Your Personal Appearance: The Importance of Being a Sharp Dressed Man

by Antonio on October 30, 2008 · 68 comments

in Dress & Grooming, Style

Editor’s Note: This post is from our new Art of Manliness style contributor Antonio Centeno. Antonio is president of A Tailored Suit, maker of quality custom clothing. Please give Antonio a warm Art of Manliness welcome.

Thanks to Cathe Holden for the image.

Clothes make the man.Naked people have little or no influence on society ~Mark Twain

Perhaps you’ve heard the following:


“The days of wearing a suit are gone.”
Casual Friday? It’s casual week around here. No one cares how you dress.”
“Appearances are irrelevant, only results matter.”

All of these statements ignore the fact that people have and will continue to judge you by your appearance.The harsh reality is that we make decisions about people within the first 3 seconds of meeting them; we then spend the next 90 seconds trying to confirm our first impressions.This means that before you even open your mouth you’ve been sized up and profiled. Knowing this, a person should always dress neatly, professionally, and appropriately.The fact is you never know who you are going to meet; at anytime you may run into a potential client, a future employer, or for those singles out there, the love of your life. And like it or not, they are going to form their initial impression of you based off of how you look.

Over the next few months I’m going to be writing quite a few articles on men’s style and grooming.But before getting started, I wanted to make the case for why you should care about your personal appearance.We live in a society that overall tends to dress down; our national uniform is a pair of jeans and t-shirt.If you care about your appearance and take action to improve it, you will stand out from the crowd.But that’s not a bad thing.

How Your Personal Appearance Affects You

The transformation effect
One of the powers of clothing is that it can transform an individual’s state of mind. Dress like a professional businessman and you’re more likely to act like a professional businessman. Taking a test soon? Students report that they perform better when they dress-up for an exam.Feeling sick in the morning? Women have used the power of dressing-up to shrug off sickness for years.The transformative effect is powerful and instantly effective; what’s most amazing is that so few people use it.

Dressing professionally improves self discipline
From the Roman Legion to the United States Marine Corps, the world’s finest militaries have known that sharp dressed soldiers are more disciplined than ragtag militias.Military dress inspections have persisted not because shiny boots win wars, but because the exercise teaches a military force to pay attention to the details. And it’s in the details that battles are won.

In the same way, a person who dresses professionally learns the value of self discipline.They learn that planning and allotting enough time are paramount for consistent results.They prepare for the day by thinking through it, anticipating their needs, and taking the proper steps to ensure they can meet the challenge. A disciplined dresser can arrange his outfit to meet his needs from 8AM to midnight, from office to presentation to drinks after work.

Appreciation and respect
Properly clothing yourself takes time; shirts need to be ironed, shoes shined, and jackets brushed.Perhaps the greatest lesson this teaches is to respect the effort put forth by our fellow human beings.When you meet another well dressed man you give him an extra measure of respect because of his outfit; you notice the perfect dimple in his tie and appreciate it because it took you 15 minutes and 5 attempts to perfect your own. Mutual respect between gentleman is garnered when they recognize the efforts each has put forth.

How Your Appearance Affects Others

The power of visuals
Numerous communication studies have demonstrated the power of visuals in human interaction.Some studies have shown that visual cues are 3X to 5X as powerful as audio cues.With clothing covering 90% of your body, it can’t be stressed enough as to how important a role it plays in how you are perceived by others.Want faster & better service in a restaurant?Look like you have money and wear a navy blazer.Want to increase your chances for an A on a college presentation? Wear a sports jacket and pair of slacks.Want instant credibility in a business environment?Wear a suit when making the pitch or meeting with management.

First impressions
Made within a few seconds, first impressions are powerful and should not be taken lightly. We often observe a person before we speak with them, and being human we look to make sense of what our eyes are showing us.Using our personal experiences, we categorize individuals; we pick-up on a key feature that has meaning to us and then associate that person with it. If what you are wearing is doing all the talking for you, make sure it is sending the message you want.

The power of colors and patterns
Colors and patterns are very powerful; certain ones grab our attention, some accentuate our natural tones, and others affect our emotions.When choosing colors and patterns a man should first understand which ones work for him and which ones do not.Next, he needs to determine what message he wants to send.A man decked out in a pin-striped navy blue suit, blue shirt with white contrasting collar and cuffs, and a red tie screams power and authority.A man wearing a solid brown suit with an earth tone shirt and light colored tie signals trust and openness.Both men were wearing suits, but two very different messages were being conveyed.

Influence and authority

Image from Silver Feast

Former San Francisco 49er Coach Mike Nolan fought to wear a business suit on the sidelines during football games.One of the reasons for this was that he wanted to make it easy to spot the man in charge.The men’s suit, whose heritage stems from military garb, was designed to highlight a man’s strengths.When cut properly and made with a fabric that compliments the wearer, it signals authority and commands attention. But this is only the tip of the iceberg – a policeman’s uniform, an airline pilot’s clothing, a doctor’s white jacket – all of these garments assure us that the person we are dealing with is an authority in their field.

Positive assumptions
Well dressed people are given a leg up in many respects – they are often perceived as being smarter, funnier, and more enjoyable to be around.Taking this a step further, dressing professionally can help you appear more important to the success of your company and may even help you hold onto your job.Assuming all other factors being even, who does management let go – the technician who dresses well and can be put in front of a client or the guy who doesn’t own a suit.In this current economic downturn, every small detail matters.

