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Style of dress hurting me?

Kevin T

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I've been thinking a lot about the way I dress. And I've been thinking that maybe it has been harming me (more than helping me) in regards to girls.


I notice that I tend to dress very formally compared to many of my colleagues at school. Maybe it puts girls off, I don't know. I generally wear dress shirts, usually with jeans. Don't usually tuck in the shirt, but sometimes, if I'm feeling really spiffy, I will. I will occasionally wear different types of pants, but very rarely. I never wear hats, especially baseball caps. I don't even own one! lol


I usually wear a dark trench coat, which right off the bat puts me in the minority. I don't mind being different from the pack, not at all (I used to pride myself on my individuality, nor would I like everyone to imitate me), but I get so many looks from people (girls AND guys), I have to wonder if I'm doing something wrong.


As I said already, I dress quite differently from most, if not all, guys I go to school with. With girls, there's mainly two types of girls at school, in terms of dress: Girls who wear sweats, don't fix their hair or wear make-up. They're pretty common, which is fine. (I understand, why dress up just to go to class?) And the other type is the exact opposite; wearing nice, fairly fancy clothes, make-up, doing their hair, etc. And they're not uncommon either. (I guess they want to look nice, in case they meet a cute guy... or just for themselves.) And that's cool, since I tend to be the same way.


But it's different for us guys. There's pretty well only one type of guy at school: He shaves everything third day, wears sweatshirts or t-shirts and jeans. Oh, and always baseball caps. I haven't seen too many other guys (if any) dressing as I do. So it's a problem, not because I want to fit in, but because I think it may only be hurting me with girls. After all, people are going to be put off by the oddball who dresses oddly. No one wants to date the oddball.


Or maybe I'm being too self-conscious, I don't know. It won't affect how much I continue to try with girls, I will still be the same me with them, and work to approach them and overcome my shyness with them. But I was thinking about this today; maybe I dress 'too nice' for them. Maybe it's like I try to hard. I always shave, always wear a little cologne, always make sure I'm wearing clean, nice clothes. Maybe it's too much?


Maybe it's time I tossed the ol' trench coat in the closet, put the dress shirts away and threw on some old t-shirts and stopping shaving for a few days, huh? lol

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I can't say I'm turned off by a guy who dresses well. Its not like you're wearing tuxes at school (which would be too much If you're comfortable with what you're wearing, then that is better than trying to dress down and not feeling like yourself.


And baseball caps? Ugh, often its an excuse not to wash your hair

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ugh.. baseball caps are the biggest turnoff for me... so you know which way my eyes would be looking


Don't you want to meet someone who you can be comfortable with... if you aren't comfortable wearing sweatshirts, ball caps, speedos or whatever.. then don't...


yes.. looks do matter somewhat... but if you ask 10 different guys or girls... they all may say they have a 'look' they go for.. but those will be 10 different looks


some girls love a guy with a ball cap.. not me.. some girls can't stand a guy in a suit.. I do...


are you worried that YOU don't like the way you look???

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Hi Kevin. I don't know if this is helpful, but I'm trying to be helpful.


I've observed that women have varying tastes. I often prefer to go dressy casual with slacks, nice polo shirt (like a Ralph Laren, Tommy Hilfigger, or Calvin Klein) jacket, and baseball hat. Also my dressy casual or dressier Clarks shoes. Unlike most men, I like to color coordinate everything. I don't mean the same color (boring). I mean my shirt and hat match color and the stripe in the shirt matches my pants. The shoes match either pants or belt.


Though some women do not like baseball hats, there's plenty of others who do. I often ask my women friends for their honest opinions of my clothes and they give them. Some women prefer no hat, others like the hat. Some like certain colors. Others like other colors. I personally think that if you happen to be wearing colors a woman likes, you're suddenly more attactive, especially if everything is color coordinated. At the very least, a color coordinated guy stands out because most men have no color sense.


No woman is ever going to assume I'm wearing a baseball hat to hide greasy hair because my hat matches my shirt, and the stripes in my shirt match my pants, and my shoes match either pants, belt, or shirt. That clearly says I put a bit of thought into my look. So women can safely assume my hair is washed under the hat. Actually, I wash my hair and hats with same shampoo.


There's also women who prefer a guy dressed more casually, in jeans, and polo shirt, or sport shirt, or something appropriate to jeans.


