Monday, February 7, 2011

Social Study: Guys, Girls, and Style

Background: People often ask about my experience as a woman working in and designing menswear. I get a good amount of questions from guys asking my opinion about style, and of course the standard "Um, can you take a look at my shirt? I think I (insert a variety of damaging behavior from daytime fails and nighttime blunders)."

But at the end of the day, I wonder if guys in general  feel open to or are even seeking the opinion or approval from women in their sartorial experience.

Method: In this so very scientific study, I tweeted to the masses (and some more pointed folks* to balance out the group among style guys, married/commited guys, proudly non-commited guys, manly man guys, etc.) asking if women were a major influencer in their style decisions. This is just part of some of what you taught me:

Personal favorite response: "the right girl"

Conclusions: As it turns out, responses were pretty split down the middle. Some guys do it all for the ladies, while others just lean on your own personal style and attention of the female variety is a nice bonus. But a lot of agreement came around the idea of confidence being what women recognize, more so than any article of clothing. So is there some confidence soap you guys are scrubbing up with in the morning?

What do you think? Is it women, guy friends, blogs, or just your taste that influences how you leave the house? 

*People with protected tweets have names withheld to protect the innocent


  1. Anonymous2/08/2011

    I was raised that people judge you by your appearance, whether you like it or not. This goes beyond "women". It goes into how I'm viewed by my boss, teacher, family, friend, elder, bartender, etc etc. etc. If you treat yourself with respect and maintain a respectable appearance, others respect that.

    It should be organic and a part of who you are, however. Some people we might not care to impress. ie. I don't dress for all women, I dress for a certain type of woman... one that meets my values.

    You can't please everyone. And if you do, always trying to please others (i.e. the opposite sex) breeds a lack of confidence. (completely unattractive)

    do a study with hundreds of men across all demographics and you'll still get different answers and not have as much of a conclusion.

    I think you could find 3 or 4 major factors or elements that influence the way a man presents his self and find that men just value and apply each element differently.

  2. Thanks for the input!

    I think you're getting at a similar point that arose from a lot of the guys in the chatter that happened beyond the initial question. For whatever reason you strapping gents take care of your appearance, it all comes down to the confidence that is birthed from feeling you look your best. Extrapolations of success (in work, with women, etc) because of that confidence could be drawn here, but I digress.

    Using my experience talking w/ guys about style was the springboard for a greater discussion. Perhaps something interesting will come of all of this!

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  4. I mostly dress for myself, but a lot of how I like to dress is simply to portray confidence in a *subtle* way. Nothing dramatic that screams "I'm trying!". Obviously because dress is part of your style/confidence/personality, how other people view it plays into it, which includes women.

    I'd say the little comments from women or men don't have a significant/short-term effect, but compiled overtime I'm sure the comments shape part of my long-term style.

    I would also say that as a very general statement, women pick up on style cues more so than men (and a lot of less confident men actually see certain style as a negative). So to a degree yes, it's more shaped by women, but largely because they take care to notice.

    For a large part of high school and college I dressed more in the image that a girlfriend or group of friends saw me as or how they wanted me to dress. After finally discovering myself (so vague and artsy, I know), which is basically to say finally had more confidence, I started dressing how I wanted. I think being able to experience all those different styles (through all those girlfriends/group of friends) allowed me experiment and play with style (unknowingly, of course), which eventually allowed me to pick my own unique style.

    Some personal fashion: