Shut Up and Dress Well

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Shut Up and Dress WellFollowing 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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70 Comments

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  • Reply

    Jamie

    5 months ago

    I agree with what you say about fashion. Yet there is a paradox here. I am fairly muscular (not huge but bigger than most) and i tend to get comments when i wear really well fitted T shirts. If i wore smart shirts my physique would lose a lot of its impact. Yes you could tell i work out still but a lot of the visual aspect would be lost with regards to my physique.

    I always do better when my arms are on show, as stupid as that seems.

    My point i suppose, is in my opinion (and experience) physique trumps fashion, as long as what you wear fits well and makes you feel comfortable.

    • Reply

      Mark

      5 months ago

      This is a good point. I’ll be able to say for sure next year, as I’m currently embarking on four months of bulking. But my gut feeling is that it’s going to depend on your age and environment.

      If you’re in your early 20′s, I think the muscles would go better for you. Also, if your main demographic is college-age girls, the T-shirt is probably going to be better as well (assuming you’ve got some good physique to show off).

      My hunch though, and again don’t hold me to this, is that past mid-20′s and also once you get into the really hot girls, the models/dancers/actresses/etc., the suit is going to be better. Girls in the 99th percentile meet guys with jacked arms all the time. They don’t meet a guy with style and swagger all the time.

      • Reply

        Jamie

        5 months ago

        Well I would say the opposite may be true. If you’re in your early 20′s then many of your peers are big guys nowadays. If you are 30 + (I’m 30) then there are less guys who are regular gym goers. Partly a generational thing, partly because guys that age tend to start letting themselves go.

        This means in my opinion, that women that are say, 28-38 are very interested in guys that are muscular as the guys in their own age range generally are not. Add to this the ticking biological clock and women reaching their sexual peak factors.

        This is England by the way. In the US, trends may be different. Over here maybe 80% of big guys are under 25 or foreign!

        Also, the face plays a part here. My body is better than my face (in my opinion), thus I feel I am doing my self a disservice covering up. I have friends who have more classic good looking faces, (strong jawline etc) that don’t go to the gym and wear shirts and do well with women.

        Loads of variables here.

  • Reply

    Gully

    5 months ago

    Great article.

    I have been working recently in the financial sector of london, otherwise known as ‘the city’. Obviously this means wearing a suit everyday. It changes so much. I notice a lot more girls looking at me, I also feel a ton of a lot better about myself.

    And futhermore, as you say about tshirts, when Im wearing a suit and I see a guy in a tshirt, I hate to say it but its almost laughable how shitty they look compared.

    Id say some tshirts are ok, fairly tight fit ones, with no logos or garish colours. I sometimes wear a t shirt with a casual shirt not buttoned up on top. But yeah. T-shirts suck generally. Unless they are really smart ones.

    I generally try and look as smart as possible these days when going out. Its funny as I dont have much money to spend on clothes, so Ill just wear the smartest possible, ie some kind of shirt, decent jeans, and some kind of proper shoes, not trainers, and it helps a lot.

    Also, fuck trainers. They look like crap really. Shoes are probably the defining part that a women takes notice off as well. better to have some kind of formal shoes on then some nike crap.

    • Reply

      Mark

      5 months ago

      I switched to nothing but plain white and plain black T-shirts about a year ago. Best decision I’ve made in a long time.

      • Reply

        Gully

        5 months ago

        Its not tshirts per se that are always bad, but the old crappy ones that are out of shape, the horrible garish ones with over the top colors and designs, the ones with stupid sayings etc..

        Someone can look just as smart in a formal tshirt, nice jeans and nice shoes then anything else I think, it comes down to the way its worn and fits together etc.

        • Reply

          Mermaid

          4 months ago

          Yes, I judge men by the clothes they wear – it shows respect for others and themselves. A man who looks after his body is likely healthier and stronger and more likely able to look after me.

          You can get designer, quality clothes at the second hand shops for pennies. And a dress shirt trumps a t-shirt any time for me. A t-shirt always makes me think of a body guard and not an executive. Most of all I love a long sleeved dress shirt with sleeves rolled up on a man with hair on his lower arms. If his lower arms are muscular, I know the rest of him is too.

