This is the Chateau men’s fashion post. While normally guests of the Chateau idle about in hooded black robes accessorized with cat o’ nine tails, there are those times in the company of the outside world that genitals must be sheathed and attention paid to dress norms. Here, as with all things pleasurable in life, our proprietors excel in transcending the norms while still nodding to them to maximize our social advantage.
I was fortunate to have had a few friends in my life who were particularly stylish dressers from whom I could crib tips. They were naturals at the sartorial arts, in fact. Don’t underestimate how valuable an asset a male mentor can be, whether in school, work, fashion, or pickup. Remember, if a man — who is at heart your natural competitor — is giving you helpful advice as a friend, it is worth the well-meaning advice of one hundred women.
This post is intended for generally in-shape men. Lean men. If you are a fatass or you can’t run without pantomiming an infinity symbol with your jiggly manboobs, then you will not benefit from the advice herein. This post is also about fashion for the everyman who wants a leg up; it is not a peacocker’s how-to guide to looking like the world’s biggest dandy. I’ve nothing against huge velvet cowboy hats, LED belt buckles, or 18th century justacorps, but that level of expressiveness is best reserved for tall men stalking glam nightclubs in select cities such as LA. In everyday situations, peacocking to that extreme will leave an impression of try-hard, and while you’ll get attention, it’ll be the sort of attention lavished on the uncomprehending poindexter whose presence fuels a roomful’s worth of ridicule. Unless you have the balls-out confidence to comfortably carry a florid peacock’s tail without withering under public scrutiny, you should avoid radical extremism in style.
A couple of thoughts before continuing: why is refined peacocking, to a greater or lesser degree, attractive to women? The answer lies in the handicap principle. A man of means and free time can afford to dabble with superfluous dress affects. A man struggling to make his way in the world (or a man unconcerned with attracting women) will have no time or money to style himself in anything but the most practical uniform for trundling through his day (see: herb). So the well-dressed man, punctuated attentively with perfectly calibrated accessories, signals to women that he has made it, and has brainpower to spare for pursuing the finer things in life. Ostentatious and impractical display sends the message that a man can burden himself with inconsequential frippery and still succeed without breaking a sweat.
That said, fashion is UNNECESSARY for picking up women. If you walk with the swagger of a warlord and your game is unstoppable, you can pick up girls wearing torn jeans and a ratty t-shirt. However much it repulses our sense of cosmic harmony, we’ve all seen guys like this with cute chicks (note: he was not gay):
Feel free to work on your game while wearing mandals, but why make pickup harder than need be? A man with unstoppable confidence, tight game, AND good fashion sense is a force to be reckoned with. You may not need a sense of style, but you’ll want it when you see how it draws positive female attention before you’ve even opened your mouth.
First, the NUMBER ONE RULE OF MEN’S FASHION:
Fit is everything.
A bad fit — oversized shirt or jacket, too long or too short sleeve length, pants with extra ass material to store an accidental shit — will make a $3,000 suit look like an off the rack rumple of textile. A good fit, on the other hand, can make discount rack stuff from Filene’s Basement look sharp. What’s funny is that as the number one rule of men’s fashion, it is violated by more men more often than any other rule. It’s as if men lack the neural wiring to perceive poor fit. Or they’ve gotten so fat that good fit has become synonymous with “encased like a sausage”.
I’ll give fashion tips starting from the top and working our way down.
Hats are an excellent accessory that add a dash of dash. There are few enough men wearing non-baseball cap hats that the hat can function as a legitimate peacock device. Tip: Don’t buy hats from chain stores or well-tread fashion houses. That cool fedora you spot in Urban Outfitters or Banana Republic was probably purchased by twenty other guys before you, and nothing screams tool louder than showing up at a bar wearing the same hat as another man. It’s almost as bad as wearing the same shirt, but at least with the hat you can take it off. I bought my last hat from a sidewalk vendor who looked like he was not running his business with the appropriate licenses, but I could buy confidently knowing that the odds were very low another man would own the same hat. Also, be careful of one size fits all hats. They are often undersized, so try them on before buying. Finally, don’t forget to pull the brim down low.
This is too personal a style decision for me to narrow down your choices, but in general the thinner framed, smaller lensed sunglasses are in right now. Dark lenses are better than light- or off-colored lenses. Sunglasses are a great way to measure the symmetry of your face, and thus amount of negative first impression you’ll have to overcome with robust game. If the glasses tilt to one side, you are facially asymmetrical. Lyle Lovett went “ha haaw!”.
Are you gay?
Are you a guido? As far as accessories go, I’d steer clear of necklaces. If you really want to dangle something from your neck, proceed with caution and stick with leather laced items. Huge, glinty metal talismans are probably too douchey for most guys.
Err on the side of tighter rather than looser. A good way to quickly measure whether a shirt is the wrong fit is to grab it at the middle buttons and pull outward from your torso. If there is more than a four inch gap between the shirt and your skin, then it is too billowy. You really want to avoid the billow. It’s unsexy. Sleeve length should extend about a half inch past the point where your wrist meets your hand. Don’t get too worked up if the sleeves are not the right length but the rest of the shirt fits great; I often roll up sleeves or hide them under blazers. T-shirts should follow the same four-inch anti-billow rule, though you can wear tees tighter than button-downs. Don’t wear skin tight shirts; save that stuff for the gym or the bathhouse. Don’t bother with exotic patterns; that swirly patterned shirt you bought at Ken Cole was also bought by ten other men. Stick with solid, bold colors. Stretch material is good, as is a bit of shine or iridescence when constrained under a blazer. Solid colored shirts that have a faint pattern stitched into the fabric are also good. If you like to wear button-downs untucked, it is imperative that the shirt is not loose-fitting, and that it isn’t too long. It should hug your pants just a couple inches past the belt.
