The Reason We Want To Dress Well

I was thinking recently about the motivation behind men’s fashion, and I can assume that we, who are part of the Fashionbeans community, are all stylish gents who take the utmost care in our appearance. The question is why? Why do we spend all of our money on clothes (that might just be me)? Why do we spend what can take years to find our own timeless style? Why is it so important? Upon reflection I came up with a loose answer.

For me it all goes back to the often used description of the stock action hero “women want him, and men want to be him”. We all want men to envy us and women to want to be with us, it’s a basic masculine need to be the best guy in the room. We all know what other men think about men’s fashion, but what do the fairer sex think? With that thought I hit the streets armed with nothing but a notepad and a cheesy smile to ask them…

A Woman’s Point of View

I tried to interview a range of women in different professions and at different ages, obviously these opinions are unique to the individuals I asked and shouldn’t be read as the opinions of ALL women. Answers have also been transcripted after the event and tidied up to make them more readable. Hopefully by the end of it we can tie some key concepts and ideas together as a general guide.

Leah – 18, student, aspiring biochemist

1. Is a man who’s well dressed more attractive than one isn’t? Why is this?
Answer: Yes, if they dress in a way that suits them. I guess it’s because they have a sense of awareness to how others perceive them, they care. However if they care too much there’s a danger they could end up looking “camp” – I’m more than put off by that sort of thing. The right clothes on a man however can transfer them from “average” to gorgeous.

2. Do you think there’s a difference between being on trend and being stylish? If so what’s more appealing and why?
Answer: Yes, being on trend seems to say “I’m just following the crowd” but being stylish I’d like to say is about personal taste executed with elegance. Being stylish is far more appealing for the very simple reason you shouldn’t look like a mannequin in Topman.

3. What’s more important, the fit of the clothes or the clothes themselves?
Answer: The fit a lot of the time, if they fit you properly and work with whatever figure you have its sexy.

4. For you, what would be the perfect outfit for a guy? As in what ensemble would make you get up from the bar or wherever to go talk to him?
Answer: I fall head over heels for a guy in a casual fitted suit. I love a man with an air of authority, it’s so attractive, so a deep grey suit, a simple belt none of that decorative style please, a white shirt and a fitted jacket. I also like the low cut loose fitting t-shirts with a nice pair of jeans… I’m not a fan of the ridiculously low “I’ve messed myself” look. City teenager style eurghhhh! But the loose fitting low cut top (if you have the chest to pull it off) and I do like boat shoes and a deck hat. Oh and a man bag – not in a bar though.

5. What one outfit or item of clothing do you think always looks terrible on a man? And would this put you off?
Answer: One word: Fleeces. And yes, it would be a big one.

6. Finally, name one man whose style you admire?
Answer: Nick Grimshaw at times, others will say Robert Pattinson.

Nick Grimshaw and Robert Pattinson

Key Products:

  • GREY SHARKSKIN SKINNY SUIT
  • GREY PAISLEY SCARF T-SHIRT
  • Burberry London Leather Belt
  • nudie jeans - Slim Jim jeans
  • Egyptian Room Flight Bag
  • KG By Kurt Geiger Sorrento Leather Boat Shoes
Felicity – 25, air hostess

1. Is a man who’s well dressed more attractive than one isn’t? Why is this?
Answer: Yes because men who wear nice clothes enhance their natural features and it tells you a bit about their personality.

2. Do you think there’s a difference between being on trend and being stylish? If so what’s more appealing and why?
Answer: Being trendy is nice, but it’s not very unique because practically everyone wears it. However, stylish is dressing to suit the person as an individual, and it looks so much better if the guy knows what he’s doing when it comes to dressing himself.

3. What’s more important, the fit of the clothes or the clothes themselves?
Answer: The fit for sure. It doesn’t matter what you’re wearing – if the clothes don’t fit right, you’ll never look good.

4. For you, what would be the perfect outfit for a guy? As in what ensemble would make you get up from the bar or wherever to go talk to him?
Answer: Hmmmmm, dark worn looking jeans and an indie style top with a light denim jacket. Oh and some cool sun glasses!

5. What one outfit or item of clothing do you think always looks terrible on a man? And would this put you off?
Answer: ahahaha I’d have to say a woolly jumper, but that’s just me. I guess it would yeah.

6. Finally, name one man whose style you admire?
Answer: Enrique Iglesias

Enrique Iglesias

Key Products:

  • OFF WHITE GIRL CREW T-SHIRT
  • Acne Max Cash Slim Jeans
  • Diesel Jhimaloop Washed Denim Jacket
  • Balmain Metal Framed Aviator Sunglasses
Sarah – 34, retail manager

1. Is a man who’s well dressed more attractive than one isn’t? Why is this?
Answer: Yes most definitely. You formulate an opinion on someone as soon as you see them, if they are stylish and well dressed then you find them instantly more agreeable and relatable. If the persons dressed badly you’re immediately put off, it’s almost as if as a woman you’re thinking “if he can’t dress himself, he must not be able to provide all the other things I want from a man”.