          And no jeans unless you’re under 30 – they’re working class clothes, not high status at all. I agree with everything else Mark has written here. Good article. Also, clean nails and nice teeth.

  • Reply

    chumpta

    5 months ago

    “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.”

    Point well taken, but it’s easier said than done, especially for younger guys these days. Particularly “career” and “your own place.” Are there any good resources on getting THAT shit together?

    • Reply

      Jo

      5 months ago

      Actually, it’s much easier, the younger you are. Family background aside, we all start out basically the same. It’s the choices and what we do in our lifes, and if you’re forty and have slacked for you entire life, you’ll never catch up with those who spent their last forty years working on their dream career.

      But if you’re young, a lot less time has been going on, where the lifes of you and your peers had the time to diverge, so the gap you have to bridge is much smaller.

      But what you actually want to do depends on your current situation. If you’re working on a decent career, but lack friends, work on getting a social circle. If you’re very social, but broke, work on your career.

      And always remember: No one expects a 20-something college student to be rich and successful, as long as he shows potential. But if someone’s 40 and broke, it’s seen as that he had no potential or did not use it.

  • Reply

    Gully

    5 months ago

    “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.”

    Mark, ironically though, this is the great thing about dressing well. You can create an image of success and status through dressing well even if your lifestyle isn’t all ‘there’.

    In the UK, the West Indian community in London seems to have this down to a t. They seem to all be better dressed on a whole then other guys generally, and I think the idea of at least dressing to look successful even if you aren’t is implemented by these guys.

    • Reply

      Mark

      5 months ago

      Ah yes. In the US we call these guys “30k millionaires.” Because they have shit day jobs, but spend all of their money (or max their credit cards) on nice clothes, a nice car, and go to expensive clubs.

      Fortunately, these guys typically lack and game at all, so it doesn’t buy them a whole lot. I mean, if you’re the type of guy who wastes all of his money pretending to be something you’re not, you have to imagine that you’re not going to be the most empathetic and confident guy when you meet girls.

      • Reply

        Gully

        5 months ago

        Yeah for sure, but..who has the right to criticize someone for wanting to look smart? Even if they have a shit job?

        I guess spending all your expendable wage on clothes is probably excessive..

        But I think there is also truth into creating an image of success to become a success. If you look smart and well dressed then generally your probably more likely to be respected by people and thus progress in life.

        • Reply

          Ethan

          5 months ago

          Instead of wanting to look smart, why don’t you work on being smart?

          P.S. “You’re”

  • Reply

    Peter Phoenix

    5 months ago

    If you want to know more about dressing well, I strongly recommend Aaron Marino’s youtube channel. So much gold.

  • Reply

    Dr Feelgood

    5 months ago

    I would like to add that if you are REALLY under-dressed, but REALLY don’t give a shit, this will work to your advantage as well. I have experienced it several times: At a nice club in Vegas with some shitty T-shirt on (longer story, and took some convincing of the bouncers to get in), or at a wedding with a white suit somebody had accidentally poured a glass of wine over. The fact you don’t care makes people think “Hey, this guy really must have something going on for himself…”

    Just one example of turning a disadvantage into an advantage.

  • Reply

    Stencil

    5 months ago

    Someone looked at the correlation between the attractiveness of couples as determined by hotornot.com, and found an R value of 0.7 (this is crazy high for all you non-stats nerds out there).

    http://cheaptalk.org/2011/06/21/do-hotties-match-with-hotties-beckers-assortative-matching-tested-via-facebook-and-hotornot-com/

    • Reply

      Mark

      5 months ago

      This has been demonstrated in psychological surveys as well. People tend to date people of similar attractiveness. Although it’s more culture-specific in some places than others.

      It’s why I reiterate a lot, that if you want to get a smoking hot girl, you have to at least get yourself into good shape and looking good to have a shot.

  • Reply

    Aaron

    5 months ago

    I would say that, when thinking of how to dress well, one should consider the type of women he wants to attract, first and foremost. Determine what type of guys the women you want usually go for and make their style work for you. Fashion is really the first step in polarizing.

  • Reply

    shipit

    5 months ago

    Just imagine what the market equilibrium in a society where everyone follows your advice would be.

  • Reply

    Tony D

    5 months ago

    Absolutely. If you dress like a hipster, you will attract hipsters.

    I always tell people it’s better to have one high quality item than five cheap items.

  • Reply

    Brian

    5 months ago

    This is some good content dude. You’re been putting out some really good content lately!

  • Reply

    phazer

    5 months ago

    I like where you are going with this but you are missing the point of dressing according the to environment. If you go to a dive bar with a dress shirt and shoes you might look out of place. Yes you will stand out but girls might think you don’t understand social situations and how to dress accordingly for them and looks very try hard.

    • Reply

      Chris

      5 months ago

      Do you somehow understand how girls think better than mark does? Explain your credentials.

      Can you seriously picture a hot girl in a dive bar saying “oh man, that guy is dressed way too well for this place, what an idiot! I hope he doesn’t come and talk to me.”???
      Highly unlikely. I think you missed the point of the post all together.

      He says he dresses SLIGHTLY better than everyone int he venue, not necessarily a $5,000 custom tailored suit into a dive bar. But a tailored suit is STILL much better then a ratty T-shirt and gym shorts.

  • Reply

    Nicholas

    5 months ago

    Lot’s of comments got into areas not in-scope for Mark’s original thesis, in my opinion. I agree with his basic philosophy that one should dress one notch above the average for a given venue – not five notches above, but one.

    A number of guys wanted to note exceptions to the rule. Yeah, sure, if you’re good at style/dressing, you can play with the rules to great effect. It’s just that most guys aren’t that stylish and would have been better off following the rule(s).

    And I’ll add a thought: You will look way better in a $400 Calvein Klein blazer (maybe even $299 on sale)that fits well than in a $2,000 Zegna blazer that does not fit well. Fit is the most important part of dressing well – if you don’t know how to tell, get with a tailor who can educate you.

  • Reply

    CPG

    5 months ago

    For those of you concerned about wearing upscale clothes to dive bars, I can give a direct example of it being a good move:

    My favorite club has college night Thursdays, and they have a rooftop deck. When Summer began I noticed most guys switching to shorts and t-shirts, sometimes even sandals. I wondered if I should dress down somewhat too, but held to my guns and kept wearing dress shirts, nice jeans, and leather shoes. I did roll up my sleeves, though that had more to do with not overheating than fashion…there’s no AC on the deck.

    Anyway, each week I’m surrounded by younger college guys dressed down…and I get more looks and girls casually brushing up against me than when I wore the same clothes when everyone was bundled up for Winter. Same thing goes for when I’ve hit the seeder local bars.

  • Reply

    ENC

    5 months ago

    Yo Mark, quick question: I am a college student (major: CS), should I start wearing suits?
    Shirts are a no-brainer of course, I already have plenty of those (and I wear them too). After reading this article, I was wondering if I should start wearing suits or if that would put me in the “dressing in a way that’s not congruent with your lifestyle” category?

    Thanks a ton in advance.

    • Reply

      Nicholas

      5 months ago

      I am not Mark. But I have an opinion? Lawrence Summers, President of Harvard, speaking about the Winkelvi, said, “There are two kinds of students wearing suits. Some have job interviews and the others are assholes.” A sharp suit looks great whether one is a student or not, but I think you are on target with the congruency idea. Don’t be pretentious.

    • Reply

      AC

      5 months ago

      What context are you asking about? College party? Professional job? Comp sci lecture? Like Mark said, dress appropriately for the situation- it’s not necessarily just about suits.

      If you wear a suit in college, it will scream “trying to hard”, and worse yet, sometimes “my rich dad bought this for me”.

      Do dress well. For undergrad life, I’d invest in good jeans, a good blazer, and a good tie to cover most social situations (though not to wear 24/7).

      I’m a CS grad myself and dress very sharply. Girls think CS majors are sweet, smart, and have good careers ahead of them. Great boyfriend material, just stereotypically not attractive. Break that mold and you’ll do very, very well- I can vouch for that firsthand.

