What does Men’s Health do after they team up with the Opinion Research Corporation and conduct a study which finds that, overwhelmingly, the most important physical attribute of a man to a woman is his sense of style with musculature and facial features lagging way behind? (I got the study in my inbox – not sure how to take it since it was a specific email for me – are they saying that my work here is more important than I think it is… or are they saying there is still hope?) They didn’t flip Men’s Health to a fashion publication, so I give them credit for that.
Another study, this one from the American Psychological Association, which actually includes an Abstract and a Citation so I will link it here, points up that women are more likely to enter into all 6 levels of marital potential and sexual involvement if the subject had a higher “costume status.” Here, you read it. Then we can talk about what constitutes a higher “costume status.”
Begs a ton of interesting questions though about clothes and attractiveness. Does “costume status” (I am NEVER unquoting that) have the same effect on men attracting men? Women attracting men? Women attracting women? I don’t have a thousand people I can ask – oh wait, I do – but it would be interesting. Say it stays consistent, that men are more likely to enter into all 6 levels of marital potential and sexual involvement with other men based on the height of “costume status.” And say that it is the same for women entering into all 6 levels with women. Or men’s willingness to enter into the 6 with women? Wouldn’t that say that at the end of the day, that wherever one falls on the spectrum, the want is the same? That we are the same? I think it would.
Another interesting question. This study, and the subsequent studies that sprang from it (and I got a ton of them, ranging from bloggers who are trying to attract clothing advertisers to The Home Economics Journal’s publications in the Wiley Online Library) all basically lay out the same thing, that clothes make the biggest initial impact. Not saying you can’t blow it in the 4th quarter (I mean, I have heard stories, never happened to me but, you know… ) but I am also very willing to bet that if I walked up to anyone I didn’t know and said,
“Hey, the significant likelihood of events right now, as we stand here, is that if you are thinking of anything from inviting me over for the next hour to marrying me, the number one impactor right now is what I have on and not what you think will happen once I take it off.”
They would… deny it, right? I mean, no one is so vapid as to say, sure, you are right, I look at your clothes and we go from there. And because there is that next level of complexity where all of these alternative factors are imposed, which leads to opaqueness – and I am being kind here, some people would say that if you are thinking about my clothes first but you are telling me it is my sense of humor then you are outright lying – but let’s say opaqueness for right now, if that is so prevalent, then that does give us some insight into why it is so hard to have the same levels of “authenticity status” that we seek in “costume status.”
Put another way, seems we almost always get off on the wrong foot. Or, as a furious cellist who practiced witchcraft and owned a racehorse once said to me when she was grabbing the rest of her “belongings” and stuffing them into her bag, “If all men are like you, John, it is amazing anyone was ever born.”
I said PREVIOUS LIFE.
We are putting to bed the collar bar/pin debate with a quote from my friend (and yours) Evan Everhart – to be fair he messengered this to me privately but did give me permission to quote him here:
“A collar bar goes through pre existing stitched holes in the collar, a collar pin is a fancy safety pin which pierces a normal collar, and a tie clip or bar is the clip which holds the blades of ones tie down to the shirt so that they do not flap about, which is why it ought to be worn around the lower 3rd of the tie, not up high to make yr tie stick out at some angle from yr collar, which is a pure desperate attention getting technique, and rather tasteless use of the tie clip/bar. If one wants one knot to have that kind of bumptiousness, one ought to do the right thing and wear a tab collar shirt, or a collar bar or pinned collar.” – Evan Everhart
In another bit of misogyny we are trying to get away from, MR magazine (I was not familiar but Tom sent me this, and I did have a look around – they have an Advisory Board and a Studio – I have to get to work) AND marie claire (with which I am familiar, I think) posted this headline (I am not going to dignify it with a link, if you want to, you know how to Google): The royal (sic) men’s dress code is way stricter (sic) than the women’s
I bit. From the “article” (I will only put that in quotes once) – women have to have several outfit changes on Christmas Day, cannot wear diamonds before 6pm (although she is not royalty, I don’t think anyway, I did offer Pippa Middleton one time a chance to escape all this dress code drudgery – never heard back, go figure), and must always travel in a black outfit. Also from the article – Kate Middleton has to always carry a clutch bag, Princess Diana never wore gloves, one is not allowed to wear wedges near the Queen, and women are also not allowed to take their coats off in public.
