I recently wrapped up a study asking 25 women what they liked about men’s fashion.
And no, I don’t mean just what they thought looked cool. I asked the real questions us guys want to know:
What clothes do women find attractive on a guy?
And more importantly, why?
Now there were a lot of different answers (25 women have 25 different opinions), but the following seven things popped up in the majority of answers from those who were polled.
A nice watch
A nice watch denotes status. It’s not that all women are judging you solely on your status in the world, but peacocking a bit certainly doesn’t hurt.
The Vincero Icon features an automatic movement, a large, but not oversized 40mm watch face, and has a clean minimalist dial.
The contrast between the deep navy dial and the silver batons, hands, case, and link bracelet makes a lasting impression.
The Icon is more of a dress watch, but it has the size and weight of a tool watch, which makes it an excellent option for everyday wear.
Plus, if you ever get to that moment where your watch is on the bedside table, the exhibition caseback is a giveaway that you’re rocking a timepiece with class.
A well cared for pair of shoes
The common thought among women here is that if a man can take care of his shoes well, he can show attention to detail in other areas of his life, too. It’s also why women like to see a guy with a houseplant or a dog.
But all three? Obviously, that’s too much responsibility for one man.
Once you have some quality footwear, taking care of them is pretty easy. Just keep them fitted with a pair of cedar shoe trees, dust them off regularly, and apply leather conditioner once every six months or so.
It took me too long to realize that I needed at least two pairs of shoes: one beater pair of boots I could get as dirty as I wanted, and a second pair of classier shoes to wear on dates and in polite society.
If you’ve had trouble in the past keeping a pair of shoes crisp and clean, get a pair of boots you don’t mind beating up and only wear them in casual settings. Reserve your nice shoes for date night.
I always figured a whole-cut leather goodyear welted Chelsea under $300 would never exist. That was until I found the Myrqvist Granhult. Handcrafted in Portugal, this sleek dressy Chelsea is finished with a studded rubber sole and offers a heck of a lot of value for its modest price point.
Shirts that accent your muscles and hide your flaws (read: your beer belly)
No shame, my man. But if you haven’t explored many brands, there are some shirts out there that really make your shoulders look broader and can taper in at the waist and hide that belly.
Both of the options above feature a longer hem, which extends your torso out and makes you appear a little taller and leaner.
Also, the shoulders don’t fit too wide, so any muscle you have there will stand out more.
Stay away from bulk-package buys from brands like Hanes and Fruit of the Loom—they’re too “one-size-fits-all” and they usually end up making you look more short and stout (at least that’s true in my experience).
If it’s the right occasion, a tailored suit
One woman who responded to my survey said that a well-tailored suit was the equivalent of lingerie. That might have been a bit of exaggeration, but I’m also going to go buy as many tailored suits as I can right now.
Suits can be a tough one. I know I’ve picked up suits for $200 in the past, and while they work for a wedding here and there, to really get a refined, tailored look, a suit with alterations can cost upwards of $800.
When you’re ready to stump up for a cost like this, I recommend getting charcoal or navy as your first suit. That way, you can wear it to every special event you’ll need a suit for.
If you need a suit for work, it may not make sense to drop this much dough on a suit, and in that scenario, getting something made-to-measure for somewhere between $400-500 is more sensible.
I like that Indochino offers a huge selection of customization options, like lapel style, buttons, linings, and monograms. However, the suit I had made didn’t fit as well as I’d hoped from a custom fitting. That said, the brand offers a Perfect Fit Promise and is still a solid choice for custom-made, affordable suits.
A good cologne (not overpowering, though)
In the warmer months, I like something bright, crisp, and aquatic. In the cooler months, I tend toward something sandalwood. Those are just my preferences, but if you haven’t yet, try going to a fragrance shop and asking someone knowledgeable to walk you through the different types of men’s fragrance.
I really like the service Hawthorne. You take a quick personality quiz and they send two customized colognes to your door. I’ve tried them twice now, and I’ve noticed a pattern: their Work cologne is more “fresh” and better for everyday. This is the kind you want to wear in summer.
Their Play cologne is usually warmer and spicier—this type of fragrance is a better fit for colder months or date nights.
By asking the right questions, Hawthorne was able to deliver me custom colognes and bathroom essentials at a solid price point, and while I was hesitant to leave my choice of fragrance up to someone else, Hawthorne won my seal of approval on the first spray.
If you’re not ready to dive into multiple fragrances, I think the best place to start is finding one great scent you love and you feel matches your personality.
The fragrance world calls that a signature scent.
You can stop there if you want, but if you haven’t found out what your go-to fragrance is, you’re missing an opportunity to drive the ladies wild (or at least make a slightly better impression on them).
Decorative socks or no-show socks, depending on the occasion (shows extra thought and “knowing” your own style—bold)
Match your socks to the occasion (i.e. don’t wear bright Spongebob socks to that funeral).
But showing a little personality through your socks is a way to show you’re in command of your style and you’re not afraid to be yourself. Confidence is the #1 most attractive thing to the ladies.
As for no-show socks, use these in the heat of summer when you want to wear some low cut sneakers, loafers, or monk-straps. If you skip socks, you run the risk of demolishing your heel, and there’s also no telling how stinky your feet might be when you take your shoes off.
I want to make a special note on the decorative socks here: I’ve seen too many guys whose sense of style begins and ends with funny socks.
Don’t be that guy.
Yes, an interesting pair of socks can start a conversation or show a bit of your personality, but don’t let your pizza socks actually be your personality.
If you just read that and thought, but my pizza socks are the best thing I have going for me, check out this list of interesting questions you can ask a girl to get the conversation started. And not rely on your socks anymore.
A “mix-it-up” shirt—something a little different than your standard t-shirt or oxford
If your wardrobe has a bunch of the same kind of shirt, you should mix things up. Luckily, since the weather is changing, now is the perfect opportunity.
Try a camp collar shirt in the warmer months:
Or for the colder months, try a thick turtle neck under a peacoat:
I know: it can be difficult to find new clothes that fit you well and you still feel comfortable wearing.
I still remember the first time I tried on Chelsea boots and was worried my friends would laugh at me. Now, they’re pretty much all I wear.
Start by following some fashionable guys on Instagram or YouTube. Notice how they’re putting outfits together and take a few recommendations from them. It can be tough dropping $80 on that overshirt, but you might be surprised at how much value you get from it—I know I wear the same few pieces almost exclusively throughout the week.
You can always start small with one purchase. You don’t have to revamp your entire closet.
Start with one interesting piece at a time and build from there over the course of a few years. You’ll be the most stylish guy in the room in no time.
I’m going to leave this piece with a write-in response from our poll that really stuck out to me:
“At the end of the day, style that shows you’re conscientious about how you look shows women that you’re mature enough to understand you’re putting out an image into the world.
It shows them that you have care, confidence, and the charisma to be someone they can count on as a man, not a boy.”