Fashion and clothes for players

Johnny Caustic asks, “Hey RQ, what *do* you wear to hit hot young chicks? I’m wondering whether bad boy wear or formal wear is more effective for the older player.” Fashion is a massive topic and not an area of expertise for me; there is a guy named Tanner Guzy who might be okay on this… I, for the most part, can’t be arsed to do fashion really well. But I do know that the majority of guys need to worry first about gym, then about fit, then about shoes, then everything else. If you do gym + fit + shoes correctly, a lot of the other stuff is a bonus.

My typical top-level goal is to look put-together and adult but also cool. Wearing a suit is very adult but probably not cool to most chicks in their 20s. Suits are usually too try-hard outside of weddings or courtrooms. Wearing a t-shirt for an underground band or for a sport may be cool but is not very adult. If I could get away with it I’d happily wear jeans and sweatshirts 24/7, or shorts and t-shirts in the summer, but I don’t want to try and imitate college students, as I think I’d just look stupid. I also don’t want to look like every fat IT worker you’ve ever seen.

Those are some principles… don’t follow rules blindly without knowing principles behind them. For specifics, I like dark jeans or gray slacks w/ t-shirt (usually black, although red can work nicely for contrast) and dark gray or black blazer. Black shoes, preferably leather, and/or boots. Put your energy into fit. “Well-fitting” is the most important part of fashion. If you’re a high school or college student, the look I’m describing be too “adult” for you. I try to avoid dress shirts. Depending on my work schedule, that isn’t always possible. I have a personal aversion to suits and ties, leading to some at work calling me “the hipster.” Not totally inaccurate.

Leather jacket is good in very cold weather, and maybe a duffel coat to vary the look if necessary.

To get good fit, tailoring is useful, as most clothes are made for average fat guys. A $10 – $20 tailoring job on a $20 item of clothing to make it fit is better than a $100 item of clothing that doesn’t fit properly. Why do Hollywood guys look good in their black tees and henleys? 1) Those guys work out hard and 2) They (or their stylists) get their t-shirts tailored to fit their bodies. Most guys are either fat or wear t-shirts that have at least two inches and often more of excess material on each side of the shirt. Fix that with a tailor. Many tailors will be confused when you ask for clothes that fit, as most guys want clothes that are “comfortable” (too loose).

For a long time I was anti-accessory but now I think a necklace and rings are an improvement and give chicks something to ask about. I like black leather cuffs; chicks who ask about them are usually into BDSM as well. Amazon has loads of cheap and okay jewelry. A search for “Masculine jewelry” will do you fine. I like black rings and they are like $8 on Amazon. Etsy is also fine for this. The “story” around the item matters more than the item. Lots of these are cool, albeit a little pricey. Chicks don’t know the difference between $10, $100, or $1,000 accessories, so why bother getting $1,000 accessories?

For brands, in shoes I like Allen Edmonds, Alden, Common Projects, Hugo Boss, and Wolf & Shepherd. The specific shoe or boot is less important than it being a) comfortable/easy to walk in and b) leather, preferably black. For leather shoe guys, shell cordovan #8 is also cool. IMO shoes are a place to spend more rather than less, as good ones will last many years and can be re-soled. Most of these are expensive, but Allen Edmonds does sales, factory seconds, etc. that will get the cost under $200. If you can visit New York or LA, you’ll be able to try a wide selection of many of these shoes.

For shirts there are too many good ones to care much. J. Crew and Banana Republic both make good black shirts. Ribbed Tee is good.

For jeans, there are also too many good dark jeans to care much. Gap, Lucky, whatever brand is fine. I don’t know why people spend $200 on jeans but I guess some guys do that. If you are trim or athletic, buy jeans larger than you think you need and have the waist taken in. For other pants, I like Outlier (prefer gray) or Bonobos. I also love to bike, which I’ve mentioned, and Outlier is made for biking and being wearable in offices/on dates.

Most luxury brands are NOT WORTH IT. They are 2 – 20x the price for like 10% better quality, if that. Fashion is, like a lot of game basics, a field where 10% greater efforts yields 80 or even 90% of the benefit. It is easy to get hooked into the bogus hedonic treadmill around clothes. Chicks will notice fit and coordination and little else.

Guys who try to optimize their way into the 95% or 96% percentiles in men’s fashion are wasting their time and avoiding approach. There is often a temptation to say to yourself, “If I can improve this one thing 10% more that will help me a lot.” It probably won’t. If you are already squatting your body weight or 1.25x your body weight for reps, getting to 1.5x your body weight will not help you much. You’ll already be where you need to be. There are diminishing returns to most activities.