    • Reply

      Mark

      5 months ago

      The only point I’m making is to be the best dressed guy in the room. Some rooms that’s going to mean having a nicer T-shirt. Other rooms that’s going to mean wearing a tux.

    • Reply

      ENC

      5 months ago

      Many thanks to all three guys who answered.

  • Reply

    boo randy

    5 months ago

    Whats wrong with my designer tees plus blazers jerk

  • Reply

    Bubbles

    5 months ago

    I agree with the empirical evidence but take a more jaded view of the great gains accruing to those who dress well.

    Saying you get opened by a woman is ultimately like saying you got a phone number – it doesnt mean much. You would have to follow that interaction all the way through to the relationship to see whether it turned into something meaningful. I am quite convinced that this extra boost of attention is the indiscriminant, unscreened female attention you dont really want – but I am coming from a place where phone numbers, dates, being opened all are irrelevant, and only the relationship is what counts. What I’m trying to say is this: unless you are an amateur at relationship-building, that girl that spoke to you because you wore a suite is not the girl you want to date. That extra boost is not what I am looking for.

    Its quite similar to the parallel situation in women, and you know this advice (while more rare for guys) is 50% of what women’s magazines seem to say: wear nicer clothing so you will get noticed. (The other message is: lose 15 pounds and you will get noticed).

    So what kind of attention does a woman get when she’s elegantly dressed, versus when she’s dressed ‘normally’ (aka more downmarket)? What kind of attention do women get when they show cleavage? Thats the same kind of attention you’re getting from women when you wear a suite. Why might that kind of attention fuck with the screening process?

    Its because you’re fucking with the screening process, and converting grey-zone chicks with no real compatibility, using the equivalent of ‘flash game’. Imagine the chick you were driven to speak to *because* she showed cleavage (this will have been unconscious). What type of a relationship prospect are you for her? If any hot young female attention is good attention for you, then dressing up is important.

    I know game is all about shaving another 5-15% off of the grey zone, presumably so you realize incompatibility only after you’ve fucked her (and can thus add a notch). What about speeding up that process by refusing to use all your advantages? See who doesnt want to come to the party when you tell them there wont be expensive party favors. Or why dont you go all out in the opposite direction, and outdress everyone around? See who wants to come to the party when you are giving out Rolls Royces as party favors. It will attract two different qualities of party-goer.

    • Reply

      Mark

      5 months ago

      Please refer to the title of the post.

    • Reply

      hilanoga

      5 months ago

      You do have a valid point, of course. Dressing well will not necessarily find you an ideal partner, and it may get you attention you wouldn’t normally want.

      I think that the whole pick-up industry is aimed at helping you meet as many (pretty) women as possible, while not necessarily screening only for girls you have a chance of having a meaningful relationship with. As far as I can understand, the underlying assumption is that if you have a lot of choice, you will be able to pick the girl that is “right” for you.
      The way I see it, the problem is that relationship mechanics don’t quite work that way, and I suspect that if a relationship is what you want – using pick up advice to hit on prospective partners in bars may be counter productive.

      This is also why your last suggestion won’t work in pick-up context. If you are already friends with someone, go ahead – see if she still likes you even when you are without your smart suit and 2000$ sun glasses. This is a good idea, and in fact, it’s a good way for women to screen partners as well. But approaching a stranger while looking like a slob hoping for the off chance that she will be able to see through your appearance and recognize your “true personality” the first time she lays eyes on you? Um. Not going to work.

      • Reply

        oneofmany

        4 months ago

        “But approaching a stranger while looking like a slob hoping for the off chance that she will be able to see through your appearance and recognize your “true personality” the first time she lays eyes on you? Um. Not going to work.”

        Speaking as a girl who did just that, you might consider imagining this possibility as rare rather than impossible. Some people care more about what you say and how you say it than the clothes you’re wearing during a first impression.

    • Reply

      Ethan

      5 months ago

      Wow Bubbles, can I call you Bubbles? You took this to a way-way extreme end full of “what-if’s” and conjecture.

