I rest my case.
Instead, stick with something like this:
(Left to right: Calvin Klein / Tommy Hilfiger / Esprit / Esprit (for skinny guys) / Ralph Lauren / Calvin Klein)
Make sure the fabric feels soft to the touch and avoid really dark colors. Yes it’s one of the few occasions when loose fit is perfectly fine, even preferred.
#2. How to pull off sexy business casual for work environment?
We do have on Style Inspiration for dressing sexy at work but I feel it’s one of those topics that we should re-visit more in the future. I personally find it quite intriguing and interesting to explore – walking that very thin line when you get the best out of both worlds – sexy and professional.
- Your base outfit should be sharp – modern, close to the body cuts, dressy, mostly neutral colors.
- After you have the business casual base outfit set (in your mind), look where you can differentiate yourself – colors, accessories, specific items of clothing but be subtle about it.
- Focus on quality – it’s one of those occasions where I would recommend investing in better clothes (fabrics, stitching, cuts and colors) because it can pay for itself in the long-term – there are studies that look into correlation between your image and income and damn, it’s quite staggering. Great read: “How Spending $162,301.42 on Clothes Made Me $692,500”Of course you don’t need to spend 1000+ USD per item or clothing, but your go-to outfit for work (an equivalent for “I’m getting laid tonight look” for dating) should slightly push your budget for clothes (it will pay off in the long-term).
- Sometimes your grooming (hairstyle, facial hair) might be the best way to “sexify” your sharp image.
Few examples from our Pinterest page:
#3. How to pull off the iconic Johnny Depp look with accessories?
This is a very popular question and indeed, wearing multiple hand accessories can look extremely cool.
Unfortunately, in most cases it ends up looking try-hard and overwhelming because chosen accessories don’t go with the rest of the look or clash among themselves.
So, how can you actually pull it off?
First, make sure that the rest of the outfit will go well with this image. In practice this means that if the rest of your outfit is minimalistic and subtle you don’t want wear countless accessories on your hands that will make them look chunky and overwhelming.
Let’s take few outfits from our latest style Inspiration “No More Mr. Nice Guy” and see in which cases it could work and when not so much.
Possible, but better not
Secondly, make sure that the colors work well with the rest of the outfit. Ideally you want your accessories to connect different colors in your outfit.
After you have this covered, we can start playing around:
- Ideally you want to use different designs: bean bracelet, wristband, rope bracelet, rings, etc.
- On each hand it’s best if there’s only one “attention grabbing” accessory. This can be a really cool design on a bracelet, flashy colors, etc. Others accessories should be in more neutral tones and less flashy overall.
- Make sure that accessories are visually asymmetric – you don’t want to copy same sequence of accessories on each hand. So let’s say you’re wearing a watch, leather bracelet and a thin bead bracelet on one hand, than on the other wear something like rope bracelet, thick wristband and a ring.
- Accessories with a story (something that you bought when traveling, got as a gift, been rewarded for slaying a dragon, etc.) should usually get priority over stuff that you ordered from Asos or another site.
It’s not an exact science and it’s not even a very good-looking combination altogether, but the reason why we do find it so cool and badass is because it breaks fashion rules and has a strong vibe of “I don’t give a flying fuck”. So don’t be afraid to experiment, express yourself.
That said, when it doubt stick with 1-2 hand accessories and keep them simple.
#4. How to upgrade your style once again using more “unique” and “rare” clothing? And in the same sense, how to make your outfit “pop” without looking tacky or try-hard?
Using more unique items of clothing is a great way to add character to your outfit, make it naturally stand out while looking very stylish in the process.
I personally often refer to these garments as “epic”.
What makes them epic is one (or more) of the following criteria:
- Interesting colors and patterns
- Cuts (longer/shorter/tighter than it would be on a regular item or maybe an asymmetric cut)
- Design details (cuffs, padding, zippers, pockets, military detailing, wash, distressing, etc.)
In most cases your epic items will fall into one of the following categories:
- (Less often) jeans
You can see several examples in our “Ridiculously Awesome Pieces” category in Pinterest (note that they are rarely flashy).
But as you probably suspect, usually you won’t find them in the mainstream stores like Zara, Guess or H&M, they sometimes do bring a few designs like that but they are few and far between.
So if you do want to find an item or two like that your best bets are:
- Luxury brands (freaking expensive but they can allow to experiment with stuff like that)
- Smaller online stores
- Local fashion designers / craftsmen.
Assuming you got your hands on an epic garment like that, how can you wear it?
The downside is that items like that are usually not versatile and cannot be worn with everything like, let’s say plain, black pair of Chelsea boots or a bomber leather jacket.
Instead, you will need to build your outfit around them, which simply means that your thought process on what to wear will start with that item and you’ll want to choose other pieces to complement it. Over time this can become your “signature piece” (if you decide to wear it with multiple styles) or you can keep it only for your “I’m getting laid tonight” looks.
As a rule of thumb you only want to wear one epic item like that per outfit or you’ll risk looking too busy even try-hard and it will negate the awesome effects that a garment like that can bring to the table (there are few exceptions to this, when for example, two different epic items have a very similar style and complement each other).
It’s a tricky business, but if you do it right prepare for tons of compliments and comments on it 🙂
#5. What should be the foundation of your sexy wardrobe, where exactly should you start from, the most important pieces of clothing that every sexy man should have? Or should a man just start with building outfits right away?
This question got me really excited because when working with clients I often get asked “alright, so how many pants/sweaters/jackets/etc.” I should have and what goes well with what?
Having this question pop up as a challenge reminded me that I need to tackle it completely and create basic wardrobes for different styles (Edgy, Masculine, Sharp).
For now I’d like to share a basic list of recommendations for a sexy man’s wardrobe:
- Chelsea boots
- Combat boots
- Dress shoes (can be brogue)
- Biker / bomber leather jacket (biker for edgier, masculine images, bomber for elegant-edgy/sharper looks)
- Coat / pea coat (if you’re average or below average in height go with pea coat, otherwise a medium length coat)
- Stark black jeans
- Medium blue jeans
- Distressed / damaged jeans
- Light blue jeans
- Dress pants cut close to the body
- Dress shirts, one in white and one in another color
- Buttoned shirt in check
- Plaid shirt
- Long-sleeved tight shirt (can be Henley’s)
- Few plain V-necks and/or scoop necks in different colors.
- A sexy graphic tee in crew neck.
- V-neck sweater
- Knitwear for winter
- Couple of scarfs, one for winter and one for spring-autumn.
- Pocket square
- Bracelet: leather, bead, rope
- Stainless steel/leather watch.
- Two belts: rugged and elegant.
I’m probably forgetting an item or two here but having these items will enable you to build nearly any look and create almost any image for yourself.
#6. How to dress sexy during winter?
Dressing in extreme weather (both in cold and heat) can be quite frustrating but nonetheless it can be done.
First, check our last winter’s style inspiration: Too Hot To Get Cold
Dressing sexy in winter can be summed up in three points:
- Use multiple layers instead of a few, very thick items. I.e. buttoned shirt -> knitwear -> coat -> scarf instead of a puffy jacket.
- Coats are awesome!
- Thick sexy scarfs.
- Keep the proportions between upper and lower body (skinny jeans are hard to pull off when you’re wear 3+ layers or thick jackets on top).
When planning your winter outfits I would start with the image you want to convey, pick an appropriate coat and move from there.
And of course we’ll have a new Style Inspiration article for winter 2015 too.
#7. How to choose clothes that will make me look taller?
