This is a recent interview with Andrea Cairella of True Potential Counseling | Love and Relationship Podcast
Welcome to your Relationship Lovecast by True Potential, the weekly web show and podcast that explores relationships and wellness featuring in-depth interviews with acclaimed authors, wellness experts, health influencers, and spiritual leaders, so that you can create a relationship and life you love.
And now, your host, Andrea Cairella.
Andrea: Hello, everyone. Andrea Cairella here and you're listening to episode two of your Relationship Lovecast by True Potential. Today, we are going to be talking about real men and real style and how you men out there can really accentuate your style and take it to the next level.
Many of you know I lived in Europe – specifically in Italy – for several years. I really appreciated the dress and style of every man I saw walking down the street, because it demonstrated that they really valued themselves and exuded that care in their personal and professional interactions with others.
There is such care and attention paid to style and appearance, whether it was at work or at play. Today on our show, we have Antonio Centeno, a CEO of Real Men Real Style. He is very talented. He's a very talented educator on men's apparel, and my fiancé and I have watched several of his YouTube videos and podcasts not only because he's very clear, concise, and engaging, but also because he provides such easy and practical tips that the average man can apply to their daily functional lives.
Today, he will be sharing with us the basic rules of style so you can take more pride in your appearance and really experience the benefits not only to your self-esteem but also to your interpersonal relationships by using these simple and easy strategies.
Welcome, Antonio. I am so excited to have you on today.
Antonio: Andrea, thank you for having me. I'm happy to be here.
Andrea: Excellent. Now, what inspired you to enter into men's style, and why is this focus such a passion of yours?
Antonio: Well, I first entered because I saw opportunity. I was a student in business school. I ordered a few custom suits, realized that – and I'd gone through this process before – I realized how painful it was to find a well-fitted suit, especially in the United States, and before that, when I was living in Kiev. I've lived abroad as well, and my wife is Ukranian. We were getting married. I couldn’t find a good suit then, so this was a pain that reoccurred.
In business school, they feed you with I guess the enthusiasm that you can go out and change the world and start anything, and that's what I thought I was going to do with my first company, A Tailored Suit.
Now, Real Men Real Style came out of A Tailored Suit as the marketing arm, because I realized, I need to get more traffic to my website. I had a style guide. It was actually bringing quite a bit of traffic to my website. But I wanted something that I could continuously update and I could experiment with, find more ways to reach people.
I was at the time blogging with The Art of Maniliness, and I saw the traffic, and I saw the potential and the reach that Brett got over at The Art of Manliness. I talked to him about it. He said “Sure. You already write great stuff for me. You should go off and start your own blog.” That's what I did with Real Men Real Style. Now, it's its own business and interactive site with video, podcasts, and over a thousand articles.
Andrea: I know you incorporate self-care, personal style, and dress standards in your own life, and I remember you mentioning it in one of your messages that you also do this to send a very important message to your children and in your partnership in your relationship. What do you believe is so important about style and dress to a man's identity as an individual, as a husband, and as a father?
Antonio: Well, Andrea, that's a great question. We like to say – we post it on Facebook; we post it out there on Pinterest – what is important to us. We like these little quotes and everything.
But if you look at your bank account and you look at your schedule, honestly, that's what's a priority to you. For most of us, we'd like to believe it's our family. We may profess it's our family. But is it really our family?
I have three solid examples of why I think it's important for a man in a relationship, a father, a husband – why it's important for us especially – now, this applies to women as well, but I find that it's the men that often time, we're a little bit behind here.
The three reasons I give are number one, you want to maintain the mutual attraction. Number two, you want to set the proper example for your kids or for those around you who are looking up to you. Could be a younger cousin if you don't have kids. Could be a little brother. To be able to show them why this matters. And number three, the way clothing affects the way we behave.
Number one, mutual attraction. Now, initially, when we met our significant other or our spouse, it was something that – probably physical attraction had a lot to do with it. I know that I asked my wife to marry me within 48 hours of meeting her.
Antonio: Yeah. It worked out. But you could say that her English skills weren't super great. My Russian skills were horrible. As much as I would like to believe it was a logical decision, no, it wasn't. It was completely emotional.
