Happy 4th of July. I want to take an hour today and address the most common question I get as a style consultant: “Vince, how do I dress to attract women?”
More specifically, “How do I dress to attract the women I really want?”
Now, I could just fire off a “top 10-100″ tips here and call it a day, but that's why GQ, Esquire, and all the other dating and style sites do. Instead I want to talk to you about the mindset of how to Dress to Attract. Dressing to Attract is different than Dressing to Impress. The words themselves mean different things.
By “impressing”, you are relaying that you are trying to win over the favor of someone. To attract someone, the definition itself implies that you are of higher value, and therefore other people gravitate towards you. This is a subtle shift in thinking that makes a world of difference in the world of style.
There are 4 core components to becoming visually attractive as a man. I will list them here and explain each phase in modular detail based on generalizations:
Phase 1: Style Awareness
You have begun looking into the mirror and seeing yourself in 3D representation. You are starting to see what OTHER girls and people see when they lay their eyes on you, and when they view a model in a magazine. You are starting to empathize with them about how they feel when they see people of different styles and physical beauty. Be developing this awareness, you begin to mimic the techniques that enhance your physical appearance and control the image you have towards people around you.
Phase 2: Action Layers
Most people stop at a drunken haze of competency at phase 1 and never go beyond that. Hugh Hefner once said, “if you are smart, you will begin to cultivate an image of your making, most successful people do”. This phase of action layers is an ongoing process of anyone who has ever succeeded in any form. They take control of their own image. Thus the term “image consultant”. Politicians do it, movie stars do it, even the everyday office worker hoping for a raise of the housewife who lives in an upscale neighborhood.
The action layer is further broken down into the following areas of control we have:
a) the physical body – your body is your temple. It affects how your clothes fit. People who are image aware being to develop routines that they use for hair control, and start exercising to get to an ideal shape. As they work more and more, their understanding of their body's limitations and strengths develop. A shorter guy may have upper body strength and wear more fitting shirts. The taller guy may notice his dominant silhouette and wear longer coats. The physical body is the mannequin that the clothes hang on.
b) The face – the first thing people notice and communicate with is your face. Plastic surgery can be an option, especially if you are female. Makeup, hair, the area that eyes lay on the most. The artist starts to notice his or her facial expressions, and further mastery of the face's natural make up can inspire or create hostile feeling in others. The face is the door way to the soul, our lies, and our emotions. Mastery of our emotions and non verbal communication happens at this level.
c) The essentials – the clothes we have to wear- shirts, pants, jackets, etc. The artist starts to re-evaluate these and start putting on clothes that fit, look good, and are made with the right fabric. Colors and layering come into play, as well as the ability to match clothing items and play about with different outfits for different occasions.
d) The superfluous - accessories, the things that actually have ZERO functional value, but instead, are used as a mode of communication. A hair pin here, a tie there, a bracelet matching the eye color. These are the ways an artist further communicates individuality and creativity. It is the ongoing story telling of the person's life story.
Phase 3: Trial and Error
The trying out phase – adopting things that work, and abandoning things that don't. This phase is continuously charted by artists. Different life stages also call for different new creative streaks. The newbie needs to go through trial and error to master his style. This is where the assistance of a coach or consultant can drastically cut down the learning time of the student or artist.
Phase 4: Deep Identity Change
Marilyn Monroe once remarked, “I am no longer Norma Jean, call me Marilyn”. This is the point where the style or “desired image” of that artist is actually congruent. The artist embodies the emotions or the image. He has become it. He defines it, it no longer defines him. In a way it is the end of a journey, and the beginning of a new one. The identity shifts that I have seen in students have been nothing short of amazing, usually accompanied by an act that steps them out of their comfort zone. Style always follows the person's will and intent, and if these are carried out as the artist faces his fears, the identity changes will surely happen.
Additional SWS Reading: