The definitive guide on how to actually dress well.
I would say that apart from coming to TRP game and lifting, that learning how to actually dress well is the largest jump in SMV and success you can have. You can add multiple points to your SMV simply by learning how to dress.
Yes, here on reddit the sub malefashionadvice exists. But is it actually good advice? Is it filtered through a red pilled lens? Let's be real. That sub, like most other reddit subs, is probably inhabited by your typical reddit soyboy nu-male types. Would you take fashion advice from any of the type of guys I just linked to? Probably not.
Like with my Tinder guide, I've seen fashion and style posts here on TRP, some of which are solid, but this post I am making is aimed at being as comprehensive as possible, from start to finish. (note on my Tinder guide: I plan on making a follow up, 2nd post for it addressing the numerous questions I got as well as covering some points I missed)
Before you run out and buy hundreds of dollars worth of new clothes, you have to be prepared. A new wardrobe is an investment. While it is possible to go to a thrift store or Goodwill or something and get a new wardrobe that way, its not the most optimal. Just keep in mind that you are going to take a financial hit here.
Another thing you need to be prepared for is your size. If you are fat, or trying to cut, its best not to go out and buy new clothes until you are done cutting/losing weight. Fit matters, and you don't want to buy clothes that will become too loose/baggy after you cut. If you don't plan on cutting or plan on bulking, you should be fine. It will take a while to bulk up to a point where your clothes become too tight/restricting, unlike cutting where it doesn't take much to all of a sudden make your clothes too baggy and loose.
Two conditions must be met before proceeding: Being able to afford new clothes, and having cut down your body fat/weight.
Fit and Size
I think more than anything, fit is what matters most. You want slim fitting clothes that adhere to your sihouette. Baggy, loose clothes won't get it done these days. This goes for everything. Shirts, shorts, pants, and more. Slim fitting clothes work best. Most male clothing brands have "regular fit" or "classic fit" items, and then "slim fit" of the same items. Always go for a slim fit cut if the option is available. Some brands even have "extra slim" alongside the "slim" cut, go for the extra slim.
Obviously you want to be slim yourself. It's hard to get away with wearing slim fit clothes if you are a fat ass. Like I pointed out above, don't buy any clothes until you have cut down.
As far as actual size, for shirts you want to wear the smallest possible size you can. Take whatever size you think works for you, and go 2 sizes smaller and try that shit on. You'd be surprised. How do you know if its too small? You'll know. It will feel too constricting and like its about to rip. The best way to determine is to try on many sizes, take mirror pictures with your smart phone and compare the pictures. You want it to look slim fitting and adhering to your body, but not too tight. This especially goes with t-shirts, you don't want it to look like you are wearing a trash bag, but you don't want it to look like you are wearing tight fitting spandex and trying to show the whole damn world you lift weights.
For pants and shorts and jeans, you don't want the waist to be too constricting, but you want to give yourself some room to grow, especially if you plan on bulking. Belts help here. I usually go an inch or two above my waist measurement. Like with shirts, you want to go with slimmer cuts if available, but not too slim when it comes to jeans and pants. You don't want to look like a hipster douche.
Keep in mind that sizing can vary across brands, and across different items within the brands. For example at Ralph Lauren Polo I wear a medium in their slim fit mesh polos, but a small in their soft polos. I wear a small in J Crew's t-shirts, but a medium in Banana Republics. Moral of the story? TRY EVERYTHING ON.
If you can afford it, get your more expensive items tailored.
Colors and Styles
You mainly want to stick with neutrals and muted colors. Try to avoid bright, bold colors and complex patterns with a lot going on. I'm not saying to avoid bold colors completely, but it shouldn't be the base of your wardrobe.
As far as what neutrals and colors work for you, the best way to do this is to find out your skin undertone. I found this site to be helpful. It's written for girls, but it applies to men too. The easiest way to find your undertone is to go outside and look at the color of your veins on your underarm. If they are more blue-green, you're warm. If they are more blue-purple, you're cool. Myself, I'm warm. Combined with my dark brown hair and light blue eyes, I have a lot of contrast which makes me a "Bright Spring". Then you can google which colors work best for you. Being a bright spring means that bright, bold colors compliment me, but I generally avoid them anyway apart from one or two pieces. I stick with the neutrals and muted colors of my palette.
Where to Shop
You have your malls and your stand alone stores. You have online stores as well. But in my opinion, nothing beats outlet/factory malls. These places are malls in the middle of nowhere(for the most part) that sell items direct from the manufacturer. Meaning you can get these items for much cheaper than you can find in malls, and most of the time these places are having sales. I do pretty much all my shopping at these places. What I can't find in these stores, I buy online. Online is good if you absolutely can't find an item you want in stores, which will happen, but the downside is that you can't try the item on and returns are a pain.
