Wear clothes that fit.

7 May

This is a looks post.  Insert standard disclaimer about inner beauty, yada yada yada.

The best ways to look better (and sexier) are to (a) be in shape and (b) have clear skin.  You can’t really separate the two, because a pizza face will defeat a bangin’ body, and nobody will care about your luminous, dewy skin if it houses a 300-lb. body.  Body and skin are two areas where pretty much everyone has room for improvement, too.  Unless your job is to be professionally fit and beautiful, there’s always a next level you can achieve in these areas.

But let’s say you have a decent body and decent skin – are you undoing much of the good of those attributes by dressing poorly?  I’ve talked about this before, but FIT is the number one thing that can make the difference between frump and fantastic.  Clothes that fit properly advertise that you are put together, savvy, and confident.  Clothes that fit poorly suggest that you are sloppy, complacent, and/or timid about yourself – NOT that you are so focused on God that you can’t be bothered with the ~things of this world~ like fashion.  Also, fit is not about sexy, plunging necklines or short skirts (for the ladies), or leaving half of the buttons of your shirt undone (men).  It’s about wearing clothes that are correctly proportioned to your body type.  When you wear clothes that accentuate your body (as opposed to showing it off in a trashy way), you’re basically saying, “I’m comfortable with my body, and therefore myself.  I’m a person you want to get to know.”

Hipsters aside, most Americans wear clothes that are too baggy.  Part of this is probably because too many Americans are also obese or overweight, but how is anyone supposed to see what is good (and sexy) about you if you are hidden inside a fabric bag?  This morning at church I sat behind a row of five twentysomethings, and the frump was plentiful on the part of the women.  The woman who put the most effort into her outfit was overweight, and the other two were wearing jeans and boring knit tops (and no obvious hairstyling or makeup).  Zzzz.  The guys looked like they had put more effort into their looks than the women (the guys, too, were wearing jeans that sort of fit), but they could have bumped things up a couple of notches, easily – like going for darker, fitted denim and collared shirts.  This is the pickings for singles in the church?

It’s just…if you are single and would like NOT to be single, then stop making it harder for other people to see your inner beauty!  If you LOOK like you have inner beauty (yeah yeah yeah, I know, we shouldn’t judge people on their exterior – but when you see someone dressed like a thug, do you not try to move away from that person?  so much for not judging people on their exterior…), then maybe people will be more inspired to talk to you to see if you DO have inner beauty.  If you’re making people look past 50 extra pounds or through swathes of fabric of an XXL shirt on a M body, you’re just making it harder for someone else to connect with you.

Also:  I’ve really come around to the idea that men should always tuck in their shirts.  It just looks sloppy (and kind of stuck in 2001/wannabe member of Rascal Flatts/”cool guy church dad”) to leave it untucked.  Even for knit polo shirts.  Tucking in the shirt and pairing it with a nice belt adds a subtle but nontrivial level of polish to an outfit.  NOTE:  the shirt needs to FIT – tucking in a billowy blouse-shirt is NOT sexy.  But billowy blouse-shirts aren’t sexy and should never be worn in the first place.  NOTE 2:  the pants need to fit as well.  NOTE 3:  do not attempt if you have a big ol’ gut.  But having a big ol’ gut isn’t sexy, either.

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24 Responses to “Wear clothes that fit.”

  1. ar10308 May 7, 2013 at 1:01 pm #

    Where does a man buy darker, fitted jeans? What does one look for in quality or make? What makes a pair of men’s designer jeans look good (color, shading, pairing)?

    I have many aspects of looking decent down (fitness, posture, hair), but the clothing aspect one I rather struggle with.

  2. Lisette May 7, 2013 at 1:18 pm #

    AR – my husband likes the jeans from banana republic. he usually has the sales staff help him get it right. there is a sweet spot with a good fit in the butt without being to tight in the crotch. I also suggest minimal whiskering (white lines on hip flexors)

  3. Strangel May 7, 2013 at 2:01 pm #

    I used to think fashion designing was a silly and frivolous career choice. Now I am convinced that good clothing designers–ones who design for bodies rather than for fashion itself–are performing a deeply necessary service to humanity. More necessary now than ever, since over the last century fashion has insisted on downplaying and overexaggerating all the wrong things in its attempt to be ~artistic.

