“Clothes maketh the man” as the saying goes, and we certainly do tend to associate specific traits with men who dress in a certain way. “Power-dressing” as the term implies, has to do with dressing so that you look authoritative, powerful, and high-status. Most men with a good sense of style will already have an idea of what this entails, but it’s possible that we can add a point or two to your list of alpha-male looks with our tips. Let’s get started!
1. Shoes Matter
Your sneakers are probably not on the list when you’re power dressing. Instead, dress shoes are essential. Elevator dress shoes pack an added punch, adding subtly to your presence by adding to your height. It’s true! Tall men have advantages, so why not boost yours with an extra little lift. Do make sure that your shoes are comfortable despite being smart. That pained expression that comes from feeling the pinch of tight shoes won’t do you any favors!
Choose black shoes to wear with black or navy and brown to go with brown suits. Although its a myth that black and brown can actually clash (they’re both neutral shades, after all,) they really don’t work well together when combined in your shoes-and-trousers combo. The shoe shade should be as dark, or darker than, the color of your trousers.
As for style, you have several options for power-dressing, but oxfords will do. Avoid patent leather finishes since your aim is to avoid flashiness at all costs. The dull shine of polished leather is all you need.
2. A Dark Suit, Light Shirt, and The Right Tie
You absolutely knew that a dark suit is the foundation of power dressing, didn’t you? But there are ways in which you can get it all wrong, ruining the effect. The most important thing about your suit, other than its color, is that it should fit as if it were made for you. In fact, if you can afford to go all-out, getting a custom-tailored suit is a great move. If you can’t, be sure to shop at a store that works according to your measurements and that’s willing to handle alterations.
Although any light colored shirt should work with your suit, white or pale blue are best. When in doubt, choose the cool, crispness of a white shirt. You absolutely can’t go wrong with this fashion basic and it’s super-versatile, adding a smart touch to anything you pair it with.
If there’s one area where men get the dark suit look wrong, it’s in their choice of tie. Brightly-colored ties, even plain ones, simply don’t fit the bill. A plain, dark tie, or one with an understated, repeating pattern delivers the message you’re trying to get across. Bright ties will overpower your outfit, drawing the eye away from the rest of your well-put-together look and adding a jarring note.
3. Never Forget to Consider Your Socks!
When you’re standing up, nobody is going to see your socks, but once you sit down, that’s going to change. A glimpse of mismatched, garish, or worn-out socks will ruin your efforts. Choose a dark color with a subtle print, remembering that that sneak peek at your hosiery is going to form part of the overall impression.
You’ve definitely spent time on the quality and fit of your other clothing items, so carry this through to your socks. A good fit really does matter and good quality dress socks are more likely to fit smoothly across the ankle without wrinkling.
4. The Right Accessories for a Finishing Touch
Now that your overall look is boardroom (or ballroom) ready, it’s time to add a few accessories to round it off. As with the rest of your look, your choices will be restrained and subtle rather than in-your-face obvious. First up are the cufflinks. Yes, gentlemen! Cufflinks are making a comeback as an essential for the well-dressed man. Opt for understated gold or onyx for a sleek look and consider adding a simple but tasteful tie clip – yet another accessory that’s rising in popularity once more.
Then, there’s the pocket square which is, surprise, surprise, not a handkerchief at all. It’s an optional extra, and you do need to know how to fold it just right. If you don’t like the addition or aren’t sure how to make it work for you, give it a miss rather than getting it wrong.
5. Choose a Signature Fragrance and Don’t Overdo It
While fragrance shouldn’t be overlooked, there are pitfalls to look out for. Cheap cologne is cheap for a reason – namely, it isn’t very good. But even the most expensive fragrances won’t do you justice if they don’t match your skin chemistry.
When choosing a fragrance, take your time. Test one, single fragrance and wear it for a day to see how it changes over time. A good fragrance should last all day, and one that suits you won’t start to smell stale as the hours pass. Never just go bananas at the first whiff of a fragrance – the top notes wear off quickly, and the way it smells once they do will be among the deciding factors. Also, don’t try to test multiple fragrances at once. It’s simply too much for your senses to process.
On the subject of “too much,” always be conservative when applying a fragrance. A “less is more” approach is the winning strategy. Remember, your nose becomes accustomed to a fragrance so that you barely notice it, but that can’t be said for other people you encounter. Just a drop will do!
6. Hair and Facial Hair
You’r probably aware that a neat, crisp hair and facial hair style are needed to round off your power dressing efforts. But there’s more to hair than just neatness. Choose styles that match the shape of your face and get advice from a men’s hairstylist if you’re not sure you’re getting it right. For power dressing, short, sleek styles are top of the list, but if you’re going with long hair, a tightly pulled back ponytail tied low at the nape of your neck will do the trick.
Looking Great! Now Add Power With Your Presence
With your clothing precise to a pin, it’s time to step out and knock ‘em dead. Good posture is a healthy habit, and it helps you to look confident and in control. Combine that with quiet, restrained good manners and your well-considered clothing choices. Your power-image is ready to go!