth investing in designer jeans.
  • If you’re going to the park or the beach and you want to wear shorts, make sure they are loose and come pretty close to your knees. Nothing will get you laughed at more quickly than tight shorts. Avoid shorts outside of the physical activity.

Shirts

  • Keep informal collared shirts outside your pants; don’t tuck them in.
  • Wear collared shirts alone, without a t-shirt underneath. Only wear a t-shirt if you sweat a lot.
  • Short-sleeve button-down shirts are often boring and ugly.
  • Shirts give you a lot of room for subtlety and creativity. You should rarely wear a plain, solid-colored, collared shirt unless the color itself is unique. Even if for whatever reason you are dead set on wearing a plain white shirt, you can give it an intriguing touch with a bit of texture, subtle patterns, or French cuffs.

Accessories

  • Get some ornamental stuff — Earrings, funky shoes, rings, hats, scarves, neck chains, wristbands, whatever. What is purely ornamental (e.g., a double-breasted suit, cuff links, jewelry) is sexy. What is purely functional generally is not. Don’t go overboard – one or two ornamental elements are usually enough. Women will often ask you about these, so it’s even better if you have a good story behind them. In this way, they can function as physical “open threads” Women often notice accessories and it’s an easy way to convey that you have a sense of style.
  • Glasses – Glasses are sexy on some men. They are not on most men. If you look better without them, try contacts or surgery.
  • Unless you know what you are doing, match your shoes to your belt (i.e., make them both brown or both black).
  • Have an interesting belt buckle. It doesn’t have to be over-the-top – elegant is also interesting.

Grooming

  • This may be obvious, but better safe than sorry. Remove excess hair — If your eyebrows are even close to touching, wax or shave them so there is separation. Nose and ear hairs are sexy to no one. If you have sideburns, make sure they end in a neat line at the bottom and are the same length on each side. Hair should not be found on your back or butt. And while we’re at it, your pubic hair shouldn’t be unduly either. Women will appreciate your privates being trimmed and neat and may be more enthusiastic about rewarding you for this.
  • If you have a beard or a mustache, keep it trimmed and neat. Most of the men I see with beards or mustaches should shave them off anyway, though they do look good on some people. Having 3-day stubble on your face can be attractive on some men; keep this orderly as well and don’t let any hairs get too long.
  • Women’s preferences vary widely here and can be somewhat random. Don’t take any individual woman’s advice too seriously on this. But if you ask ten women what they think of your mustache and they all hate it, get rid of it.
  • Whiten your teeth — It’s cheap and easy. Go through your dentist, not those white strips. No excuses here either.
  • A good haircut makes a major difference. Find people with attractive haircuts and ask who they go to. It’s worth spending the money on a good haircut. If your budget is tight, you may only have to do this once, to establish the cut, and then every month or so you can go to someone cheaper but technically competent and ask him or her to keep trimming your hair in the same style.

OK, now relax. Have you done all the things on the list? You’ve done the best you can with what you have. Women will notice. An average-looking man who takes care of himself is often more attractive to women than a better-looking man who is a slob. Whatever you can do, remember that looks are neither a necessary nor sufficient condition to attract most women. Just take control of the message you are conveying through your wardrobe and make sure you’ve put your best foot forward.

 

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