Clothing says nothing about you. Do you believe that?
Some people do. They mention Mark Zuckerberg, Steve Jobs…
…how they'd always dress casually & never be judged for it.
But they fail to realize that their clothing still says everything about them.
- I'm an everyday guy
- I have so many decisions to make and clothing isn't one of them
- I'm relatable
Their choice to wear a nontraditional uniform still sends a message, whether they want it to or not.
But they can also afford to make those choices because they've already made a name for themselves.
This article is going to cover 10 BAD style tips to always ignore.
BAD Style Tip #1 – Image Isn't As Important As Substance
People say it's good to dress up nicely, but don't think it carries as much weight as your substance (or your character). We've heard it many times: don't judge a book by its cover.
But most of us do spend our lives in some sort of competition (with colleagues, fellow job applicants, or other single men at the party). So your “cover” is a crucial thing.
It can end up being the reason people slightly like you more than your rivals. Your presentation can win them over even before you speak.
Zero-Sum Game Mentality
The best way to look at men's style is from a winner-take-all point of view. That's the core of the zero-sum game mentality – where it's either you win or you lose. Your competitor wins or loses because of you. Either you amp up your style and reap the rewards, or someone else does it.
It was a case of image-over-substance during the very first televised US presidential debate in 1960 – between candidates Richard Nixon and John F. Kennedy. The word ‘televised' is key here. It's widely believed that JFK won the election by outdoing Nixon in the debate.
Did JFK give better answers? No – but he was better in every other way. He spoke to the public by directly looking at the camera. Nixon focused on answering reporters' questions. JFK had his charm and movie-star looks which made him fit for TV. Nixon had a five o'clock shadow, a tendency to sweat and turn his head now and then.
So although Nixon was the more experienced guy, JFK won by a narrow margin. He didn't have to explain he could do this or that better. He simply caught people's attention and moved them. And JFK must've known his image would resonate more than his substance. So he used it to win the whole thing.
BAD Style Tip #2 – Clothing Doesn’t Signal Status
Some believe that clothes aren't indicators of where you stand in your society. They mention Mark Zuckerberg's habit of wearing gray t-shirts and hoodies all the time.
But here's the thing – Zuckerberg isn't among the 99% like we are. He's worked his way to achieving an “outlier” status.
He's earned the right to wear what he wants and not be judged for it (and it certainly helps that he's in the tech industry). He serves a community large enough to be the 3rd most populated country on Earth!
It makes sense for him to focus on decisions for Facebook and block out smaller, everyday decisions like what to wear. Not everyone has that excuse.
And Zuckerberg isn't limited to one location. The rest of us have local environments – with our own guidelines for how to dress. That's why teachers, news anchors, managers, and bankers all follow a specific dress code. Trust and credibility are on the line.
And going back to the 1960 US presidential debate, we can agree that Kennedy had both great style and superb communication skills. He was very charismatic. If you strike a balance between looking sharp and communicating well – you'll be able to convince others to hire you, promote you, work with you, buy your products, listen to your ideas or even treat you like a rockstar.
It's all about the status you're perceived with. You're only exempt from this by having the fame and respect of a guy like Zuckerberg. And if he wasn't recognized and entered a room in his t-shirt and hoodie, everyone would treat him normally.
BAD Style Tip #3 – Solve Problems As They Come Along (Not Before)
I know – fashion isn't a life-or-death kind of thing. Most style-related problems you'll face don't require a sense of urgency. But I can say it's better not to experience those problems at all.
Is a button loose on your dress shirt? Fix it now before it falls off. Are you starting a new job where it's crucial to keep your shirt tucked in? Make shirttail garters part of your daily wardrobe. Many small style mistakes aren't actually caused by what you do, but what you fail to do.
The same goes for skincare. Should you have to wait for those first wrinkles or age spots before taking action?
No. You can start treating your skin early on – to prevent stuff so there's no need for an early cure.
Make sure you use natural grooming products to keep your skin healthy, clear, and bright.
BAD Style Tip #4 – You Can Wear Anything And Look OK
Maybe you had this mindset sometimes in those rebellious teenage years. But that shouldn't be the case anymore. This is real life.
Here's an analogy. You know James Bond? He's a handsome badass, right? Women have adored him in the past, and more of them will in future films.
