5 Reasons Why Young Men Should Dress Sharp

Young men are a country’s future fathers, husbands and leaders.

It only makes sense then that they should start dressing as such.

It may seem superficial, but the harsh reality is that a young man is judged by others within seconds of being noticed.

The old saying that “you only get one chance to make a first impression” is true.

Take the time and effort to look your best and you’ll start on good footing – dressing down to what might be fashionable in your age group only creates barriers when you are looking to rise to the top.

Two sharp dressed young men

Two sharp dressed young men at the Iron Bowl – picture courtesy of the Social Primer

What Does Dressing Sharp Mean?

Before we get to the reasons why young men should dress sharp, I believe that we should examine what “dressing sharp” means. Below are four definitions of the sharp-dressed young man.

1.  Dressing sharp means to wear clean clothes that fit

Does dressing sharp mean that we young men have to wear suits everyday of our lives?

No! Most of us will not be in a career that requires us to wear suits everyday.

There are many young men who go into noble trades like carpentry, plumbing, etc. there are also young men who serve a greater cause than themselves– soldiers, priests, etc.

Dressing sharp for all young men, regardless of profession, is to wear clothing that is free from tears, rips, stains. Clean clothes.

Not only should you make sure your clothes are clean, you should also make sure they fit. Extra large may feel comfortable, but wearing clothes a size or two too big does not do justice. Fitted does not mean restrictive! We may think that fitted clothes will be too tight and will limit the sense of freedom. On the contrary, fitted clothing will seem to be weightless.

Why? Fitted clothing requires less fabric to achieve the sense of freedom, thus less weight. Fitted clothing is loose wear normally tight and snug wear normally loose.

Men's dress shirt

Know what styles benefit you

2.  Dressing sharp means to be aware of personal style

Building on clean and fitted clothes, the next level of dressing sharp is to be aware of personal style.

The way of mastering this awareness is to disregard mainstream trends in fashion.  Educate yourself by understanding how your build, your hair and skin tones, your environment and your wallet affects what your style is.

We are all not the same – an outfit you see on the young man next to you may or may not work for you.

A Man's Guide To Style

3.  Dressing sharp means to learn from the classics

Now that you are aware that a sharply dressed young man wears clean and fitted clothes and is a master of his personal style, the third level is to learn from the classics. More often than not “dressing sharp” conjures up the image of men from the past.

There is a reason why the clothes from our grandfather’s generation are considered to be classic. Classic menswear, unlike fashion trends, holds firm over time; there are no ebbs and flows of classic clothing.

Sport coats for men

Sport coats are sharp and look great on young men

4.  Dressing sharp means to excel

The last level of the definition of dressing sharp is excellence. The etymology of the word “excellence” comes from the Latin “excellere” which means to rise, to surpass and to be eminent.

Dressing sharp in the greatest sense is to rise above the social norms of the day. Jeans and t-shirts are a common sight in our society and for the most part this casual outfit is accepted in many locations. The problem is that jeans and a t-shirt does not rise above these social norms.

To excel means to dress sharp. To dress sharp means to surpass the norms.

Five reasons why young men should dress sharp

Now that we know what it means to dress sharp, let us cover five reasons why a young man should dress sharp.

Reason #1: Dressing sharp draws positive attention

We live in a judgmental world; we are quick to make assumptions and to categorize individuals based on what we see.

Even if you try to justify your choice of clothing, you are still giving people reasons to overlook and undervalue you. By default we lack the veteran label which older men have through many years in the working world. We don’t have the experience and most of us are fresh out of college.

In order to have potential employers and passers-by stop overlooking and undervaluing us, we need to dress sharp. A young man who wears clean and fitted clothing and uses classic style to his advantage will make people value him, his ideas and his presence.

A young man who excels (excellence) in dressing sharp will rise above and chances are, he will be spotted first, valued and respected.

Reason #2: Dressing sharp shows maturity

No matter if you chose to go to school or to enter a trade or to serve your country, you are now a young man.

Your background has shaped who you are today, but it is your responsibility to carry yourself forward.

And the clothes you wear are no exception. You are responsible for every facet of your life.

Dressing sharp shows motivation and maturity to everyone who looks at you. They see a young man with energy, with health and with a full life ahead of him, but they also see a young man who is mature and responsible enough to sever himself from and rise above his boyhood past.

Reason #3: Dressing sharp radiates self-respect

If you take the time, effort and pride into dressing sharp, you will undoubtedly radiate an image of self-respect and self-worth.

People will see you and think positively of you. Dressing sharp means that you are respecting your body. Furthermore, a sharply dressed young man will radiate a sense of worth. People will see you in your classic, clean, fitted clothing and they will start to think that you are worthy of their time and company.

Reason #4: Dressing sharp boosts self-confidence

A young man who has confidence in himself can rise to the challenge and move mountains. Believing in yourself is a vital necessity in order to be successful and to survive.

How can a young man snag a job he wants if he doubts himself? How can a young man walk up to an attractive woman and ask her out on a date if he thinks less of himself?

Dressing sharp will exponentially boost your self-confidence. Don’t believe me? Go put on your best clothes that you own. The immediate psychological effect is unquestionable.

Look good, feel good. Feel good, do good.

Prince Harry in a simple sport shirt

A simple sport shirt is a huge upgrade from the T-shirt

Reason #5: Dressing sharp attracts and keeps wanted attention

A sharply dressed young man stands out from the crowd.

He is eminent. If you stand out from a crowd, then you attract attention and keep it. This is a good thing, attention is wanted when you are seeking to establish yourself as a young leader.