We did cover this in one of the chapters of “Nerdy To Sexy” but because I’ve been getting this question A LOT, let’s cover how to use clothes to look taller once more:
(Seriously guys, I purposefully made it dirt cheap so that pretty much everyone could afford it and handle the fundamentals of dressing sexy)
- Avoid high contrast between upper and lower body. This means that if you’re wearing a white tee, don’t wear black jeans, instead pick light blue pair or, if you really want to wear your black skinny jeans, pick a navy or burgundy tee.
- Dark colors in general will lengthen your silhouette.
- Avoid clothes that cover your legs beyond the belt line. This means that you should choose pea coats over coat, short cut blazers and jackets over regular cut (even if it’s slim).
- Jeans need to be cut close to your body, this means slim or skinny cuts – wearing loose jeans is one of the easiest ways to look shorter. Stick with low waist jeans.
- Boots, boots, boots – one of a few ways to actually add some height without looking like you’re overcompensating.
- Avoid deep cuts or having too many buttons open on a tee – it will make your torso look disproportionally smart.
That said, it’s important to understand why looking taller is important for a man. We’re unconsciously associate being tall with dominance and masculinity, so one of the best things you could do if you’re below average is focus on creating a masculine, dominant image and when it comes to attractiveness it will do more than an extra inch or two ever would.
Talking about masculine, rugged outfits…
#8. How to add edginess/ruggedness/masculinity to your look?
An outfit is simply a combination of several different pieces of clothing worn together. So when considering how to adjust our image to make it more edgy or masculine, or rugged we need to think what items we can add or change that have those qualities associated with them.
The tricky part is understanding which items convey your desirable qualities. To make it even more frustrating those meanings are subjective and will vary from one social group to another: a leather biker jacket might seem like edgy and cool in a mainstream club but if you hang around with metalheads that’s pretty much the right of passage and it won’t really stand out (a sexy biker leather jacket will still get complimented a lot though).
But before we even start considering how different sub-cultures react to a particular look, we need to understand the general direction in which items will take our image.
To do this, we need to think about two things:
- The origin of a particular design (who used to wear that item/design)
- Current trends (who wears it now)
I know this might sound a bit confusing, so let’s take a few examples:
- Boots: originally created for military personnel and are currently mostly worn by guys, who would fall into the “bad boy” group. Unsurprisingly, adding a pair of combat or work boots to your outfit will make it significantly more edgy, masculine.
- Chinos/khakis: also originally created for military personnel but when it became common among civilians it was mostly picked up by “business casual” men, who wear polo shirts and can’t help themselves but dish out bad “dad jokes”. So even though it used to be a masculine item, over the years it became mostly associated with “nice guys” and as a result lost most of its associative sex appeal. Note that these trends are changing somewhat and chinos in more interesting colors are mostly rocked by stylish younger men instead, so even though jeans still outperform chinos in most situations, they do have their niche.
- Blazer: a rather formal garment that for the longest time was only worn by men. These days you will usually see a blazer worn in two situations – by men, who need to look professional for work (business/business-casual looks) and in mainstream bars/clubs by well-dressed guys. Overall, it’s still a masculine item but one that is mostly associated with sharper image.
This also applies to detailing:
- Wash/distressing – masculine rugged.
- Military details – masculine edgy.
- Pockets, zippers, etc. – masculine.
- Strong padding – masculine.
- Clean, plain designs – sharp, slightly feminine (don’t forget that you need some feminine details to look sexy too!)
You probably get the picture right now.
So when you’re thinking about adding a certain quality to your look, think about the result you want to achieve, what you wear right now and then what items that already have those qualities you can add/swap to bring your overall image in the direction you want.
I’m of course being a bit simplistic here but that’s the general mindset on how to adjust your image/personal brand.
#9. How to mix styles (edgy, sharp, casual) to create a unique “personal brand”?
We had one more question about image and personal brands, this time – how to mix different styles.
This is the part where you move beyond good old-fashion stereotypes and create something personal, something the represents the whole you, your different character qualities, hobbies, how you feel on the inside (and how you want to feel).
That, my friends, is when we move beyond just creating outfits and start creating style, expressing ourselves and its awesome!