      “What I’m trying to say is this: unless you are an amateur at relationship-building, that girl that spoke to you because you wore a suite is not the girl you want to date. That extra boost is not what I am looking for.”

      Wow, so how’s the view from up on your high horse?
      I don’t know you but can already tell you need to lighten up.

      “Imagine the chick you were driven to speak to *because* she showed cleavage (this will have been unconscious).”

      When I’m looking at cleavage it’s a pretty fucking conscious decision.

      • Reply

        Mermaid

        4 months ago

        So what was Prince William looking at when he first saw Kate at the fashion show where she wore a see through dress?

  • Reply

    Hamburg

    5 months ago

    Hi Mark,

    one question: is there a website where you would advise to buy clothes if you are from Europe (not USA)?

  • Reply

    beefwaffles

    5 months ago

    I really hate feeling like looks & money are the most important things for attraction. What about when you do ecstasy, or those nights when you feel really good, and women are just really attracted to you for your personality at the time? Confidence is a real thing. Surely it helps to raise your value in shallow ways like dressing expensively, but I feel like game is all about reaching your full potential, and like as long as you’re alive (and semi-healthy), you have more then enough potential to have a happy life. I dunno, though. I guess you have to maximize your confidence AND raise your league… But it feels to me like anything you do to raise your league is based out of shallowness, and therefore makes you insecure, because it means you’re rating yourself by your looks.

    I do believe this is good advice, and I’ve gotten girls because of it for sure, BUT I hate feeling like looks & money are what get women…

    • Reply

      Mark

      5 months ago

      Money and looks don’t get you women. They just get you more opportunities.

  • Reply

    Matt C

    5 months ago

    The thing that confuses me here, is you talk about lifestyle being important to attracting women. Yet, roosh is essentially a hedonist and he gets laid all the time.

    I think lifestyle is important for keeping long term relationships with really hot women, but beyond that I remain unconvinced that it is totally necessary.

    • Reply

      Mark

      5 months ago

      I think you’re missing a few things here.

      1. Review the Three Fundamentals. Lifestyle affects the quality of women and interactions, not quantity.

      2. Roosh lives a mobile lifestyle and runs his own internet company, I’d hardly call that a degenerate lifestyle. In fact, he and I live more or less the same lifestyle and I can tell you that many women find it very attractive.

  • Reply

    Falcon

    5 months ago

    As for clothes I recall a quote from the excellent book “The Magic of Thinking Big” by David Schwartz:

    “Dress right, you can’t afford not to.”

    He also recommends to spend more on a few high quality items than the other way around.

    It always pays off to dress in style, and even suit up. However, do not attempt to project a lifestyle or background that you don’t have (unless you’re a professional scam artist and love it).

    As for the gym: It’s always better than not doing it but don’t even think about becoming a muscle monster because you won’t. And it doesn’t even pay off. Truth is, a body like that of Brad Pitt in Fight Club or Jason Statham in Transporter is more than enough. You can get there in 1-3 years of hard work, correct technique and proper nutrition, depending on your genetic potential. Never take steroids. Yes, they work, but only as long as you take them and they have side effects and destroy your health long term.

    Plus, if you do martial arts like boxing or muay thai you kill 4 birds with 1 stone:
    1. Improve fitness, health and well being
    2. Improve confidence when fighting in the ring
    3. Improve appearence by burning body fat
    4. Improve self-defense skills

    But in the end, only do what you really like and enjoy. If you don’t like gym and martial arts do something else.

    @Mark: Yes, running your own company, being your own boss is a huge DHV to a woman as it projects independence, courage, leadership and risk taking.

    • Reply

      Matt T

      5 months ago

      Tbh I don’t think many people aspire to look like the walking cadavers that are professional bodybuilders. Being Brad Pitt from Fight Club probably makes you better off than 90+% of guys out there and rising thanks to obesity.