  4. catholictwentysomething May 7, 2013 at 2:47 pm #

    This is all so true! Too many of us slip into complacency, thinking “Oh, my dream spouse will love me for who I am”…well, here’s hoping they will, but in the meantime, BE THE BEST YOU YOU CAN BE. Physically, as well as emotionally. And for yourself, as well as for others.

    Great post :)

  5. Sis May 7, 2013 at 3:55 pm #

    I used to wear plain Old Navy t-shirts and blue jeans everywhere….with sneakers!!! I’m learning, great post!

  6. Saint Velvet May 7, 2013 at 5:29 pm #

    Nice, Haley. What not to wear is a popular topic at TC, and it’s important. How you look matters, A LOT, and making sure to be properly turned out is a lost art. There’s no amount of natural beauty that makes a prairie dress and greasy hair look right.

    stuck in 2001/wannabe member of Rascal Flatts/”cool guy church dad”.

    I laughed.

  7. Aunt Haley May 7, 2013 at 10:36 pm #

    ar10308–

    It’s hard to give advice without knowing your build/lifestyle. Feel free to drop me an email if you want more specific comments.

    catholic20s–

    Too many young women get sold on that idea, but no one ever tells them that there won’t even BE a husband to love her inner beauty if she doesn’t get to work on the outer beauty. It kills me that there are thousands of church girls out there reading their Bibles every day, praying for God’s specially planned man to find them, while wearing dowdy outfits and pulling their hair back into a ponytail every day and wearing zero makeup.

    Sis–

    Keep up the good work!

    Saint Velvet–

    Dressing even half a notch better than your competition is HUGE. I can’t emphasize this enough. ESPECIALLY for guys – women will evaluate a man on his looks FIRST, so why not maximize that initial impression and maybe even inspire her to approach you first (or at least send out IOIs for you to approach HER)?

  8. orion May 9, 2013 at 8:10 am #

    Next installment:

    Basic hygiene, a primer.

    Even I am not sure if I am serious, because I have seen things….

    Horrible, horrible things….

  9. Elspeth May 10, 2013 at 1:08 pm #

    Like.

  10. The Scolds' Bridle May 10, 2013 at 7:41 pm #

    Will there be anything else today?

  11. Pip May 10, 2013 at 11:35 pm #

    Well, it sounds like there needs to be an article on what guys should (or shouldn’t) wear. Hop to it, AH.

  12. Aunt Haley May 12, 2013 at 8:38 pm #

    Pip–

    For the average guy in a white-collar job, dress pants and a long-sleeve button-down shirt THAT FIT, and some nice shoes, are enough. A blazer THAT FITS will pull the look together. Snazzy socks and a great belt are a plus. (NEVER wear white athletic socks to work.)

    And DON’T WEAR A CREW-NECK T-SHIRT UNDER THE BUTTON-DOWN. So many men do this, and I don’t understand why. It’s not 1994 anymore.

    Basically, look professional, and look like you’re ready to take the next step in your career/in leadership. Would you promote yourself based on your appearance?

  13. nitouken May 13, 2013 at 10:15 am #

    I would like to make the point that a lot of this depends on the circles you move in. I go to a very rural church, and ‘dressed up’ for male twenty and thirtysomethings often means boots that don’t have mud on them. My non-work and non-church social circle, on the other hand, is the local theater community, and there, I am considered the height of fashion in my kilt and sporran. While I tend to agree with your sartorial suggestions for men in general, there is also value in standing out, if you do it well.

  14. Random Angeleno May 13, 2013 at 5:53 pm #

    Some recommendations for men:
    – buy tailored shirts if you can afford them.
    – check out the Roger Craig/James Bond look in suits. but you have to have the body that can rock them. Get thee to a gym!
    – jeans and pants that fit. always take the time to try them on. With respect to jeans, hems can be fixed. fit in seat, hips and crotch can’t. get the fit between waist and mid-thigh right before you buy it. With dress slacks, it’s best to get the fit mostly right so required alterations are fairly minimal. Better idea, buy these tailored too if you can afford that.
    – shoes. women check out everyone’s shoes. ’nuff said.
    – don’t waste your money on costco, target, etc. unless you know it fits right. that’s a mistake I’ve made too many times. big salvation army giveaway coming right up.
    – go with timeless looks over overly fashionable. you want something you can wear until it wears out.