Is It Manly to Care About Your Appearance?

A few examples of manly men who cared and continue to care about their appearance:

Dwayne Wade – Does an excellent wearing suits cut to compliment his height; he also is very good at coordinating his pocket squares with his ties

Winston Churchill

Winston Churchill – He loved the “puff” pocket square and knew how to wear a polka dot bow tie.

Image from Archie

Sean Combs – P. Diddy has modernized classic style for a whole generation of young men.He wears a 3-piece suit masterfully, and pays homage to the great dressers before him. His clothes add to his commanding presence and charismatic personality.

Ronald Reagan

Ronald Reagan – Always dressed smartly in clean cut power suits that accentuated his shoulders; he also loved cuff links.

Final Note

You shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, but in our fast paced society a book’s cover can be just as important as its content.Of course appearances are not everything; you have to perform well to succeed.But in a competitive world it pays to understand the importance of your clothing and grooming. Investing the proper resources into your personal presentation will multiply your ability to succeed.

Written by
Antonio Centeno
President, www.ATailoredSuit.com
Quality Custom Clothing & Sound Style Advice

{ 65 comments… read them below or add one }

1 ced October 30, 2008 at 6:07 pm

should have named this story “Your Personal Appearance: The Importance of Being a Sharped Dressed Man”

2 James Williams October 30, 2008 at 6:27 pm

Such a great topic for an article! I wish men still dressed up everyday, no matter the occasion. I’m looking forward to the other articles.

3 Shaun Daws October 30, 2008 at 7:15 pm

I think it’s important to mention that over-dressing can sometimes be just as bad as under-dressing. I’m a programmer by trade, and though it would probably look nice, if I walked in wearing a 3 piece suit, chances are that I’d be written off as a nut. There’s also the comfort factor to take into consideration.
Personally, I get around this by wearing a suit to work, without a tie. I will sit at my desk without the jacket, but am sure to wear it to meetings, etc. I also have a tie on hand for client visits.

Any suggestions on how to improve this system? What do you wear to work?

4 Derek October 30, 2008 at 7:38 pm

Great article! I had been wishing AoM would have more articles about style. So I’m glad to see an expert on board.

5 holterbarbour October 30, 2008 at 9:00 pm

Lots of very good points here, almost all directly applicable to my work.

I’m a recent graduate from law school, and currently working in Seoul in the legal department of a large multinational firm. It’s definitely a dress-for-success environment: you can tell who the bigwigs are by the Rolexes and/or Mont Blanc pens.

Fortunately for those of us on the lower rungs, one can get custom tailored suits of excellent quality for about $300. Tailored shirts are about $35. You pick the fabric, and the style (e.g., double/single breast, 2-3 button front, or type of collar/cuffs on your shirt), and they make it fit perfectly.

Several great things about this: price, quality, fit and appearance are obvious. But the best thing is that you get a very different sense about the clothes knowing that they are custom made to fit YOU. An off-the-rack suit from Brooks Brothers is nowhere near as personal as a tailored suit. You treat it like the special item it is, and you wear it with a good deal of pride. You are more alert to the impression you make upon people, and people notice your carriage.

Bottom line: get a tailored suit(s) and shirt(s). If you can’t afford them, drop hints at what a fantastic graduation/birthday/holiday gift they would make.

6 Ceres October 30, 2008 at 10:06 pm

I want to add a woman’s perspective here: on a scale of 1 to 10, a suited man look at least 7, ALWAYS! It didn’t dawn on me how attracted I am to men in suits until I met a guy in two different settings in two different outfits. I met him the first time at a formal, and I thought the guy was gorgeous. I met him again two weeks later at a sporting event, and man, what a let down!

If I were a single man, I would dress my best everyday. Nothing screams “handsome” louder than a tailored and well-pressed shirt on a man!

7 Gabe Anzelini October 30, 2008 at 10:15 pm

I, too, enjoyed this article and look forward to the future posts. As Shawn said, over-dressing can be bad too. I think a good guideline might be to not out-dress your boss, does this make sense?

Also, what do you say to a guy who is short and fat and doesn’t really like the way he looks esp with his shirt tucked in? How can he dress nice and still not be self-conscience. And, yes, I know loosing the weight is a good place to be, but in the meantime, what to do?

8 eeallo October 31, 2008 at 1:34 am

“Dwayne Wade – Does an excellent wearing suits cut to compliment his height; he also is very good at coordinating his pocket squares with his ties”

Never coordinate pocket square with tie. If color coordinated, It should match with the shirt.

Besides, it looks like mr Wade is wearing a hat indoors? That’s not good manners..

Excellent article, though!

9 Bob Iger October 31, 2008 at 1:45 am

Great piece, Antonio! We’d like to see more of this!

10 Bill October 31, 2008 at 2:29 am

Well put Antonio.

Before entering the service full time, I spent 12 years in corporate finance at a time when “casual attire” was coming into vogue. As the finance guy among publishers/editors, I stuck to suits and my counterpart did not. There may have been other factors but I tripled my salary in 7 years and he did not. Suits make you look professional and if you look the part, you are likely to act the part.