  • Reply

    unsexyMF

    5 months ago

    Hey, Mark, what are your favorite fashion forums online? I personally visit reddit.com/r/malefashionadvice

  • Reply

    Eugene

    5 months ago

    I think its a matter of style and investment (creativity, money). Its simple, just dress what you think is quite awesome and not just “okay”. I cannot even describe this, its like saying to an artist “draw good”.

  • Reply

    Eugene

    5 months ago

    Haha, I remember yesterday some buddy from my lair going to me doing the “My buddy’s gonna have a date tommorow, is his clothing good?”. Though I found that that type of approach isn’t my thing – Shoes is huge, i have to second that (I love shoes), but you know looks is just a factor for the first 4 minutes of first impression and those help your game, but not if your game lacks.

  • Reply

    Earl Grey

    5 months ago

    The problem I have with venues like clubs or crowded bars (these are the venues I go to) is that it is often extremely warm in those places, even when there is air conditioning. Therefore I rely mostly on T-shirts with jeans rather then a dress shirt with long sleeves, otherwise I would have waterfalls running down my face and neck. Any suggestion on that?

    • Reply

      A guy

      5 months ago

      Roll up the sleeves…

    • Reply

      A guy

      5 months ago

      And get some lighter dress shirts.

  • Reply

    Fluffy McGee

    5 months ago

    Although I agree in general about fashion being important, I think there are two things that need to be said here.

    1. Good fashion does not always equal a suit. Every person can have a unique style that’s best for them. For me, I can’t handle the discomfort in a suit and it hides my best physical features so I won’t be caught dead in one. For others a suit is so golden they should have one on everywhere they go. Comfort and cleanliness are the most important aspects of your look imo.

    2. This goes back to your 80/20 rule, and imo fashion only accounts for 20% of your looks. Although in defense of the article, fashion is the easiest physical aspect to change, so yeah, shut up and dress well.

    Cheers,
    Fluffy

  • Reply

    theHeat

    4 months ago

  • Reply

    Rex

    4 months ago

    Here is a protip. Dress in very simple clothing. Like a plain white tee and jeans. (Decent looking clothes) and wear a posh looking watch. I’ve invested in one of these. This gives a ‘posh’ look. Suiting up is over-kill IMO.

  • Reply

    JR

    4 months ago

    I am gonna disagree profusely with this piece. I like it, but I will have to disagree. I’ll try to keep it short. I am a life-long sharp dresser. I over-dress frequently. Suits, ties, dress shirts, etc. And I’ve caught nothing but hell for it. (I still do it anyway, though)

    I was always and still am a handsome guy and noticeably muscular. But my dressing well has been received largely with hostility from men and women (even my own mother). Constantly people have tried to knock me down (I still wear my clothes) accusing me of having this or that ‘insecurity’ or some such nonsense. I look good dressed up because I know how to wear clothes properly to fit my look, demeanor, age, etc. And when I am at say, a wedding, I will look better than people who shelled out more money but have their tie tied too long. And they get pissed at me! (I’m still gonna wear my clothes though)

    A case in point. I showed up at a wedding once in a white suit. It was not outrageous or anything and it was in June. Other guys there had light colored and white suits as well. But everybody focused on me! And then it was on, the attempts to f-k it all up. The rude commenting followed by the “you know I’m only joking, right bro?” and similar BS. The girls telling me how arrogant I must be (no, this was not teasing or ‘shit-testing’ either). One even sabotaged me. Then she spilled a full glass of wine all over my suit. You could feel the envy.

    I could go on believe me, but I’ve never gotten anything but negative attention from dressing well (though I do like it).

  • Reply

    Exenith

    4 months ago

    Clothing is a really difficult decision for me.

    Take an outset look at my life. I spend my morning at home as an internet entrepreneur. I spend my afternoon skating. I spend my nights making music, or going to gigs. I’m extremely minimalist — don’t need a bed, don’t have one. And I’m also incredibly ascetic — I take cold showers, sleep on splintered wood, and have a six pack as a result of a lot of lifting and a strict diet. Think Tyler Durden… except with flaming viking hair and beard. So Technoviking Durden. Without the Brad Pitt looks.