Ties are cool. Ties are masculine. Ties don’t have to be relegated to wearing with suits. You can wear a tie with a t-shirt for crying out loud and look good. In fact, the tie is an excellent peacock accessory. When worn casually with short sleeves or t-shirts, you want to keep a healthy space between the knot and your neck. And don’t button the top button. A brightly colored tie, such as purple or pink, paired with a black button down or tee under a black blazer, is a sexy look.
A sharp blazer can reinvigorate an entire closet of so-so shirts. Again, you want to avoid extra material. When you button the jacket, there shouldn’t be more than a few inches of space between your body and the fabric. You want to accentuate that V shape of the manly man torso. The lines of the shoulder (you can see where the shoulder stops and the sleeve starts by the line of stitching that connects those two parts) should sit right at the end of your shoulders, and not one millimeter past. Two buttons are in style now, though you won’t be committing a grave sin if you opt for three. One vent is preferable to two. For a more casual or club-oriented look, blazers with an accessorized look — such as extra zippers or pockets or off-color stitching — are an acceptable alternative to traditional sport coats. Stay away from beige; bold colors or unconventional colors will help your blazer stand out from the crowd of herbs in their sensible sport coats. I like lime colored or white jackets for the summer, and shiny black jackets in the winter.
Short sleeve shirt
It’s summer, so no need to sweat like a pig for style. Button down short sleeve shirts are good as long as you keep in mind a couple of rules: one, the sleeves must fit fairly tight to your bicep (not spandex tight). No dorky flare between the sleeve and your upper arm should be evident. Two, don’t get short sleeves with one pocket. Two pockets or no pockets are acceptable.
Tight fitting T-shirts paired with blazers are a good look. Don’t be afraid to sport a solid colored tee. A solid black or gray tee will look good under a stylish blazer. You don’t need to spice it up by wearing a tee with a crazy pattern, or hipster slogan, unless the slogan is so funny that it’s sure to get attention from girls. Example: I saw a t-shirt with a stick figure man who had three legs drawn in, over the word “Gifted”. That’s pretty funny.
Yeah, they’re out of style. Which is why I wear them now. Buy vests at consignment shops. You’ll find cool retro stuff there that assures your look won’t be copied. A vest thrown over a t-shirt can really jumpstart a look.
Wide, hulking leather bracelets look like you’re trying. Thin leather bracelets, perhaps adorned with metal studs, are better. A couple pieces of black string nestled with a thin bracelet is a good way for newbs to peacock.
Rings have been the PUA’s signature peacock accessory since before the term was coined. They’re still a solid addition to any man’s style, but you should try to get your rings from sources off the beaten path. I have one ring I bought from a ramshackle gift shop in the middle of desert country that I’m sure no one else has. Fewer is better with rings. More than two rings and you’ll look like a wiseguy.
I like simple, well-crafted belts with a stylish but not gaudy buckle. I’m not a fan of studded or hole-punched belts, but I’ve seen guys pull off that look without a problem. If you’re wearing jeans and untucked shirts, you don’t need a belt.
Same fit rule should follow with pants. When you try them on, pull at the leg material. If you can pull more than a couple inches form your leg, you are wearing pants too baggy for you. Jeans and pants, though, should be slightly more loose fitting relative to upper body clothing, which is why I prefer casual fit jeans to slim fit. Stay away from skinny jeans. I don’t care how many hipsters wear them and get laid, skinny jeans on men who aren’t on stage performing in a rock band look retarded. Anyhow, if you go to the gym and have any quad development at all, you won’t be able to fit in skinny jeans. Choose dark jeans; the darker the blue the better, generally. Elaborate back pocket designs are out for straight men. So are whiskers, studs, and fake holes. You don’t need to spend a fortune on jeans. I’ve gotten more compliments on my $70 Lucky Brand jeans than my $150 Diesel jeans. Obviously, pant pleats are a no-go, and will likely be so for a long while. Banana Republic sells some decent dress casual pants, though I’d skip their jeans.
Again, since it’s the summer, why suffer for style? Shorts should extend to the knee, or just past it. Bulky cargo shorts are out. Solid colors are the way to go. Shorts are not a highlight piece; they are a functional piece that should not distract from your other stylish pieces.
Don’t ignore socks. They can be an excellent source of peacockery. Generally, socks should be the same or similar hue as your pants. Pair dark socks with dress shoes and jeans. Sneakers should be paired with black socks. White socks only for the gym. Socks should be longer rather than shorter; nothing more annoying than socks that constantly slip down your calves. But occasionally you can add style by wearing a brightly colored sock meant to be seen when you sit down. I like to wear red socks with dark jeans that complement a red shirt or tie. If you are wearing shorts, it may be better to forego socks entirely.
Things to avoid: box-toed shoes, excessively pointy shoes, shoes with heavy soles that stick out from the sides, sandals. Things to look for: driver’s moccasins in place of flip-flops, traditionally styled shoes (not too pointy, not too square-toed), a solid manly heel. Shoes are noticed by women before anything else. It seems shoes are some kind of signaling agent that tells a woman how well you think of yourself. Since there are so many useful websites out there dedicated to the ins and outs of men’s shoe fashion, I’ll skip going into detail here.
This subject deserves a post of its own. Suffice to say, nothing more boldly or confidently projects solid manliness than a tailored suit. While the suit is not for every occasion, during those few times when you do wear one, you’ll feel the ghostly pulse of a thousand Don Drapers before you infuse your soul with pussy-wilting power. Charity events, art shows, exhibits, and happy hours that aren’t overrun by college-aged interns pounding Miller Lights are great places to showcase yourself in a suit.