The Outlet Mall I go to has all kinds of stores that work for men all in the same spot. JCrew, Banana Republic, Ralph Lauren, Tommy Hilfiger, Express, H&M, and more. So convienient.
Just make sure to plan out an entire day to go to these places. The first time I went I went a couple hours before close and that was not near enough time. Came back the next day and spent 6 more hours.
Items to Avoid
Here is a list of items I recommend avoiding at all costs. This is not a comprehensive list, I'm sure I forgot some things in here. But at the very least, avoid these, and if you have them, find the nearest fireplace to burn them or take them to Goodwill. Or, keep them and ONLY wear them when the situation calls for it, i.e. only wear athletic sneakers when working out or running, only wear NFL jerseys on Gameday. If you have something to add please let me know and I'll add it.
Cargo Shorts or Pants
Smart Watches/Digital Watches
Buy Items in 3s
I recommend to buy all of the following items in 3s. That way you have variety and can mix and match all of your items to create a lot of outfit combos. For your 3, buy one neutral, one soft/muted color, and the other is up to you, whether you want to add another neutral, a bolder color, a pattern or stripe style. Just make sure everything you buy goes with everything else color wise.
T-Shirts are going to be the cornerstone of your closet. Pretty much every retailer will carry these. Some are are higher quality than others, but I've learned that you don't need to spend $20+ on a single t-shirt. I got mine at JCrew and Banana Republic for $9 a pop and they are perfectly fine.
Neckline wise I go with V-Necks for T-Shirts, and Crew Necks for long sleeve. As I pointed out earlier, fit wise you want to thread the needle. You don't want it to be too baggy or you'll look like a slob. You don't want it to be too tight or you'll look like a try hard douche bag. I've found that size Medium from most retailers works best for me.
What I Bought
Banana Republic Short Sleeve Crew Neck T-Shirts(3): Navy, Berry, Charcoal
Banana Republic Short sleeve V-Neck T-Shirts(3): White, Black, Sky Blue
JCrew Long Sleeve Crew Neck T-Shirts(3): White, Black, Gray
Polos are optional, but I feel are a good, versitale piece to your closet. They can be dressed up or down and work with a lot of situations. When you need something a bit more classy than a t-shirt, but not too dressy like a button up, these are going to be your go-to.
Almost everywhere sells polos. I recommend avoiding the budget brands for polos and stepping up in quality. I got mine at Ralph Lauren Outlet for $35 each. Go with a slim fit cut if you can, because polos typically are not cut slim and can look very baggy. Ralph Lauren's slim fit polo line is known as "Custom Fit" these days. I recommend mesh polos personally, but soft polos can work too.
What I Bought
Ralph Lauren Custom Fit Mesh Polos (3): White, Soft Pink, Blue
Short sleeve or long sleeve, it doesn't matter. I prefer long sleeve myself even in warmer months. Henleys are a good look because you can leave them unbuttoned and show off your upper chest. They add a bit more than a typical long sleeve t-shirt does.
What I Bought
American Eagle Long Sleeve Henley (2): Charcoal, Light Blue
Casual Button Downs
These are button down shirts that are not formal or dressy like dress shirts are. These are meant to be a bit more relaxed and casual looking, and don't need to be ironed or pressed. These are perfect for wearing out to the bar or first dates. It makes it look like you give a shit, but not trying too hard. Leave the top couple of buttons unbuttoned to expose your chest, and roll up the sleeves in the summer, which is a good look.
Most retailers will sell these too. They are made from various cloths, such as oxford cloth, linen, and more. They are easy to separate from the dress shirts because they are generally hanging on hangers in the stores, and are sized "S/M/L" instead of numbers. They are also cheaper than dress shirts and the material is different.
I do recommend that you buy at least one of these that is denim, and at least one that is white.
What I Bought
JCrew Slim Button Down Linen Shirt (2): White, Navy
Express Slim Button Down Shirt (2): Light Blue, Denim
I really only recommend buying these if you have a need to wear them, i.e. your job. It's nice to have something dressy and formal on hand for an occassion that calls for it, but you only need one. Wearing these in the wrong occassion screams "try-hard" so be careful. They also have to be tucked in because they are longer than the casual version.
The sizing for these shirts is different. The numbers used for sizing are neck and sleeve length. So you have to do some trial and error to know what works, or ask a sales person who can measure you. Most places will have "try on" dress shirts so you don't have to unfold and unpin the already folded up dress shirts off the shelf. Just ask a sales person for them.
Express carries extra slim dress shirts that I believe are affordable and stylish at the same time. I got mine on sale for $30 each.
