As male lawyers, it’s easy to think that it’s a lost cause trying to stand out as a good dresser. Most women don’t comprehend the meaning of not being a good dresser, but the average straight male lawyer is essentially a desk (or court) bound working professional who dons the standard-issue shirt, trousers and leather shoes ensemble day in and day out. But before I proceed, allow me to tell you more about my A/S/L.
My name is Rudi Cheu. I studied Law, passed the CLP and subsequently joined Denning IT Sdn. Bhd. – the purveyors of Malaysia’s Best Law Practice, Management & Accounting System. You probably have already heard of it – the Denning Law Office Suite. In whatever free time I can muster, I enjoy making music, playing with (basket)balls and frequenting the gym. And oh, I write a blog titled “Straight Eye for the Straight Guy” – an amateur guide to dressing, behaving and living better for the straight guy next door.
But enough about me. Let’s talk about you.
Demographically speaking, you’re probably a 20 to 40-something legal professional who is not necessarily a shabby dresser, but like the 95% of 20 to 40-something legal professionals out there, you’re probably a “meh” dresser. You shop for your work clothes at department stores, you buy shoes that are “comfortable” and you think that wearing brown leather is for… un-straight people. Well, my task today and from here forth is to give you practical, instantly-applicable tips on how to un-meh your sense of style.
Benefits of adhering to these tips include, but are not limited to:
Increased levels of attraction from the opposite sex;
skyrocketing confidence and swagger;
more success in court trials where judges are members of the opposite gender; and of course,
my (in)valuable seal of approval. Ha. Ha. Ha.
Tip Number One – F.I.T.
It’s amazing how the most important ingredient of being a good dresser can be summed up in 3 letters – F. I. T.
Contrary to popular belief, dressing well isn’t so much about wearing the trendiest, hippest, most fashionable pieces of clothing commercially available today. In fact, that could very well have the opposite effect.
Dressing well is about fit
How well your shirt sits on your shoulders. How tapered your trousers are in relation to your legs. Where your pant leg break is. Clothes that fit well are clothes that look like they were made for you. Like God himself sent that shirt down from Heaven and made it so that no other human being would look as good in it as you do. Like at the end of the day, when you undress and leave your shirt and trousers strewn across your bed, anyone would recognize you just by looking at them. Can a brother get an Amen?
Don’t seek out shirts and trousers that look “comfortable”. A little bit of extra cloth here … a little bit of breathing room there … is only going to make you look like you’re too poor to afford anything but hand-me-downs.
But don’t get me wrong. I’m not suggesting buying the tightest shirt nor the snuggest pair of trousers you can find. All I’m saying is that your clothes should look like they suit you – shirts that gently follow the contours of your body. A pair of trousers that is cut to sit nicely on your hips. Pant legs that break just above your ankle.
Not only will good fit make you look materially (P.I.) better in an overall sense – you’ll also give off the appearance of looking more polished, professional and vibrant.
Start off by shopping at stores like Zara and Topman instead of buying your shirts from department stores – you’re more likely to find tapered, fitting shirts and trousers that flatter you. If you can afford getting your clothes tailored, then by all means, do so. Bring a (aesthetically inclined female) friend along to give you feedback on your clothing choices. There is nothing that looks better on a man (with the exception of a beautiful woman) than clothes that fit him.
Tip Number Two – Variety
If you think that having three white shirts, a pair of black trousers and some “comfortable” black leather shoes are all you need until you finally get off on pension … you need professional help. Or alternatively, you could just apply tip number two!
Men are creatures of variety. We grow tired of eating the same food every single day. We dread the same work commute each morning. We bore of the same woma… no we don’t. We love our women (woman).
Clothes should be no exception. If you’re not sick of wearing the exact same white shirt every 3 days, I’ll wager with you that other people (read: attractive, single females at your workplace) are. It’s of course no crime to enjoy wearing an article of clothing that fits you well and looks good on you. But neither is it a crime to enjoy a little variety when it comes to your workplace get-up.
Rather than go on a list of hyperboles and adjectives about the virtues of variety in dressing, I am going to be bona fide straight guy and lay it on you, bullet-point form. You need to own the following:
Several crisp oxford shirts in these colors: white, light blue and gray.
At least two pairs of trousers: one in black and one in gray.
At least two pair of leather shoes: one black and one dark brown.
At least two pairs of belts: one black, the other dark brown (to match your shoes).
A minimum of three ties: one plain black, one plain navy blue and a black polka dot tie for good measure.
Two blazers/suit jackets: one black, the other navy blue.
Tip Number Three – Confidence
Now this is not strictly a “dressing” tip, but I felt it too important to leave out.
Even if you’re dressed to the nines in an Armani suit. Even if Marc Jacobs personally knit your trousers from lamb’s wool found only in the remotest regions of Tibet. Even if 10,000 cows had to die and be skinned to piece together the perfect pair of leather shoes at the molecular level for you… all of that blood, that sweat and animal tears would be in vain if you lack the one thing necessary to top it all off. You only get one clue as to what it is. It starts with “C” and ends with “e” and has “onfidenc” in the middle. Or, you could just look at the section title.
The best looking man in the world would look unattractive if he lacked confidence. The (reasonably) worst looking man in the world would have a fighting chance if he ran on a full tank of CONFIDENCE-97. The reality is, if you stammer every sentence, drag your feet, walk around with your head hung low and fidget like a mad person wherever you go – no style tip is going to save you.
You are who you are – and you might as well get used to it. Practice good posture. Keep your chin up. Speak slowly and clearly. Look people in the eye when you talk to them. A little confidence goes a long way.
Pair that swagger with well fitting clothes and a dressing roster that keeps you looking fresh every time you step into the office… and as the poem goes “you’ll become a man, my son”.
A well-dressed man
Rudi Cheu is an LLB graduate from the University of Nottingham, England who then went on to complete his CLP after spending a year globetrotting with Singapore Airlines as a coffee/tea guy before obtaining his current occupation with Denning IT Sdn. Bhd. – the proprietor of the Denning Law Office Suite – ‘Malaysia’s premier Law Practice, Management & Accounting System’ which lets lawyers run their practices the smart way. He writes for Straight Eye for the Straight Guy, an online publication for straight guys on how to dress better, behave better and live better. He can be reached at [email protected]