I'm happy to say, to this day, over – gosh, we met in 2001, so it's 2014, so 13 years later – I am still attracted to this woman. Physical attraction is incredibly important. You want your wife to be attracted to you. You want to be attracted to your wife.
One of the things I think as we get comfortable in a relationship, we start to dress down. We start to do things around the other person that maybe we wouldn't have normally done when we were dating. I think maintaining a sharp physical appearance, even if our bodies aren't necessarily the way they were a decade ago, we can definitely put our best foot forward.
It's the little things. If I'm out with my wife, and I see other men actually checking her out, I have to say I get a little bit protective. But it's a little bit of a stimulant that, hey, I'm still married to a woman that's incredible attractive after having three children. I still think she's the most beautiful woman in the world. That is something that is reinforced.
The physical part is just a part of it. Of course, there are many other things. But it's a great thing. I know for her, she likes to see me in a nice pair of jeans. Women are naturally attracted to a man's buttocks. That's just the way it is.
Andrea: Right? Biology.
Antonio: Exactly. You want to be able to build up your chest to show that you still have it. That is the number one reason. Maintaining that flame, that mutual attractiveness between the couples.
Number two is setting a positive example for your kids. This can be maybe for your nieces, you nephews, if you don't have kids yet, but those that look up to you.
I've got three young children. My son is nine. My daughter's five. My other daughter is two. It's one of those things that I notice as they get older, they stop listening, for some reason. They like to do their own thing. But my son does pay attention to what I do.
I think for those that look up to you – not necessarily kids – they look at what you're doing, not necessarily what you're saying. When you send a positive example that you care about your appearances, that these little details matter, whether it be in your appearance, whether it be in the way that you carry yourself and you speak with others, they pick up on those.
The last one is behavior. Number three. There is tone of research out there in the field of – what is it? – cognitive –
Antonio: Yeah. I came out of the stacks earlier today. I was reading a research paper just about how they have shown that what we wear has an effect on the way we behave. Tons of research done over at Northwestern University, quite a few other schools throughout the US, where they show that what we put on has an effect.
Think about it. If guys are playing sports and you go out on a football field or a soccer field, and if you're not wearing the right clothing – if you don't have shin pads on, if you don't have the right shorts – if a soccer player went on to a field dressed as a ballerina…Now, he has all the physical assets that he needs to go out there and play an amazing game. But if Ronaldo goes out there like that, everyone's just going to think “What in the world is going on?”
He is psychologically going to be affected by what he's wearing. We see this whenever we see a doctor, when you blindly trust them. We don't ask a doctor “What school did you go to? What was your GPA? How good, really, are you? Did you go to school off-shore and you just came back to the US?”
We don't ask those questions. We assume, because of the way they're dressed, there's a level of authority. When you come back to your relationship, why it matters, because whenever you dress a certain manner, you dress gentleman, you're more likely to behave like a gentleman.
Let's say when you're going out, you're more likely to hold open doors for her. You're more likely to engage in a conversation or perhaps keep it a little bit more muted. Even though you may have a disagreement, it doesn't turn into a shouting match, because that would actually violate the way that you're dressed and presenting yourself. You're like “Okay, well, let's cool down.”
Number three, it affects your behavior. Number two, sets a great example for your kids. And number one, the mutual attraction.
Andrea: Excellent. I was thinking actually as you were talking that Bill Maher, he recently had a message where he said “Here's the image of America today that the world sees, however, in the 1940s, there's a different image of what America looked like, dressed in a more sophisticated, elegant way.” Really, that message is sent not only with our internal circle but also as a nation and then in the global society. I think really this extends even to that degree, as well.
Another question that I have is a lot of men that I work with, maybe they say “I'm very busy, can't really dedicate the time to investing in my self-care, my style” or the waste of money or “I don't know really where to start or maybe feeling down or low self-esteem. What are some of the benefits that you see in moving through some of those internal barriers that maybe a man puts in front of him from taking his style to the next level and really investing in himself and his self-care?
Antonio: We're really good at that, about creating barriers where there aren't any. When a man says that he doesn't have time, what he's really saying is it's not a priority, that it really doesn't matter to him. Because we say that with quite a lot of things, but yet we find time to sit down and watch television. In fact, on average, I think the average American watches about three hours of television a day. We find time to get lost in Facebook and comment and have arguments on the web that lead to nothing.
