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The “Point” of Men’s Fashion

Have you ever thought about why suits are considered formal? Ever wonder why men traditionally wear tuxedos on their wedding day? Or how about why celebrities (usually under the guidance of a stylist) don’t just wear t-shirts during public appearances?

fashionguy1Probably the answer to all these questions is obvious: to look good! But take it a step further: why do suits, tuxedos, and carefully constructed outfits prevail over the comfortable and simple? While there’s no “simple” response to that question, an answer that will instantly make you more attractive to women is rather simple: the point.

The point literally means where two lines meet. Imagine a suit or tuxedo jacket: when buttoned, the suit cuts a dynamic V-shape across a man’s chest meeting a point a little above his naval. Likewise, the neighboring lapels emphasize and reinforce that V. The suit has lines other than the V: the pockets, the buttonholes, the pleats (or lack thereof), ect. Yet that V-line is the most distinctive and dramatic.

All menswear—even the most casual and basic—is a forest of geometry. Yet most guys throw on clothing, completely oblivious to the lines that clothing cuts across the body and, more importantly, how those lines affect their appearance. A well-dressed man isn’t necessary rich or gay or some male model; guys who dress to attract women understand—either consciously or unconsciously—the effect what they’re wearing has on their unique appearance.

Now let’s return to the question of why certain menswear is chosen for certain situations. Any guy donning a tux usually jumps up a point or so on the 1-10 attractiveness scale. Much of that “jump” comes from the flattering lines a tuxedo creates: the well-defined silhouette, masculine shoulder roll, tapered waist, and the pronounced V.

Focusing solely on that V, guys can learn a lot about how to enhance their appearance—well beyond formalwear. Even when dressed casual, applying the principles behind suits and tuxedos can get guys dressing to look slimmer, taller, more powerful, and downright more attractive.

The V is the sacred shape of modern menswear because it leads the viewer’s eye to a man’s face. A lot of men’s fashion is concerned with that simple optical journey. The black and white contrast of a traditional tux—with no visual interruption by a necktie—dynamically leads the eye directly up to the face. Once there, the V underscores and sharpens masculine features. It visually bolsters the jawline, dramatizes the cheekbones, etc..

This is why wearing crewnecks (e.g., the collar on a traditional t-shirt) is unflattering for most men. The prolonged U-shape of a rounded collar softens those masculine features and doesn’t impel the eye upward, toward the face. (Perhaps that’s why so many t-shirts and crewnecks display large logos, emblems, and messages across the wearer’s body…good for t-shirt makers; bad for making guys look good.)

While the traditional, symmetric V-line can be found in everything from henleys to sweater vests, the V can go a step further with nontraditional cuts that produce lines that carry even more visual potential. Take, for example, a double-breasted jacket or diagonally cut leather jacket. While the point of the V still is usually centered across the chest, the asymmetrical lines create a slimming and heightening effect. Generally, any guy who wants to dress in a way that will get him looking taller or slimmer should utilize as many long, unbroken lines as he can find. Peaked lapels are another great example of such lines.

Understanding how the geometry of clothing either enhances or diminishes aspects of your appearance is the foundation on which you can later add color, patterns, fabrics, and more. Remember: menswear mostly serves as a stylish way to lead a woman’s eye to your face in a way that’s flattering. In a lot of ways “the point” of dressing well is an actual point and what you do with that point determines if your clothes are either working for you—or against you.

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About Rob J. Rob J. is a writer and dating instructor in New York City. Themes that resonate in both his teaching and writing are masculinity, genuineness, rational self-interest, and general awesomeness.


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