By comparison, here is the burden the men must bear: Boys “should always wear shorts” while “Trousers are usually reserved for adults, and these should be formal. That’s why you’ll hardly ever see Prince William wearing jeans unless he is out walking the dog or a similar activity.”
Somebody ACTUALLY wrote that sentence. It was not me. Ok, sorry, back to it.
The royal men are encourage to wear “smart casual attire… such as chinos with a blazer or a collared shirt.” Lucky women, they can “get away with a dress” while the “men have to wear suits…” But for weddings, they really crack down, you must wear your ceremonial uniform “sometimes adorned with military medals.” I mean, that would depend on whether you HAD any military medals, right? To me, the wedding is the hard part, the uniform is one less decision.
I think we will have taken a step forward as a society when fashion media stop looking at a man’s suit as a hardship whilst women skate by in dresses.
“Male and female college students…viewed models who had been PRERATED for physical attractiveness.” WTH does that mean?…and prerated by whom? And who determined which of these “costumes” represent “which” socio-economic status?
I think we all understand the concept of first impressions.
My anecdotal experience going back 25 years or so, which I have previously shared here, is that dressing well tends to turn women off these days.
So, I do the best I can, out of respect for myself and others, and within the limits of my income, and the very limited availability of respectable threads. The APA cannot and will not be able to figure out what women want, and not for a lack of trying.
All I want is a little R-E-S-P-E-C-T.
A-M-E-N to the R-E-S-P-E-C-T. J-B.
Dear Mr Burton, clearly the hardship of so called fashion journalists, bloggers, not even mentioning “influencers” that protrude with their egocentricicty is the lack of fundamental understanding of clothing from a cultural perspective. Their views are usually bound by “trends”, “hipness” and the likes of comparing their horizon with what they see in other magazines, websites, blogs, etc.
The entire absence of understanding clothing as a certain cultural heritage, embedded in history, evolved and worn by individuals without questioning themeselveswhether they were cool or hip, I find in most journalistic publications. As an example: only few journalist seem to take the effort to acquire a sense for the timelessness of certain garments and/or their combinations. They cannot sens in which circumstances particular clothing is worn. Not having to talk about the formality and protocol of the Royals, but only thing about what we focus on here at Ivy Style.
Perhaps fellow commentators have seen or faced personally accusations of “cos play” like they would be wearing a period costume. Balance, of course, needs to be considered, boldness muted: the completeness of combinations rather than the blaze. But from my humble view the lack of understanding and willingness to consider more than just the outside hologram of “fashion” cascades downtown the streets from bad a d lazy journalism. Which is not to say there are no even most established media outlets that can bring valuable insights provided the particular contributor is prepared to not just type about something he has no contextual understanding of.
Hi Stan – I agree, I think? I would say this, that cultural thing, and not understanding it, that is a very mobile platform from which to get your views. The journalists we are talking about might very well reply that their clothes, and more important their perspectives, come from culture too, one that perhaps you and I don’t understand, and what you have in that case is a universal disqualifier. Culture is not an absolute. – JB
Thanks for the interesting read. Context is everything with reporting on studies but maybe it bodes well for those of us who take a little care in our presentation. Likewise curious about the question of sartorial first impressions in every gendered direction, so maybe someone will take a more comprehensive look.
Fast Company magazine recently had an article about how some 30% of workers would sooner take a pay cut than have to dress nicely for work, a statistic I find depressing but hardly surprising.
Hey. Thanks for the great comments! Context, methodology, agreed. Still, for Men’s Health to report that their entire premise ran a distant third behind a decent suit and not being an ax murderer, you have to give them some credit. I heard about that study, too. I have a feeling that it is one of those questions that give you one answer when asked and another answer if applied. The overwhelming majority would probably say, in real life, “Forget the pay cut, I would like a job where I COULD dress nicely.” – JB
Here are my two cents, based on completely unscientific anecdotal observation. It is almost always women — of various ages, roughly college to dotage — who complement my Monday through Friday attire when I am on campus, or out and about. That includes the various fur felt fedoras, waistcoats, tweed, and polo overcoats that are part of the October-April rotation here in Mid-Michigan.
Clearly there are still some of the female species in Mid-America (aka Flyover Country) who dig a guy dressed in something besides sweats, cargo pants, and ball caps. It can’t be my sparkling personality and rapier wit.