    There are a number of sites out there for you. MyTailor, Sartorialist and Kinowear just to name a few. Plenty more out there.

  15. Johannes May 16, 2013 at 8:16 am #

    I beg to differ with respect to polo shirts. There might be exceptions, but generally they should be worn for informal/casual occasions only and then preferably untucked. Tucked in polos tend to look square and preppy. If you dress up only a tiny bit, wear a real shirt (preferably long-sleeved, you are not a police officer or delivery person) and tuck it in. But then, I am “from the ’90ties” and think an untucked dress shirt can look smarter and more stylish than almost any polo shirt. Of course it should nor reach down to one’s knees…

  16. y81 May 17, 2013 at 12:48 pm #

    “Tucked in polos tend to look square and preppy.”

    You say that like it’s a bad thing. What if you are trying to snag a square and preppy girl (something our church has a good supply of)?

  17. Aunt Haley May 17, 2013 at 7:31 pm #

    nitouken–

    Definitely. I tend to assume my readers are 20-40somethings working in an office setting, so that’s the person my comments are primarily tailored to.

    Random Angeleno–

    All good advice – especially if you are in L.A.!

    Johannes–

    But that’s what I was trying to say – the untucked dress shirt is dated.

  18. Samson J. May 19, 2013 at 5:28 pm #

    Also: I’ve really come around to the idea that men should always tuck in their shirts. It just looks sloppy (and kind of stuck in 2001/wannabe member of Rascal Flatts/”cool guy church dad”) to leave it untucked.

    Yes, I’ve really come around to this opinion as well over the past couple of years. There’s nothing like actually being a father to give you the maturity to make you want to avoid trying to be “cool guy church dad”.

  19. Samson J. May 19, 2013 at 5:33 pm #

    I want to underscore this. Tucking in my shirts makes me feel awesomely reactionary and manly-because-I-look-like-I’m-from-a-manlier-era, in contrast to the unwashed pagan masses who are still untucking.

  20. Pip May 24, 2013 at 7:10 am #

    “And DON’T WEAR A CREW-NECK T-SHIRT UNDER THE BUTTON-DOWN. So many men do this, and I don’t understand why. It’s not 1994 anymore.”

    Crew t-shirt is fine if covered. My partner is an attorney. This happens when the coat and tie are removed after work and the button-down is unbuttoned at the top. As a work-is-over look, it’s OK. As a look to go out with by design…guys, no.

    Also, loose t-shirts make your button-down billowy. Tighter makes for a sleeker look.

    Loose boxers bunch up and make your slacks look balloony in the seat. Consider boxer briefs.

    From Texas: no cuffs with boots. You look like Dallas-white-collar-originally-from-Ohio guy.

  21. Canadian Reader August 25, 2013 at 8:57 am #

    Also, and this is absolutely crucial to both genders (but to guys especially because they are the guiltier sex in this regard):

    DO NOT. UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES. WEAR SOCKS WITH SANDALS!!!!!

    I wish I didn’t have to warn about this but I do. There’s this one guy that goes to my young adults group who does this all the time, and I’ve seen this elsewhere as well, and it looks so sloppy and terrible. If you think you have really ugly feet, either stick solely to dress shoes or sneakers or learn to appreciate your feet for being useful things (if not that pretty) and go barefoot in sandals, but DON’T WEAR SOCKS WITH SANDALS.

    Great post Aunt Haley. :) As someone who is teaching herself how to sew professional clothing and who has subsequently taken more notice of these things, the way a person dresses can increase their attractiveness SUBSTATIALLY if they do it right.

  22. Martin L. February 24, 2014 at 9:09 am #

    AH–you don’t think there are any real Christian men that prefer the natural, casual/tomboy look and dislike makeup? I’m one of them…

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