11 Vincent October 31, 2008 at 4:44 am

Originally Posted By holterbarbour

Fortunately for those of us on the lower rungs, one can get custom tailored suits of excellent quality for about $300. Tailored shirts are about $35. You pick the fabric, and the style (e.g., double/single breast, 2-3 button front, or type of collar/cuffs on your shirt), and they make it fit perfectly.

This is something I would like to see an article on since every one pictured in this article happens to be (or were, while living) extremely wealthy. How to be a well dressed man on a very limited budget? If the above is lower rung, then there are some of us that are not even on the ladder that still care about being well dressed. I know, relatively speaking , $300 is not much for a tailored suit, but for some, that’s the difference in making rent for the month or not.

12 Eric October 31, 2008 at 5:12 am

@Shaun Daws – Great question there. I think your system is just fine. I wear business casual to the office Monday thru Thursday. Slacks, nice shirts ( which I need to start dry cleaning instead of doing that on my own ) and Friday is nicely ironed jeans and a great shirt.

What you are doing works for your particular environment. I also am a programmer so the comfort level has to be there, but looking good should not come at the price of comfortability as my ex-wife thinks. ( whatever… )

Keep it up.

13 Sarah October 31, 2008 at 6:26 am

I completely agree with this post. I LOVE wearing comfortable clothing, but when I try my best and dress up for work, I just feel better about myself inside and out! Tim Gunn, CCO of Liz Claiborne and a wonderful stylist, says when talking about our American slobbish-ness, “If you want to feel like you didn’t get out of bed, DON’T GET OUT OF BED!” And he’s right!

14 Nick October 31, 2008 at 6:59 am

While my job doesn’t require a suit, I don’t mind dressing up. I have always dressed up for presentations or if I have an outside meeting. I will admit, since most of my time is spent in my office alone all day working on my projects, I had been coming into work with an untucked polo and jeans. However, since discovering this site the other week, I have dressed up a little everyday and it is amazing at how it makes me feel and how much more professional and hard working I am now.

15 Julio October 31, 2008 at 8:08 am

Welcome Antonio, I look forward to your future articles. Some things I would like to read about:
-Building the basic wardrobe
-No-no’s
-What goes with what.

16 Nick October 31, 2008 at 8:44 am

I would like to see an article on “Suit Etiquette” as I have always been under the impression that your suit jacket is to be worn all the time… bottoned when standing, un buttoned when sitting, etc.
Also, information on getting measured for a suit would be good too.

Thanks, Antonio.

17 Dan October 31, 2008 at 8:50 am

I completely agree with this article. I am a high school teacher who wears a tie every day while others around me wear jeans and t-shirts or even sweatpants. People only think you’re a professional if you look the part. This, of course, works the other way as well.

18 Ariston Collander October 31, 2008 at 8:51 am

I am definitely excited about this series. Dressing nicely is something I have always strived for, however, with a limited wardrobe you get by as best you can. I like Vincent’s idea of dressing nicely on a budget. I’m going to saving around $200 to bolster the wardrobe, which can either be a single suit or something more flexible. In any case I am excited to see what else will be posted.

19 Dennis October 31, 2008 at 9:05 am

I am a Starbucks employee and military man so my work garb is dictated to me 99% of the time. But I have learned a few things from working in fashion and from personal experience. One, not every industry is a suit industry and I believe Brett or a contributor has mentioned it before. If you’re in a creative or design career, go for the designer jeans (even if you buy them at Costco or Overstock.com like me) and rock them with a great sport coat and spiffy shoes and let the situation dictate when you need to break out the wool and buttons.

Originally Posted By Gabe AnzeliniI think a good guideline might be to not out-dress your boss, does this make sense?

I think this is a great rule of thumb (assuming that your boss isn’t a complete shmuck). However, one must be careful if their boss is a woman, as there are subtleties to woman’s fashion that are sometimes lost on us men. In fact, note to Brett or Antonio, a gender comparison of what a man should wear to be on par with a woman (either dating or professionally) would be a great help.

@Ceres – Woot! I’m glad to know that women notice such things.

@Vincent – Thrift stores are your friend, my good man. If you check regularly you can find a nice gently used suit for under $20. I found this out when I had a friend who was looking for a Halloween costume to be a 20′s era gangster. He kept looking and not only found a fantastic 3 piece pinstripe to fit the role, but shirts and ties too. Tailored they are not, but if you find a suit that is roughly your size, it’s a vast improvement and only gets better when you can scrape up the cash to get it altered to fit you (usually $35-50).

@eeallo – Two adages come to mind. Rules are made to be broken (at least in fashion) and its the spirit of the rule, not the letter. Previous comments, specifically on socks and shoes matching pointed out that its about creating an image that is cohesive and appealing. Whether or not the square matches the tie or the shirt isn’t important as long as the image presented works. Second, on the hat, at least he’s confident enough to wear one, rakish tilt and all, but I agree that at the ESPY’s, an indoor event, the gentleman should always remove his headgear.

20 Confident Nerd October 31, 2008 at 10:00 am

This is good advice. It is a known fact that if you dress up notch higher than your usual gear, your self images improves immediately.
On the flip side, if you dress too high up your normal level, you may not be able to carry yourself and as a result see negative effects.

