Darius Belejevas wrote this guest post for Real Men Real Style on using clothing and accessories to maximize how people perceive you. Pay attention; details matter.
You see a man in a bespoke suit, wearing a pair of well-maintained dress shoes and a nice watch – if you had to guess, what kind of man do you think he is? What other character qualities would you assume about him?
What about a man wearing a pair of baggy cargo shorts, flip-flops and a polo shirt with the collar popped – would your first impression about him be different?
Let’s be frank – of course it would!
That said, personal biases aside, can we objectively say that one outfit can make us look more ATTRACTIVE than the other?
Yes, we can.
Recently, we did an experiment to see how clothes affect our attractiveness and even perceived height. I dressed in two different outfits and went out to survey women on the street asking them to rate my attractiveness on a 1 to 10 scale and guess my height (well, actually a female friend did the surveying while I just stood there, looking handsome).
In just about 15 minutes that it took me to change outfits, we got a 1.57 bump in attractiveness (~25%) and, unexpectedly, an extra 5 cm (almost 2 inches) in perceived height.
Six months later we re-did this experiment with a new outfit and improved physique.
This time, we got another extra 0.53 points in attractiveness (totaling 8.24, a 34% increase from the first try) and another extra centimeter in perceived height (that’s more than 2 extra inches in perceived height!)
To put it bluntly – just by focusing on the aspects we can control, mainly the clothes we wear, it is possible to become significantly more attractive.
And with this article, I’d like to show you how.
How To Use Clothing To Maximize Your Attractiveness?
But before we get to the details on how to use specific types of clothing to maximize your attractiveness, let‘s discuss what factors we need to consider when deciding whether a particular outfit or a piece of clothing presents you in the most attractive light.
It really boils down to three qualities:
- Clothes should look flattering on your physique and create attractive, masculine visual proportions
Attraction is not something we decide on rationally or even consciously. On the contrary, it’s a very primal and biological response. As a result, a lot of weight on whether we look attractive to someone (and how attractive) falls down on how well we manage to display and present our physique.
Are we visually creating that masculine V-form of broad shoulders and lean torso or is that extra loose fabric around the torso makes it look like we’ve been spending too much time on the coach, drinking beer?
Do we appear strong and muscular or stick-figure skinny and weak?
Also, biologically we are programmed to view height as a sign of dominance, another attractive, masculine quality for a man. And so, do our choices in clothes makes us look taller or shorter than we actually are? It can play a big role in how attractive we look.
- Your outfit and individual garments should convey attractive character qualities
Let’s get back to our thought experiment for a moment – have you wondered why you made those assumptions based on different descriptions about what the men were wearing?
We instinctively stereotype our first impressions based on previous subjective experiences and external influences. Naturally, certain stereotypes and associations are more attractive than others.
Which particular stereotypes and character qualities will be deemed the most attractive will vary case by case, but there are three in particular that I would like to note:
Dominance (power and strength), Leadership (courage to stand out and lead), Resourcefulness (being a man of means and status).
All three are masculine, testosterone induced qualities that will manifest in every attractive stereotype.
The type of clothes and even the colors we wear can convey one or more of these qualities.
- The clothes you’re wearing should help you stand out, without looking out of place
Last but not least, the context when you wear something matters. A lot. We are social creatures and being significantly overdressed or underdressed will make us look like a social risk.
This means that if we want to maximize our attractiveness we should be able to adjust our style based on whether we’re having a glass of wine in a restaurant, casual date at a hip coffee shop or having a crazy night out in a club or bar.
This brings me to our next point,
As we’ll be talking about looking attractive I won’t be covering suits and other formal wear. The reasoning here is simple – for most of us, going on a casual date or a night out in a full suit would make us overdressed and rather out of place (assuming you’re not having an anniversary celebration with your significant other).
Now that we got this out of the way – how does this actually look in practice?
#1. Accessories Can Give Character To Your Image
From rings, bracelets and necklaces to watches, ties and pocket squares – accessories help complete our look.
Tips for using accessories to look more attractive:
- If you prefer a more youthful image and edgier, “bad boy” looks, consider picking a bracelet (or two) instead of a watch. Or combine a watch and a thin bracelet.
- On the other hand, a well-chosen watch will make you appear more mature, respectable, high status.
- Picking a more colorful pocket square when wearing a blazer can transform an otherwise conservative outfit.
- It can be difficult to look very attractive in winter outfits when you need to wear multiple thick layers just to stay warm and the color palette tends to be darker, less pronounced. Picking a brighter, colorful scarf can help you combat these effects and look great in colder weather too.
- Regardless how iconic Johnny Depp’s accessorizing skills have been in the last decade or so, for most men it’s best to practice restrain when accessorizing so it doesn’t overwhelm the rest of the outfit.
#2. Use Tops To Emphasize Your Physique
As discussed earlier in this article, how we manage to display our physique plays a significant role in how attractive we appear. Our choice in tops – tees, shirts, sweaters, vests (waistcoats) – is our first frontier to help and create visually flattering effects.
And it’s not just about the cuts. The colors and patterns we choose for our upper wear will often set the tone for the rest of the outfit.
Tips for wearing tops to look more attractive:
- It’s often best to avoid complex layering when you have an impressive physique – stick with simple outfits that won’t unintentionally camouflage or distract from your physique.
- On the other hand, if you’re skinny and could use some extra musculature, you will look most attractive when there’s at least two layers on top, i.e. shirt and a sweater, tee and a shirt.