So how can you do it?..
The answer to the previous question might have given you some thoughts already and indeed, just like adding a particular quality to your look, mixing styles boils down changing/adding a few pieces of clothing.
The process is rather simple too:
- You choose the primary style you’re going for (sharp, rugged, edgy, athletic, etc.)
- You decide what secondary qualities you want to add and choose appropriate garments to include.
But yeah… if this was actually this simple every guy would look stylish, sexy and super attractive but instead every other dude in the street and the club looks pretty much identically and it ain’t pretty.
Or you see those super artistic looking guys and gals that go completely ham with mixing styles and when you see him or her the only thing you can think about is “wtf happened?!..”
So yeah, not everything mashes well together and that’s where your eye for style gets its real workout – identifying specific items of clothing from different style archetypes that won’t clash when mixed together.
Couple of tips for now:
- Avoid extremes. Do you remember my “I’m getting laid tonight” look, where I’m wearing a short cut blazer with a wristband and a couple more bracelets? Looks awesome, doesn’t it? Now imagine that instead of a short cut teal blazer (yeah I know it looks grey in the photo) I’m wearing a regular cut, black suit jacket and instead of a clean wristband and colorful rope/bead bracelets there’s one metal padded bracer – holy freaking mother of ****. You get my point, mixing styles needs to be subtle.
- We’re getting back to the fundamentals right now, but the point is, if you want to start mixing styles well your color coordination game needs to be spot on. A combination that is so-so when you stick with a single style will often look terrible when few different styles are involved.
- Cuts and proportions. Just as with colors, you need to make sure that the visual proportions for upper and lower body are solid, so if you’re wearing a slim, short cut blazer you’ll probably will want to pick skinny jeans too. That said, sometimes mixing cuts can be an extremely effective strategy to achieve a sexy look but it’s a thin line to walk on and if in doubt it’s best to stick with this guideline.
I will come back to this topic in the future and we’ll go much more in depth, but for now – don’t be afraid to experiment, even if it’s just in front of a mirror.
#10. How to dress sexy on a budget?
Let’s get back from the artistic, advanced topics to something a bit more worldly and mundane.
Before we get into it, let’s agree that “cheap” and “expensive” are very relative words and if you’re in a position where spending even 50 or 100 USD/EUR will make a noticeable dent in your budget dressing sexy should probably be lower on your priority list – developing the skills required to earn more (yes, even if you’re a student) should be the No. 1 priority. In this internet age is not exactly a rocket science.
That said, most of my own outfits are relatively cheap – I can build a full sexy outfit for a price of one designer garment like a coat, jacket or a pair of shoes.
So how can you do this too:
- Don’t overspend on the basics – in most popular stores (H&M, Zara, Asos, etc.) you can buy sexy V-necks, scoop necks, etc. for under 10-15 EUR. When you do this make sure to stick with basic colors and designs. The main problem with cheaper clothing is that often more interesting colors/graphics/details do look cheap and even though you don’t necessarily want to spend a ton on clothes, you never want to look like you’re wearing “cheap” clothes.
- For items like jeans, shoes, jackets and coats you will need to spend a bit more so it’s best to get them during sales. Usually those sales will happened at the same time every year so plan ahead. The downside is that you’ll be choosing from items that are “left” so finding the right size can be tricky. But because most guys are utterly clueless about good looking clothes I noticed that often the best looking clothes are left during the sales events.
- Discount stores that get designer clothes with minor issues will often sell great looking clothes for 50 or 70% off. The only problem here is that finding the right size can be difficult and every once in a while you will need to replace a button or cut a few loose threads (you should have a basic understanding about clothes and fabrics to identify which clothes are actually “damaged goods” and which can be “fixed” in 5 – 15 minutes).
- Some stores, like Nordstrom, also have special stores where they sell their overstock (Nordstrom Rack). Last time I was in the U.S. I build myself a full rocker look with designer jeans, shoes, Hugo Boss long-sleeved shirt and Diesel biker leather jacket for just under 550 USD (the jacket’s original price alone was about 700 USD if I recall correctly).