21 Art Gonzalez October 31, 2008 at 12:39 pm

I think this is part of the appeal that the figure of James Bond portrays. Even in the middle of turmoil and action he is always sharp looking and impeccably well dressed. This is a discipline that I am very happy that my son has caught on as well. He is always making sure that his shirts are properly ironed and his shoes well shined.

This is one of my favorite blogs, thank you for the great postings.

Many blessings,

Art Gonzalez
Check my Squidoo Lens at: Quantum Knights

22 Harald October 31, 2008 at 1:24 pm

May I beg to differ a bit?

I’m a student of mechanical engineering, so I’m going to university. My observation is, that the (few) students that wear suits are being recognized immediately as “students of economics” and the general opinion is, that they try to compensate for their lack of skills. (compare math lectures for engineering with math lecture for economics, e.g. – yeah, you may stop laughing now).

So, in order to avoid THAT and at the same time to save all the hassle of thinking about what I’m gonna wear etc., I’ve started a little experiment.

I’ve created a fixed set of garments, that while being universal are easy to maintain, suited for all environments, not too expensive and look decent (imho):

Blue jeans, black (high quality) t-shirt, black (high quality) fleece hoodie, m65 field jacket (black, of course).

In the morning, I get up, check the weather, don the parts of the above that seem neccessary and I’m off for the day. Especially the hoodie is quite universal, it work well down to about 5°C outside and is still ok at normal indoor temperatures. Also, it keeps light rain off my head, dries quickly and offers convenient storage for notes and other small items ;)

So far, this is going well. I’m leaving the house at 7:00 in a respectable state and can still go to the party in the evening in the same respectable state. Can’t say the same about ppl with sweaty nylon shirts :P

23 Michael October 31, 2008 at 2:03 pm

Excellent article, well articulated and I am excited about seeing more articles from Mr. Centeno. However, I have to disagree with your statement about Dwayne Wade. I think he looks like a cheap pimp who won the Lottery. Sean Combs though, was an excellent pick, as were the rest.
May I suggest some articles on how to get fitted for a new suit, and the terminology we need to know when doing so? As well as how to properly choose colours for ones’ complexion.

24 CJ Guest October 31, 2008 at 5:39 pm

Fantastic post Antonio!

I often think about how much better it was in my dad’s day when it was assumed that a man worth his salt wore a suit, tie, and hat… and wore them well!

I agree that from a self-confidence perspective, the suit can change the way one does business. Authority and deference is usually given to the best dressed. Besides, there’s NOTHING like the feeling of suit tailored to fit you exactly!

And in regards to cost, there are many that allocate disposable income to things other than what can improve themselves. I say, find those expenses, cut them, and reallocate the money to clothes that can help you become a better you.

@cjguest

25 Santa November 1, 2008 at 8:40 am

I agree that being well dressed does improve the impression you make on people and I myself take the time to make sure I look well for work, and when going out with friends. A man does have to be careful though because buying clothes can become addicting and I don’t think that’s very manly at all. Also I can’t help but wonder about a prodigy like Albert Einstein who was known to have owned very few clothing articles. He believed that spending too much time in appearance took away time and energy that could be spent on more productive things in life.

26 Paul November 1, 2008 at 4:10 pm

Being colour blind does make it hard to be well-dressed.

27 Tony November 1, 2008 at 6:00 pm

Thank you all for the warm welcome. I appreciate all the kind words and am excited to contribute to your community.

@ced – Yours title does sound better…..we’ve made the change!

@Shaun Daws – Using your boss as a guide when dressing is a very sensitive subject. There’s no right answer here, as that every situation is different and should be addressed accordingly. I’ll work on an article covering this very topic; if anyone has an opinion or experience they would like to share with me, please contact me http://www.atailoredsuit.com/contact-tailored-suit.html

@Gabe Anzelini – Another great article topic, one which I plan on addressing here soon. My quick solution Gabe is to hide the point where your shirt tucks into your trousers by wearing a sports jacket or blazer. Avoid the tie/dress shirt/slacks look and instead try a jacket/dress shirt/trousers without a tie. It will look classier and may even make you look thinner.

@eeallo – Yea, not the best picture of Dwyane. But you have to give the guy points for effort – he really tries! As for coordinating the pocket square – I come from the school of thought that believes it should be of similar shade to both the tie and shirt. If you are not wearing a tie, then just make sure the pocket square shares a color with your shirt or jacket. A pocket square should never exactly match the tie; its job is to be the finishing touch.

@Vincent@eeallo – “How to look like a million dollars on a tight budget” I’ll get to work on it Vincent!

@Julio – Got your list, and the good news is that I already have planned on covering all three. I’ll address building the wardrobe this month, matching clothing before Christmas, and the common mistakes men make when dressing in January or February.

@Nick – I’ll cover suit etiquette in early December when I start writing about the men’s suit. As for how to get measured for a suit; if you need immediate help please visit my website’s measurement page. Otherwise I plan on doing an article on choosing a tailor early next year.

@Dennis – You make some great points and I hope you continue to comment on future articles.

@Harald – That’s quite a system you’ve got there!

@Michael – I’ll be answering the matching your complexion question here in the next month. As for learning how to talk with a tailor when getting fitted for a suit, look for that article in January.