What I Bought
Express Extra Slim Dress Shirts (6): White, Navy, Light Blue, Soft Pink, Charcoal, Lilac
I don't think these get enough play. Sterling Archer has been trying to make these happen and I don't see enough men wearing them. But they work. Use these for colder months but they can be dressed up or down. Just make sure you go with actual turtlenecks instead of the mockneck versions.
What I Bought
Banana Republic Turtlenecks (3): Cream, Black, Navy
In colder months these will be your staples. Even though its colder and you will be wearing more layers, that doesn't mean you want to forget the slim fit part and get baggy sweaters that make it look like you are wearing a trash bag. Make sure what you buy is form fitting. I'd also say mix it up on material/thickness as well. Sweaters can be layered with shirts with collars to create a classy look.
What I Bought
JCrew Sweaters (3): Charcoal, Dark Olive Green, Navy
Like with dress shirts, you may have a job that calls for these and you'll want to buy more. Otherwise one or two is fine. Don't underestimate the power of a sport coat/blazer, they can turn any outfit up a notch or two immediately, even if its over a t-shirt and jeans.
Wherever you buy these I recommend getting measured by the salesperson and making sure you get the right fit, then taking it to a tailor immediately after purchasing. With blazers/sport coats, you are walking a fine, fine line between a fit that flatters and a fit that doesn't flatter.
You don't need to break the bank on these, but if you can afford a place like Men's Wearhouse or Joseph A. Bank, or Brooks Brothers, go ahead. However department stores or places like Express have options that work, too.
What I Bought
Nordstrom Blazers (2): Black, Navy
You'll need these in the winter months. There are many different types of jackets and coats, for various uses.
First and foremost I'll come out and say that I believe every man should invest in a leather jacket. You don't need to spend $1000+ or even $500+. But laying down a few hundred dollars on a leather jacket is a good investment not just for the short term, but the long term. And nothing turns on a woman like a man in a leather jacket. I can't think of a more bad ass looking piece of clothing a man can wear.
I also think every man needs a denim jacket as well. It may not carry the same bad ass appeal that a leather jacket does, but its still bad ass and works with a lot of situations.
Then you might want a cheaper, more casual bomber jacket for casual situations and everyday wear.
LIKE WITH EVERYTHING ELSE: Make sure the fit is right. You don't want to drop coin on a leather jacket only for it to be too baggy.
What I Bought
Nordstrom Leather Jacket (1): Black
JCrew Denim Jacket (1): Denim
Old Navy Nylon Bomber Jacket (1): Charcoal
Shorts are a must have for warmer months. The key here is length. You don't want them to be too long. You don't want it to go past the knee. Every man is a different height, but for me, I don't buy anything with larger than a 9 inch inseam. I'm 6'1", and 9 inches is as high as I will go. My sweet spot is closer to 7 inches.
Avoid pleats or cargo pockets. You simply want flat front shorts with 2 side pockets and 2 rear pockets.
JCrew, American Eagle, Abercrombie & Fitch, Old Navy all make good flat front shorts that are affordable. Shorts are also a place you can go a bit more crazy and bold on the colors.
What I Bought
JCrew 9 Inch Flat Front Shorts (1): White
Old Navy 8 Inch Slim Flat Front Shorts (2): Navy, Sea Green
Abercrombie & Fitch 7 Inch Flat Front Shorts (1): Light Blue
Jeans will be a must have that can be worn any time of the year so its important you get these right. If nothing else you need a good pair of go-to blue jeans. I highly recommend that this piece be a pair of dark wash slim fit jeans. They go with anything and are dark enough to make a statement.
Make sure all the cuts you buy are slimmer fit. Baggy or loose jeans look dumb but they are the most common types of jeans you will find in stores. You don't have to go full hipster skinny jeans, but at least make sure its slim cut.
One way to really stand out is to buy a pair of white jeans. I know it might sound a bit extreme but if you can pull it off, it works. Especially paired with a black t-shirt. Trust me, girls will love it. I was skeptical at first but gave it a go and the IOIs came like volleys. Just be careful with your underwear when wearing them.
What I Bought
JCrew Slim Jeans (1): Dark Wash
Levi's 511 Slim Jeans (2): White, Black
A step beyond jeans, these will make you stand out. While there is nothing wrong with jeans, sometimes wearing pants instead will be different, in a good way. A pair of well fitting khaki chinos can go well with everything and can be dressed up or down.
Be careful with your color selections. With pants/chinos, a lot of places will sell all colors of the rainbow. Be safe and pick muted neutrals or colors. Khaki, Olive, Navy, Stone, and a muted Red are the Top 5 in my opinion. Black and White are best left for jeans or dress pants.
What I Bought
JCrew Driggs Slim Fit Chinos (3): Khaki, Olive, Stone
As with dress shirts and sport coats/blazers, these are optional, really only necessary if you work in an environment that calls for it, otherwise you might just want a pair on hand for an occassion that calls for it.
What I bought
Express Extra Slim Dress Pants (5): Black, Black, Navy, Charcoal, Stone
Shoes are very important. Women will look at your shoes and judge you based on them. You can't just expect to throw on a pair of tennis shoes and expect to be viewed fairly.
I think every man should have 4 types of shoes:
Casual Dress Shoes - Loafers work well.
Boots - Chukka or Chelsea.
Sneakers - Nice sneakers, not athletic or basketball sneakers. I do recommend solid white as your color here.
Athletic Sneakers - For working out/running/physical activity only
And a 5th, if you need it:
- Dress Shoes - Avoid square toes.
If you're wearing shorts, you don't want to wear boots. If you're wearing shorts, you don't want to wear socks, or if you do, make sure its socks that don't show. Use your judgement. For example if you're in Las Vegas and plan on walking up and down the strip in the daytime, its OK to wear athletic sneakers and socks.
Boots paired with dark wash blue jeans or khaki chinos is always a solid masculine look.
What I Bought
Tommy Hilfiger Loafers (1): Brown
Rockport Chukka Boots (1): Brown
Sperry Top Sider Sneakers (1): White
Nike Cross Training Sneakers (1): Black
Nordstrom Dress Shoes (1): Black
Every man needs to be wearing a wristwatch. Not dumb "Smart" Watches or cheap Digital Watches. A nice, regular analog watch. You don't have to drop thousands on a Rolex or Tag Heuer. There are online vendors that make decent watches at decent prices these days. Ignore the watch snobs who say they suck. I think Vincero and MVMT make affordable watches that spice up a man's look, along with Fossil, Citizen, Seiko and other brands. If you can afford a Rolex, by all means go ahead, but most people don't want to spend that much on a watch.
If you are buying a watch with a metal band, just make sure it matches your skin undertone. Warm undertone you want some kind of gold hue, cool undertone you'll want a silver hue.
Don't go bare wristed again. A watch done right is the most masculine looking accessory a man can wear.
What I bought:
Seiko Watch (1): Gold Case/Black Face/Gold Link Band
MVMT Classic Watch (1): Rose Gold Case/Black Face/Black Leather Band
Vincero Chrono Watch (1): Silver Case/Blue Face/Brown Leather Band
Like with shoes, women also judge a man on his sunglasses. You don't need to go out and buy a pair of $150 Ray Bans. Just make sure the sunglasses fit your face and style. I have 4 pairs of sunglasses, 3 of which I got for $10 or less at outlet shops. I do have a pair of $150 Ray Bans, which are my go-to, but not all outfits call for them. The right pair of sunglasses with the right outfit can lead to an exponential increase in IOIs.
What I Bought:
Ray Ban Foldable Wayfarer Sunglasses (1): Black
American Eagle Aviator Sunglasses (2): Black, Mirror
JCrew Clubmaster Sunglasses (1): Brown
It doesn't hurt to accessorize a bit. You don't have to go all out like a girl, but a good looking necklace or chain or bracelet or rings all can help your overall look. I like to pair a gold chain necklace with a v-neck t-shirt or unbuttoned casual dress shirt. Or a pendant necklace with a crew neck t-shirt. Bracelets work for everything. If you are a cool undertone you'll want to go with a silver chain and silver bracelets, warm undertone go with gold.
Don't forget a brown leather belt either.
What I Bought
Buckle Pendant Necklace (1): Black
Buckle Hemp Cross Necklace (1): Gray
H&M Chain Necklace (1): Gold
JCrew Leather Bracelet (2): White, Brown
H&M Rings (1): Gray
JCrew Leather Belt (2): Brown, Black
As you can see, its an investment. It's not cheap. You don't have to do it all at once. You can chip away at a new wardrobe over time. Know where to shop, find sales, take advantage of clearance racks, sign up for rewards programs at stores, ask for this shit for your birthday/Christmas/etc.
It's worth it, in the end. Some of this shit can be a one time deal. Take care of your clothes and they'll last years. The items I listed won't go out of style, either.
Dressing right and not dressing right can mean several points worth of difference in your SMV. I know it made a huge difference for me. It also greatly helps your confidence and self esteem. If you're confident in your look and style, you'll be confident in other areas. After having spent all this money on clothes, you'll be extra motivated to get out there and actually get your money's worth from your investment. Why spend all this money on clothes if you aren't going to use them to up your style and game and approach?
Go out in public and observe all the men. Most of them are dressed like slobs. It doesn't take much to surpass them.
If nothing else, fit. Fit is king. You can buy a 100% thrift store wardrobe that will work if the fit is on point.