Quick note from Darius: This is the second article from Will, the author of Sharp Image: How To Be The Best Dressed Man In The Room, and this time he’s tackling another important topic – how we can use image to break negative racial stereotypes. I think this can be an eye-opening, game changing piece for Black, Asian, and Latino guys, and anyone who has been struggling with racial hangups when creating an attractive image for themselves, and I think Will, being ethnic Chinese himself, is the right guy to introduce this conversation on SSfJ. I’d recommend this article for intermediate/advanced guys looking for some helpful tweaks, since harboring limiting beliefs about your ethnicity is often worse than the actual stereotypes themselves. If you’re a beginner, feel free to read on, but understand that using ethnicity is never a good excuse for lack of success. Without further ado, here’s Will on the first part of our ” Breaking Stereotypes with Fashion” series.
Taking the first steps in our style journey is a difficult thing in and of itself. However if you’re a minority, people have particular perceptions about your ethnicity. This is where things may get a little trickier.
When I first started, I was surprised of the lack of ethnic role models that I could emulate. Mainstream media was largely dominated by Caucasians and many ethnic groups were typecast into typical stereotypes. This is still pretty true today, although it does seem to be changing. This may get you thinking that Caucasians get to play on easy mode, but this could not be further from the truth, because in all honesty it’s a level playing field and victory is only for the brave. All men have their unique challenges. Do not let your self perception prevent you from breaking the mold and getting the types of girls you want on your arm. As long as you’re trying, no matter what color you are, you’re alright in my book.
This article will be particularly targeted to Asian males as this is where I have most experience due to being ethnic Chinese myself and mainly working with my fellow Asians. In my own personal experience I have found that Asian cultures tend to have a particularly difficult time breaching cross cultural barriers compared to other ethnicities. The usually remedy is creating an image tailored with a masculine edge to break the stereotypes of Asian males.
As SSfJ is a style related site, I will keep this particular topic linked to style and grooming. In this article we will break down specific aspects that you can take note of to improve upon and where to find fitting style role models. We will also touch upon some general aspects that will provide opportunities to cultivate your character with personal experiences on how marketing my image towards a particular demographic helped in producing better results.
In case anyone think this to be deceiving and not upholding your cultural heritage, do not be alarmed. To market yourself to particular demographic there has to be some level of conformity that signals you belong to a particular social tribe, but that does not mean you have to disown your heritage. We will cover breakdowns of some common styles and show you how to incorporate some of your own personality into your style.
For example, my own attire falls under the Sharp archetype, as the Asian ladies I meet and desire are more from the upper middle to upper class category. It would be extremely difficult for me to interact with this particular society if dressed in street wear. From my own observations and experience, couples usually have a similar appearance and more likely than not similar attitudes when it comes to important values. I have personally never seen someone from the street wear scene been paired with a more sophisticated woman that is more comfortable in dresses and high heels than snapbacks and sneakers.
Asian & East Asian
I will generalize Asians as ethnic groups that are from the subcontinent region of Asia. This will include those that are Indian, Bangladeshi etc. or those with similar characteristics. East Asians I will generalize as those from China, Japan, Korea and also include all of South East Asia.
The typical stereotype of Asian ethnicity is a person with a timid and meek personality that dresses like an IT consultant. Think of Raj from ‘The Big Bang Theory’.
Such appearances do not lend themselves well to attracting and dating women outside the Asian culture due to the lack of visual sex appeal (which is a higher priority when interacting with more westernized cultures).
This is probably the largest identifiable problem I have come across with Asian males who want to begin attracting western women. This problem can be easily remedied with smart choices of clothing and the clever use of accessories.
East Asian counterparts suffer from similar problems. For example, poor dress sense or a dress sense which can be seen as extremely feminine or “gay”. Combining this with a propensity for shyness and a lack of involvement in more vibrant social scenes increases the difficulty of interacting with western women.
East Asian males may also have softer facial features, for example a less defined jaw line and softer brow prominent in most Caucasian males. Another problem is that many Asian and East Asian men are on average shorter than their fellow Caucasians. Thankfully, these are not game-enders as we can do a lot to balance out our image in all the right ways.
The largest obstacles for both are due to the perceived lack of sex appeal that attracts western women. We will address this issue on how to minimize poor stature qualities and provide further resources to look out for when dressing. In general this can be fairly easy to adjust and the addition of some accessories can offset any physical weaknesses you may have, whilst also signaling to those around you that you are not part of the typical stereotype.