    How the hell should someone like me even dress? I just don’t think the suit thing fits. I’m a nomadic entrepreneur, not an executive. The suit/business atire is a reflection of conforming to the traditional path… and I don’t walk that path. That life isn’t me, and the suit isn’t me.

    Wearing a t-shirt makes me look like a bum, which is asinine considering the money I have. The only thing that actually seems to represent me… is not wearing any top at all. But you can’t do that in winter. Closest I’ve come is leather jacket, single-color t-shirt, jeans, and boots.

    Does it even matter? Whatever I wear, one look at my hair and a girl sees I’m different. One minute talking and she knows it.

    • Reply

      Exenith

      4 months ago

      Been reading your site, and stuff on Rawness since I posted on that. It’s only been 2 days. But fuck. Didn’t get any loving as a kid, turned into a codependent nice guy, then got converted into a narcissist by all the game websites. I fell into the trap. It’s a long road from here, but… seriously. Thank you for all of your deconstructions.

    • Reply

      Exenith

      4 months ago

      Been reading your site (and stuff on Rawness) since I posted that comment. It’s only been 2 days. But fuck. Didn’t get any loving as a kid, turned into a codependent nice guy, then got converted into a narcissist by all the game websites. I fell into the trap. It’s a long road from here, but… seriously. Thank you for all of your deconstructions.

      • Reply

        sheldonly

        4 months ago

        @ Exenith: That is terrible about when you were a kid. :( That’s horrible. I want to get you a blanket and some ice cream. :( Or a steak. Something nice! Asceticism is not the answer, though. Go have some fun. Be as nice to yourself as possible, forever! The past is the past. Go have fun, please. Go for the hedonism, if anything. Pursuit of pleasure. Ugh. Don’t let a bad childhood make you harsh on yourself now. Life is too short not to enjoy. Please be nicer to yourself.

        The rest of you on this clothes thing- Go buy an issue of GQ, just as a guideline: I know the clothes are expensive, but to get a general idea of what looks nice. Women love the guys in GQ.

        All my girlfriends go on about Lookswise: Guys who are fit, with nice teeth (teeth are HUGE) so use a Whitener. Whitener is a big, big deal. If you have a dental plan and your teeth are bad, use it.

        No facial hair (it makes you look SO OLD, like our Dad! ew. ew. ew.) Argue with me about facial hair, but shave it off and you’ll get so many more chicks. There’s a reason newscasters and actors don’t have it in general= network studies have shown women don’t like it. When I lived in LA & worked in TV I rarely saw a man w/facial hair, because they were all actors trying to get jobs, and you couldn’t with facial hair because it destroys TV ratings (women thinks it’s ugly- no matter what they say to your face, sorry). Good shoes. No socks with sandals. No polyester shirts. Oh and if you have back hair get it waxed off.

  • Reply

    Jammer

    4 months ago

    I’m blue collar man, it feels more comfortable and gets me noticed more (hell, stains of cow shit still don’t repel women when I’m in state, present and acting congruent with my beliefs). I find when I go white collar (suits and ties), I get imposter syndrome (I need to work on this through some improvement) which harms my game because of incongruence. I really like your “minimalism” article but please tell me, why do you carry around T-shirts if you don’t wear them, I think funky tees can do the trick in casual settings, particularly if getting hands dirty is involved.

  • Reply

    JohnDoe

    4 months ago

    From my personal expirience i think it is more important that your clothes fit you well, than what you are wearing. For an example it is far more important that your jeans fit you perfectly in lenght and width and follow your legs tightly than having some expensive designer jeans that are too long and fold down, or are to width and seem baggy. Same paralels can be drawn to other dressing parts as well. The other thing i think is also very if not even more important is that you feel comfortable and great in what you are wearing. I always wear jeans and a plain collared shirt that fit me and i feel great in it and very confident and that is visible on first site of me. If i would dress in a suit, even though it is without doubt more fashionable, i wouldn’t feel comfortable and i would get insecure and that is definitely a turn off as looks go. But you probably had this in mind when you wrote the text, you just didn’t write it.

  • Reply

    Tim

    4 months ago

    I’ve been reading through some of the articles on this site and have found a lot of interesting food for thought, but this one surprised me a little bit.
    Not because I don’t think dressing well is a good idea, only that in the ‘wealth’ article it made quite an impression on me when you wrote that you’d rather punch yourself in the face than spend money on expensive material things (e.g. a suit) rather than on new experiences. Has your view on this changed over time? (I can see the date on the other article, so I’m unclear which came first)

    • Reply

      Mark Manson

      4 months ago

      You don’t need to spend a lot of money on expensive brands or own 48 shirts to dress well. I own two pairs of high quality jeans and four dress shirts that look amazing on me. That’s all I need.

      • Reply

        Just a guy.

        4 months ago

        Can you get away with dress shirts in college?

        I thought one of the most perfect looks was Phil (Bradley Cooper) from the first hangover. He had on a dress shirt but wore it in a really casual manner and ha the hair and the sunglasses thing going. He looked like he could be respectable but laid back at the same time.

        I would like to assume that look would work for me?

  • Reply

    Andrea

    3 months ago

    I don’t know Mark, I think in general you might be right that most women prefer men who are dressed well over those who dress sloppy or very casual, but then again I think those men would be attracting women who find status and wealth as important traits. I’m thinking of myself and most of my single girlfriends as an exception. We’re in our late 20′s, educated, have good jobs, date to have fun but also to find a more serious relationship. We also happen to be very outdoorsy so we tend to go after fit, rugged, outdoorsy, REI looking men who dress casually (with facial hair being a plus), probably because we think we would have something in common with them…and because its hot. I don’t think that most men are after really hot models/dancers/actresses (sounds very PUA), they want someone fun, good looking enough to fuck and compatible. People have different tastes and like someone else said, if you dress like a hipster you’re going to attract other hipsters, if you dress a certain way you’re going to attract accordingly. I will add though that personally I can’t stand when men wear clothes that don’t fit properly or when they’re not confident enough to wear clothes that reflect their personality and they just blend in with everyone else. Also, never underestimate smelling good and investing in a good bottle of cologne, or at the very least take a shower and wear deodorant, you would think this is obvious. Now I’m wondering what men prefer women to wear…something revealing?

  • Reply

    curiosity

    2 months ago

    Just out of curiosity – sure, the smoking ban helps in Europe -, but do you wear a cheap or an expensive blazer to ruin with smoke and possible holes to cigarette burns? (Depends on the party you go to, of course.)

    Not the million dollar question: even Jeff & Benoit’s book states hos sh*tty hip-hip stars are dressed. Expensive, but no class at all. So the question, how would you dress to a hip-hop party to enjoy the music, dance, etc.?

  • Reply

    curiosity

    2 months ago

    “Not the million dollar question” >> “Now the million dollar question, correctly”

  • Reply

    Richard

    2 months ago

    Doesn’t paying $60 for a haircut exceed the opportunity cost? I realize dressing well is an experience. It just seems that you made status out to be silly in The Guide to Wealth, but now, not so much.

    • Reply

      Mark Manson

      2 months ago

      You should take care of yourself for you. Status is a nice side-effect.

  • Reply

    Raj

    18 weeks ago

    Great advice, Mark, I am a sophomore in college. Up until now, I didn’t give too much attention to my clothes. But, recently, I’ve come to realize that dressing poorly has unbelievable negative psychological effects. It actually prevents you from acting confidently. So I have resolved to get serious on the topic. but, I don’t know where to begin. Up until now, I’ve been dressing up in t-shirts, crappy jeans, athletic shirts, shorts. I wanna dress better than this, but I don’t want to be wearing suits obviously because I am a student and not a professional yet. What would you recommend I go with? Polo shirts, casual shirts, fitted jeans, etc?

  • Reply

    claire ortiz

    10 hours ago

    Agreed. Have been a researcher and fashion/trend/lifestyle, and mostly socio-economics. Its very simple- in our competitive economic society, the folks who present themselves in a smart and polished way, will have an upper hand. There is a return to professional dressing globally as the next generation is realizing the competitive job market isn’t giving away the ‘gig’ to just anyone. We all have to be stand outs.

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