Kind Regards for 2022,
Quoting myself, “My anecdotal experience going back 25 years or so, which I have previously shared here, is that dressing well tends to turn women off these days.” I’m not sure my conclusion stated here is an accurate interpretation of reality. It may be that the ladies doth protest too much. And considering the credibility of those particular (or should I say, peculiar) ladies…well…Anyway, while there is no accounting for taste, it’s best not to try to make rocket science out of objective truth.
So, getting back on the horse, a coat and tie for me, whenever appropriate. And let’s be clear. It is I who determines what is appropriate.
Hardbopper, I sincerely appreciate your statement “It is I who determines what is appropriate”. Allow me to say that this credo. It does meet my own approach to clothing (including my unassuming interpretation & adaption of Ivy Style). Furthermore I believe that – if based on confidence and class (meaning classic, not describing a social hierarchical status as such) – following it will avoid excessive flamboyance and be the best suiting argument versus “cos play” accusations from people who in most cases will have no understanding of the surroundings why dressing “nicely” compared to wearing sloppy track suits could be more to you than just putting on a job interview custome.
Hardbopper, I sincerely appreciate your statement “It is I who determines what is appropriate”. Allow me to say that this credo does meet my own approach to clothing (including my unassuming interpretation & adaption of Ivy Style). Furthermore I believe that – if based on confidence and class (meaning classic, not describing a social hierarchical status as such) – following it will avoid excessive flamboyance and be the best suiting argument versus “cos play” accusations from people who in most cases will have no understanding of the surroundings why dressing “nicely” compared to wearing sloppy track suits could be more to you than just putting on a job interview custome.
The actual royal rule about the ladies not wearing diamonds before 6:00pm must be more nuanced than that, because H.M. frequently wears diamond brooches during the day (one of the best known being the Cullinan V heart brooch, featuring an 18.8 carat stone), although you wouldn’t expect to see her wearing the coronation necklace or the Greville chandelier earrings to daytime events. Although she does sometimes wear long dangly diamond earrings on Garter Day, but that’s a ceremonial occasion.
Edit: You wouldn’t expect to see the Queen wearing the coronation necklace to a daytime event, unless of course she’s opening parliament. And she wore a diamond tiara to her wedding, which was in the morning. So there are lots of exceptions.
No royal fan here but TWIARBM and my daughter have corrected me on several occasions concerning the birds of paradise English women wear when out for a celebration. It is not a hat its a Fascinator, which to me is nonsense because there’s nothing fascinating about it.
*TWIARBM = The Women I am Related By Marriage.
WELL-tailored clothing is THE Easiest, THE Quickest, THE Cheapest way for a man to improve his social life. However, THE Best Best Best Best (in terms of NUMBER of bodies scribed in a ledger, IF number of bodies scribed is how “Best” is counted) is MASSIVE, lumpy, gym-rat muscles. . . . . Ladies looking for a “Yes” answer when they are in need of some off-the-record social interaction eagerly approach men with lumpy muscles. However, ladies looking for something more in line with long-term goals avoid “Arnie” type guys. As a metaphor, “ladies in a hurry” WILL notice the guy in a C-8 Corvette, but “looking long term” will shade toward the guy in the recent model Toyota Camry. “Clothes Make The Man” while lumpy muscles make for inquiries such as “What are you doing the rest of the afternoon?” . . .. Remember a couple years back the article of the lifetime Scam Artist who bought his Ivy League clothing in thrift-stores, the clothing he used to hustle pool games in?
Re: “within the limits of my income”…
How much does it cost to go to a thrift shop and buy a navy blazer, a tweed jacket, a couple of OCBDs, a repp tie and a solid navy one, a couple of pairs of grey flannel slacks and chinos, one pair of loafers and one pair of dress shoes? Rest assured that if one did so, he’d be better dressed than 90% of American men today, and would deservedly win the approval of people with good taste.
@ Basic Trad,
You are right on. Even at retail prices it is less expensive to dress well than to dress like a stylish bum. While I am not a “thrifter” per se, I’ve found my staples very well marked down; a navy blazer, a houndstooth “club” check, lomgwings and plain-toe bluchers via https://vcleat.com/, ties from the Garland store, etc. However, I haven’t had any luck with finding tweed that fits. I am saving up for M2M from O’Connell’s, and a couple of Mercer’s. Just a few years ago, I had new soles and heals put on my vintage loafers, which are very good, made in USA, double soled, Johnston & Murphy’s. https://vcleat.com/johnston-murphy-crown-aristocraft-maintenance/.