A guy in jeans looks more rugged, according to my local women friends. A guy in slacks looks classier, also according to my local women friends. Some women prefer the one, others prefer the other. When I wear jeans, I still color coordinate hat and shirt, shoes and belt, but my choice of shoes and belt is then something less formal and more rugged looking to be appropriate to jeans. i.e. - don't wear jeans with formal dress shoes, formal dress shirt, or formal dress belt. i.e. - no formal dress shirts with jeans, especially not a white dress shirt with jeans. It's a fashion conflict.


I think there's a few things to remember about women's tastes.


1) Every woman has her personal preferences and they vary per woman.


2) Some women prefer a more casual looking, more rugged looking guy


3) Some women prefer a more formal, classy looking guy


4) I think all women prefer when the guy's looks put together in a cohesive manner. i.e. - if you choose to look casual, then your entire outfit should be casual. For example, wearing dress shoes with jeans, or a dress shirt with jeans is a mismatch of styles that says you are thrown together, not put together. Don't mix casual and formal clothing items together and wear at same time. That screams nerd. No offense. Hey, I used to do that too, when I was younger. Must stop that.


Your look has to be cohesively rugged casual, or dressy casual, or formally dressy. No mixing and matching those looks together. Only nerds do that. By avoiding the mixing and matching of styles, you can then choose a cohesive look.


5) If you do color matching of your clothes (many men just can't) that adds to your cohesive look.


6) Since some women like one cohesive look, and others like another cohesive look, now you have to choose each day between sports casual, rugged casual, dressy casual, and formal dressy.


I typically alternate between those first 3, but occasionally go for formal dressy when the occasion is suitable for it.


7) I think that alternating looks (each one a cohesive look) from day to day is best because it shows the various ladies in your life all your different good, cohesive looks. It's likely that each woman will have her preference from among your various looks. Once she sees one she likes, that one is likely to stick in her head as her favorite and she'll remember you that way as being your potential.


I also find it to be self entertainment to alternate looks. Then I don't get bored with myself. It's also very interesting to observe how each woman's reaction varies from one day to the next depending on my "look of the day". Good free entertainment and also sometimes I get an idea what she likes.


That's one reason I alternate cohesive looks, including sometimes not wearing my baseball hat(s). FYI - I have an entire collection of baseball hats. I try to color match to my shirt or jacket each day. Sometimes it's not possible to color match, in which case I avoid a clash. Hat must never clash with shirt. And remember not to wear the hat every 3rd, 4th, or 5th day. Let them see that your hair is clean. Typically my favorite time to leave my hat at home is when I wear a suit. I can't wear a baseball hat with a suit anyway. So that's the perfect day to leave the hat at home.


You could skip the hat altogether, but some women like it. If you like it yourself, as I do, then go ahead and wear it at least half the time. However, remember to color match and to keep hat(s) clean. I'm not going to say to keep your hair clean, because I'm sure you already do. However, most men fail to wash their hats and they get disgusting. I like to wash baseball hats with a dish brush and shampoo inside and out.


Those my thoughts. Please don't anyone flame me for trying to be helpful.

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I only see trench coats on businessmen my fathers age (senior), and the door to door missionary boys who wear black slacks, white shirt, and trench coat.


You're way to young for that look, especially when adding the trench coat to it. I'm to young for that look.


I threw my trench coat away. Seriously, I did. I still have my suit, formal white shirts, and ties for appropriate occasions, but I threw my trench coat in the trash can years ago.

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Kevin I would suggest you at least lose the trenchcoat for a while. I agree it's not age appropriate and might make you look much more intense than you are. Every guy I know who wears a trench coat or greatcoat looks a little like they either want to shoot up the school or spend their lives playing World of Warcraft (or whatever that is). Just my opinion though.


Do you have a female friend who might take you out shopping and give you some hints? My previously daggy husband when single went on a married-woman-eye-for-the-straight-guy shopping expedition before he met me, with a friend of his. It really helped him.

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Kevin I would suggest you at least lose the trenchcoat for a while. I agree it's not age appropriate and might make you look much more intense than you are. Every guy I know who wears a trench coat or greatcoat looks a little like they either want to shoot up the school or spend their lives playing World of Warcraft (or whatever that is). Just my opinion though.


Do you have a female friend who might take you out shopping and give you some hints? My previously daggy husband when single went on a married-woman-eye-for-the-straight-guy shopping expedition before he met me, with a friend of his. It really helped him.


Yes, yes, and yes. Everything you said - yes.


