Following in line with my previous post about joining a gym, let’s talk about the other major factor which determines your looks: dressing well. I realize that fashion is harped upon quite a bit in the dating industry, and most guys at least make a token effort to improve it. But I’d say 90% of the guys I meet don’t go as far as they could towards dressing well and looking great.
Just like fitness, fashion is given a once over so that everyone can rush to the catchy lines, or the anti-flake tactics — when really, fashion and fitness are going to be far bigger factors to your success. Looking good is important. And while looks don’t determine success by themselves, but they sure as hell give you a lot more flexibility and options. Women will be more patient with you, overlook mistakes or bonehead comments you make, give you more time and attention when you approach and be more receptive when you escalate… all based on your looks.
To put it another way, looks don’t take you from A to Z with women, but they sure as hell make B, C, D, E, F and G a lot smoother and easier.
And unlike women, whose physical attractiveness is determined mostly by physical proportions, studies have shown that male attractiveness is perceived mostly by his style, his grooming, his clothes and how he presents himself.
The reason is because the primary driver of attraction in women are displays of status. Dressing well is a sign of status. Dressing like an idiot (i.e., top hats), dressing ostentatiously (i.e., bright pink and green shirts), or dressing in a way that’s not congruent with your lifestyle are NOT displays of status. I’ve really come around the last couple years on dressing traditionally while simply dressing one level higher than most other people in any environment you go to. Usually this means nice dress shirts, nice leather shoes, nice watches and belts, ties, vests, suit jackets, etc. Even when everyone around you is in T-shirts and khaki shorts. It’s always better to be over-dressed than under-dressed, so always be over-dressed.
I went through all the phases mentioned above: the peacocking phase (let’s not talk about it), the ostentatious phase (bright shirts, bunch of accessories and piercings), the sexy-stereotype rocker phase (leather jacket, dyed hair). The last two had minor effects. But ultimately, I settled on just dressing really well. Traditional, but well. I’m usually one of the best-dressed, if not the best-dressed guy wherever I go now. And when I say “best dressed,” I don’t mean coolest dressed, or most noticeable. I mean I’m traditionally better dressed than anyone else. If they have dress shirts, I have a tie or scarf. If they have T-shirts, I have a dress shirt.
The change began when I made a simple observation. I was in Austin and going out regularly to the dive bars on 6th Street with my friends. Austin is an extremely casual city. It’s not uncommon to see guys walking around in flip flops and gym shorts in many venues.
What I noticed was that when I wore collared shirts, I’d get approached by at least one girl that night. Always. When I wore a T-shirt, I never got approached, and rarely got looks. I began experimenting with it, and sure enough, every time I went out in a nice shirt with everyone else walking around in T-shirts and flip flops, I got approached. So I then decided to up the ante, I busted out an entire outfit: dress shirt and scarf, leather jacket, dress shoes. Now I got approached multiple times and eye-fucked constantly. Since then, I never looked back. And the attention hasn’t stopped either, even in many different cities and countries.
Over the years, I’ve talked to a number of men who have had similar experiences. When they traded in the designer T-shirts and cheesy blazers for wool peacoats, cufflinks and leather shoes, suddenly girls were opening them. One guy I talked to went so far as to start wearing custom suits out wherever he went. He swears by it now. He said that not only do women approach him, but it’s not unusual for restaurant managers to come introduce themselves to him during his dinner dates, or for women to ask if he’s the club owner.
Now, obviously, your behavior must be congruent to how you’re dressed. If you’re going to dress like you own the place, you need to behave with the confidence to match it. If you’re a geeky and pudgy 20-year-old with acne and a beer belly, then throwing a suit on is probably not going to do a lot for you. But the point I’m getting at is the same: that being the best dressed guy in the room is NEVER a bad thing. Ever. In fact, it should be something you shoot for, consistently.
If that means out-nerding everyone at an anime convention, then do it. If that means having the best toga at your fraternity’s party, then do it. Go all out. Make yourself stand out. But not in a weird way. Not in an obnoxious way. In a classy way. In a way that women respect.
Just so you don’t think I’m making this crap up, here’s a study (one of numerous) that backs up my point. It’s taken from the book The Survival of the Prettiest by Nancy Etcoff, which is an interesting read if you care about this kind of stuff:
Anthropologist Marshall Townsend showed people pictures of men and women who ranged from great-looking to below average and who were described as training to be in either low-, medium-, or high-paying professions (waiter, teacher, doctor). They were asked whether this was a person they might like to have a cup of coffee with, date, have sex with, or even marry.
Not surprisingly, women preferred the best-looking man with the most money. But below him, average-looking or even unattractive doctors received the same ratings as very attractive teachers. Status compensated for looks. This was not true when men evaluated women. Unattractive women were not preferred, no matter their status.
When Townsend and his colleague Gary Levy made the men’s status differences more extreme, the women’s preferences were even clearer. Townsend and Levy took photographs of men wearing either a Burger King uniform and a baseball cap or a shirt, tie and blazer, and a nice watch, and showed them to women. Some women saw Tom and Harry wearing the Burger King outfit and Jim and Dan wearing the suit and watch, others saw Tom and Harry with the suit and watch and Jim and Dan in the Burger King outfit. Women were unwilling to date, have sex with, or marry the men in the Burger King outfit but were willing to consider any of these when he was wearing a suit and watch. It was an interesting demonstration of “clothes make the man,” or that emblems of income and status make the man.
This is why, for years, I have told guys who are broke, unemployed, living at home with mom/dad, have no career, or have no hobbies/friends, to get those in order first. If you’re a deadbeat, no amount of game is going to change that. No girl is going to give you much of a chance.
This also lends itself to another idea that I’ll be posting about later this week, and that is the idea of dating someone “out of your league.” The entire pick up industry is based on the idea that you can date women out of your league with “game” and purely “game”. My argument is that there’s no such thing as dating out of your league. You always date within your league, it’s simply a question of trade-off. Looks for status is the classic example, but we’ll delve into others later.
But in the meantime. Ditch the T-shirts. Buy some nice dress shoes. Shell out for the $60 haircut at the fashion salon. Take care of yourself. Be the best dressed guy in the room and it’ll pay off. It’ll pay off every step of the way.
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