- If you’re bulky, avoid items that will add extra loose fabric around the torso. Items like sweaters and hoodies with pockets around the torso will emphasize your bulkiness. Instead, consider adding a dark vest on top of your buttoned shirt – a very effective way to create more flattering upper body proportions for bigger guys.
- Be smart about the colors you’re wearing, remember: contrast will grab and draw attention onto itself, darker colors will help you look leaner and brighter colors will make you look bigger.
- With simple outfits, i.e. when you’re wearing a tee and a jacket only, using a brighter tee can help make the look more exciting, playful and help you stand out without looking try-hard.
- V-necks are a great alternative when your goal is to look attractive as it shows some skin and looks flattering on most physiques.
#3. Outerwear Will Define Your Style
Even though every piece of clothing in your outfit works together to define your style and what it says about you, it’s usually the outerwear the will have the final say whether your outfit looks classy and dressed up or edgy and cool.
A buttoned shirt or a tee will translate into a completely different look when matched with a blazer rather than a biker leather jacket. Though both can be very attractive options.
On top of that, the right outerwear can even further help create attractive forms for your upper body.
Tips for picking outerwear to look more attractive:
- Decide on the type of image you want to convey – dressed up? Chill and casual? Rebellious? All of these can be equally attractive in different contexts and on different people. Your outerwear should be picked accordingly.
- Avoid clothes that do not present your physique in a flattering way (i.e. say no to Parka jackets). In the same manner, if you’re shorter than average you should avoid any outerwear that significantly covers your legs.
- Modern short cuts on blazers and jackets can be a very solid option for shorter men and also provide a very convenient way to display your hand accessories without looking like you’re showing off.
- Consider picking a blazer in a non-neutral color or in a patterned fabric. The former will give a more exciting and fun twist to your look, while the latter will help you look more sophisticated.
- That said, bright jackets can be very difficult to pull off, so in most cases it’s best to stick with neutral colors.
#4. Pants: Which Jeans To Choose?
The following might sound controversial but from experimenting with subject there’s no doubt about it – chinos and khakis are almost never the optimal option when our goal is to maximize our attractiveness.
It’s not that the designs themselves are bad on either chinos or khakis – not at all and they have their place.
Remember what we talked about stereotyping?
The issue is that for a long time both chinos and khakis have been associated mostly with conservative, professional or semi-professional outfits and over time as garments they lost almost all associative sex appeal.
That said, the trends have been changing last few years but at the time of writing this, when it comes to pants and maximizing attractiveness, the question we should be asking is “which jeans to choose?”
Tips for picking jeans to look more attractive:
- Slim cut should be the go-to option for most men with an exception of men over 40 and those who really like their “leg days” in the gym.
- Skinny cuts on jeans are perfectly fine for younger men. It’s hip and popular approach, which also has some edginess to it – a good combination for younger men who want to look attractive to younger women. That said, keep in mind that close cut like that does have a feminine quality to it and other items in your outfit should compensate for it.
- Distressing, wash, rips are all “in” right now and they do have an inherent sexiness about it (the stereotypical “bad boy” look). However, trends change and if you’re investing in a good pair of jeans it’s often a more reasonable approach to stick with clean, classical designs – the natural “breaking in” will come with time and more often than not will look even better.
#5. Put Yourself In The League Of Your Own By Choosing The Right Shoes
Unfortunately, outside these small circles of men, who learn to dress better the problem of hideous, uncared for shoes still persists and without a doubt is still the number one attractiveness killer when it comes to clothing.
Tips for choosing shoes to look more attractive:
- Say no to sandals and flip-flops.
- Usually you will want to match shoes with your outerwear in style, i.e. if you’re wearing a blazer go for dressier shoes like oxford or loafers, on the other hand, a pair of Chelsea or work boots would look very impressive with a leather jacket.
- Occasionally, it can be a very stylish approach to create contrast of styles with your footwear, i.e. a pair of bright converse with a short cut blazer or white and black sneakers with a biker leather jacket. Such contrast looks playful, it shows that you understand the rules and how to break them and when done right can be very attractive.
- Boots are a great way to look taller without looking like you’re overcompensating.
- Take good care of your shoes. No matter how great the design is, if they look uncared for, you will be losing “attractiveness points”!
How This All Comes Together?
The goal of this article was to help you maximize your attractiveness and so far we explored what makes clothes and outfits be perceived as attractive and covered some practical strategies for different types of clothing.
The last piece of the puzzle is knowing how to put this information into practice:
- Consider the context – where, when and with whom are you going to wear a particular outfit?
- Decide on the image you want to convey: sharp and dressed up? Edgy and cool? Rugged and masculine? All are perfectly viable alternatives when it comes to looking attractive and the choice is yours.
- Focus on choosing clothes that present your physique in a flattering way: makes you look taller, forms V-form for your upper body (or as close as it is possible for your physique) and of course your legs should look visually proportionate too.
- Use outerwear and shoes to define your image and convey the desired qualities.
- Finally, use accessories to add finishing touches, tie everything together and help your outfit stand out in a very stylish way.
Lastly, keep in mind that we’ll never be everyone’s type, some people will find us and our style more attractive than others and that’s perfectly fine.
Such polarization helps us filter people to find those with similar values and interests, while keeping away those with whom you probably wouldn’t get along with in the first place. Use your image to express yourself and you’ll realize that you’re now attractive to all the right people in your life.
This is a guest post by Darius Belejevas. Darius runs the website SexyStyleForJoe.com, where he presents a variety of articles focused on helping men upgrade their style from good to sexy so that you can always look very attractive on dates and nights out.