There are actually a couple different phrases floating around out there for what I’m going to talk about today.
Some people like to borrow from real estate and use the term “curbside appeal.”
Others refer to “casual” or “inherent” style; I’ve even seen a book that talked extensively about “assumed appearances.”
But it all comes down to the same thing: the idea of the first impression you have on random observers; the appeal that you have inherently when you’re going about your day to day life.
Men’s Fashion in Public – Why Your Daily Appearance Matters
It’s hard for a lot of men to think of appearance as a passive quality. Dressing up feels like a planned, staged thing — you put on the tie and mousse the hair right before the meeting, you get through it; you take all that off.
Your passive appearance is distinct in that it’s not for a specific event or purpose. It’s the whole day, from walking out the door to walking back in it, and it’s all about what you look like when you haven’t just tidied up in the mirror.
It matters a lot. In a world of Facebook and Twitter, people make casual acquaintances more often and more readily than ever. We build our social networks out of people we meet at work, at social functions, and on plain ol’ nights at the bar.
Looking attractive and approachable encourages people to make those casual acquaintances, which you can then follow up on (or not) at your convenience. It makes you the guy people talk to at the bar, the man tourists ask for directions — a guy worth knowing, or at least worth talking to.
Even if you’re not out to be a social butterfly, it’s still worth your while to look attractive and respectable in your personal life. Well-dressed people routinely get better service, less hassles, and kinder reactions in public.
As superficial as it sounds, people are just more willing to believe that a man in slacks and a nice sport coat knows what he’s doing and is more deserving of friendly assistance than the same man in jeans and a T-shirt.
Better Daily Appearance — How to Be a Well-Dressed Man
Dressing for a better appearance overall is a little different from dressing up for work or a special event. Comfort and ease of maintenance are huge — you can’t be a good-looking gent if you’re always tugging at your cuffs or readjusting your hair or whatever. Constant fiddling just makes you look vain (or neurotic), so stick to simple styles that you know you can wear well for long periods of time.
Constant fiddling just makes you look vain (or neurotic), so stick to simple styles that you know you can wear well for long periods of time.
A good fit is huge in menswear. It affects both comfort and appearance. A badly-fitted piece of clothing either constricts the wearer (too tight) or flaps and gets in the way (too loose). It also gives a distorted appearance, making the wearer’s body look less well-shaped rather than more.
Tailored menswear is great (assuming you have a good tailor), or men on a budget can go a long way with adjustments to off-the-rack clothing. The fit at the shoulders, around the neck, and at the place where the trouser legs join are all key spots to keep an eye on. In each, the fabric should fit closely without pinching, just loose enough to slide a finger at most between the cloth and the skin.
There’s such a thing as too eye-catching, but a sharp daily appearance is all about standing out. If your day-to-day clothing looks like everyone else’s, you don’t have curbside appeal — you’re part of the curb. Whether you’re a suit-and-tie man or a street-casual hipster, take the time to put a personal touch on things.
Jacket wearers can catch the eye with peaked lapels, bold pocket flaps, or even a boutonniere, and will definitely want a good collection of pocket squares.
More casual dressers can experiment with shirts and trousers that stray beyond the basics — trade a pair of blue jeans in for more brightly-colored corduroys, or add a vest over a dress shirt for a “retro” flair. The key is just to be sure that you’re not doing quite what everyone else is doing, or that you’re doing a little something extra on top.
Color and Pattern in Men’s Style
Don’t be shy about color or pattern when you look to improve your daily appearance. A lot of men shy away from anything but solid colors, making monochrome the garb of the clueless stiff.
There’s nothing wrong with some single-color garments in your wardrobe, and at higher levels of formality they may be the ideal choice, but for day-to-day wear you’re going to want a little more visual pop. Just a textured weave goes a long way toward making a piece of clothing more interesting.
Adventurous men can start adding in stripes and checks as well. Avoid wearing patterns of similar scale — no thin pinstriping paired with small, narrow checks, for example — but otherwise go ahead and vary the monocrhome uniform.
Fashion Details Done Right
If you really want to shine, get your small details right. Keep the shoes clean, well-shined, and use shoetrees. Find a haircut that you can keep neat with minimal maintenance, and carry a pocket comb so you can do that maintenance whenever you visit a restroom.
Wear a watch that complements your outfit. Details as minor as evenly-trimmed nails and a mildly-scented deodorant or aftershave may not be noticed on a conscious level, but they still firm up a viewer’s impression of you as a well put-together man overall.
And that’s really what a good daily appearance is all about, after all.