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And, because other people matter, the way you interact with them matters.
Clothing & masculinity Things like loyalty, cooperation, honor, integrity, and tribe matter.

Appearance has always mattered to men. If you can’t get on board with that concept, then you have no business
being part of this program. Because this is not about the functional and
Full stop, no exceptions. physical aspects clothing.

Now, that’s not to say that looking good, following the latest fashions, or Yes those components are peppered throughout, but the bulk of this guide
knowing this season’s “it” color has always mattered - nor that it should. is to help you understand the social and practical aspects of your
In this program you’ll learn about how men have defined their relationship
with their appearance - especially through their clothing and why it’s One of the largest things that separates man from beast is our ability to
something that should continue to matter to you. create and use tools. From the first clubs we bashed each other on the
head with, to the technology that allows you to read and understand this
Because the reality is, that as long as you have eyes to see and other course right now - tools are a key definition of both humanity and
people to interact with, the way men look has an impact on your world. masculinity.

And, before you go off saying that what other people think of you shouldn’t Tools are amoral. They can be used for good or for ill. They can rob a man
matter, think of this. of his masculinity or help him enhance it. The tool has no moral value or
utility on its own - only in the way it’s used by each individual man.
Other people matter.
Your style is a tool. It can be used to enhance your masculinity or detract
Other people matter so much that solitary confinement has come to be from it. On its own, it’s useless. But, when used correctly it can be an
recognized as one of the most brutal forms of punishment for a human effective method for bettering nearly every aspect of your life.
Kings, priests, warriors, monks, and myriad other men have understood this
Imagine being unable to speak to or interact with another person ever for millennia.
The purpose of this program is to give you the tools and teach you how to
It would be hell. use them. It’s on you to do so, to develop the know how and expertise, and
to start reaping the benefits!
You may not need a whole lot of contact. You may need it daily. The
quantity doesn’t matter. What does matter is recognizing that you will
always need other people in your life.
He’s wearing understated suits and shirts with a minimal stripe
Clothes don’t make the man pattern. They don’t draw any undo attention but also communicate
some intentionality and a lack of a uniform to his look. The ensemble
evokes power and the subtly implies that he dresses this way
because he wants to, not because he has a boss who tells him to.

While it’s true that men have always used appearance as a way to The ties are the strongest aspects of the look. Ties have a very phallic
signal our virtue to each other, this doesn’t mean we are being honest imagery and the bolder color tells a story of confidence with this
with the story we’re telling. association. He doesn’t have to blend into the crowd because he’s
confident enough to stand out - even if it’s in a subtle way that fits
Take a look at the two photos below. within the guidelines of his given wardrobe.

Basically the story his clothing is telling is one of competence,

confidence, power, wealth, status, and discipline - not bad stories to
tell at all.

Notice that all of those are amoral. There are both good and bad men
who embody the above list and Bale has played both in his career.

In the photo on the left he is Patrick Bateman, the terrifying serial killer
of American Psycho. Bateman is a man who uses his power, wealth,
and status for sinister purposes.

In the photo on the right he is Bruce Wayne - billionaire,

philanthropist, superhero who uses his means, influence, and stature
to help save and protect the citizens of the city he loves.

Both may wear the same clothes and therefor set up their stories with
the same background, but there is a very large distinction between
hero and villain.
Both are of actor Christian Bale in two very different roles. Before
elaborating on the differences, pay attention to the similarities.
The clothes you choose to wear won’t signal your moral status, but
they will help you communicate your amoral strength, courage,
In both shots he has medium-length, straight hair - a style that’s
mastery, and honor.
associated with money and refinement.
a transformation at the mall.
Antipathy, indifference, & If Cal were truly indifferent to his appearance, he would have put up
affinity no resistance to Jacob’s attempts to improve his appearance.

However, because he resists him at nearly every step along the way
WATCH THE VIDEO HERE it’s easy to see that part of how he identifies himself and sees his
place within the world is wrapped up in the clothes he wears.
If all of this has mattered to men across cultures and throughout time,
why don’t we seem to care as much anymore?

The truth is most of us do, we just see aesthetic indifference as the

uniform of acceptable masculinity and dress accordingly.

Some men hold to this belief so strongly that they will immediately
disqualify any male with more than a functional concern for his
clothing from being a man. Words like gay, metrosexual, effeminate,
and others that separate outliers from the main tribe of masculinity are
applied in an attempt to get these men to see the light and overcome
their concern for appearance.

The irony is that those with an antipathy for men’s style and
appearance attribute just as much value to it as those with an affinity
for it.

It’s only those who are truly indifferent who can dress in a way that
doesn’t express their masculinity - but even they aren’t exempted HOMEWORK
from the fact that other men will make assessments and judgments
based on their aesthetic indifference. Do you have antipathy, indifference, or affinity for the importance of
The truly indifferent are few and far between. Take for example the film
Crazy Stupid Love. There is an iconic scene in which Steve Carrell’s Regardless of where you fall on that spectrum? How can you develop
mid-life-crisis-having character, Cal Weaver, is taken under the wing of an affinity that doesn’t turn into vanity?
the lady killer Jacob Palmer played by Ryan Gosling, and put through
is one that can be learned and excelled in rather quickly and easily.
Know your body It won’t take years of fine-tuning the dexterity of your fingers to understand
what colors look good on you or what patterns are best for your
If you were to travel back in time - to any point in history, what would you proportions.
think of the clothing you would see men wearing?
A master’s program and the accompanying documents (and costs) are
Of course most of it would be strange. It’s not like jeans and a t-shirt or unnecessary if you want to know what shape of sunglasses are most
chinos and a polo are timeless and eternal - even if we are used to seeing flattering on your face.
This first section is all about those basics - the fundamentals of art and
But once you got over the initial adjustment period would you see things science that make up the foundation of great style.
you liked? Didn’t like?
Don’t be too quick to write this stuff off. Yes these guidelines can be broken
If you were totally unfamiliar with the culture and the symbolism associated or avoided but only by someone who truly understands them.
with the clothing - if you couldn’t tell the difference between what was
considered formal, casual, classic, or trendy, would you still be able to say A master pianist can play an off-sounding chord and have it add drama and
you liked one man’s clothes but hated another’s? depth to his piece, whereas a child randomly mashing out different keys will
never create anything resembling music.
Of course the answer to that is yes. It’s not as if your eye for aesthetics and
your ability to say what you do or don’t like about a particular look or style
is entirely dependent on the culture in which it’s rooted.

So, if all those deeper, cultural and philosophical underpinnings were

stripped away, what’s left?

What is it that actually makes one particular style good and another not so

The reality is that style - just like any other visual medium - is guided by
rules of color, pattern, and proportion. The same things that can make a
painting from the Renaissance so captivating today, or a piece of music last
through the centuries are the principles that work with the clothing and
ornamentation we put on our bodies.

And, unlike advanced music theory or master-level sculpture, the medium


Contrast Type

The purpose of understanding and taking advantage of contrast is to make

sure visual focus remains in the correct place. If contrast type is ignored, it
becomes very easy for your clothing, not you - the man wearing it, to
become the center of attention.

While there are situations in which you want people paying more attention
to your clothes than you, the default expectation should be that the clothing
serves as a way to frame your face, not for you to be a mannequin for your


As one of the most important and fundamental building blocks of great

style it should be the first thing you focus on.

Contrast type is determined by the relationship between the color of your

hair and that of your skin. Not only does accounting for your contrast type,
help you ensure the visual focal point is your face, it makes your
countenance appear stronger and more healthy.

Men with light hair and light skin have a Muted contrast.

Men with dark hair and light skin have a Stark contrast.

Men with dark hair and very dark skin have a Stark contrast.

Men with any variation of skin and hair beyond these three have a Moderate
Colors have a particular relationship with each other and randomly putting One mistake to avoid if you’re a Stark contrast is the assumption that
them together will usually look bad - both because of how they interact colors not only need to be present but also incredibly strong. More often
together and how they work with your contrast type. than not the subtlety of, for example, a deep navy field jacket over a burnt
orange sweater is much better than an electric blue suit with a bright
Pictured above are the three primary relationships. Yes there are more, but orange tie. Both play with the same colors but the variation in brightness of
these three are what we’ll focus on. said colors can make the difference between a well-executed outfit and a
complete joke.
Because a Moderate contrast is the most common, we’ll begin there.
Men with a Muted contrast will have their faces overwhelmed by too much
Men with a Moderate contrast have the blessing and the curse of being
variation in color. Therefore their primary focus should be analogous colors
able to wear nearly any color combination they like - whether the colors be
(those that lie next to each other on the color wheel), with a secondary
triad, contrasting, or analogous.
focus on triad colors. For the most part, contrasting color should be
If you have a moderate contrast, take the time to find out what works best avoided.
for you. Think of the contrast types as a scale - you may lean closer to
If this is you, don’t think that it means you have to always wear
Stark or Muted and may experience more freedom or limitations than other
monochromatic looks (different shades of one color). It’s a great way to
men who also have Moderate contrast types.
start off, but playing with some variations will help you expand your options
Men with a Stark contrast need a stronger variation on color. Their primary and not make you feel as if you’re overly limited in your choices.
focus should be on contrasting colors (those that lie opposite each other on
Just like the Moderate guys, your contrast may exist on a spectrum and
the color wheel), with a secondary focus on triad colors (those that can be
you’ll only know how much freedom you have after you test things out.
separated by equal thirds). For the most part, analogous colors should be


Color Tones

The right colors can make you look healthy, fit, and happy whereas the
wrong choices can make you appear sallow, tired, and sick. Most people
won’t people be able to point out why some colors look good on you when
others don’t, but it all has to do with your skin tone and what works with
your own coloration.

Of every aspect to determine in your style profile, the most difficult is your
skin tone. Before even venturing into this realm, it’s best to understand that
this will take some experimentation, and help from others to get it dialed in.

Skin tone and contrast are independent of each other and tone can be
divided into two broad categories - cool and


Cool colors are blue based and are associated with the colors most often
seen in summer and winter.

Warm colors are gold based and associated with spring and autumn.

By looking at the veins in your forearm, you’ll be able to assess the base of
your tone. If the veins are a deep or crisp blue, your tone is cool. If they are
green, your tone is warm.

Use this as a base and experiment from there. I really mean that -
experiment from here. Even within the two bases, some colors may look
better on you than others. Pay attention to compliments with given colors
and recalibrate.
Large men appear hulking when wearing patterns that are too small.
Patterns Small men appear tiny when wearing patterns that are too large.

WHY DOES IT MATTER? In regards to formality, the smaller and more subtle a pattern is, the more
formal it will appear. This needs to be considered from both an objective
Patterns can affect your appearance in three different ways: size, type, and and subjective perspective.
intensity. All three variables can work independently or in conjunction with
each other to improve or worsen your aesthetic and each should be In general, if you wear XL T-shirts or larger you should avoid small patterns,
considered before making a purchase. if you wear Small T-shirts or smaller you should avoid large patterns. If you
wear Large or Medium T-shirts you can work with all pattern sizes.
In order to maximize the full effect of pattern, we’ll discuss them from two
different angles: size and type. Both of these has merits on its own and can - PATTERN TYPE
be used to minimize or enhance certain visual cues.


Different pattern types have different effects and should be utilized

accordingly. Here’s how that looks:

Vertical stripes add visual height and elongation, along with slimming you
The size of a pattern needs to be considered in two different ways. The first down. Horizontal stripes add visual weight and cut you into distinct
is how well it works with your build. The second is how formal or casual it segments, making you appear shorter. Boxes and checks add visual heft,
makes a given article of clothing appear. making you appear larger overall.

As logic would dictate, larger men should wear larger patterns and smaller Both height and weight perceptions are affected by stripe variations and
men should wear smaller patterns. Proportion is a fundamental aspect of should be considered when picking up different patterns. Distinct body
dressing well. types benefit from different patterns.

Irrespective of how objectively tall or skinny you are, if your proportions Just as in many other aspects of life, if you’re a muscular man you have the
make you appear long and thin you should be cautious when wearing easiest time with patterns. Because your proportions already match the
vertical stripes. This pattern draws the eyes up and out, which will over ideal aesthetic, your pattern selection is not geared around accentuating or
accentuate your already narrow proportions. By wearing a stripe that is minimizing particular areas.
comparatively wider, this effect can be minimized.
Vertical stripes will narrow you out, making you look a bit leaner and taller.
Horizontal stripes, in all gauges and sizes, will flatter you by visually cutting
you down into segments. By blocking the natural upward flow of the Horizontal stripes will shorten you and make you look a bit bulkier.
viewers eyes, you appear as if you have additional visual weight.
Boxes, checks, and plaids will simply work with your existing proportions.
Boxes, checks, and plaids serve a similar function as horizontal stripes, but
also maintain a bit of the upward flow of the viewers eyes. These patterns While all three patterns are flattering, the size of the pattern should still be
add some visual heft and can help you look more muscular. considered with the your proportions.

Remember to factor in that a bigger pattern also looks more casual and
that the pattern size is much more important when compared to your
overall build.

If you’re 6’5” and lanky, you may be out of luck wearing stripes at all.
Whereas if you’re 5’6” and also look lanky, a bigger gauge like a candy or
bengal stripe can work great.

with more casual or minimal outfits as well.
Pattern mixing is great when done intentionally and well, but it’s also
something a lot of men think is more important or impressive than it truly is.

For many men, especially those who are inclined toward suiting, there is the
belief that the more patterns you can pull together without hurting
someone’s eyes, the more of a sartorial expert you are. And, while some of
the great dressers of the 20th and 21st centuries have been prone to
pattern mixing, it is not a requirement, nor does it have the greatest payoff
for your efforts.

Irrespective of how objectively short or rotund you are, if your proportions The basic rule of thumb on how to properly execute a good pattern mix is
make you appear round and/or overweight you should focus primarily on to avoid patters that are too close to each other in size and strength. For
wearing vertical stripes. This pattern draws the eyes up and out, which will example, a plaid sportcoat worn over a buffalo plaid shirt has too many
visually balance out your broader proportions. The narrower the stripe, the checks in too similar a size and the viewer’s eyes will start to have a hard
more exaggerated the effect. However, caution should be exercised in not time distinguishing between shirt and jacket - the same rule applies even
going beyond a stripe size that is inconsistent with your overall stature. when combining checks and stripes. It’s not the pattern type that’s most
important but the similarity in size and contrast strength between the two
Horizontal stripes, in all gauges and sizes, should be avoided. They will patterns.
emphasize areas of extra weight and will also visually cut you into shorter
segments, making the width of your frame appear even larger. You want to anchor your items with solid and subdued pieces. If you’re
wearing a bright red shirt, then you probably shouldn’t thrown on green
This doesn’t just apply to printed patterns either. Wearing a belt can have pants and blue shoes. If each item is a statement piece, you start to look
the same effect and should be avoided when possible. like a clown at the circus. Too many patterns and/or statement pieces is an
excellent example of having too much of a good thing.
Boxes, checks, and plaids serve a similar function as vertical stripes, but
also maintain a bit of the outward flow of the viewers eyes. These patterns Even if you can figure out a well-executed way to pull this off, the benefits
should be worn in proportion and with caution. aren’t worth the time and effort that go into it. You’re much better off
focusing on one or two patterns with everything else being solid and subtle.

Pattern mixing is just what it sounds like - the combination of multiple

patterns in a single outfit. While it’s most commonly seen in outfits with
more layers - like a suit, shirt, tie, pocket square, etc. - it certainly happens

C HAPTER 6 will want more for the same reason.



Your pants should be tailored to fit you which means they should follow the
natural lines of your body without pulling or restricting movement.

This means you will want to find pants that have a bit of a taper or pay a
tailor to taper them so they narrow down below the knee. The idea of slim-
cut pants applies to shorts as well. Baggy shorts will make
you look boyish and like you have chicken legs.


The break of the pants is how much folding happens around the ankle. The Shorter men should avoid cuffed pants - be they jeans or dress slacks -
because of the visual segmenting that happens at the ankles. Men with
disproportionately skinny legs should embrace the cuff as it adds visual
weight at their feet and evens out the proportions between torso and legs.
Any other build can use or avoid cuffs as preferred.

However, keep in mind that the detail of a cuff leans more casual. They are
more than appropriate on casual pants like jeans and chinos, and can even
be worn well with suits. That said, more formal garments like tuxedos
should be made without them.

less break there is, the longer and thinner your legs will look. Extremes All that said, there is still room for preference in fit. By no means am I telling
should be avoided as too much break appears sloppy and too little break you that skinny or slim fits are the only appropriate way to go. Just
appears as if the pants were intended for an adolescent. recognize that something can be full (have a wider circumference) and still
fit you well because it breaks where you want it too, doesn’t fall off your
Typically taller men will want a bit more break to help visually anchor them hips, and has a rise that doesn’t sit too low or too high. The opposite can
down, while shorter men will want less as a way to visually elongate the happen with slimmer pants. Even if they’re skinny, being too long or too
legs. short, having a rise that’s too short or too long, or a waist that’s too loose or
too tight will make them look awful.
Thinner men will want less as it’s consistent with their build while wider men
C HAPTER 7 There are three key areas to getting a good fit with a dress shirt:

Shirts - collar width

- shoulders
- sleeve length
As long as these three areas fit you properly, it will be possible to alter or
Like anything else, the fit of your shirts is king. The right fit (especially when
tailor almost anything else. However, the amount of change a tailor can
paired with the correct pattern) can help make scrawny guys look bigger
make is limited on a finished shirt, meaning custom will almost always yield
and fuller goes slim down. The opposite is true as well though. If a shirt
a better-fitting result.
doesn’t fit well it can make you look infinitely worse with it on than you ever
would without it.
When sticking with off-the-rack options, make sure the shirt body and
sleeves are tailored to follow the natural lines of your body without pulling
HOW DOES IT WORK? - FIT or restricting movement. Shirts are like suits in that no one is flattered by
those that are too tight or too baggy.
There are three key areas to getting a good fit with a dress shirt:

- collar width
- shoulders
- sleeve length
With casual button-up shirts the top two buttons, not just the collar button,
Collars shouldn’t choke you nor should they be so big that they start to should be left open and undone. Along with this crewneck undershirts or
look sloppy. other cuts that leave the shirt visible at the neck should be avoided. The
reason for this is that showing that bit of extra skin and having the collar
Regardless of whether the shirt is a casual or dress option, the yoke (the standing appropriately will help frame your face. With one button
section across the shoulders) should fit well. This means the two seams, undone or a crewneck on, the visual attention goes to your man’s throat,
where the sleeves start, should lie right at the edge of your shoulders. They not your face.
shouldn’t be pulling together towards your neck, nor should they be falling
off your shoulders onto your upper arms. This, more than any other factor, For this same reason the default on casual shirts should be V-necks,
is the biggest giveaway of a poorly fitting shirt and not just a matter of full/ henleys, and polos for casual shirts. The henleys and polos should be
slim fit preference. unbuttoned to show off the right amount of skin to frame your face.
Crewnecks are great, but should be worn purposefully, not as the bare
Long-sleeved shirts should end right at the break of your wrist and not fall minimum.
down onto your hands. Short-sleeved shirts need to end in the middle of
your bicep. Longer and they look sloppy, shorter and they appear Yes it is possible to wear one button undone or all of them done up and
effeminate. have it look great. Experiment and find what works best for you.
Face shape will help determine collar type. The goal here is to help provide
some balance to the extremes of your face. If it’s already on the broad side,
the wrong collar can make it look cartoonishly so. If it’s long and narrow,
some collars will make it look gaunt and hollowed out.

The basic rule here is contrast. Wider faces need narrower collars and vice

However, face shape isn’t all about just wide and narrow. Maybe yours is
shaped like a diamond - Overall your face is narrow but you have prominent
cheekbones, etc.

Here’s how each those breaks down.

Men with longer and/or more narrow faces and jawlines need to balance
them out by wearing collars with more of a spread.

Those with broader faces, be they round or square, will also need balance
but this is provided by a more pointed collar.

Of the different face shapes above, round, square, and triangular faces
need more pointed collars.

Diamond and oblong faces need more spread collars. Men with ovular
faces are lucky in that they are flattered by most collar types.

C HAPTER 8 This applies to the body of the jacket, the fit of the shoulders, and the width

Suits of the sleeves - just like it does with your shirts!



At some point, you’re going to find yourself wearing a suit. Maybe you need
one every day for work, and maybe you’ll only put one on once or twice in
your life - doesn’t matter.

The fact is that every man will find himself in need of a suit at some point
and the nature of any even requiring a suit is that it will also be one where
The fewer buttons a jacket has, the more formal it appears. Tuxedos and
it’s imperative that you look respectable, disciplined, and masculine.
dinner jackets are appropriately made with
one button.
Not all suits are created equal and you’re not doing enough by just showing
up in one. In fact, an awful looking suit can often do more damage than
Business suits, sportcoats, and other jackets are made with two. More
well-fitting casual clothing does - even if that casual clothing is
casual jackets, such as hunting jackets or blazers are typically made with
inappropriate for the event or environment.
three. There is some wiggle room between two and three-button jackets
that can be determined by the wearer’s taste and preference.
But don’t settle for well-fitting casual is better than a bad suit. Learn what
makes a suit look great and use that information appropriately.
When looking at three-button options, opt for a 3/2 or three-rolls-two
configuration. This is a jacket with three buttons but the lapel is shaped to
Most men will buy a suit that is too large in the shoulders or one with pads roll as if it only has two - giving you the option to wear it with either the
that are too thick. Both of these will have the same visual effect of the suit middle or the top two buttons done up. Hard-rolled three-button jackets
wearing you, as opposed to you wearing the suit. look silly when worn with only the middle button fastened.

Suits and jackets should be tailored to follow the natural lines of your body And speaking of button fastening. Never do up the bottom button on a
without restricting any movement. If a suit is baggy enough that it is jacket. It makes the transition from waist to hips too quick, throwing off
impossible or difficult to tell what your natural build is beneath it, you will your visual proportions and ruining the drape of the jacket. The only
need to size down or have it brought in. If your suit is tight enough that it “exception” to this rule is a one-button jacket and this is only because of
restricts your motion or there is visible pull in areas like the buttons and the where the button placement is.
seams, you need to size up to be able to get a proper fit.
Don’t think this rule isn’t a big deal. There’s nothing that more obviously
Slim suits are flattering on all body types while tight or baggy suits flatter no screams “I have no idea what I’m doing” than fastening your bottom jacket
man. button.
Double breasted jackets are most flattering when worn a bit shorter and jacket is too small in the seat and needs to be let out.
with a defined waist. Because this style of jacket waxes and wanes in
popularity, it is better to focus on single breasted jackets when first
establishing your wardrobe.


Rather than paying particular attention to trends, lapel width is best

dictated by working within the proportions your head and shoulders. If the
lapels are too narrow, your head appears massive and out of place. If the
lapels are too broad, it makes your shoulders all but disappear.

A suit’s vents are a detail created from function. Both were invented to
make it easier to both wear and draw a sword from horseback. And, while
most of us aren’t dealing with that particular problem anymore, there are
still practical reasons for having vents in the rear of your jackets. Primarily
that a ventless jacket is difficult to wear well because there is nowhere for
the cloth to fan out when you’re seated - meaning it will crumple and
wrinkle beneath your body.

You can opt for a single vent or dual vents in your jackets. Some will argue
that a single vent is more casual than a dual vent. However, this is an
Both the notch and peak lapel types are mainstays in the world of suiting
erroneous assumption based on the vent’s origin. American suits were
and jackets. A notch lapel is more subtle and more consistent with casual
originally made with the center vent while British suits had side vents and
jackets. It is most commonly seen on sportcoats, business
Italian suits were made without any.
suits, church suits, and casual suits. A peak lapel is more attention seeking
Whether your jacket has a single or dual vent - they can help determine if it and more formal. It can be seen most commonly on tuxedos, power suits,
fits properly. If the vent/s open up and don’t drape cleanly closed - the wedding suits, and other statement making pieces.
Double breasted jackets should always be made with a peak lapel.

C HAPTER 9 This applies to the body of the jacket, the fit of the shoulders, and the width

Ties & Sunglasses of the sleeves - just like it does with your shirts!



Nailing the details is a crucial component of dressing well and two of the
most common accessories men wear are ties and sunglasses.

Both of these are great (but not the only) examples of how accessories can
make or break an entire look.

Too many men get their main pieces on point and then continue with the
same accessories they’ve always worn - thinking that they’re small and
inconsequential. Unfortunately this couldn’t be further from the truth.


Much like your shirt collar choise is affected by each your face shape, the
style of glasses and sunglasses will vary from man to man. Reference the
chart above to know which style of frame is most appropriate with what
face shape. As before, the key is in providing balance - hard lines should
Tie width should roughly correspond with lapel width as its size will have have softer frames, narrower points should have frames with more
the same visual effect as your jacket lapels. weight, etc.

The ideal length of the tie will place its tip between the top and bottom of Avoid sport glasses and focus on classics like Wayfarers, aviators, and
the belt. Any longer and your legs will appear too long for your torso. clubmasters. The color of the metal as well as any resin should be
Anything shorter will have the opposite effect. Either extreme will throw off considered when purchasing. Don’t forget the warm and cool tones apply
proportions and be visually distracting. to these variables as well.
Knowing both your own Archetype and which Staples fall within that
The staples Archetype is the easiest way to know the priority in which you should be
buying your clothing.

Over the next section I’m going to recommend 35 items you should have in Each Staple also has three recommendations on where you can buy them -
your wardrobe. from super cheap to more expensive.

Depending on who you are, that may sound like a ton or not nearly enough. I recommend you buy the best quality you can afford. That doesn’t
necessarily mean buying from designer labels, but it does mean
Which is fine. understanding that there is often a direct correlation with how good a piece
of clothing is and how much you’ll pay for it.
If it feels like it’s way too much, understand that I’m not telling you that you
need to go out and buy all of these items tomorrow - quite the opposite in If you’re unsure about how much you’ll actually use a particular item, pick it
fact. If you buy too much too quickly, the change is too drastic and less up as cheaply as possible. Once you’ve owned it for a few months and
likely to actually take effect. know how often you will or won’t wear it you can decide if it’s worth
reinvesting in a higher-quality version of the same Staple.
If it feels like it’s way too little, know that I’m not telling you that these are
the ONLY items you should have in your closet. Far from it. The reality is This is how I’ve built my own wardrobe and, while it may not seem as fun or
that this is a starting point - one that gives you a great foundation and then exciting as buying new, unique pieces each time I open up my wallet, it
a lot of freedom to expand on. does mean I love and benefit from each item I have in my closet.

Now, before introducing the Staples to you, you’ll read through a quick Lastly, these are not in any particular order of recommendation. Staple #7 is
section with some links to the Masculine Style Archetypes. a pocket square, but that does not mean I believe the seventh thing you
should go out and purchase is a pocket square.
Knowing where you fall within these Archetypes is a crucial step in
developing a mediocrity-crushing sense of style. It will help you embrace Adapt their order to your own needs, lifestyle, and preferences. Remember
the clothes that will benefit your life and avoid those that can become a that these should be benefitting the bigger more important parts of your life,
distraction. not distracting from them.

After all, if you live and work in a rural area, you won’t need a suit until
you’re attending a wedding or funeral, so there’s no reason to go and pick
one up as your first purchase.

Each Staple is listed with how it relates to each Archetype. Some can work
equally well with all three, while others may lean more in one particular
and others. The man who most identifies with mastery will do well to
The three style archetypes dress in a way that demonstrates the refinement inherent to such a

The Rakish Archetype prioritizes Courage over the other three virtues.
Courage is a necessity for defying social convention, and charting
Before you can understand how these masculine virtues apply to the new courses which receive attention - both positive and negative -
Three Style Archetypes, you’ll need to know what the Archetypes are from the rest of the world. The man who identifies most with courage
and how they work with each other. will do well to dress in a way which demonstrates his social and
physical willingness to engage in risk.
As you have noticed, no single Archetype has a corner on the virtue of
Rugged honor. While men within each Archetype can be lone wolves who seek
to avoid any tribal obligations, honor is a virtue that exists for most
men and has equal value in all lifestyles.

Know that the relationships between the tactical virtues and the Three
Archetypes are not set in stone. A man may value strength above all
virtues but live a life best served by a Refined style.

In addition, it is very rare for any man to lean towards one particular
While all three have manifestations of the four tactical virtues, each
virtue or Archetype at the complete expense of all others. The man
has its own primary leaning. who is best at being a man will have mastered all four virtues and be
able to use all three archetypal styles to his advantage.
The Rugged Archetype prioritizes strength over the other three virtues.
Strength is a necessity for manipulating the physical world and HOMEWORK
succeeding in the arenas that still require a Rugged man. The man
who most identifies with this virtue will do well to dress in a way which List the four virtues in the order in which you see their priority and
typifies this style in all of his activities. utility in your life.

The Refined Archetype prioritizes mastery over the other three virtues. Identify which of the Style Archetypes best fits both your current and
Mastery is a necessity for navigating the social and financial world aspirational lifestyles.
and succeeding in these arenas which require mastery over oneself

The suit

Key Takeaways:

- Look for something that is billed as an all-season material

- Start with a neutral color like navy or grey
- Black suits skew formal and should be reserved for special
- Patterns should be avoided until the third or fourth suit is introduced
to the wardrobe
- Choose a timeless fit. This is defined by the clothing following the
natural lines of a man’s build without being so tight as to restrict
- Reference your Style Profile for details related to lapel widths,
trouser lengths, and other key aspects.
- If price is not a major issue, custom is always preferable to off-the-


$: H&M

$$: J Crew

$$$: Beckett & Robb (suit in photo)


The dress shoes


Key Takeaways:

- Shoes may have a relatively small visual surface area, but they’re
indicative of attention to detail
- No matter how great every other piece is, bad shoes will ruin an
entire outfit
- Shape is key. Avoid toe boxes that are too square, too round, or too
elongated. Focus on a middle-of-the road last
- Start with laceups and move to monkstraps from there
- A gum sole is more casual than a rubber sole which is more casual
than a leather sole
- Bonded leather is cheaper than genuine leather which is cheaper
than full-grain leather
- A cemented welt is non resoleable whereas blake and goodyear
welts are replaceable
- The more broguing (punches in the leather) the more casual the
shoes are


$: Florsheim

$$: Allen Edmonds (shoes in photo)

$$$: Beckett & Robb


The dress shirt


Key Takeaways:

- White is the most formal and most versatile color

- Some men may not look good in white and should choose off white
or cream alternatives
- Solids are more versatile and more formal than patterned shirts
- The smaller the pattern the more formal its appearance
- Collar types should be considered for formality. Button downs are
casual and should be worn on sport shirts. Wing collars are formal
and should be worn as part of a black or white tie ensemble
- Collars should complement the face shape of the man wearing them
- Cuffs come in varieties of formality. French cuffs (fold back and worn
with cuff links) are more formal and should only be worn with a
- Barrel cuffs (button up with attached buttons) are more casual and
are worn on work and business shirts


$: H&M

$$: Nordstrom

$$$: Beckett & Robb (shirt in photo)


The winter coat


Key Takeaways:

- While there is a place for parkas and leather jackets, a good winter
coat is one that wears just as well with a suit as it does with jeans
- A peacoat or topcoat are the best choices to serve both form and
- Just like suits, choose a neutral color like grey, navy, charcoal or
camel to maximize wearability
- Military inspired coats run more casual and more Rugged than
traditional topcoats
- Dressier coats should - at a minimum- be long enough to cover the
bottom of a suit jacket by a couple of inches
- Coats that extend all the way down to the ankles are currently seen
as bulky and out of style. This will change at some point in the future


$: Target

$$: Indochino (coat in photo)

$$$: Beckett & Robb


The belt

Key Takeaways:

- Dress belts and casual belts have different features

- Dress belts tend to be slimmer with smaller buckles and made from
colors that coordinate with dress shoes (brown, black, etc)
- Casual belts that run more Rugged tend to be thicker and have more
substantial hardware
- Casual belts that run more Rakish will have bolder colors, braided
leather or nylon, and even patterns
- Many formal suits are intended to be worn without belt loops and a
belt should never be seen on a tuxedo
- When wearing black shoes, a black belt is the only appropriate color
- Never mix brown and black with belts, shoes, and watch straps
- Brown shoes, belts, and watch straps don’t have to be the exact
same shade of brown to be worn together


$: Levi’s

$$: The Leather Shop (blue belt in photo)

$$$: Allen Edmonds


The pocket knife


Key Takeaways:

- Know the laws of where you live and if there are restrictions on blade
lengths and types. Comply with these laws
- Make sure the knife is always sharp. A sharp blade is a safe blade
- If only choosing one knife, select one which will be minimal in its
design and add-ons. This makes it more easily wearable with a suit
or other formal wear
- If wearing it in trouser pockets, choose a style with a clip. This helps
prevent loss
- The knife’s aesthetics should always follow form and then match the
primary archetype.


$: Gerber

$$: Buck (knife in photo)

$$$: Beretta

The pocket square


Key Takeaways:

- A pocket square is purely decorative. For use as handkerchief

another cloth should be stored elsewhere
- White and cream are the most versatile colors for a square
- Solids are more formal than patterns
- Silk is the most formal and should be worn with tuxedos and
business suits
- Other materials follow the same rules of formality and seasonality. A
gauzy linen is better in summer and a thicker wool is ideal in the
- A minimal “TV fold” is the least conspicuous and most formal
- Avoid overly intricate folds with multiple peaks
- A pocket square and tie made from the same material and sold as a
matching set should never be worn together


$: The Tie Bar

$$: Frank & Oak (pocket square in photo)

$$$: Beckett & Robb


The dopp kit


Key Takeaways:

- May not see daily or weekly use but still serves a functional purpose
- Is a great, one-time investments that’s worth spending a little more
- Can be made of whatever looks great on the outside, but should
have a liquid-proof interior in case of spills
- At least one zippered compartment is ideal for keeping items
- Keep it stocked at all times, this takes the headache out of packing
and unpacking before and after travel


$: Target (dopp kit in photo)

$$: Dopp Veneto

$$$: Jack Spade


The v-neck sweater


Key Takeaways:

- Worn most commonly in fall and winter, it’s still a great option for
days in the spring and even for cooler nights in summer
- Materials like linen and cotton are better for a warm-weather version
while wool and cashmere are ideal during the colder months
- The V should be just deep enough to sit below the collarbones. Too
much deeper and the appearance becomes effeminate
- The body and sleeves should be as long as a casual button-up shirt
- Can be worn as a single piece over jeans or chinos for a more casual
appearance, with a full business suit as a winter version of a
waistcoat, or nearly any iteration in between
- It can be used as a way to “cheat the fit” of a shirt that’s too big or
billowy, provided there’s not an extreme amount of excess fabric
which will bunch up beneath the sweater


$: Topman

$$: Calvin Klein

$$$: Beckett & Robb (sweater in photo)


The overnight bag


Key Takeaways:

- A duffle-style bag is more adaptable to its contents than hard

luggage, meaning it will take up less space with fewer items and
expand more easily to accommodate more. Both are ideal for quick,
spontaneous trips
- The still-limited size helps to prioritize essentials
- Canvas and leather are the best options for both durability and
timeless style
- A bag with small pockets for electronics and even a separate
compartment for shoes keeps everything organized
- Neutral colors won’t draw too much attention or be too memorable.
The point is something that looks like it seamless fits in with a more
adventurous life
- Minimal moving parts, reinforced stitches, and more durable
materials ensure a longer life for the bag
- Minimal designs ensure a more timeless appearance

$: H&M

$$: Herschel Supply Co. (bag in photo)

$$$: Saddleback Leather


The slim wallet


Key Takeaways:

- Don’t carry a Costanza wallet

- Using a smaller wallet helps prevent carrying too many credit cards,
receipts, and other unnecessary items around
- The most minimal solution is a card case and a money clip for the
occasions when carrying cash is necessary
- The next step is to use a minimal bifold
- Have a different wallet for travel that will also carry a passport. Keep
this in a secure place that is tough to pickpocket while on travels
- Always keep at least a $50 bill in your wallet. There will eventually be
some emergency that requires cash and smaller denominations are
too easy to spend frivolously
- Like other Staples, this should be a one-time purchase and is worth
investing more money into a durable, great-looking product
- Leather spans the Three Archetypes while canvas and other casual
materials lean a bit younger/more Rugged


$: Herschel Supply Co.

$$: Original Penguin

$$$: Chester Mox (wallet in photo)


The tie

Key Takeaways:

- Proper tie width is all about proportions. It should be in the same

area (without having to exactly match) as the size of the jacket lapel
and the shirt collar
- Ties with more texture, such as knit silks, wools, or linens lean more
casual than those with less texture
- Ties can also be seasonal. Cotton and linen are better in spring and
summer while wool and cashmere are better in the fall and winter
- The same rules of patterns apply to ties as other items. Solids are
more formal than patterns.
- Bow ties are more attention seeking and should be worn with that
understanding in mind
- The cost of a tie is largely related to the rarity of the material being
used or its level of craftsmanship. Cheap ties use polyester linings
while more expensive variations will have wool. Better still are
handmade, multifold ties that have no internal layer other than the
folds of the fabric itself


$: The Tie Bar

$$: Beckett & Robb (tie in photo)

$$$: Ermenegildo Zegna


The navy jacket


Key Takeaways:

- Should fit the same as a suit jacket

- The cloth chosen needs to have a visible amount of texture. Finely
woven wools appear too formal and out-of-place when worn as
sport coats
- Casual details like contrasting buttons, patch pockets, and
deconstructed shoulders help it look more casual and wear more
- The shade shouldn’t be so dark that it looks black, nor should it be
so light that it draws too much attention
- Single-breasted is more versatile than double
- Notch lapels are both more subtle and more casual making them
more appropriate for a casual jacket
- Can be worn with a shirt tie, jeans and a T, or nearly anything in


$: Topman

$$: Beckett & Robb (jacket in photo)

$$$: Canali

The solid t-shirt


Key Takeaways:

- A T-shirt should not be the casual default, rather it should be worn

intentionally and when the occasion calls for it
- Solid T’s in simple colors (white, grey, navy, olive, charcoal, and
black) are the least attention seeking and most appropriate choices
- Sleeves should fall halfway down the bicep. Longer and the shirt
looks too big, shorter and it looks too feminine
- Body should fall below the waistband but above the bottom of the
- If wearing a V-neck, the V should not drop deeper than an inch
below the hollow of the neck.
- Choose a thick cotton that feels more substantial and is more
opaque. T’s billed as undershirts are rarely flattering when worn on
their own
- Chest pockets wax and wane in popularity. Choosing to go without
may not always be on trend, but it will never be fully out of style


$: Target (T in photo)

$$: American Apparel

$$$: Rag & Bone


The Sunglasses

Key Takeaways:

- Sports sunglasses are performance based, not style, and should

only be worn when wearing workout gear
- Know your face shape and wear glasses that complement your
features. The wrong size or shape can exaggerate flaws and hide
- If you are prone to lose sunglasses, buy cheaper pairs and
understand that you’ll be replacing them often
- If you don’t lose your sunglasses, invest in a higher quality pair and
take good care of them
- Try them on before buying they should rest comfortably on the
bridge of your nose and on top of your ears. There should be no
pulling, or stretching
- Choose colors that are neutral and versatile - at least for the first pair
or two. After that, feel free to branch out into louder styles


$: zeroUV

$$: Ray Ban (sunglasses in photo)

$$$: Oliver Peoples


The jeans

Key Takeaways:

- Find a fit that is flattering with your build. It should follow your
natural lines without giving away too many visual details or
restricting any movement
- Most jeans break in after a few weeks of wear, so buying something
that’s just barely on the snug side, when brand new, is typically the
safest bet for getting the best fit
- The rise of the jeans should be determined by balancing the
preferred style with the ratio between your legs and your torso
- Dark, inky denim is the most versatile, both in how it works in casual
and more dressed up situations, and in how wearable it is without
anyone noticing you’re wearing the same jeans
- The break should follow the guidelines of your build
- Avoid overt distressing, branding, or other noticeable details.
Simplicity is king
- Higher-end denim is best if it’s not washed, even cheaper jeans
should be washed infrequently
- Jeans, like nearly anything else, can be tailored. If you find a pair
that’s nearly perfect, tweak the areas that need improvement


$: H&M

$$: Mott & Bow (suit in photo)

$$$: Naked & Famous


The casual boots


Key Takeaways:

- Lug soles are more casual than flat rubber soles, which are more
casual than leather soles
- Work boots are intended to be worn casually. They both look and
function differently from dress boots and should not be worn with a
suit or formalwear
- Choose an over-the-ankle boot for the right balance between form
and function
- While these are primarily worn in the cooler months, they are still
appropriate in more rugged environments year round
- While they shouldn’t be worn with a suit, casual boots are an
excellent way to dress down a jeans-with-jacket look
- They should still be cared for with conditioner and polish, but the
scuffs and wear can give them character
- Full-grain leather will be more durable and help provide more cost
per wear


$: Florsheim

$$: Wolverine (boots in photo)

$$$: Aquatalia

The winter-weight button-up


Key Takeaways:

- Choose materials that are best in the cooler months. These may be
flannels, wools, or just heavier weaves of cotton
- Stick with design details that run more casual. Options like smaller
collars, button-down or tab collars, unstructured collars and cuffs,
traditional plackets, back pleats, and chest pockets
- Larger, brighter, and bolder patterns all lean more casual and can
help dress a shirt down
- While it still needs to look neat, a casual button-up doesn’t need the
crispness that comes from starch
- Shorter bodies that fall between the bottom of the rise and the top of
the waistband in the pants are ideal to be worn either tucked in or
left untucked
- These can be worn as layering pieces with other Staples like T-shirts
and henleys


$: Forever 21

$$: Frank & Oak (shirt in photo)

$$$: Belstaff

The scarf

Key Takeaways:

- A scarf is a three-season article of clothing and has just as much

value as a layering piece in the fall and spring as it does in the dead
of winter
- More rakish men can even wear lightweight linen scarves as summer
- Materials with more sheen or less durability - linen, silk, etc - should
be worn with more Refined and Rakish outfits with an emphasis on
form over function
- Materials with more texture and durability should be worn with more
Rugged, casual, and/or weather-extreme outfits with an emphasis
on function over form
- While extremes exist, the most versatile sizes range from 6-14
inches wide and 50-90 inches long
- Different knots serve different purposes and it is worth learning
multiple ways to properly tie a scarf


$: Perry Ellis (similar to scarf in photo)

$$: Rag & Bone

$$$: Burberry

The watch

Key Takeaways:

- While its functionality has been replaced by smartphones, a watch is

a great, subtle indicator of intentionality and even status
- The more simple the dial, the more refined the watch appears
- The more gaudy the dial the more rakish the watch appears
- The larger the dial the more attention-seeking the watch appears
(while the inverse can also be true). An average range is between 38
- 40 mm
- Leather bands are more refined than metal bands, which are more
refined than canvas bands
- Thinner bands appear more dainty whereas those that take
thickness to an extreme appear more rugged
- Analog is more refined than digital
- Men who have a combination between Rugged, Refined, and Rakish
archetypes can mix dial types, bands, and other details to create a
timepiece which is accurately reflective of their personal style


$: Timex

$$: Daniel Wellington (watch in photo)

$$$: Tudor

The summer-weight button-

Key Takeaways:

- Choose materials that are best in the warmer months. These may be
linens, madras, or other lightweight, breathable cottons
- Stick with design details that run more casual. Options like smaller
collars, button-down or tab collars, unstructured collars and cuffs,
traditional plackets, back pleats, and chest pockets
- Larger, brighter, and bolder patterns all lean more casual and can
help dress a shirt down
- While it still needs to look neat, a casual button-up doesn’t need the
crispness that comes from starch
- Shorter bodies that fall between the bottom of the rise and the top of
the waistband in the pants are ideal to be worn either tucked in or
left untucked
- Short-sleeved shirts should have sleeves that fall at mid bicep.
Shorter sleeves appear too effeminate and longer appear too sloppy


$: Forever 21 (shirt in photo)

$$: Brixton

$$$: Billy Reid


The swim trunks


Key Takeaways:

- Own at least two pairs. This gives them a day off while on an

extended vacation and also provides the opportunity for some
- They should end a couple of inches above your thighs. This length
shows off the end of the quad muscles, visually elongates the legs,
adds an element of refinement, and is indicative of confidence and a
willingness to expose more skin
- At the same time, don’t go so short that they’re confused with briefs
- Pay attention to the elasticity (or lack thereof) according to how
much fat you have in your mid area. Men with more belly fat should
avoid elastic waistbands as they tend to compress the waist more
and create a muffin-top effect
- Minimal pockets and ornamentation are more streamlined and
- Don’t be afraid to invest a bit of many when finding a classic pair.
They will last and look great for years


$: H&M

$$: Bluemint (Trunks in photo)

$$$: Vilebrequin

The chinos

Key Takeaways:

- Often called “khakis” they are made from cotton and have a military
- When versatility is key, avoid pleats, cuffs, and flapped pockets. This
helps them dress up as easily as they dress down
- They can be worn with sneakers and a T-shirt or with a dress shirt
and sportcoat. However, they should not be worn in place of suit
pants for more formal events
- A slim taper that doesn’t lean too skinny will keep them looking adult
while still being updated. Fit is crucial in order to avoid looking like a
Best Buy employee
- Those that have a five-pocket configuration (similar to jeans) will lean
more casual but can still be dressed up as an anchor point in a high/
low ensemble
- Louder colors have more of a WASPy, rakish feel


$: H&M

$$: Dockers (chinos in photo)

$$$: Billy Reid


The hat

Key Takeaways:

- More than almost any other article of clothing, a hat is a statement

piece. The variation between a baseball cap to a 10-gallon hat is
vast and hats almost always draw attention
- Baseball caps are the most casual and also skew the youngest
- Hats like fedoras, trilbies, and Panamas currently lean more rakish
and are the most polarizing
- Flat caps and drivers are the most refined and versatile of all current
hat types. If worn with patterns, they should follow the traditional
styles associated with menswear - herringbones, houndstooths,
donegals, etc.
- For non-baseball caps, seasonality is important. Heavier materials
like wool should be used in the fall and winter while cotton, linen,
and straw should be used in the summer
- Most men will benefit from owning two or three different hats that
span different styles
- If you’re unsure about a hat, buy it in a cheaper version. Once you
know you like it, upgrade to a higher quality option


$: Target (hat in photo)

$$: Brixton

$$$: Stetson

The chukkas

Key Takeaways:

- Originated with the sport of Polo

- Ankle boots made with two or three eyeholes on the upper
- Dressier versions will be made of calfskin while more casual
alternatives are made from suede
- While dressier styles lean a bit more Refined, the most versatile is
suede. They can be dressed up or down and are appropriate with
anything below the suit threshold
- A subset of chukkas that is often used as a synonym is the desert
- They are all-season shoes
- Older men should avoid wearing them with shorts while men in their
20’s can pull off the more Rakish look
- They are intended to be worn often and hard but still need to be
cleaned well with a suede brush


$: Clarks

$$: Wolverine (chukkas in photo)

$$$: Santoni

The trench coat


Key Takeaways:

- Originated in World War I and derived its name from the trenches in
which men fought
- Originally made with waxed gabardine cotton, polyester is now a
more common material. However, cotton can still be found on
higher-end models
- When it was first created it was only issued to officers, making it a
status symbol even after gaining its civilian popularity post World
War II
- Length can vary from the ankles to just below the waist
- The rain cape, epaulettes, D-rings, and belt all had practical uses in
the war and have carried over as simply aesthetic variations
- The most common color is a khaki beige but brighter alternatives
make a jacket more unique
- Can be worn with everything from jeans and a T-shirt to full fledged
business attire


$: Target

$$: Indochino (coat in photo)

$$$: Burberry

The oxford-cloth button-

Key Takeaways:

- Such a ubiquitous shirt it earned its own acronym - the OCBD

- Oxford is the weave with which the cloth for the shirt is created. It’s
open and stiff to allow for better breathability and airflow
- The button-down collar was invented by polo players to keep the
collars from flipping up in their faces during matches
- Choose one with a traditional, raised placket and a chest pocket to
allow for a more casual appearance
- Some American circles see the OCBD as an appropriate business
shirt, but the majority of the world views it as a casual or sport piece
- Blue and white are the most commonly seen variations but an OCBD
can be found in any color and pattern under the sun
- Like other casual shirt Staples, the body should be long enough to
stay tucked in but not so long that it looks like a nightshirt when left
- Both short and long-sleeved versions are appropriate and should be
considered for their respective seasons


$: H&M

$$: Beckett & Robb (shirt in photo)

$$$: Michael Bastian


The henley

Key Takeaways:

- Created as men’s underwear in the 19th century

- Were originally created in seasonal materials such as light-weight
cotton or linen for summer and flannel for the winter. These
variations still exist today and should be embraced
- Typified by being collarless and having a partial placket
- Come in both long and short-sleeve options
- Placket depth and size can and will vary by maker and style
- Best when worn with one or two buttons left undone
- Body length should match that of a T-shirt - long enough to cover
the waistband of the pants but only by an inch or so
- Short sleeves should fall at the mid point of the bicep
- Great as layering pieces in fall, winter, and spring


$: Forever 21

$$: Urban Outfitters (henley in photo)

$$$: Rag & Bone


The seasonal sportcoat


Key Takeaways:

- Focusing on season-specific items allows for an injection of

freshness whenever a new season rolls around. An item that may
have grown stale by the end of the previous season is given new life
after six months off
- A seasonal jacket is indicative of intentionality and an awareness
that life moves in cycles
- Regardless of the season, the jacket should have more casual
details - soft shoulders, patch pockets, contrasting buttons, etc. A
sportcoat is not intended to replace a suit and should not appear as
if it is trying to do so
- Linen, cotton, and tropical-weight wools are ideal for warmer months
- Flannel, tweed, and cashmere are ideal for cooler months
- The bolder the color or pattern the more memorable and more
casual the jacket. This is great with multiple on rotation but should
be avoided with the first few purchases
- Less structure is better as it will make the sportcoat feel more like a
shirt or sweatshirt than a suit jacket.


$: Topman

$$: Beckett & Robb (jacket in photo)

$$$: Canali

The leather jacket


Key Takeaways:

- Multiple styles exist from moto to bomber to cafe. Each should be

considered as to how it reflects the primary Archetype of the wearer
- A piece that should look like it’s been lived in, newer jackets appear
untested and unused and should be beaten up as quickly as
- While pleather options are available, nothing beats the durability and
the personality that comes through with a real leather jacket
- Fit should be snug, not so much that it restricts movement, but the
jacket should fit and feel like a second skin
- Extra pockets, rings, and zippers have their place but extremes
should be avoided
- Consider classic styles and colors for the most timeless appearance
- Wear it with jeans for something more casual or with dress slacks, a
shirt and tie as a way to inject some attitude into a business


$: The Leather Factory

$$: Schott (jacket in photo)

$$$: Belstaff

The field jacket


Key Takeaways:

- Based on military specs and can easily be found at military surplus

- Come in a variety of weights and materials
- Body should fall just below the waistband of the pants and not
extend past the hips
- Stick with traditional colors like olive, navy, and khaki
- Best weatherproof options are waxed cotton or nylon
- Can be used to dress down a shirt and tie instead of a sportcoat
- Avoid patches, logos, and distressing - unless it’s earned
- Ribbed cuffs help keep the sleeves in place during physical activity


$: Military Surplus

$$: The Gap

$$$: Beckett & Robb (jacket in photo)


The polo shirt


Key Takeaways:

- The perfect split between a T-shirt or dress shirt

- Long-sleeve versions with barrel (buttoning) cuffs are the most
refined and dressed
- Button-down collars are more casual than those without
- Should fit with a little more room than a dress shirt as they’re
intended to be worn during activities that require a fuller range of
- Should NEVER be worn with a tie
- Leave two buttons undone for a more casual look and all done up
for something a bit more classic
- Collars should not be popped nor should multiple polos be layered
over each other
- Short sleeve should only be worn with jackets that have longer
sleeves as opposed to those intended to show some shirt cuff


$: Old Navy

$$: Kent Wang (Polo in photo)

$$$: Ralph Lauren


The classic sneakers


Key Takeaways:

- Focus on a vintage style that’s been around for a couple of decades

- Embrace classic materials like suede, canvas, and even leather
- Low-tops are more versatile than high
- For a Refined look, nothing beats the cleanliness of an all-white
- Bolder colors and color combinations are a great way to add some
pop to an otherwise subdued and neutral outfit
- Keep them clean (they shouldn’t look like you’ve been mowing the
lawn in them) but they don’t necessarily need to be pristine
- The only way to wear them with a suit is if it’s made of a material
with some texture - think tweed and flannel in the winter or linen and
cotton in the summer


$: Converse (shoes in photo)

$$: Adidas

$$$: Common Projects


The shorts

Key Takeaways:

- Avoid cargo pockets, carpenter loops, or other, unnecessary

- Because they are already a more casual item, the simpler they are,
the more grown-up they will look
- Avoid synthetic materials and workout shorts unless working out
- The ideal length for the inseam to end is just above the knee -
showing a hint of quad.
- Longer and they make you look shorter and more immature
- Shorter can work but they currently have a more feminine or
flamboyant connotation if they’re too short
- Neutral colors are the safest but shorts are a great place to inject
some different colors
- Whatever shoes you’re wearing, go either without socks or wear a
no-show sock
- Boots should not be worn with shorts
- Like pants, shorts should be neither too baggy, nor too skinny
- The smaller your thighs and calves, the more narrow the leg opening
should be


$: H&M

$$: J Crew (shorts in photo)

$$$: Burberry

The socks

Key Takeaways:

- Socks are easily taken for granted but can ruin an otherwise killer
- Avoid white tube socks unless you’re in the gym
- Black socks are only appropriate when either worn with black dress
shoes and suiting or if they have enough texture to make them
appear dressed down
- The best dress socks are long enough to fit over the calf
- No-show socks are an excellent option for a sockless look in the
warm months
- Thicker wool socks appear more casual and more Rugged
- Loud socks with cartoon characters, bright colors, or bold patterns
are more Rakish and should be worn with caution. They should be
avoided if the rest of the outfit is already attention getting.


$: Target

$$: J Crew (socks in photo)

$$$: Wool Fresh

Odds are, you want to tell a more detailed story than that. You may want to
Style as Storytelling signal things like the music you listen to, the morals you live by, or the
people with whom you associate.

Up to this point, nothing you’ve been given has been highly personalized or This next section will take you through the components of truly telling a
unique. story with your style. Of being able to walk into a room and have people
accurately know things like who you are and who you aren’t.
Sure you can glean some individual information from Section I but it’s not
like there’s only a handful of men in the world with a moderate contrast, More than any other section in this program, Style as Storytelling is going to
warm skin tone, and oval-shaped face. require some real work from you.

If the science of style and a handful of versatile items were the only tools Because there are so many stories to be told, I can’t give them all to you.
you needed in your aesthetic toolkit, then why are there so many different However, what I did do was give you the four main stories men have
ways for men to dress? historically been interested in telling each other.

Why did the Samurai dress differently than Odysseus and the Greeks? One, all, or none of these may apply to you. Don’t get too hung up on that.
Instead, focus on the principles of how each story is told through style. The
Does a Russian prisoner with specific tattoos care any less about his apply those same principles to your own stories and move forward from
appearance than the president of a real estate company? there.

Why is it that trends come and go and the average man looks differently Give yourself permission to suck at this. You’ll take it too far at times.
today than he did in the 1970’s or even the 1870’s? Others you’ll find that people are seeing a different story than what you’re
telling. It’s all part of the process and this is where real mastery comes
It’s not as if men who wear suits have a corner on looking good and from.
anything else childish, overly casual, or sloppy.
Remember that a tool is only as good as the man who’s using it. A master
The reality is that there are very few things about style and appearance that racer can do more with a minivan than the average man can do with
are objective. Yes there can be science to your style, but what’s much more formula one car.
important than your coloring or contrast is knowing how to tell a story with
your appearance. Put in the practice with these concepts and good style will quickly become
part of who you are. It will be effortless and effective.
Stories can be individual, tribal, or universal.

The 35 Staples I gave you are a nearly universal story - one that says you
care about your appearance, have the discipline and know-how to dress,
well, and benefit from looking great.
I can imagine there is a story that very quickly comes to your mind
What’s your story? when seeing the photo below.


I assume you dressed yourself this morning. I also assume you

purchased the clothes you’re wearing - or at least had a minimal
amount of input.

Even if you didn’t buy the items in your wardrobe, you choose what to
wear each day, thereby attributing value to the clothing in your closet
and dresser.

I’m also willing to assume you dress like your friends, co-workers,
associates, or peers. It may be an enforced uniform or dress code, but
I bet, even when you’re off the clock, you dress in a way that tells
people who you are and what you prioritize.
Are these men Republicans? Do they have good relationships with
their parents? Are they employed as bankers and attorneys?
That’s how I am, and it’s how men throughout all of recorded history
have been. Whether we like it or not, people can and do assume a lot
Are they fans of hip-hop or smooth jazz?
about us before we ever even open our mouths.

Your answers to those questions may all be completely wrong. They

While the myth that only 93% of communication is non-verbal has
may be conservatives who have great familial relationships and work
been debunked, that doesn’t mean we don’t make assessments and
long hours in corporate offices, but the likelihood of that is fairly slim.
judgments based solely on visual stimuli.

These guys know who they are, and who they’re not - and they
Men have always used this to communicate status, strength, wealth,
communicate that with their clothing.
and identity.
If you don’t have a tribe, find one.
Tribe If you do belong to a tribe, pay attention to how its status, values, and
identity or signaled through clothing and appearance. Pay attention to
the principles - which are largely universal - and the execution - which
will most likely be unique to your group.

I often hear counterarguments to my point about antipathy and

indifference to one’s appearance in the form of, “real men _______
whatever they want because they don’t care what anyone else

This is one of the largest lies related to masculinity in the modern

West. Humans are social creatures and men have ALWAYS seen the
utility and benefits of belonging to a tribe.

If a man doesn’t care what anyone thinks of him, this attitude of

indifference applies to his tribe, and a man who has no concern for
the opinions of his brothers has no loyalty to them. He has no utility to
the tribe and should be removed swiftly.

There will always be lone wolves, but these men are and should be
the exceptions and not the rule.

The problem with a modern world that tries to convince its inhabitants
Who is your tribe?
that we are all one big, happy tribe is that it removes the brotherhood,
accountability, and benefits of a tight knit group.
What are the aesthetic manifestations of your tribe? How do they
dress, groom, act, speak, and think?
Men who don’t belong to a small tribe, be it a fraternal order, church
group, business, bowling league, or any other group of people, are
Do you want to identify more or less with your tribe and how can you
missing on one of the most important aspects of being a purposeful
use your clothing to accomplish that goal?
and content man.

The way of men

Before we move any further, I want to come right out and say that I
am not the man who coined the four virtues of masculinity I use to
teach men how to dress better.

That comes from a man named Jack Donovan.

Donovan is located in the Cascadia region of the United States and

has been writing on men and masculinity for years. His book The Way
of Men was his primary vehicle for outlining the four tactical virtues of

One of the things that separates Donovan from other philosophers of

masculinity is his focus on how we, as men, relate to each other.
Much of the modern world does its best to define masculinity by its
relationship with women - a relationship that can be based on
chivalry, equality, or conquest.

However, Donovan argues and asserts that the relationship between

men and women has always been secondary to how men interact
with each other when it comes to defining masculinity across cultures
and epochs. Women have almost always followed men’s lead when it
Pick up The Way of Men
comes to defining what a real man is.

If you haven’t had the opportunity to read his work, I strongly
encourage you to do so. It will likely make you a bit uncomfortable,
and that’s part of its beauty. It strips away all the modern, safe, and
moral definitions of manhood leaving it to its bare roots.
a show of strength. The lion isn’t any stronger with his mane, but he’s
Strength more intimidating to others.

The modern man, who lives in the suburbs and works in a cubicle
may think that demonstrations of strength are outdated modes of
masculinity, but a few decades in the safety of society can’t override
WATCH THE VIDEO HERE thousands of years of experience.

You come from the blood of warriors and survivors, men who knew
Do you believe the chiseled pecks, defined obliques, or abs made the
that strength was a virtue and one that defined them.
greek soldier who wore this armor any stronger?

Do you think it took more or less time for the blacksmith to create this
armor with these details?

Do you think the soldier cared if the women who saw him in this armor
thought he was attractive while he was riding into battle?

Then what’s the point?

Change your perspective. How would it look to be charging into battle

against a man who looked like he was so strong that his musculature
could impact the shape of his breastplate?

It didn’t matter that rationally this soldier’s opponents knew that the
armor was shaped by the blacksmith, not the physique of the
shoulder. When confronting such a spectacle in battle, it served to
intimidate the enemy more than a simple set of armor would.

Strength is such an integral part of masculinity that it even supersedes

What physical strength do you have? How does your appearance
humanity. Demonstrations of strength can be seen in the manes of
accentuate or hide your physical strength?
lions, the racks of elk, the entire body of a puffer fish, and dozens of
other species throughout the animal kingdom.
If you’re not physically strong? How can you dress in a way that helps
you look as if you are?
For many, that strength is a real thing, whereas others only make a
Within many American Indian tribes, the method in which feathers
Courage were displayed was indicative of acts of courage and bravery.

By wearing these emblems into battle these warriors were able to

remind themselves of past courageous deeds, buoy up the spirits of
their brothers who fought with them, and strike fear into the hearts of
WATCH THE VIDEO HERE their enemies - many of whom had not demonstrated such courage.

Few modern men in the Western world find themselves in situations

Unlike strength - which has application throughout the entire animal
that present actual physical harm or require the type of bravery that
kingdom - courage is a uniquely human trait.
used to be a fundamental requirement for our ancestors.
In the times of small tribes and fierce, violent competition for
However, this does not preclude us from being able to demonstrate
resources, courage was a necessary asset for every male who wanted
both physical and social courage in the clothing we wear.
to be counted amongst the men. Whether it was hunting, attacking
another tribe, defending the perimeter, or exploring new and
While we don’t often find ourselves taking physical risks, there are
uncharted areas, the man who had no courage was useless to his
many opportunities throughout a man’s life to take social risks.

These may be as simple as approaching a woman, standing up for an

And where courage is a necessary trait for men, it becomes necessary
unpopular principle one believes in, or dressing in a way that garners
to signal this virtue in order to claim one’s rightful place amongst his
more attention than others.
fellow men.

Nearly all of the benefits that come from physical courage can be
bestowed on the modern man who demonstrates social courage.


Have you performed any acts of physical courage? If so, how can you
dress in a way that demonstrates this courage?

In what ways can you use your clothing to show social courage? How
can you do so in a way that is beneficial without being overly attention
Greaves like these would have cost a lot of money and taken a lot of
Mastery time to create. Neither of these resources would be wasted on men
who hadn’t proven themselves worthy of the demonstration.

Modern men may not wear much physical armor anymore. But we do
have opportunities to become masters in our domain and signal that
WATCH THE VIDEO HERE mastery to those who are receptive to it.

Of the four tactical virtues that have always applied to men and
masculinity, mastery is the only virtue which is still deemed safely
acceptable by modern Western culture.

The role of the modern man has largely been sanitized by a safe
society and these other virtues are not only considered unnecessary,
many are starting to see them as dangerous.

Thankfully our brains and genes have been fine tuned over millenia
and generations to still respond favorably to manifestations of all four

Mastery, on the other hand, is still alive and well in the modern world
and exists in many of the same forms in which it has across multiple
cultures and time periods.

Take a look at the greaves pictured here. HOMEWORK

They are a portion of armor which was worn by a Roman gladiator What are you mastering? How do the masters in this field dress and
when he fought in the arena. appear? How does their appearance distinguish them from the
novices or the hobbyists?
Do you believe the newly captured slave, who was thrown in as fodder
for the great warriors, was given such immaculate armor? How can you dress in a way that demonstrates your mastery of your
given field? How can you use this signaling of mastery both amongst
No, such mastery of workmanship would have been reserved for those who find themselves in the same arena and those who do not?
those who demonstrated the utmost proficiency in their field.
In ancient times these men were considered threats and expelled from
Honor any community in which they found themselves. They were a danger
and presented little or no value to other men of the world.

In modern times we see them as loners. At worst they are losers. At

best they are begrudging anti heroes. These lone wolves will often
WATCH THE VIDEO HERE signal their ex-tribe status by dressing ways that turn off everyone
around them.
Honor is a system for keeping loyalty, morals, and status in check -
both within a tribe and between tribes of men.

Historically honor was associated with external actions, regardless of

internal motivations, beliefs, or opinions.

Over the past few centuries that meaning has shifted to a consistency
or integrity between who a man is on the inside and who he presents
himself to be on the outside. As long as both facets are congruent, the
modern man is considered to be honorable.

But even in our time we cannot fully separate the virtue of honor from
its utility to the community.

In the United States, the Medal of Honor is the highest military award.
It is granted to those with personal acts of valor above and beyond
the call of duty.

It is awarded only to those who willingly sacrifice themselves for the

Are you a man who values honor? If so, who is your tribe and what are
benefit of another.
its values?

A man who claims to not care what any other man thinks of him is a
How can you signal your position with the tribe, your loyalty to it, and
man who has no honor. Period.
your willingness to sacrifice for it with your clothing and appearance?

He is stating that he has no loyalty to anyone beyond himself and is

unconcerned with his place within a community.
The final piece of the puzzle is taking all of the information outlined in
Great start this guide and combining it together

But here’s the deal, experimentation is a difficult thing - especially when

You now have the perfect foundation to dress intentionally, irrespective of you are the only person who’s gauging and measuring your results. The
environment, tribe, taste, or any other variable. With these basics in place, best way to know whether or not your style is telling the story you want to
you’ll start reaping benefits immediately. And, more importantly, set the is through getting feedback.
foundation for even bigger and better improvements as you make even
more progress. Real, honest feedback can be hard to come by. Most people are
uncomfortable giving you their real opinions about how your look.
Whatever else you decide to acquire should reflect your Sometimes because they feel like they don’t know any better but usually
accomplishments and/or ambitions as a man. They should help you because they don’t want to hurt your feelings.
project the image you want the rest of the world to see and make
them feel what you want them to feel. As part of learning to dress more intentionally, you’ll want to get input from
men who are on the same journey.
Don’t be nervous about experimenting or making mistakes. Dressing
better is like developing any other habit, it takes some time and more To make that happen, I’ve created a private Facebook group for those who
than just a couple of errors. By choosing to stay in his comfort zone, have know the fundamentals of dressing intentionally. It’s a community of
in any arena, a man fails to realize his maximum potential. like-minded men who are hungry for improvement - both their own and that
of the other men in the group.
In fact, many men who struggle with improving themselves often find
this push towards dressing better is the exact kick start they need to So join us in here! Ask questions. Give advice. Show us what you’re
becoming better in more important areas of their lives. wearing. Tell us what Staples and Virtues have been best for you in
developing a killer style.
This is a process and should be enjoyed as such. Great results don’t
happen overnight and you shouldn’t be discouraged by the fact that it Here the Link!
may take some effort and a few errors to really dial things in. Enjoy the
experience of it and then take the same eagerness to learn and I’m personally in there and helping guys out. So make sure you jump in,
willingness to make mistakes and apply them to other areas of self introduce yourself and start asking your questions. I’m pumped to be able
improvement. to help you out on a more direct level within the group!

My own journey has led me to want to get in better shape, sleep

better, eat better, learn another language - even be a better friend,
husband, and father. My clothing didn’t make these changes, but my
deliberate and intentional approach to it is a huge factor in my own
pursuit of perpetual improvement.