I have always paid attention to what people wear, whether their outfits are worthy of being shot by Tommy Ton or Scott Schuman, or such a visual eyesore that they ought to be donated to the Salvation Army. As a casual fashion-conscious observer, it quickly became apparent to me that a highly positive correlation existed between a man’s clothing choices and how attractive I found him to be. My eyes always glazed past the guys in sweatpants, cargo shorts, frumpy jeans from the 1990s, baggy t-shirts and running shoes as I looked for the ones wearing crisp, fitted button-downs with the sleeves rolled up, a pair of straight cut slacks, a brown leather belt, and aviator sunglasses. So as I walk from Kresge to Tech, my eyes glaze over more than a few people as I wish I worried about there being too many well-dressed men.
Ask any woman, and they will unanimously agree that men look more attractive when they wear suits, especially a well-tailored suit. They may disagree on whether a tie or jacket is required, or whether they prefer a black suit over a grey suit, but the larger takeaway is that women find men more attractive when they look put-together. With regard to everyday looks, some women may like hipster-ish men who wear bright plaid shirts, American Apparel zip-up hoodies, and wayfarers, while others may prefer more classic grey v-neck sweaters, brown leather belts, and perfectly fitted khakis, and yet others may like a simple white t-shirt, dark wash jeans, and a pair of bright colored Air Force Ones. But I challenge you to find the woman who likes gym shoes, baggy sweats, Abercrombie logo shirts, or ‘Northwestern 2012’ t-shirts over what I mentioned above. I would think this is a well-known fact, so it baffles me that so many men on campus don’t put more effort into how they dress. To me, it’s a much quicker and easier way to look better than lifting weights and doing crunches at SPAC, which, don’t get me wrong, women also like.
If you’re a guy reading this, it’s really not that difficult to elevate your wardrobe and improve your appearance. There’s absolutely no need to follow fashion, as men, in my opinion, look their best in classic pieces. The key really lies in the cut and color: pants and jeans ought to be fitted but not skintight, shirt and jacket sleeves must be the right length, as should outerwear sleeves, and they too should be fitted. I am not sure why this is, but too many men wear clothing that are too baggy, which, I must say, is universally unflattering. As for color, I find that simple, classic shades and patterns look the best and are the easiest to pull off. White and light blue work best for button-down shirts, white and heather grey work best for plain t-shirts, charcoal grey, black, navy, mid-toned neutrals, and cream work best for blazers and sweaters, and khaki, navy blue, olive green, and pastel shades work best for pants. Dark wash jeans with minimal fading are much more versatile than lighter washes, and they can make an outfit look dressier, and more pulled together. Avoid brown or rust-colored items; same goes for neons, bright colors and loud patterns, as they are difficult to pull off well. As for shoes, medium brown leather really does go with everything—brogues, loafers, plain lace-ups, desert boots, or sandals are all preferable to running shoes. The key accessories that really finish off a look are a dark brown and black leather belt and a pair of classic sunglasses, whether they are Ray-Ban aviators, tortoiseshell Persols, or a pair of wayfarers. With these very practical key pieces, you can elevate your look from average to stand-out, because every woman appreciates a man with great style.