I personally am confident in my various tastes, but that is something I developed over time. In the beginning, I just copied what a very cool and "popular with the ladies" businessman friend of mine wore. That was where my dressy casual businessman look came from. Some of my local platonic women friends told me they loved that look.


However, others told me they'd prefer a more casual, rugged look, based around jeans. Others prefer a more formal, subdued, dressy look. I didn't need any help with the dressy formal conservative look. All I had to do was copy my father since that style is timeless. Except not copy the trenchcoat over suite. No trenchcoats allowed!


I did however, take a couple women friend shopping with me to develope my casual sports and casual rugged looks while retaining some class and common sense. So I had my woman-friend-eye-for-the-straight-guy shopping trips many times. I still do. I love those shopping trips! Like the time I was hitting it off with the cashier and then my woman-friend-eye-for-the-straight-guy lady friend showed up and the cashier got in a huff about it. I guess she assumed....?


Those shopping trips with a woman friend are great, but if possible take more than one woman with you because their tastes vary a lot. If you let only one woman's opinion's dress you, you'll only appeal to her clones. What about all the other women's tastes? That's why I always try to get several women to help me. You can also get help from women who work at the clothing store. I take their opinions with a grain of salt though, since it's her job to sell you something. However, what a great and easy way to meet women at the store. Think about that.

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Yeah, nothing wrong with a button down and jeans, especially if it's untucked. Now, in my opinion, a trenchcoat might be kinda cool, but I think to a majority, it's a little much. Maybe try a nice suede or leather one for a while?

At the school I go to, girls seem to flock to the guys who dress nicer (note: not a suit...just more cleancut) and take the time to shave often...

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That's true. Clean cut is always good with any clothes and any look, IMO. Especially "clean" is good, but clean cut is a visual indication that you're clean.


I'm so clean cut that I only have one eyebrow.


However, you have to admit that some women don't like clean cut guys. Some prefer guys the grungier and more tattooed the better. It seems like some women like the X-convict look, or the unwashed rockstar look.


However, those are a couple looks I have no interest in including in my line-up of alternating looks.


All my various looks are variations on the clean cut look. I'll leave the grunge to others.

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To me personally, a button-down shirt with jeans is one of the sexiest outfits a guy can wear...But I do think that in class, it should be a casual button-down -- definitely nothing starched, and definitely not tucked in. A shirt that's tucked in can look stuffy...


As far as the trench coat...They are great. I own one. But I only wear it when I go to work. Trenches are definitely too formal for class, unless you are purposely trying to make a fashion statement (which I'm assuming you aren't). A leather jacket would be great, or for an even more casual look, a nicer variety of a windbreaker.


Maybe also try wearing your shirts unbuttoned over a t-shirt...Just to loosen up a bit. Or maybe wear one of those light zip-up track jackets (like the ones by Adidas -- one of my TAs, who's around your age, wears them, and they definitely work for him, haha). They look great with relaxed jeans and offer a nice alternative to a button-down that's still not too slouchy.


Of course, we all realize that clothing is superficial and all...But if you're having doubts and aren't 100% happy with what you're doing, now is the time to play! Years down the road when you're working a 9-5 job with a dress code, you won't have those options...

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It's the white button down shirt with jeans that I object to. Tucked in or not. Starched would be even worse.


A colored button down can look good with jeans. A multi-colored button down is better yet with jeans. A white button down shirt was traditionally called a dress shirt (for use with a suit or slacks). A colored, and especially a mulit-colored button down shirt was traditionally called a sport shirt and can be worn with jeans, slacks, or shorts. A colored button down shirt has the advantage of being able to be part of a casual look, dressy casual look, or formal dressy look. Typically only a solid color button down shirt can worn with a suite or sports jacket. It wouldn't be acceptable to wear a mulit-colored button down shirt with a suit. Sports shirts (multi-colored button down) are versatile. Same is true of a nicer, higher quality polo shirt.


I prefer polo shirts (classy ones, not Walmart ones) more than button down sport shirts because polo shirts serve the same versatile fasion niche and they stretch and move with my body, which allows greater comfort. Also, a polo shirt is cooler in summer, IMO.


However, a colored button down shirt (sports shirt) with jeans is fine, whether tucked or not, IMO.


The "tucked optional" concept is my generation. For older generations before me, tucking was mandatory. For younger generations after me, untucked is most common. Personally, I just tuck in when weather is cold, and untuck when weather is hot. This for button down or polo shirts. Comfort rules!

