Women’s clothes are really complicated. If we want to feel fashionable, we have to select outfits that satisfy about a billion unspoken rules.
Staring into our packed closets, we throw random pieces together while wondering if our creation will come off as overdressed or sloppy, too frumpy or too revealing. Do we stick to safe neutrals, and if not, what pairs well with aubergine? Is this a cool red or a warm red?
Do the proportions of this shirt work with the proportions of this skirt, and what kind of shoes should I wear with this hem length? Does my purse match? Am I over-accessorized?
And it’s exhausting. Especially when you compare this process to how a man typically gets dressed, which I roughly picture as selecting one item from Column A (tank top, T-shirt, or button-down) to wear with a corresponding item from Column B (jeans, khakis, or trousers), then making sure both items pass the Sniff Test.
The good news is that since men spend less time thinking about clothes in general, they probably don’t care nearly as much about the details of yours as you might think.
So if you are trying to impress your girlfriends, knock yourselves out. But with guys, you don’t need to worry so much. A quick disclaimer: Obviously, I believe women have every right to dress however they choose and don’t believe they are always trying to impress men, but I’m talking to the ones that are.
Every guy is different, of course, with individual tastes and preferences. But here are some general rules, from my experience, about stuff that men will actually notice:
- COLORS: Women’s eyes are trained to detect micro-variations in shade, so most of us have had the bizarre experience of wondering how a man could possibly have just called a color “red,” when it was clearly somewhere in the coral to tangerine range.
Red rules. Many studies have found that men find women significantly more attractive when they are are wearing red. It’s an unconscious thing dating back to when we were primates.
Apart from red, men like seeing women in black or white. Black looks elegant or edgy, and white looks pure.
Apart from that, men probably don’t care what color you are wearing, as long as you don’t look like a melted box of crayons.
2. MATERIALS: Men really like suede. It’s fuzzy and they want to touch it, like angora. Picture Lenny from Of Mice and Men.
They also like lace, because it looks feminine.
3. SHOES: Men don’t notice or care neatly as much about shoes as we do, with a couple of exceptions.
They really like heels. Partly because they are feminine (men can’t wear them) and partly because they make you stand differently (heels push out your behind).
They also like tall leather boots, especially with a heel.
They do not tend to like clogs or Crocs.
4. SHAPE: Pick one asset to show off, because that’s attractive without looking trashy.
By this, I mean it’s good to show off your bust, behind, back, or legs, because men definitely find it appealing. Just don’t show them all off at once, or you will look cheap.
This means, if you wear a low-cut or tight shirt, don’t wear it with a miniskirt. If your clothes are tight, show less skin, and vice-versa.You’re trying to pin down “sexy” before it hits “slutty.”
5. HAIR: Men usually prefer long hair.
Women tend to dissect a variety of potential hairstyles, ranging from pixie to long. They analyze their face shape and select a style that supposedly shows it off to best advantage, often chopping off inches of hair in the process.
Their girlfriends will rave about how “cute” the new look is, and I can’t help but wonder if it’s a subconscious instinct to level the playing field, because most men will look at the new haircut and just think “it’s shorter.” With disapproval.
6. MAKEUP: From what I’ve gathered, men have different preferences when it comes to makeup, but there seem to be a couple major camps: those who say they don’t like makeup and those that do.
Those who don’t like makeup say they prefer the “natural look,” which means they don’t like obvious makeup. So, go ahead and groom your hair and eyebrows, curl your lashes, use concealer, and possibly natural-toned makeup, just don’t wear cakey foundation or bright-colors. Keep the illusion that you happened to wake up looking this good.
Those who do like makeup still don’t have the eye for subtlety that most women (who have been applying makeup for ages) possess. So, these kind of guys tend to prefer red lipstick or kohl-rimmed eyes. I suggest picking one or the other, however, or you might look clownish.
7. UNDERGARMENTS: One strange fact that I’ve picked up about men’s is that they really, really like the color of your bra and panties to match.
They don’t seem to care much about whether you picked up your underwear at a fancy lingerie store or Kohls, just that the color on top matches the color on the bottom.
Not that they mind if your underwear is fancy, mind you, but color-matching appears to be the most important detail.
While I feel fairly confident about these guidelines, by the way, I still struggle to understand the importance of the mani-pedi.
Long glorified as one of the most important tools in the female bag of tricks, women spend much time, money, and mental energy on getting a good manicure and/or pedicure.
Sure, I’m certain that curly, yellow toenails and dirty fingernails are a turnoff, but do men really change their minds about a woman’s attractiveness based on the magnificence of her manicure?
Some men seem to like long nails, others the French or red manicure. But do they notice or care about little flower designs painted across her middle finger?
I still can’t figure out if it’s worth it.