Dressing sharply is the first step to attracting and keeping wanted attention. We see with our eyes and we think with them too.

Image is very important. A young man who dresses sharp gives a strong image to which people will be attracted to and will strive to maintain this attention.

Share your thoughts with us by leaving your comments in the comment box below. An active community of men with style is something everyone benefits from!

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Anthony-Sznakowski/1204122659 Anthony Sznakowski

    As a teacher of inner city youth, I love this article. We are constantly talking to young kids about their appearance. I’m going to borrow some of these reasons when talking to my students.

  • Julius

    Thank you, Anthony for your comments. As a teacher you have the power to inspire and be a role model for young men. You are just as influential as anyone else to show young kids how to grow up to be contributing, well-dressed citizens!

  • http://twitter.com/RMRStyle Real Men Real Style

    A great article Julius! Great job with this one!

  • Xana

    Hi, I really like this article and although our lifestyle is not suitable for this extra smart way of dressing, I really would like my husband to dress a bit more smartly but I cannot convince my husband to up his game in dressing. He loves his jeans, or shorts, t-shirts and fleeces which is ok, but not for everyday! He always wears trainers and I would like him to wear some shoes, even if casual ones. How can I convince him? He won’t listen to me!

  • Ukulele

     I appreciate your situation. A good buddy of mine wears sweatpants ALL the time: when talking to women he says “these are Armani Sweatpants”. It’s funny for us, but sad for him. As base as it may seem, among my friends who have stepped-their-game-up, the best way is to appeal to the “Seriously, everyone will like and trust you 10X more, because you wear this clothing”. By subtly, not explictly, showing how much people respect well dressed people get, you can get much better results.

    For example, my go-to well dressed man is Alec Baldwin on the show 30 Rock (again, a ref). He always looks dapper and acts accordingly. People who’ve never met him call him Sir, and he expects it. His dress however, is just a reflection of this; clothing doesn’t define the man, the man defines the clothing. A beautiful tailored $4000 suit on a man who doesn’t believe that his is how he dresses will look as awkward as a bold man in a 40 dollar used suit.

    In conclusion, what you really need is a positive feedback loop of everytime he dresses well, take notice of it, point it out subtly (wow, you look…[pause for elevator eyes] good!), and if you can get one of your girlfriends on board, have them compliment him, and make it a little bit forward of them. You are controlling the interaction, but trust me, and any man here, if my girlfriend’s friends gave me elevator eyes (google it) and then a smile, I’d remember what I was wearing to spark that. As shady as it sounds, use your friends to influence his behavior. I know if I went out in sweats and a smelly tee, and got mean mugged (idiom) and then dressed well and got elevator eyes, hot dog, I know which I’m wearing next time.

  • Ukulele

    I wholeheartedly agree with this. As a teacher, you are the person to show them that a man who dressed like he is a man is going to get respected similarly. I’ve had teachers who were fresh (metaphorically), and  they stuck with me. My high school even had a few teachers who started sweater vest thursday, and stuck to it. All the shit-talking my friends did, not even a speed bump. They kept showing up for school every thursday, and looked damn good. It got to the point where not even two months in, we just started talking to teachers we’ve never heard of, only for the fact that they stuck to it. It”s a great way for teachers to become cohesive, and in the more macro sense, the English dept (originators) ended up being known as the place where if you didn’t look good, you didn’t belong.

    You have to tailor (couldn’t resist) your approach to each school, but i’ve worn literally pink suits, speedos, luchador costumes (i was a student then) and more to school, and everytime I did it, I learned, people are more willing to accept it the more willing you are to push it. Especially with students, I found that if you wore something which the students found interesting and then just “man up” and tell them, yes, this is it, they respond: ok.

    To change the paradigm, you need bold moves, but if you can make them, you can change it.

  • http://twitter.com/ATailoredSuit Antonio Centeno

    You need to find out what his triggers are , and encourage him this way.  When I take my family out, I dress and behave like a gentlemen in part because I know my children are watching and I want my family to be treated respectfully.  

    What does he care about?  Use this to help him change – and read this article I wrote and feel is a prerequisite to making a shift in behavior - www.realmenrealstyle.com/change-your-personal-style/

  • http://twitter.com/ATailoredSuit Antonio Centeno

    Great response Ukulele!

  • Easyandy

    Bunch of crap. If you have to buy respect thru clothing you have a pretty pathetic conformist life. Life should be about dressing as you feel not what peole or a website think

  • RMCB

    I’ve made a point of dressing sharp for over five years now and I can say, at least in my experience, that people will judge you in a far more positive manner. Why? Because they will assume that the pride you take in your appearance will also carry over into other areas of your life – your work, your relationships, your attitude.

    It’s easy to dismiss the theory, or to say that it’s not about what other people think – and if you’re really THAT self-reliant then I say good for you. The trouble is that most people will want to attract a mate, get a job or make a contact; that’s so much easier to do if your appearance says “All killer, no filler”

  • rmrstyle

    @RMCB Completely agree sir! Thanks for sharing your view and story.


  • GregD

    Taking pride in your appearance doesn’t equal buying respect.

  • NellieBly

    Xana: Rather than pushing the resistance button in your man, try getting him to feel what you feel when you see him perpetually choosing casual grunge and trainers.  To do that, start wearing clothes he absolutely hates and keep it up until he comments to you.  Then tell him that’s how you feel when he wears grunge. If he’s reasonable, he’ll have a lightbulb moment and if he cares about your feelings and opinion (he should if he married you!), he’ll compromise in his choice of clothing. Maybe not all the time, but it’s a start.  And you can go back to wearing the clothes you and he love.
    Good luck.