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To clarify: When I said "sport shirt" above, I was using the traditonal gentleman's word for a colored (solid or multi) button down shirt. The multi-colored button down works with anything, except a suit. The solid color works with anything, except shorts.


My traditional use of the phrase "sport shirt" is totally different thing from an athletic shirt of a sports team.




The white button down is pretty much only for use with a suit, or slacks and sport coat, or just with slacks, if you want to look that formal. I don't know about young folks today, but traditionally, it would be considered a fashion disaster to wear a white button down shirt with jeans. It's only the white button down with jeans that I object to. (also the trench coat with anything is a non starter if you're under 60).


I like the better, classier polo shirts because they serve the same fashion niche as the sport shirt, but with more comfort. The only thing a polo doesn't work for is with a suit. Then I go white button down with suit, or maybe solid color button down with suit.

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i love a guy that comes to class in jeans and a casual button down. especially when the sleeves are rolled up. just be comfortable, because that is what i find most attractive. a guy who is comfortable in his clothes, emotionally and physically. but i have a feeling you are looking great. so i wouldn't worry too much about it.

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The way you're dressing doesn't affect the situation as much as you think. There are guys who go with that frat boy look that you describe and get lots of girls. There are guys (like Mystery) who basically go goth and get lots of girls.


The way you dress only affects you as much as it affects the way you act. Nothing wrong with experimenting though, that's the name of the game for you at this point. So let loose and try a more relaxed look and see what you get.

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A leather jacket would be great, or for an even more casual look, a nicer variety of a windbreaker.


That describes half of my jackets right there ^.


Add to that my letterman's jacket, and a few fleece jackets.


And of course, a matching baseball hat for every jacket and every shirt. The main color of hat matches either shirt, and the hat logo color matches the jacket, or vice versa.


I'm surprised no one else mentions color matching. I can tell you for a fact, that most women are pleasantly shocked when a man shows some good color taste. It's so far beyond what most men do.


If you know a certain woman you like has a favorite color, wear it (assuming it's not pink, or some color that is a major clash with your skin or hair color). You can find out from her friends, maybe, or can guess just by observing the colors of her clothes that she most often wears.


Color awareness isn't a style necessity for men. Other style issues are more important. However, good use of color can be the icing on the fashion cake, if you use it competantly.

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Thanks for the replies. You know, maybe I should go on "Queen Eye for the Straight Guy..." I'm sure those guys could fix me right up. I'd rather be on the Bachelor though, but I digress... lol


Whoa, so many comments to address, I'll have to go by memory mostly here:


Let's see... I do own and wear polos, they're a huge part of my ensemble, actually. But in the coldness of our Canadian winters, I opt for long sleeves. (I'm skinny, so I get cold easily... I guess? Not really, but whatever. lol) And like you charley, I go for the expensive, brand-name stuff. Most of my shirts are Tommy, which is definitely has that prep look going for it. I suppose it's safe to say I dress like a prep, which is fine by me.


I was raised primarily by my mom (dad was mostly absent during the formative years) so I have learned how to colour-coordinate clothes really well. A lot of women I know say they wish their significant others would dress like I do. Even one of my exes told me that, which was nice (not that I believe a WORD she said. lol) I always liked how I dressed (obviously; I love clothing shopping and could spend hundreds of dollars just on myself wardrobe-wise alone!) So naturally I pick out all my clothes. I do wear some pink, actually. It looks good on me. I get compliments from a lot of women on it, heck, even some gay men said they loved how it looked on me. (Not sure if that's good OR bad, but worth mentioning anyway... lol) But since the girls I'd typically be going for are between 18 -21, maybe my style isn't something that they appreciate (only the older women tend to like it, maybe?)


And charley, worry not... I would NEVER wear dress shoes with jeans! lmao My God, I should be halled away by the fashion police in the blink of an eye if I were to do that! Even I'm not that stupid. And don't worry, I have no intention of flaming anyone, even if I staunchly disagree with them (not that I do, BTW).


Years ago, I used to go for the big n' baggy look, but that just doesn't pan out for me anymore, especially being thin. So I've decided to go for the more normal size clothes which, oh I don't know, actually fit me! lol


I wouldn't even have brought this up, but it does perplex me. Why all the staring? We can't assume every girl I see likes me! And even if we could, what's with the guys too? Surely that can't be the case... sadly. lol


Hats... are out. Don't own them, don't have the properly shaped head for them, don't like how they mess up my neatly styled hair. They're... just simply, not my style. I can't ever see me being a "hat man." Well, maybe at a nice dinner banquet, wearing a tophat with a tux or something. ;p But that's not my everyday attire. But in sum, no baseball caps. I don't even like sports, so why should I "support my team" when I don't have one?