@Santa – I agree, spending too much time on your appearance is counterproductive. But looking stylish doesn’t require as much time or clothing as you may think. Anthony Biddle Jr., who in 1960 was called the best dressed man in America, owned seven suits. This is remarkable, as that he wore a suit almost every day of his adult life (he was a US Ambassador to 8 countries over a career that spanned 25 years).

Best regards,

Antonio Centeno
President, A Tailored Suit
http://www.atailoredsuit.com/
Visit our Style Guide for articles on timeless fashion

28 ced November 1, 2008 at 7:57 pm

Tony dont thank me thank ZZ TOP………….. great article

29 s November 1, 2008 at 10:43 pm

And, yes, I know loosing the weight is a good place to be, but in the meantime, what to do?

Look to Churchill he was short and fat too? Make sure your collars are high an pretty long points. Avoid collars that are to spread go for forward pointed collars. A great fitting double breasted suit will do wonders to slim and ease you into suit wearing on a daily basis. When you get comfortable and good enough you can take a crack at 3pieces and single breasted.

30 Kristiyan November 3, 2008 at 5:40 am

Hello there, and repeatedly — good piece.

May I suggest then a couple of web sites with a high relation to the topic.

The forum: http://www.styleforum.net
And the blog: http://belisi.typepad.com/ties_cufflinks_polos/mens_fashion/index.html

Two excellent sources for man style options.

Regards,
K

31 Uniform Dating November 3, 2008 at 6:53 am

Great to see someone else is an advocate of dressing well.

32 James November 4, 2008 at 11:23 am

Originally Posted By Gabe AnzeliniAlso, what do you say to a guy who is short and fat and doesn’t really like the way he looks esp with his shirt tucked in? How can he dress nice and still not be self-conscience. And, yes, I know loosing the weight is a good place to be, but in the meantime, what to do?

As a man who has been on both sides of this fence (graduated high school at 300 lbs, got down to 160 lbs) I had some great pointers given to me. I loved the earlier mentioned point about a double breasted suit. I wore one for years. Also have your suit tailored to you. This is relatively affordable and it will make you look pleasantly square.

The second thing that worked for me was to wear a nice jacket/blazer as often as possible. This will frame you nicely and since it is back in fashion to wear one even with nice jeans you can wear one to almost any event.

Thirdly, tie your tie in at least a double winsor (compliments to the aforemention note about collar types). This will balance out any neck issues along with having the proper collared shird. Also kudos to the note about getting a tailored shirt. That is a great way for a larger man to keep from looking cramped in his clothes.

My last note is a thanks to this article in general. As a young teacher (started at age 21) I quickly realized the best way to get the respect of my students was to dress professionally. This also helps when your students are only a few years younger.

Keep up the great advice!

33 m goode November 5, 2008 at 11:25 am

This was probably the best article I have read on this site so far. The smallest details speak volumes on a person’s appearance. I have always wondered how people judge a person by their choice in things like a cell phone. I know that I have always looked at a person who had a flimsy or beat up cell phone as someone who didn’t care about their appearance, and the person that was well groomed, sharply dressed and had the latest in technology to accompany their appearance as someone who was making moves in life. Luckily my time working with motorola has given me the heads up on what the latest technology on the scene is. My next top pick as a well groomed gentleman myself is the Krave. It has the styling of a flip phone with a full touch screen instead of a keypad. (motorola.com/krave to see for yourself) Cheers to the sharp dressed man!

34 Evan November 5, 2008 at 7:59 pm

To my med school interview, I wore: $10 used charcoal suit from Goodwill, with $40 or so in alterations. $30 Lands End white shirt. $1 nice english-made red/navy striped tie from Goodwill. $50 Allen Edmonds Park Avenues (nice shoes), used on ebay. I got in. I looked better-put together than most/all guys in my group.

You can look decent for very cheap, but it’s going to take time to find and effort to educate yourself.

Rule #1: FIT FIT FIT! Get your suits altered by a tailor to fit YOU, whether you buy used or new. Important, and commonly ignored up details: pant and sleeve length, and waist alterations.

35 J November 7, 2008 at 1:09 am

@Gabe Anzelini
Buy tailored shirts. Larger men often don’t like the way they look in dress shirts because the “poofiness” is unflattering. By buying shirts specifically measured and made for himself, a man gets a shirt which accentuates his good qualities and does not look awkward. They are a little more expensive, yes, but well worth it, since larger men CAN look good in dress shirts, provided they know the tricks.

36 April Braswell November 8, 2008 at 2:41 pm

Indeed, and women LOVE when a man dresses in a clearly manly fashion embracing his masculine authority. Well-cut suits accentuate a man’s masculine shoulders and create the contrast ration of masculine shoulders to comparatively nipped in waist.

Let me translate this for you.

chicks LOVE it.

Seriously. We want to know who is in charge. We’re all a bit on the yang side in business. However in romance, the majority of us want a man who is protective and leading.

Your wearing suits sends a clear message to us that YOU are in charge here.

oh goodie!