But can you imagine Arnold Schwarzenegger or Vin Diesel do the role of Bond in their normal voices? Don't they star in action movies? Don't they fit the mold looks-wise?
Nope – because Bond is a British icon. A British accent is 100% a must. Those guys would have to pull that off before their acting can even be judged.
Style is like that in a sense. Anyone can wear the same type of clothing just like anyone can pretend to be James Bond. But not everybody can succeed – and send the right message – with that item.
BAD Style Tip #5 – Let Your Woman Dress You
Does your S.O. control what you watch on TV? Or what music you listen to? Definitely not.
So why is it that some think your woman should dress you? Honestly, I'd say those men are (A) the lazy type or (B) in a relationship with somebody who's OCD about their clothes. (Those in category B, sorry for that. Hope you're handling that well.)
But I'm a big fan of dressing yourself. What if she insists you wear a flashy red blazer to an event – even though you're not exactly the life of the party? She'll just do all the talking while you sit beside her, sipping cocktails and throwing in a few one-liners. It makes more sense that she wears red while you come in navy or charcoal gray.
Let her be your consultant only. She can make suggestions – but find an endearing way to convey “thanks but no thanks” whenever you disagree. Who knows? You might surprise her with something she never thought you'd look perfect in!
BAD Style Tip #6 – Buy Everything At Once
Clothes may not have expiration dates like food does – but that's no reason to buy yourself a full set at once. It doesn't matter if you hate shopping. You'll regret it.
Remember that your body changes over time. You should never expect all your jeans, trousers, dress shirts and jackets to fit you perfectly for 5+ years. It can also be a bummer when you realize in a matter of months – you haven't used certain items due to the color or fabric. Good money wasted.
If you really want to shop smart and deal with less clothing, focus on having an interchangeable wardrobe. This will give you enough variety to adjust your outfits every now and then. It will help you stay stylish and avoid “risky” selections at the same time.
BAD Style Tip #7 – It’s On Sale, So Buy It Now
On paper, buying something on sale is supposed to save you money. But when you take into account the purpose of your purchase – that's a trickier thing.
Although you should care about style, that doesn't mean your budget should go out the window. If you end up getting something you were never planning to buy – it's pretty much impulse buying.
What's even worse? If it turns out that purchase only adds to a large group of similar items at home!
Then you'll start thinking about what you could've spent that money on instead – like another kind of clothing that's more useful for you right now.
BAD Style Tip #8 – Expensive = Better Quality
Some tend to think the price tag accurately reflects quality. But if you go with price alone when you buy any clothes – you're not seeing the bigger picture.
There are more important details to consider if you want to identify quality clothing. And “expensive” doesn't automatically mean these details have been covered well.
- Type of stitching (# of stitches per inch)
- Weight of the fabric
- Collar construction
- Production method (are they totally handmade?)
- Sturdy heel & sole (are they glued well?)
- Strength of the shoelaces
If you want to master the art of inspecting clothes – you'll have to be patient (as in look around in multiple stores) and willing to ask questions. It's a shopping skill you can't develop overnight.
BAD Style Tip #9 – Copy The Latest Trend / Celebrity Style
Take a look at Justin Bieber's transformations over the years. He first entered the music scene as a wholesome teenybopper – with a purple hoodie and a bob cut.
He's now been sporting tank tops, plus an undercut with dangling long hair on one side. Younger guys have tried to copy his different looks. But those styles aren't that classy or gentlemanly, are they?
Celebrities may look like models – but they're not necessarily role models. They compete for millions of fans with short attentions spans. It's part of the job to reinvent themselves now and then by changing up their style. So clearly, not every “trend” will have the same effect on you as it has on them.
BAD Style Tip #10 – You Need More Stuff
Does buying more clothes make you more stylish? No – it can actually mean the opposite. A cluttered closet only bothers you with loads of options. It messes with your understanding of what's you.
So stop buying crap. Purchase only what you need to live the life you choose. The problem with owning “junk” items is they can cause you to underdress or overdress (and there's a fine line between looking sharp for the occasion and being overdressed / awkwardly dressed).
An impressive style isn't showy or distracting – it draws a positive kind of attention. Your personality, profession, the environment you live in – all of it matters in being your stylish best.