2. Do you think there’s a difference between being on trend and being stylish? If so what’s more appealing and why?
Answer: Absolutely, I think that as a man gets older trends become much more subtle, if someone is stylish they know how to dress regardless of their age. A man is more attractive if he’s understated and wearing something classic and elegant.

3. What’s more important, the fit of the clothes or the clothes themselves?
Answer: The cut! There’s nothing worse than a man whose clothes who are stupidly oversized – it just looks like you couldn’t be bothered to try the clothes on properly, and a girl likes a man to care. Equally bad are the guys who buy their clothes two sizes too small to show off the muscles they got through months of neglecting their girlfriends at the gym. News flash guys, it looks awful!

4. For you, what would be the perfect outfit for a guy? As in what ensemble would make you get up from the bar or wherever to go talk to him?
Answer: I’m a sucker for a three piece suit in a dark colour, it just has the right mix of sexy and smart. I like it when they do something funky with the tie, not too garish but something a little quirky, like a pattern or even a bow tie. Casually I don’t think you can beat a plain white T-shirt, some jeans and a really nice leather jacket.

5. What one outfit or item of clothing do you think always looks terrible on a man? And would this put you off?
Answer: Hahahaha, this is easy – long socks. You know the kind that goes all the way up to the middle of the calf, they’re disgusting!

6. Finally, name one man whose style you admire?
Answer: David Gandy

David Gandy Style

Key Products:

  • NAVY SHARP SHOULDER SKINNY SUIT WITH WAISTCOAT
  • Vilebrequin White Classic Linen Shirt
  • Paul Smith London Striped Tie
  • Acne White Cotton Scoop Neck T-Shirt
  • MARC JACOBS Leather Jacket
  • Sniper Iggy
Karen – 45, chef

1. Is a man who’s well dressed more attractive than one isn’t? Why is this?
Answer: Yes he is because it shows that he takes care of himself, I like a man to be well groomed.

2. Do you think there’s a difference between being on trend and being stylish? If so what’s more appealing and why?
Answer: I think being on trend is just following the latest fashion fads but being stylish is a way of wearing your clothes and it’s timeless.

3. What’s more important, the fit of the clothes or the clothes themselves?
Answer: I would say it’s the fit of the clothes because you could wear something really nice but if it fits badly it will look horrendous.

4. For you, what would be the perfect outfit for a guy? As in what ensemble would make you get up from the bar or wherever to go talk to him?
Answer: For me it would be a man who’s well groomed in a crisp, smart, white shirt, some tailored grey trousers and a matching tailored waistcoat and a burgundy tie. Oh and a nice pair of brogues.

5. What one outfit or item of clothing do you think always looks terrible on a man? And would this put you off?
Answer: I hate men who wear gold chains around their necks. Male jewellery is okay, but it’s better when it’s understated and elegant, the gold chain is much too Jimmy Saville for my taste.

6. Finally, name one man whose style you admire?
Answer: David Beckham

David Beckham Style

  • White Oxford Shirt
  • GREY HERRINGBONE WAISTCOAT
  • Marc by Marc Jacobs Plaid Linen Suit Trousers
  • Turnbull & Asser Ribbed Silk Tie
  • PAUL SMITH Dust Point Leather Brogue
  • Emporio Armani AR0425 Leather Strap Watch
Concluding Thoughts

So there we have it, a brief glimpse into what women think about our sartorial skills. I hope the interviews gave you some outfit ideas along with some celebrity inspiration, but here are some key points to take away:

  • Pick the classic and timeless items from a variety of different trends and create your own personal style.
  • Women see your clothing as a glimpse into your personality so make sure they reflect YOU and no-one else.
  • Women like well groomed men. This doesn’t mean you have to be clean shaven, just make sure your stubble is even, your beard well kept and your skin and haircare routine up to scratch. Look to our men’s grooming articles for inspiration.
  • Invest some money in timeless pieces like a grey suit or a leather jacket – women love them and they will stand the test of time.
  • It is a fashion basic and we stress it time and time again – fit it KEY. Women do notice these things and if you don’t get this right then you will never be seen as a stylish and attractive male. Take a refresher course with Matt Allinson’s guide to fit.
  • Be an individual, women respect you more if you have your own sense of style and don’t just follow the crowd.
  • If you’re lucky enough to have discovered your own innate sense of style, don’t let anybody change it! Not everyone is going to like everything you do; the trick is have rock solid confidence and don’t listen to those who doubt you.
  • As you get older trends become much less important, as you age move away from skinny jeans and graphic tees into elegant suits, relaxed tailoring and more elegant and refined pieces.

I hope you all enjoyed the article; I’d like to thank all the girls I interviewed for taking time out from their busy schedules to answer my silly questions. You were all as charming as you were lovely. Thank you.

“Elegance is not the prerogative of those who have just escaped from adolescence, but of those who have already taken possession of their future” – Coco Chanel.