All the best,

All the best,

April Braswell

Online Dating Expert, Romantic Relationship Coach, Romance Coaching

Online Dating Sites Review, Internet Dating Sites Guide

37 April Braswell November 8, 2008 at 2:42 pm

@April Braswell

sorry I stuttered, but I DO say All the best ALL the time! :D

38 Daniel November 10, 2008 at 7:34 pm

I agree whole heartedly with this article.
I learnt it from experience. Due to a chronic illness I have spent the last 12 years (since I was 11) stuck at home, educating myself. As I have not been able to leave the house much. The result was I got around in trackpants and t shirts, with some trashy jumpers in winter. But in my mind I was always wearing a three piece suit and a fedora.
This year I thought to myself “I am going to dress the way my mind dresses”. So I am slowly aquiring suits, blazers, sportscoats, trousers etc. Often from thrift stores but also from vendors like Lands End. The result? I feel ten times more confident walking down the street or going to a restaurant even just in some traditional cut trousers and a navy blazer, with tie and pocket square.
Even when I am doing my exercises, cooking or gardening in some simpler cotton twill trousers and an old t shirt, I feel more confident knowing that if someone comes to visit I can pop in my room an come out looking like a real man.
Also. wear a hat. I have noticed that it really completes the outfit, especially a good quality fedora in a single colour (avoid that patternd cloth small brim things you see). Also, ladies seem to love the hats.

39 Robert November 10, 2008 at 11:52 pm

I find this article to be part rubbish. I have met many well-educated, articulate men whom have no need to dress up in order to feel better. While I do agree proper attire is necessary for certain functions, it is not always needed. I have seen many people who have to dress up in order to feel powerful because they do not have enough self-confidence and need “accessories” in order to to achieve that feeling. However, I will admit that i have made false assumptions about people that are not dressed up and they turned out to be very respectable men. I also have been very disappointed by people who were wearing Marx or Armani and were (for lack of a better phrase) pompous asses.

40 Mitch November 19, 2008 at 11:02 am

Great article!!! For those of you who are skeptical, BELIEVE IT. I work as an attorney and on office days I go “corporate casual”. When I meet with clients and do deals I throw on a suit and tie. The difference in the way the average person on the street treats me is remarkable. Going cas, I’m generally ignored. In the suit, women smile at me constantly, shopkeepers approach me ten times faster, and the waiter runs over to my table quicker. It’s the difference between someone saying “Hey Buddy” and “Excuse Me Sir”!!!!

41 Nick November 23, 2008 at 10:38 am

Great article. I think that a great follow up would be to educate some men that are new to dressing up about different cuts of shirts, pants and other clothing. When I first started taking care of appearance, I had no clue about what boot cut I wanted or about different collars of shirts.

It would be great to read an article that can fill all the missing pieces.

42 jdgjtr November 23, 2008 at 9:32 pm

For the most part, I am not impressed by someone in a s suit. Jocks and rappers mostly look like thugs and and pimps in suits. Other guys look like lawyers or preachers. I had a job at one time that required me to dress up; the suit wearing supervisors shafted me for several hundred dollars in commissions. I spent five years in the military. I took care of my uniforms and took pride in them but the guys with the cleanest uniforms usually did the least work. I wear khakis and polo shirts or oxfords that are neatly pressed but I will not wear a suit. Having respect for someone just because they are well dressed never made any sense to me nor is my self esteem increased whether I am wearing khakis, jeans or scrubs.

43 Jim Bingemheimer November 30, 2008 at 9:54 pm

Awesomely written post. I half-expected to read the usual commercialized dreck that leads immediately into a pitch for the $3,300 Armani suit (GQ, etc.). But this article hangs back and actually informs us about the core, inner workings of how and why a guy should dress up, not down. I would even hasten to say that this is a complete manifesto of men’s sartorialism.

44 Michael December 1, 2008 at 8:10 pm

Although it might be an extreme example; I got used to dressing myself nicely early on as a violinist in the local youth symphony I had to wear a tuxedo to every concert. When I would be out that evening right before I felt pretty awesome.

Although wearing a suit and tie to university classes now would be a step too far (especially in a public college in Tennessee where the average dress is very casual) I find that donning a tucked in dress shirt with my jeans (not designer, but not ratty) and adding a blazer really steps up my appearance. As a musician – going into teaching -, I never know when I’m going to be meeting people that I will be trying to get work from in a few years so I like to make sure I’m always dressed for success.

I’m also just about done saving up for a brand new case for my violin that looks a lot classier than the old hunk of junk I’m carrying around right now. Whether it’s housing documents or a 200 year old violin anything you carry with you just has to look good as well.

Excellent article and, as previously stated, one of the best.

45 Mike December 2, 2008 at 3:00 pm

Two thoughts I’d like to throw out for your consideration:

First, I work as a consultant in the I/T industry, and I always try to make sure I dress one step above what my clients are wearing. Example: client is wearing T-shirt and jeans, I’ll wear a polo shirt and khakis. Client is wearing the khakis, I’ll wear a sport coat, or dress shirt / tie with slacks. That way I don’t appear to be too overbearing or intimidating by the way I dress.

Second, I had a business lunch with one of our VPs (who I had never met before) and business development managers with a potential client awhile back. The meeting went great, everyone was dressed appropriately and life was good. Then, the client left and the three of us were heading back to the office, and the VP started letting loose with various obscenities, lewd comments, etc. and he lost major points in my estimation of him. Moral of the story: clothes make the great first impressions, but don’t blow it by your language, attitude, etc.

