The Gender Style Gap: Don’t be that guy

At a certain point in a man’s life, most likely as the big 3-0 begins to loom on the horizon, he should probably come to the realization that he can no longer get away with always dressing as if he were back in college on a couch watching football at the frat. This is especially true when escorting his lady for a night on the town or even to the movies. If you are looking like this…

Nice look, K-Fed.

And your lady is looking like this…

Ooh la la, Malin!

You are courting an irreparable style gap and you better reconsider your threads. Y’see when a woman goes to all that effort to make herself lovely, she is going to expect a little effort in return. Particularly as she gets a little older (and you do, too) she is going to start looking around and seeing all sorts of well-dressed and successful gents and wonder why it is you look like a refugee from ‘N Sync circa 2000.

You’ve come a long way, Mr. Timberlake.

It’s a matter of basic respect. When I see a couple out on a date and the woman is dressed nicely and the guy has got on sweats and a backward ball cap I think Wow, dude, make a little effort, as well as That is never going to last. Think about the conceit it takes to believe that you have to put zero effort into your appearance and your lady is still going to find you attractive over the long haul. Put simply, that sort of laziness may fly in your 20s but it rapidly loses its charms as you get older.

But fear not. It’s really not very hard to get yourself looking good without going the “full dandy”. Not that there’s anything wrong with that either and I think I’ve come up with a pretty good definition: a dandy is a guy who tries to dress better than a woman. Nonetheless, it’s probably wise to ease on in to dressing nicely — not everyone can go from 0 to Andre 3000 right away.

Looking good, Andre, but maybe I better start out a little more slowly…

Probably the one piece of advice I’d give any guy trying to upgrade their sartorial style is just go to your local J. Crew and peruse some nice slacks, cords and collared shirts. With a lot of classic styles available as well as several types of tailored cuts — relaxed, classic, and the current style of slim fit — in natural, well-wearing fabrics, it’s easy to quickly find a look that suits you and then build a new wardrobe, if not cheaply than at least with good value for money. They also tend to have very good sales towards the end of the fashion seasons (which are a lot earlier than the end of the real seasons) so a guy can make out pretty well with a little patience and savvy shopping on bigger ticket items like sport coats, sweaters and jackets.


They’ve also got a very good selection of sneaks, shoes and boots because remember: the ladies like shoes. And I mean really like them. They like to shop for them (a lot), they like their own and they like to see you wearing some nice shoes, as well. Don’t ask why, it’s in their genes, so just play ball and do your fair share. You’ll be glad you did, trust me.

You can go all suit-and-tie if you want but really a little touch of casual, relaxed elegance goes a long way. In other words, keep your favorite Nirvana T and faded jeans — just put a cool blazer over them. So, to wrap things up, evolving into a well-rounded gentleman involves not only inner change but outer change, as well. Look at your lady and how fine she looks and think about the effort she puts into her clothes and looking fly. Don’t you think you should at least attempt to keep up with her so people (and especially other guys) are not asking “Who is the shlub with that super fine babe?” And if you’re not currently in a relationship and are playing the field, that’s even more reason to buy some new threads and dress up a little. Looking good breeds confidence. And so will all those admiring looks you get from the honeys at other end of the bar the next time you’re out with your bros having a couple of cocktails after work.