In this section we showcase and demonstrate that stereotypes can be broken without needing to completely destroying your own cultural identity.
Below are images from some of my favorite style bloggers of Asian origin. For those that ask for my advice, I’ll normally direct them to the excellent sources below. The role models below are by no means an exhaustive list and are just some of the inspirations that I use when lending a hand to those beginning their style journey.
In my view the aspect of Asian fashion I enjoy most is when they are able to integrate eye catching patterns and colours that create a dramatic visual statement. I view this part of Asian fashion an extremely effective technique and dramatically increases your sexual appeal. Including bold colours should be reserved for guys with an intermediate level of style and above, as it can be difficult to execute early on.
Aaron combines bolder colours and patterns that complement his darker skin tone. For example, the short sleeved button down shirt has a striking pattern which acts as the focal point, then paired with simple coloured chinos and leather shoes for an effortless look.
A photo posted by Aaron Christian (@aaronchristian_) on
In the second picture we can also see how effective grooming can increase sexual appeal. Keeping hair short on the back and sides with more length on top will ensure an extremely versatile hairstyle that can either be styled into a more professional look or a messier style that can add a touch of edge. Many Asian ethnicities are able to grow a full beard, if kept well maintained or as heavy stubble will instantly add that much needed masculine edge.
As always, notice the fit of clothes accentuating broad shoulders and a small waist indicating an athletic physique underneath. This type of style easily goes well with many western women and can be worn in a club or street setting.
Singh Street Style
For those that want to go the Sharp route Singh Street Style has a large collection of images.
Another example of how one does not have to disown their identity to create an appealing image. The inclusion of turbans as a style accessory allows for a unique expression of style.
As demonstrated, turbans can easily be incorporated with British tailoring to create a sophisticated look. This particular style can be worn in more upscale settings and fares well with educated middle to upper class women.
A photo posted by DJ Angus Wong (@djanguswong) on
DJ Angus Wong, where to start? Angus Wong is a Hong Kong based DJ who’s also heavily involved in the style scene. Angus Wong is definitely not one to follow the stereotype of a typical boring and timid man from the East.
Personally I find Angus Wong to one of the most interesting East Asians in terms of style, either dressed up to the nines in a fine suit or rocking a leather jacket and ripped jeans for that easy edgy image.
Angus Wong is a good role model for exposing yourself to a large amount of information so you are able to choose and refine a style that most appeals to you. On the other hand just like how Wong produces his music you can choose to not hold yourself to one style and move across the whole spectrum.
A former Japanese football player, Nakata retired at 29 years old after playing for Japan in the ’06 FIFA World Cup.
Nakata prides himself on being well dressed, in Japanese media he has been named as one of the best dressed celebrities. Nakata mentions clothes, like food, are part of everyday life and ultimately there is nothing notable about fashion in itself.
After progressing through your style journey and reaching the more advanced stages, eventually there will be a mindset shift. Nakata embodies wearing what you want because you enjoy it. Of course looking good is a wise objective in itself, however Nakata serves as a reminder that dressing for oneself should not be lost along the way.
Note in the particular images shown, Nakata effortlessly displays his masculinity and sexual appeal without resorting to excessiveness.
A photo posted by Hidetoshi Nakata (@nakata_hidetoshi) on
For example, the red blazer signals he is not afraid to stand out due to his confidence in himself. In the image below, Nakata has more wildly styled hair, combined with a close cut gradient fade on the sides. This complements the standard Edgy archetype but the quilted jacket adds an element of refinement and sophistication to the overall outfit.
A fashion trend to note is that designer stubble is also on the increase. Therefore even if you are not as gifted in the facial hair compartment compared to fellow brethren, some light designer stubble can enhance your facial features.
To break down stereotypes it will require you to venture outside your own comfort zone, however I assure you that it is well worth it. It will allow you to interact with some amazing women that you would not have previous come across.
Sometimes we all have to venture from what is familiar to explore the unknown. Trust me that this journey is one that is ultimately well worth it.
Be sure to stick around for the rest of our series, where we explore how Black and Latino guys can use image to break negative stereotypes.
Have questions? Don’t hesitate to share them in the comments below!
Stay sharp. Stay Sexy.
Will & The SSFJ Team