46 none December 4, 2008 at 11:26 am

@Shaun Daws – Tech industry workers can often find themselves in a position of needing to float between jeans and polo wearing team members one moment, and power suit senior leadership the next.

What I’ve found it useful to create a good base look that isn’t too formal, but can be quickly modified to sell to a high end crowd.

I start with a good crisp white (other colors can be used if carefully selected for quality look) long-sleave shirt (undershirt mandatory), simple black leather belt with modest buckle (never allowed to look worn), plain well pressed black slacks, and well kept black shoes. This look is professional, without being so over the top as to intimidate other casual workers.

Next, have a good sport coat available tailored to fit, made of a good fabric, I also keep a black tie and perhaps a few other very structured professional colored ones about.

It takes but a few minutes to upgrade the base look to a credible senior leadership look when needed.

47 none December 4, 2008 at 11:48 am

Whether it should or not, professional attire has it’s own power. Not on everyone, not all the time, but just try dressing up and conducting one’s self around town, vs just in jeans and a t-shirt. You will notice people’s programmed response to being well dressed.

To be sure, there are those who don’t care what you look like, but for everyone one of them I can wager there are more than enough who do care, specifically in leadership roles. I can recall quite distinctly one occasion when a visiting exec was introduced to me, and he quite litteraly looked me over from head to foot for a few seconds, soaking in the details of my attire, creating a first judgement of whether or not I was someone who should be taken seriously. I found it profoundly disturbing (I’m one of those don’t care what people looks like folks), but it’s then nature of the environment.

The sports uniform may only have subtle if any impact on individual capability, but to play the game, one must be able to wear it.

48 Brittney December 5, 2008 at 9:33 am

I must agree with you on how men dress. As a society in general we have gotten too casual. I love my jeans,t-shirts and Converses as well. But men, when you are out on a date wear something a little more classy. I loved how Ronald Reagan,Bing Crosby and Frank Sintatra dressed. What has happened to this generation? Why are we so darn casual. I am also sixteen and I would adore any man who wore a suit.
:]

49 Dr. R.M. Mc Lean December 25, 2008 at 8:56 am

Nice article – keep it up.

50 Gyasiman January 2, 2009 at 11:20 am

I am very much exicited about this acticle for it has open the door for me to come out with a decent outlooking.

Thank each and everyone who contributed what he or she has.

thanks

and also please am 18 years male and from Ghana. on the west of Africa.am pleading to any person who would love to help me by being my teacher. please
i want to learn anything our how to bring my life up. please is a dedication from your heart and i know you would be bless.

51 antoine February 9, 2009 at 9:07 pm

I disagree, in the case of Ceres she cared about theu suit not the man. My job now if I wore a suit to I would be broke, because the machinery would teat it up (battery acid etc). I could move up but their is the dress issue. I think fashion is dumb personally, because most have style but no substance, nothing else to them. I personally dont care aboput what others think, I know you have heard that before but it is true.Growing up on Sundays I took my suit off right after church was over and it my mother said suit of belt I picked the belt. She gave up. I do know that is how we are judge but I still sleep well and that is all that matters.

52 Tom Harbold September 25, 2009 at 8:41 pm

You’re spot on about this. I have noticed that when I am dressed in a more professional or dressy-casual manner, I get on average more friendly nods, smiles, and hellos from strangers, and noticeably better service from service personnel, than when I’m wearing jeans and a t-shirt, even if both are neat and clean. It’s possible to argue over whether this “should” be the case, of course, but the salient point is that it IS the case.

One must, of course, suit one’s wardrobe to circumstance; when I was working in the field at an organic farm I dressed for comfort and practicality, not style, and even now I wouldn’t wear a nice polo shirt and khakis to change the oil, or a blazer and tie to a family picnic. But I have come increasingly to the belief that one should always dress as well as one’s situation and circumstances permit: what my late and beloved mother used to call, “putting your best foot forward.”

Without, of course, being foppish or metrosexual about it!

53 lucian November 10, 2009 at 4:35 am

dear Antonio Centeno:
now I’ve read this article but i just have one question to ask?.what about us “bigger” guys, now i would like to dress well and dress to kill but do you have any tips on hiding the gut or should i accept it?

either way would like to hear your professional opinion!

regards lucian

54 dario hernandez November 17, 2009 at 9:58 pm

I happen to agree with everything that is mentioned in here. I myself am and Marine and the way we dress and take care of our uniform has a lot to do with our discipline which in return helps us win battles. The reason I am reading this in the first place is because i am writing a paper about being a gentleman and dressing properly happens to be one of the topics that i am hitting. I firmly believe that the way you dress and present yourself reflects many things about you.

55 RJ December 12, 2009 at 11:49 am

To the man who works in with machines…I totally understand that a suit would not be appropriate for that environment, but at the same time, a clean and well-maintained uniform garners the same type of respect as a 500 dollar suit.

56 BBinKC May 5, 2010 at 5:48 pm

The thrift store is your friend. If you are trying to build up a nice wardrobe find the Salvation Army or Goodwill stores in the nice part of your city and go to them weekly. You can get excellent jackets and suits for less than $10. Sometimes you’ll like the jacket but not the buttons. Just find another with buttons you like and buy that one too. Good buttons are very expensive to buy otherwise. Have a tailor swap the buttons and fit the jacket for you. You’ll end up spending about $35 or $40 to get a nicely fitted jacket or suit that would cost hundreds new.