And shikashika, no, I'm not worried I don't like how I look. Hell, I LOVE how I look! I'm just not sure if it's helping me or harming me with girls. That's all. I don't have the finances at the moment to go out and replace my wardrobe, but I own enough clothes to pick and choose a more relaxed style (or vice versa). I don't know, I've always liked dressing up, not down. I don't even like to go grocery shopping without putting some effort into how I look. But that's me. Call it pride, or what have you.


Uh-oh, now... The trenchcoat comments. Yikes. I don't want to come accross as some dork who plays Warcraft (which I don't lol) or like some homocidal psychopath either. That's not good. But I'd like to believe (perhaps to much chagrin) that most people are smart and sensible enough to not be so judgmental and callous about something like that (my faux paus, mayhaps?) In any event, that's probably the LAST item in my apparel that I would remove. I don't know why, but I've always liked the look... and I can pull it off. I've got the height for it (6'2", almost), and I never do the damned thing up. Could be minus 50 outside and it's still undone. (IMO, they look horrid done up... ugh.) The whole few years I've owned it, I've never had it done up, even once. lol


I get what you guys are saying, but phew... asking me to give up my coat is like asking me to dye my hair bright green or cut off my right arm. (Needless to say, I like it.) So much so, that dropping it to get a girl isn't even worthwhile, in my humble opinion. And in truth, I have received compliments on it, so I'm not so sure what to think. I don't think it looks all that formal, really. I would say the dress shirts, and the neat and fastidious look that I usually sport makes me appear much more formal (especially in contrast to the unsloven - thanks for the word, Carnelian - guys I come accross on campus.) I'mnot saying I want to be like everyone else, but at the same time, if this is what people are thinking... maybe I need to take what you guys are saying seriously. Hmm... *thinking* I have seen a *few* guys wearing trenchcoats, but not too many. (Hell, if more wore them, I don't know if I'd like it as much. Perhaps it's my desire to be different than promotes my drive to wear it...?)


I know some girls will only go for the rugged look. And that's fine. For anyone who has seen my picture, I think you would have to agree that I'm not in that category, nor will I EVER will be! lol I couldn't pull that look off with God's help Himself! I definitely lean more on the "pretty boy" side of things, which is okay, I guess. Maybe people think I'm gay... I don't know. Just a thought?


I have tried the dress shirt over t-shirt thing, and it works. For what it is. But sometimes I just want to take it up a notch... as I said, I like to dress up, never down. Not sure why. I'm someone who would LOVE to wear a suit to work everyday, but that's not my job... yet. (Though in the future, it will be!) Obviously, that's out at school, but I'm just saying.


And don't worry charley, I wouldn't wear wal-mart brand clothes either. No offense to anyone... hell, I used to work there. But in terms of clothes and shoes, not for me. I do buy socks and underwear there, though, so it's all good. As for tucking... I feel like a slob when I don't tuck. When I don't tuck in my shirt, that is me saying to the world, "Today I'm in a lousy mood. Go away and leave me alone, since I didn't even take the three seconds to bother tucking in my shirt." lol (Those are my bad days, which many a time have I posted stuff here on those days.)


I know dress ain't everything, helo. But I just had to inquire, judging from the reactions I get from people. Maybe I'm overanalying (do that a lot), maybe they like what they see, maybe they don't. I'm trying to figure that part out, hence the question. lol


Leather jacket... ahh, I don't know. I'm not the Fonz. lol Sure, I love Fonzie, but I'm not sure it's me. I used to own one, but that was years ago (grade nine, to be exact). I don't have the cash to get one at the moment, so that's kind of out for now.


Did I mention I invested in a scarf, as I wanted to do last fall? I think it only adds to my look (whether that be good or bad, I know not.)


I'm wondering, maybe people think I'm gay? Gay men have an extraordinarily good sense of fashion and what looks good, so maybe that is the basis for all the staring. I don't know...


(I think I talk too much... this post all over clothes... imagine...) Anyhow, I'm not objecting to what anyone said, just posting my thoughts and some guesses.


I need more thoughts from others (girls and guys both!)

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I don't think the style of dress is as important as the grooming. As long as you are taking showers, brushing your teeth, wiping your butt, ect. then you have nothing to worry about. Style of dress is just a matter of personal taste. If you like it, then there are girls out there that like it too.

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