When it comes down to it, you can carve out time. I've got the same 24 hours as any other man. Bill Gates has the same 24 hours. Warren Buffet has the same 24 hours. We all have the same 24 hours. But it's a matter of saying “You know, this is a priority.”
Nobody just has the time. We've all got to make it. We've got to carve it out. We've got to say “I'm going to stop doing this” or “I'm going to make a sacrifice. I'm going to get up a little bit earlier. I'm going to go to the bed a little bit earlier. I'm going to make this happen.”
We are going to have to cut good opportunities to pursue amazing ones. I think most guys have things that they can cut off, things that they can free up a bit of time to start. The first thing I tell, if you care, you will find a way.
When a man is hungry, he doesn't think “Oh, I'm not sure. I don't know if I can make it to the fridge. I don't know if I can jump in my car, because it's so dangerous to drive down to Hardy's or to my favorite sushi place” or wherever he wants to go. No. He doesn't care.
If it's snowing outside, he throws on the boots. He finds a way. He feeds himself, because it matters, and it's something that he has conditioned himself to doing. When it comes to caring about your personal presentation, it's something that has to matter to you, and then it's something that you need to do it enough times that it becomes a habit, that when you don't brush your hair, when you don't shave your neck every two weeks, when you don't go to the barber once a month, when your clothing doesn't fit you, you actually feel kind of strange putting it on or wearing it.
These are incremental improvements that you can make. I've got entire courses that I run guys through who can't seem to get through it. Other guys I find some of them have enough self-discipline. Other guys can just go out there and read a book. But what I do recommend is first making the commitment and really buckling down and realizing why you've got to give a damn about this.
That's my number one thing is that they've got to face it up, and they've got to say “This is important.”
Andrea: Right. I think oftentimes men and women, it's really important for us to fill our own cup and really take care of our wellbeing, whether it be mentally, emotionally, physically, spiritually, as well as externally, so that we really do feel good about ourselves, and that we can show up in this life and show up in this world at our optimal level. I think that that really carries through, that if we really start with our self, it really pours out and actually creates a ripple effect in our work life, in our home life, and really, that can have a huge impact and a huge benefit.
What are the disadvantages for us individually? If an individual man doesn't make this a priority or doesn't invest the time and energy, what are the disadvantages for him bother personally, interpersonally, professionally? What are some of those disadvantages?
Antonio: I think one of my favorite studies to cite is a guy named David Hamermesh at the University of Texas, my alma mater. He was in the economics department. He said basically if you are more attractive and if you use this to your advantage, you make on average about $232,000 more over your career. I'll say $232,000 right there, that right there. Basically, I think the point of it, whether it's higher or lower, we're talking about a lot of the money that you leave on the table, because you do not send the right first impression. You miss opportunities.
Luck is equal to preparation meeting opportunity. If you don't do that preparation, you're never going to get that opportunity, and you're always going to feel like you're unlucky.
You could call this “luck”, but I was at New Media Expo a couple months ago, and I'm talking with Ms. Mignon. She's known as Grammar Girl.
I'm just talking with Grammar Girl. Right comes up is Chris Brogan. Chris Brogan, for you guys who don't know, he's a pretty big guy online. He's been blogging for about a decade, maybe even longer. He is considered one of the premier bloggers.
I knew who he was, but it wasn't like we had friends in common, and he was one of the keynote speakers there at the event. He just pops in and introduces himself. I realize I've got 20 seconds to make an impression upon him. My impression usually goes with a firm handshake, looking him right in the eye. They immediately notice that I'm pretty well dressed for a conference that most people are not, even though I think they should be.
I talk to him quickly about, hey, my name's Antonio. Tell him I'm a former marine. I run a style blog where we help men dress better and use clothing to get what they want. He looks at my business card, and what he latched on to, he was actually a big fan of the military, so that was a thumbs up. The other one, he looked at my business card, and he saw “Business Owner”, and he had just started a magazine called Owner Mag.
As soon as he's heard my quick little pitch, he pulls me aside, and we start talking for a few minutes. Next thing I know, I'm guest posting.