- You will need to develop an eye for clothes to be able to identify which cheaper items do in fact look sexy. With more expensive clothes it’s a bit easier because they are usually cut much better and have better fabrics, colors so more often than not you’ll look solid even if you’re not sure what you’re doing. With budget-friendly brands you don’t get this luxury – when learning I’ve spent more than my share on clothes that later I realized cannot be worn in public by “trying to save money”.
- If you’re really good at it, you can even try thrift shops to find more unique/interesting clothes. I have a few very stylish female friends who get almost all of their clothes in such stores and look amazing.
So yeah, if you stick with off-the-shelf mainstream items you need to get really good at building outfits from simple pieces or you need a really good eye for sexy, interesting clothes and both require time to develop, so while it does make sense to adhere to the points above, you should also ask yourself is learning to be as frugal as possible is really the best way or maybe it makes more sense to spend that time developing a skill that will enable you to earn more.
#11. Can hats be sexy? If so, which designs.
For a long time I was adamant that hats suck and should only be used during winter to keep yourself warm because a stylish haircut will always look better than any hat.
But as my own hairline is getting thinner in the front and as I my sense of style and fashion evolved I had to re-think this part.
Still, before we get into this I stand firm on hat vs hairstyle debate – in absolute majority of cases (pretty much always when you can grow a full head of hair) a stylish hairstyle still look much sexier than any hat.
That said, there are niche situations when it is possible to rock a stylish hat and look very sexy.
One design in particular that looks great with edgier looks – a beanie (I plan on rocking one this late autumn/winter myself).
I’d also like to mention one hat design that is painfully popular but one that I don’t think deserves a place in a sexy man’s wardrobe – snapbacks. I truly can’t remember if I ever saw a solid outfit that was improved by one and on the downside it’s also a very “boy-ish” piece of clothing.
#12. How to dress sexy in clubs?
We do have a stile inspiration for night game (and we’ll have one more in the future too), so I’d just like to share a few tips:
- You generally want to push the boundaries subtly and go for more sexual looks. This means brighter colors, tighter cuts.
- Keep it simple. It’s usually dark, loud and women won’t really see the subtle details you’re pulling off so don’t even worry about it. The only exception here is when you’re chubby or stick-figure skinny and need clothes to make your physique look more impressive.
- Adjust your style based on the type of club/bar you’re visiting.
- Avoid wearing your A-game expensive clothing – people will step on your shoes and every once in a while they will spill their drinks on you, you don’t want it to ruin your night just because they just damaged your best looking clothes.
Once again I’d like to thank everyone who took the time to answer the questions in the survey, it really helped me get a better understanding about your challenges and goals!
I hope I managed to shed some light on some of your questions (at least enough to get you moving on the right path) – if I didn’t please let me know in the comments below.
I will definitely get back to most of these again and in a more in depth fashion, in articles and more advanced programs that will be released in the upcoming months.
Also, if you’d like to share your biggest challenges with image, men’s style and looking sexy the survey is still open and if we get enough new answers I might create a Part 2 in the “Answering Your Questions“ series.
Couple of weeks ago I invited readers to join our private FB group and wow – it was blast ever since! We now even have a weekly Style Inspiration contest going where guys can train their sexy style muscle by creating and sharing outfits, just like I do in our Style Inspiration articles.
To give you a taste of how it looks like. These were the submissions for Week 1:
If you’d like to join our FB group, I’m extending the invitation and all you need to do is contact me and tell me why you’d like to join it (and also because I send all invitations manually, make sure to include the e-mail where should I send one). I would, however, highly recommend getting and reading “Nerdy to Sexy” before you do because you should have a solid grasp on the fundamentals of dressing sexy (if you’re a long-time reader you probably have this covered).
That’s it for this week 🙂