but these two are already doing battle.
A battle of words…
A battle of personalities…
And a battle of styles.
Street versus dapper. Who's the winner? And is it really that simple?
For those who aren't aware—Conor McGregor, the sharp-dressing, sharp-tongued Irish MMA fighter with a cult following, has challenged Floyd Mayweather, retired superstar boxer, to a boxing match.
Floyd Mayweather is a five-division world champion, undefeated in his professional career and arguably the greatest boxer of all time. Conor McGregor is not a professional boxer. Does he stand a chance? We'll find out on Saturday, August 26th.
Their publicity tour was marked by offensive language on both sides and dramatically contrasting outfits, with McGregor usually showing up in tailored suits and Mayweather looking very casual.
Both of these men are showmen who have deliberately chosen their looks to send a message.
Whether you like it or not, each one of us is sending a message with our appearance. People receive it instantly and decide what kind of man you are. You can passively let that happen, or you can take control and actively tell them who you are through how you look.
What Message Are They Sending?
Both McGregor and Mayweather are in the public eye. They have to project a very strong image. They also know and play on how they contrast with each other—they ARE engaged in a style battle, because how they present themselves is part of how they psyche their opponents out.
In this video McGregor rips on Mayweather's street style, calling him out for dressing like “a little 12-year-old breakdancer b****… you're 40 years of age, dress your f***ing age!… What are you doing with a schoolbag on stage? You can't even read!”
I must say I agree with most of McGregor's points here. I'm a strong believer in dressing like a man, not a boy. I also feel strongly about backpacks. No man should wear a backpack with professional clothing—although with how he's dressed, Mayweather would look pretty funny with a briefcase.
I'd have stopped short of taunting him about his education, though—he dropped out of high school to take care of his mom when she was struggling with drug addiction.
Mayweather's background is legitimate ‘street'. As one of the world's highest-paid athletes, a savvy businessman, and CEO of his own company, he is consciously choosing to dress true to his roots. In my opinion, he's using it as a form of ‘power dressing'—sending the message, ‘I'm a tough fighter from the mean streets'.
McGregor, a working-class Irish boy, is stepping away from his origins and power dressing in the traditional sense – putting clothes that spell social and financial power on a body that spells physical power. He's sending the message, ‘I'm superior to you in every way.'
Both of these messages boil down to, ‘I'm the strongest in mind as well as body.' And both have more behind them than meets the eye.
McGregor may dress like a gentleman, but he doesn't act like one. He's a foul-mouthed, insult-slinging force of nature who's just as happy to underdress outrageously when he feels like it. He showed up at the Grand National—Britain's famous horse race with a tradition of smart dress—flashing his tattooed chest in an open shirt and flip-up shades.
And let's take a closer look at that suit he's wearing in the last picture. Those ‘pinstripes' are in fact the words ‘F*** YOU' in tiny letters, repeated over and over again. No outfit could sum up Conor McGregor more perfectly.
Speaking for myself, you wouldn't catch me in a suit like this. I believe in manners as an essential part of masculine style and a key to success—and there are plenty of martial artists who'll agree with me. But you can't deny that he's sending a powerful message—far more powerful for being woven into the pinstripes of an exquisitely cut custom suit rather than displayed on a t-shirt.
Mayweather isn't averse to sending an obvious message through a suit, either. Here he is displaying the meaning of his nickname, ‘Money'.
Now, this is a silly-looking fancy-dress suit. It's not well-fitted, it's not even trying to be stylish, it's just trying to be outrageous. And it succeeds.
You might think from this that Mayweather doesn't know how to suit up properly, but actually, he can bring a very strong suit game when he wants to. When these two both dress their sharpest, it's an unstoppable style force meeting an immovable style object.
Point By Point—Who's Winning The Style War
Hair/Lack Of Hair Game
McGregor is rocking a stylish short undercut with a high skin fade and a shaved part. The undercut is a modern, attention-getting, edgy style that suits his personality perfectly. The fade is inspired by military haircuts and gives it a tougher edge, while the shaved part gives it enough structure and precision to go with his dapper outfits.
Mayweather has a shaved head. Research shows a shaved head makes men look 13% stronger, as well as taller and more dominant. At 40, Mayweather might be beginning to lose his hair, in which case it will also make him look younger—vital for a fighter going up against a much younger man.
Facial Hair Game
Both guys have beards that balance out their style! Mayweather's circle beard gives him a neater appearance, which carries the message that his ‘street' look is absolutely intentional and keeps him from looking too sloppy.
McGregor has a full beard, which is as masculine as a shaved head and communicates that while he may be wearing a sharp suit, he's still a beast.
Most of the time, McGregor is winning this easily. Mayweather's clothes are well-fitted for what they are, but next to a custom tailored suit, a hoodie is never going to look fitted.
However, we can see here that when he does dress up, Mayweather also packs quite a punch.
Winner: Conor McGregor
Dressing For Body Type
Different things look good on different body types. Both Mayweather and McGregor obviously have a muscular build, which means a lot of off-the-rack clothes won't fit them. Both seem to understand the tricks of dressing for their shape, including wide lapels and wide ties to make them look proportional, and shirts that fit them closely enough to show off their proportions without being too tight.
Dressing For Coloring
Mayweather as a Black man and McGregor as a low-contrast pale strawberry-blond both have colors that suit them and colors that don't.
McGregor wears a lot of light blue suits—an unusual choice, but it looks right on him and keeps his coloring from looking too soft and delicate. It also keeps the contrast between his shirt and his suit from looking too stark and overpowering him. When he's not in blue he's often in navy—never black, which would make him look deathly sick.
Mayweather, on the other hand, knows he can rock bold and strong colors, and he can also wear pastels, like that pink outfit above. The colors you most commonly see him in are black, red, and gold—warm colors suit dark skin tones. I'm not so sure about that blue-gray suit on him, but it's a rare exception so I'll give him a pass.
Mayweather does pay attention to his accessories. He's rarely seen without his gold chains, communicating power, wealth, and status. McGregor's immaculately folded pocket squares and lapel flowers communicate the same thing in a very different way. However, Mayweather has to lose a point for that backpack.
Winner: Conor McGregor
So for me at least, the overall winner has to be McGregor. But it was a close fight—closer than you might have expected!
Each of these men is totally committed to sending the message that THEY choose to send. What about you? What's your message—and how committed are you to sending it?