Build your wardrobe with solid basics in classic cuts and with proper care they will last for years. Get shirts with drop point collars, not button down. Button down collars are a casual cut. They were made for polo players to keep the collars from slapping them in the face. A drop point collar, even without a tie, gives a nice bit of dressing to the neckline.

Dress pants should have pleated fronts. The pleats allow for a nice full length crease that looks sharp. They are also more comfortable when sitting and they don’t get those nasty wrinkles in the front from sitting like flat fronts do. The pants should have a cuffed bottom. The cuff adds weight which makes the pants drape properly.

Belts should match shoes should match leather watchbands.

Get cedar shoe trees for all of your shoes, including your sneakers. They triple the life of the shoe and keep them looking new for a long time by keeping them in proper shape and absorbing moisture. Oh, no loafers for dress. They are called loafers because they are casual shoes.

Shirt sleeves should extend 1/2 below the jacket sleeves. That extra bit of color poking out there makes a HUGE difference in the overall look. It takes it from nice to sharp.

Not sure where to start? Get a dark charcoal wool suit in a year round weight in a classic cut with partly lined pants. This is the single most versatile suit you can own. From weddings to funerals to interviews to fancy dinners it covers them all in style. Add a nice white shirt with drop point collar, black leather cap toed oxford or wingtip shoes, black belt, black dress socks (black cotton crew socks are not dress socks) and tie with a subdued pattern in deep tones with some red in the pattern. You now have a classic do it all dress outfit that will look great for any occasion requiring a suit. Because it is all classic items as long as it fits you can wear it because it will never be out of style.

Add a black and white houndstooth two button sport coat and a pair of black pants (like I described above) and with the stuff you bought to go with the suit you now have an outfit that can go from borderline casual to dressy and in-between by adding or subtracting the tie and jacket.

Yes, it’s that easy.

57 BBinKC May 5, 2010 at 5:57 pm

Oh, along with thrift stores JC Penny’s is the place to go for excellent stuff at good prices. Their Stafford line of clothes for men is well made with a classic style. They have huge sales throughout the year at each major holiday. Just get a Sunday paper or check their flyer online. Their wrinkle free drop point shirts (and yes they are wrinkle free, just pull from the dryer when slightly damp, shake, and hang) go for about $25 on sale. The fabric doesn’t hold pet hair like cotton does which is a plus for those (like me) with a house full of furry critters.

58 BBinKC May 5, 2010 at 8:31 pm

Avoid yellow and pink shirts. Very, very, few men can pull these off. Chances are you are NOT one of them.

Unless you are in the mafia or a CEO skip the black pinstripes.

Color is the place where things can really get confusing and where most of us are clueless. Make it easy on yourself at first and just stick with white shirts and blue/black/charcoal pants and jacket. Add color with your tie and avoid the outlandish ones. The overall look will be classic.

59 K Aj June 21, 2010 at 6:30 am

You do not have a second opportunity to make a first impression. However, it is VERY possible to be respectfully dressed in a pair of slacks and visibly clean polos/ open necks. I feel good in them. Dressing practically and appropriately is the key – suits are good but they don’t have to be an everyday attire. At least not in the heat of cities such as Houston TX

60 J.J. Vicars January 15, 2013 at 7:14 am

As a musician there’s two bad attitudes I often run into. The first is the drummer not wanting to dress for the gig. The typical argument is, “I’m in the back behind the drum kit, no one can see me.” While this is entirely untrue it is true that when playing a three-set four-hour gig the drummer spends time out in the crowd just like the rest of the band. The second is guys showing up to a recording session dressed in ‘civilian’ clothes. Fact is, as Antonio points out in the transformation effect, you rock out harder when you’re dressed like you’re on the gig. You’re in that musician mind frame and it shows in your performance. Then again a lot of so-called musicians don’t dress for the gig in the first place. They’re either wearing hoodies or dressed like they’re going fishing. It’s an insult to the audience. They came to see a show, that’s what they paid for, and you owe it to them. Coincidentally it’s these bum dressers who are always complaining about lack of paying gigs while the sharp dressers are usually the ones who get the first call, especially for weddings which are some of the highest paying gigs.

61 stiles February 20, 2013 at 10:00 am

Excellent commentary i must say.

62 pdiddy May 11, 2013 at 12:45 am

In all honesty being a tall handsome well dressed person does get you a different type of respect as smaller men assume larger men to lead and take charge of the office like the alpha males took over Packs of their females etc. in the wild…..so true sucks for short not well dressed people.

63 BGH November 22, 2013 at 10:39 am

Great stuff. I am a very simple dresser, a computer geek by trade, love to dress comfortably – love the blue jeans feel totally. However I want to look sharp while being comfortable and so looking to swap out the wardrobe. Thanks for the tips.

64 tami January 1, 2014 at 11:16 pm

loved it loved it thanks

65 JenS March 25, 2014 at 9:32 pm

Unfortunately it is a lot harder for women to find any clothes that really fit well, Clothiers do not cater to women with tailored stuff like they do men. Guess I’ll have to find a good alteration shop.

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