You only get one first impression: Dress like a man, not a boy.
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Being a heterosexual young professional male living in Boston (GQ’s #1 worst dressed city in America — http://www.gq.com/style/fashion/201107/worst-dressed-cities-america#slide=40), I am constantly surrounded by guys who look like they just rolled out of bed – making me constantly overdressed.
I know everyone has their own priorities so I can’t come down on them all for that, but the second layer of the issue is when slobs actually judge you or give condescending looks when you’re dressed stylish.
People complain about how much “work” it takes to dress decent. Does it really? You’re either buttoning up a Red Sox jersey, or buttoning up a nice collared shirt. You’re either stepping into some light blue jeans from the Gap, or into better fitting, darker, dressier jeans. It’s the same amount of effort for a much different result.
I, personally, won’t leave the house in clothes I would wear to the gym – unless I am actually going to the gym. I’ve had people actually try to start fights with me out in the city simply because I was well put together and was wearing clothes that actually fit. And I don’t want to hear the money argument – there are plenty of nice clothes at Marshall’s or T.J. Maxx for discounted prices.
I’ve been borderline attacked for this opinion because people think I’m saying guys should only leave the house wearing a three piece suit – this just shows an even greater ignorance of what personal style really is, when all I’ve said is “well-dressed” – this does not mean a suit and tie 24/7.
While my personal preferred style is a nicely fitted suit, there are an infinite amount of clean styles out there to fit individual personalities. It never hurt anyone to pick up a fashion magazine or browse a blog every once in a while – flip through some photos, see what works for your personality, and piece something together that fits.
If your style happens to be a suit – try to work in some modernized versions of the classics. A brushed aluminum tie clip, some creative cuff links, or even just a waistcoat (vest) with some nice pants.
There is more to being a well-rounded man than watching football and going to the gym. Have enough dignity and respect for not only yourself – but those around you – by putting in a little effort to how you look. If you pick a woman up for a date wearing sweatpants and a t-shirt, your man card should be immediately revoked.
Granted, some guys look better or prefer a simpler, cleaner look like a t-shirt and jeans. There’s a t-shirt and jeans, and then there’s a t-shirt and jeans. The fit and cleanliness of this style will make or break the entire image.
*Side note* Regardless of your style of choice, the #1 best thing you can do for your aesthetic image is to hit the gym and eat right. Even the guy in the simplest outfit with the right fit for his frame will outdo the guy in the Brioni suit that’s 2 sizes too big.
When you look better, you feel better. When you feel better, you do better. When you do better, you can go out and get what you want out of life. Gentlemen, it’s time to set this cycle in motion.
The women in your life will thank you for it.
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Another great post James. It’s important to dress appropriately.