Some people would consider that luck, because if you look at the quality of the people I'm guest posting now with, it's really high. I'm building relationships with a whole group of people that – yeah, you could say “You just got lucky.” Well, no. There was a lot of preparation. There was a lot of effort that went into that. It just so happened that opportunity knocked, and I was ready for it.
Andrea: Right Absolutely. It's really important to really know that if you've put some of those habits in place of representing yourself, of really showing up in your best way, then those opportunities, you're ready for. It can convert into something very powerful and beneficial long-term. Being intentional about this are of your life also has an incredible fruitfulness that can come as a result of it.
Antonio: You don't just start to dress well. A lot of guys think “Oh, I own a suit. I can dress nice.” But dressing well actually takes practice, because if you wear that suit only when you need to wear that suit – once or twice a year – you're actually truly wearing a costume, because you're not used to it, you probably don't even know everything about the suit.
But when you start to wear a suit multiple times a week and you find that you just like putting it on because it feels good, it makes you feel good when you get compliments all day, all of a sudden, you start to own the suit. Then opportunity starts to find you.
You have people approach you who wouldn't. They're literally throwing opportunity your way because you look like you could fulfill what they imagine a successful person to be.
Andrea: Now, dressing in a sexy, sophisticated way can make you not only look good but also feel good. What would you say are the ten essential apparel pieces a man can't live without in their wardrobe, or what particular categories do they need to look out for and know about so that certain clothing styles fit best on their body type?
Antonio: Well, I think that's the key thing. Andrea, it's hard for me to just give a list of ten items. I will say that every man needs to own a complete suit. Somebody's going to get married. Somebody's going to die. Something is going to happen. A suit is a universal uniform that you can wear to a military parade, you can wear to a baptism. You can wear it to you sister's wedding. You can wear it – a dark suit with a white shirt – out a night in the town in Vegas.
Yet most men don't have one that fits them perfectly, that makes them feel like a million bucks. With a suit, I mean that the fabric of the material is made – they were bought together – and they were made to go with each other. If you actually have a sports jacket that's a different color from the trousers, that's called an odd jacket and trousers, and that's not a suit.
You also want to have at least one white shirt that just is crisp, clean, and fits you perfectly. With that, you want to make sure to have a pair of Oxford black Balmorals. You could also have a pair of bluchers. They can go to my site, or they can do a quick Google search on what I mean, but basically, really nice dress shoes.
On average, good dress shoes are going to cost you $300. For some guys, they're saying that's kind of cheap. Other guys are saying “That's three times as much money as I've ever spent on a pair of shoes.” The reason good shoes cost that much is that they are made to be resoled. They use quality materials, quality leather. You can expect to spend at least $300.
Suits are one of those things that if it fits you right, if the fit is perfect, you can actually wear a $200 suit and it can look like a $2,000 suit. If the suit doesn't fit you, then all of a sudden, a $2,000 suit can look like a thrifted suit that was worn by your older brother.
Focusing on the fit of the garment is incredibly important. Again, the fit with the shirt – it's also interesting. I've got a good infographic out there. It basically is how a suit should fit. We talk about also how all of these points should look. But you want to look at the shoulder. You want to look at the fit on the chest. You want to look at the length of the jacket, the length of the sleeves.
All of these, they're probably better served if they can look at the visual. It'll tell them in a matter of seconds.
Andrea: Right. We'll include that link in the show notes so that they can go there.
Antonio: Sounds good. But it's one of those things you want to make sure you have all of this, that it comes together. You want to make sure that you try it on at least once a year. You're looking for making sure moths haven't damaged it if you have a warning. You're making sure it still fits you, because you may have gained 20 pounds.
Again, you're just making sure. A lot of us have got emergency first aid kits. Think of that with your suit, especially if you don't wear it very often. It's your emergency go-to suit.
You want the color to be charcoal gray or navy blue. Those are the two safest colors. Now, if you've got really dark black hair – let's say you're of south Indian descent, or perhaps you're Irish, and you've got really dark hair and you've got lighter skin – you could pull off a black, but I'm going to recommend a charcoal for most men. A medium gray, it will work in most situations. A navy blue is perfectly acceptable and very common as well here in the United States.
Once you start going into patterns like pinstripes, all of a sudden, because more of a business attire and isn't as versatile – it's more memorable – lighter colored suits, those are for the summer months. They're never formal. Light colored suits are truly never formal. They can be worn in some cases. Some people try to pull them off in a formal situation, but it's never actually correct.
That would be the one thing. With the multiple items in there – let me think what else with that. I'm not going to recommend particular items, but I'm going to hard back on fit.
I recommend always three things to any man that goes through any of my courses. If you've listened to any of my videos, you'll know fit, fabric, and style.
The number one thing with fit is you need to know the name of your tailor. Why I say that, because if you don't know the name of your tailor, you obviously don't have one that you're going and seeing enough, and you're not taking him enough clothing so that you actually get an introduction.
This is something that I recommend every man should have and find a tailor, because when you wear clothing that fits, you were talking a little bit about what makes a man look sexy. What makes a man look attractive? It's when his natural masculine traits are accentuated by the jacket which over the last couple hundred years has been designed to accentuate our chest, the size of our hands, the taper from our chest down to our torso, to show the back curvature of the buttocks.
All of these show and they make what appear to be a very strong male. It doesn't matter if it's men or women. They want to be around a healthy, strong male. Men, because they want someone who's got their back.
Andrea: This is biology. Absolutely.
Antonio: Yeah. Exactly. We go back tens of thousands of years. Do you want someone with a spear who is going to protect your back, or do you want someone who literally you're scared isn't going to be able to hold his ground? If you are a female, do you want someone that's going to be able to protect you and your children, or someone that is not being able to pull his own weight?
It's subliminal. It's something that we can't even consciously articulate what we're feeling here.
Andrea: It's so automatic. It's the reptilian part of our brain. The flight-freeze response. It's automatic, and it becomes activated.
They did a documentary on sexual attraction and how our eyes are scanning and our brains are becoming activated and stimulated in certain areas of our brain depending upon the main body areas in men and women. I think your suggestions of accentuating those areas both for men and women, knowing what those body areas are, it accentuates those most important parts of our physique.
Antonio: I think I've seen this, actually. I think they're walking on a treadmill, and it actually shows the men. What's interesting is if a woman is watching a man, he will start to sway his shoulders a bit more.
Antonio: If you think about it, with a suit jacket, your shoulders grow by about an inch on average on each side. All of a sudden, the sway becomes even more easily noticeable.
From a distance, a woman can identify a man coming towards her, because she sees the shoulder movement and the size of the shoulders. Based off that sway – I don't want some guy going into a night club and thinking “Oh, Antonio told me just go in and swing my shoulders.” They may just think you're dancing.
But with a woman, it was the hips. Men focus in on that. We look at the size of the hip. We look at the ratio from the waist to the hip area, and that's why we are just drawn to certain shapes.
I could attest. We'll laser focus in on this.
Andrea: Right. I think knowing that information can allow men to focus on certain areas of their style and their physique and their appearance, and then women can accentuate those parts that we know biologically men are drawn to. These are some really interesting strategies in how we can use clothes and style and hygiene to be able to maximize that, whether we're single or, in this case, when we're married and we're in a relationship with somebody, how to maintain that through the years and over time so that it maintains that freshness and that draw and that attractiveness in the long term of the relationship as it evolves.
Antonio: Exactly. I've got a question for you, Andrea. Why do women wear high heels?
Andrea: I think because it allows us to appear taller, to actually allow our muscle structure to fall in a certain way. Maybe it accentuates our hips or our buttocks area.
Antonio: You nailed it. It makes your legs look longer. It accentuates your buttocks. Overall, it gives us a more what is in current society to be – what we assume to be a more attractive, a more fertile look.
Now, are high heels super comfortable?
Antonio: But women still wear it, because they know that it works. They know that this is something that they can slip into these and instantly they're a couple inches taller. All of a sudden, they have a different type of walk. When you walk in high heels, you sway your hips a bit more.
For men – and this is going to one of the excuses I hear for guys – “Well, I'm not used to wearing a sports jacket. I have a blazer, but I never wear it.” Well, this is where practicing it – wearing it, actually – you're going to find that you actually enjoy wearing it. It is one of those things. It's basically equivalent to high heels for women.
