“I love a man in a good suit. My dad [Edward Fox] has the most beautiful suits that he wore when he was in Edward and Mrs Simpson (1978) – and still wears to this day, 36 years on. They are so timeless and elegant, so much so that my brother Fred wears a lot of them now. Which proves just how useful a well-cut suit is for a man.” – Emilia Fox, Actress (for Esquire)
Striking a balance between what you’re comfortable in and what sparks the affection of the woman of your dreams is a tough wardrobe challenge. But whether you are already married or have your eye on someone special, or just want to impress in general, it’s worth going the extra mile with your wardrobe. We’ve done some scientific-ish research (thanks to Esquire, Men’s Health, Ties and Modern Man for the leg-work) and have put together a guide to what women want men to wear.
The consensus is that a well-cut suit or a classic white tee with dark jeans are no-fail favourites among women. It’s not surprising – they are timeless combinations and if fitted correctly, both options highlight all your best features while subtly disguising the worst. If you possess neither, or those you do possess are in need of replacement, get shopping!
Fabric quality is important to women – we can tell if you are wearing a cheap suit or an acrylic jumper. We are tactile creatures so add some crisp cotton, Merino and soft cashmere to your wardrobe for instant points (and hugs).
When it comes to individual items, 85% of women in Men’s Health Magazine survey, and said that flat-front pants are hot: pleats are most definitely out. But make sure they aren’t too short either: 32.3% of Esquire’s ladies named it as their worst fashion crime. Dress shirts with French cuffs impress 41.9% of ladies, with plain white tees receiving approval from 42% (told you!). Ties are in, but according to 71% of women, a plain colour with some texture is sexiest – leave the tiny duck print ties at home.
The results are mixed when it comes to colour. Modern Man published an article that stated according to researchers at the University of Rochester, red is irresistible and encourages women to view guys who wear red as more attractive and of a higher social status. However, the majority of Esquire’s survey participants felt that blue was the most flattering colour. We’ll leave that one up to personal choice then…
Whichever survey you look at, the shoes you wear play a big role in shaping that all-important first impression (second only to grooming according to Ties.com). Buy the best you can afford, in leather, and keep them clean and maintained.
Trainers have their place but on a date, leather loafers or lace-ups are a must to show you are serious about your date, and yourself. To back this up, the Men’s Health Magazine Survey revealed that 26% of women feel that men should own and wear leather loafers for their cool, sophisticated vibe; followed by dress boots.
A word of warning about socks though, 25.8% of Esquire’s ladies said that the most common fashion crime they witnessed was the wearing of athletic socks with dress shoes. Just don’t.
Style icons to emulate
Esquire’s survey participants were asked which style icon they would pick for their man to emulate. Crisp tailoring won hands-down with George Clooney’s classic look scoring 61.3%, while Johnny Depp’s alternative, rugged un-doneness only scored 25.8%. This doesn’t surprise me at all – and more men can work Clooney’s look than Depp’s.
For women, it’s really all about how much of an effort a man makes with his appearance: wearing clothes that fit, flatter and are cared for, buying great shoes and grooming well all go a long way. If in doubt – go with a classic white shirt, chinos and a pair of leather loafers.
What all surveys and interviews have in common, however, is that confidence is by far the sexiest thing a man can wear. Nail that, and you’ll always impress.
The Gentlemanual: The 10 Things Women Find Most Attractive in Men’s Style
Esquire: What looks good on a man
Esquire: What Women Want Their Men to Wear
Ties: 10 things women wish you’d stop wearing
Modern Man: What women want men to wear according to science