For most guys, getting style to be “good enough” is more than okay. I also do fairly simple colors, mostly dark blue (jeans), black, gray, sometimes color splashes.

Big thing/challenge for me is to avoid looking like a corporate drone. Other guys will have different challenges. High school/college students may have niche preferences I’m not aware of, so if you’re a younger guy still in school, I don’t know how useful this all will be.

Most guys into the game seem to be nerdy white and Asian guys who need more edge, so let’s address a different case… I can think about the two black guys I’ve known who did well with white chicks. Both did the basic stuff right, like lifting, but they also dressed “up” at least one level compared to anyone else in a given situation. If everyone else wore jeans and t-shirts, they’d be in dress pants and a collared shirt. They wore suits much more often than I would recommend for the typical basic guy.

Why? Since neither was (or is) stupid, they understood that they needed to play against and overcome stereotype. That meant dressing better than the average guy, speaking better than the average guy, and being friendlier/warmer/more smiley than the average white guy. Their (probably subconscious) goal was to communicate to chicks, “I am friendly and am not going to hurt you. I have my life together.” Their goal was to avoid the immediate negative reaction (which, sorry black guys reading this, is often justified in everyday experience).

My goal is usually to NOT appear like a boring office drone… given my life and personality, I need to increase my implied “edge” and not seem to boring. Both the guys I’m thinking of, needed to convey other ideas to functional, middle-class chicks and higher. Contrary to what you may see in porn or elsewhere in anxious men’s writing, most functional chicks are NOT attracted to low-class and ghetto behaviors / personas. The exceptions tend to make for spectacular stories, but they are exceptions.

It’s possible that lower-class/ghetto behaviors are effective with equivalent girls, but I don’t know a lot about the bottom-level world of true social and economic dysfunction. My sense is that most chicks in it are fat/ugly/single moms by their early 20s if not sooner. When I did conventional online dating I would run into occasional girls from that world, and even had sex with a few, but we never really got along correctly because the cultural/intelligence chasm between us was too wide. Plus, as I said, I think most chicks in that culture have terrible diet and exercise habits, so even if they start off as attractive teenagers, the decline is swift. Perhaps other guys can chime in with experiences.

There might also be a world of super rich people hooking up mostly with each other, or where the guys have so much money that the gap between “paying for it directly” and “implicitly paying indirectly” is very small. In this world, maybe it makes sense to wear $5,000 in fancy clothes that other ultra-rich people can recognize. But if this world exists, it’s very small and immaterial to me, as well as to virtually all guys who aren’t already in it.

I’m typically targeting urban, college-educated white chicks, with some Asian or Hispanic chicks thrown in. I’m pretty happy with European chicks as well. There may be a group of redneck chicks who like guys who hunt and work construction, or whatever it is that rural people do. For all I know, those chicks might find me weird and effeminate. Women tend to cluster in urban areas and men tend to cluster in rural areas, but there are obviously women in rural areas and if you’re into those women my strategies might not be optimal for you. A guy who shows up in Carharts on a date in the heart of a city and who is deeply into working on his truck, or whatever rural guys do, is probably not going to do well with urban chicks. There is an element of market targeting to this, and I have spent my entire life in a suburban/urban professional-class milieu.

Back to me and my world…. things not to wear:

1. Sandals.

2. Polo shirts (in most cases; sometimes nice, fitted ones made of mercerized cotton are okay in intense summer heat).

3. Short shorts. Overly long shorts. Most shorts should end just above the knee and don’t wear them unless it’s f**king hot out. Don’t wear shorts on dates unless you’re going to a beach.

4. Pleated kahki pants. Most khakis, actually.

5. Cargo pants (I like them for utilitarian purposes but zero women think they’re sexy).

6. Most sports shoes, unless you’re doing a sport.

7. Ill-fitting suits in particular. Most guys buy shitty suits that don’t fit.

8. Most hats apart from unadorned baseball caps. Sometimes called “Directors caps.”

For most guys, getting the fashion part right enough is fine.

Things I’d still like to know:

1. How do you find collared shirts w/ sleeves you can roll up in the summer that don’t make you look too corporate/boring?

I’m sure someone will pipe up about how expensive clothes are. I’d say most of the basics (pants, shoes, blazer, leather jacket) will last many, many years. T-shirts will be replaced more frequently. If you buy everything recommended all at once the cost may be high; most of the better things I have were acquired over years. If you really can’t afford anything then you may want to worry about your income and job skills first, and rely on jeans/t-shirts and a leather jacket alone.

The big takeaway is, “It works for me.” If you just get fit right and don’t look stupid, you’re ahead of most guys.