When you throw on that jacket, people wow. Your chest looks like it's built up more. Your arms look larger. Your hands look larger. The body structure – your waist looks like you've lost ten to 15 pounds. Whenever guys are thinking that, it's one of those things they can just throw on and instantly gives them a more masculine look.
Andrea: Right. Now, we're going to be wrapping up the show in a moment, but I do want to ask this last question. What are some main to-dos that you'd like our male audience – listeners – to do that they can easily implement and apply today and start incorporating some of those habits? Do you have some suggestions of tips where men can get started? What would those immediate suggestions be?
Antonio: Really quick, I would say that one thing I will challenge men is to try to refrain dressing sharp with somehow not being masculine. If you look at the greatest warriors – I was in the Marine Corps. We cared about our appearance. In fact, look at the history of tons of pieces of clothing. You'll find most of them come from the military, whether it be the trench coat, whether it be the way that trousers are particularly cut a bit high, whether it be the Blucher dress shoe. All of this has a military heritage.
When you can look at it that way, when you understand that the boutonniere has a military background and actually the flowers, they were to symbolize how short and fragile life is, all of a sudden, you aren't really concerned of what others are thinking, because you know you're right. It isn't a matter of opinion.
It's a matter of “Hey, this is worn in this manner, because it has historically worked as a very strong heritage. In fact, I love wearing a scarf, because my great great grandfather was a World War I pilot, and it reminds me that this is what he used – a silk scarf – to prevent chafing on his neck.
I love seeing guys understand that, because by taking that little bit of action and then starting to wear it, all of a sudden, they start feeling the rewards. Don't be afraid to lead. Go out there. Don't be afraid to be the best dressed man in the room.
Accept the compliments. Say “Thank you” for them. You even plan what you're going to say when people compliment you, and then carry on with whatever. Whether you're a doctor, whether you're a banker, whether you are a DJ, people have a vision of what a successful person in your profession is like. Make sure to live up to that, and don't betray the expectation, because when you do that, that's when all of a sudden you're going to have barriers pop up that you didn't expect.
Andrea: Right. Right. No, it's true. Speaking of scarves, I know one afternoon, my fiancé and I happened to be wearing a scarf and walking out of breakfast shop. Everyone was looking at us. My fiancé said “Honey, do you ever think that when people look at us, it's like we're somebody special?”
I think that sometimes you get that feedback where people are kind of noticing maybe some of those simple things, like just having a basic scarf on, and how that can draw attention and kind of draw this clout or this respect maybe from others around you in society. I think that it's definitely worth investing the time and energy to make this a priority in our lives, to feel good, and to have a positive impact in our relationships as well.
Antonio: Andrea, I've got a question for you. When do you think we stop feeling special? Because I don't know. I look at my daughters and my son. I encourage them to be somebody special. I think all of us are somebody special. We've all got something to give to this life. Don't be afraid to lead. Don't be afraid to shine.
Andrea: Absolutely. I think it's important for us to show up as our best selves, because that actually has a ripple effect for benefit to our society. I do see that being a fruitful endeavor.
As far as when we do that, I think it's different for every person. I think it depends on the person. I think just the habit of getting busy and using that as maybe an excuse and really saying “You know, I want to dedicate time to go to the gym” or “I want to dedicate time to go get a massage or get dressed in a very nice, sophisticated way”, I think it takes time. Making that a priority is important.
It's a choice that we make. I guess we get consequences either way. That's why I wanted to have you on today, so you can highlight the benefits of this and how the men out there can integrate some of these strategies in very simple ways.
Thank you so much, Antonio, for coming on today. There you have it. I hope you found this podcast interesting – as interesting and informative as I did. To get access to the show notes and links mentioned in the show, go to truepotentialccounseling.com.
If you liked this podcast, if you could please leave a review so I can have more impact and reach more people. It would really mean so much to me if you could take the time to visit truepotentialcounseling.com/review. It will take you directly to the iTunes page where you can easily leave a review.
We have some amazing guests coming up. Lindsey Lewis, who is a happiness expert, and Nitika Chopra from Bella Life. Thank you and we will catch you next week.
Thanks for listening to Lovecast by True Potential at www.truepotentialcounseling.com.