How women want their men to dress

men fashion
We always dress to impress and/or intimidate the competition. PHOTO | FOTOSEARCH 

Gentlemen, if you really want to know how to dress, ask the woman in your life. If she is honest and well exposed, you will be OK. On the other hand, if she is dejected, insecure or overprotective she might prefer you looking a little unattractive.

We always dress to impress and/or intimidate the competition. Yes, there is always competition to look our best in every business and social environment. He who dresses best gets the respect (and the girl). While this may be true, it does not guarantee you will keep her attention unless you have something interesting and intriguing to say.

So what do women really look for in a man? The list is endless but for purposes of this article let us focus on clothes. A man must wear between five to 14 items on any given day. How many he selects will determine if he is over or underdressed. The bare minimum items should never go below five pieces, unless you are basking on the beach or frolicking in the bedroom. Five women shared valuable insights on what they look for:

Tina Benawra, a 36-year-old artist, remembers her father’s advice when she was 18. He said, “Look at his shoes because you can tell a lot about a man's journey from his footwear.” A good dress shoe must be clean and well shined. She also looks at a man's shirt and the collar specifically. “It is all about the fabric and fit. High-quality fabric drapes well and complements a man’s physique,” she says.

“I want to touch and appreciate natural fabric like wool on a tailored blazer. Good yarn like cashmere, always earns my respect,’’ she quipped.


Tina Benawra

Tina Benawra, 36, an artist. PHOTO | COURTESY

For Ciku Kariuki, an office manager, style is the most important factor. “His style must be current, colours bright and brave. He should be able to combine all the elements well,” she says.

“Any man can choose good clothes but few know how accessorise so I also look at his wrist for a bracelet or a timepiece. A side street watch does not keep good time and expires eventually,” she says.

Ciku Kariuki

Ciku Kariuki, 30, an office manager. PHOTO | COURTESY

Winnie Kabinga, an environmentalist, says “a doctor in a short-sleeved floral shirt has a calming effect on her. But a doctor in cufflinks would terrify me. If I walk into a lawyer's office, he must have a tailored suit and expensive white shirt to get my business,” she says. Winnie, who is in her 50s, also notices that well-dressed men in the boardroom are less of a nuisance compared to the ill-dressed ones “who eat all the candy and love the sound of their voice. They also expose their chauvinistic tendencies.”

Kui Kamau, a 31-year-old businesswoman with an interest in fashion says she gets goose bumps when a man wears a well-tailored dark pin-stripped suit. “It drives me crazy,” she says. “Even though a bespoke trouser does not require a belt, I always check to see if he has matched his belt with his footwear. I have a rule: Black shoes work anytime but my man should never wear brown shoes after 6pm,” she says.

Kui Kamau

Kui Kamau, 31, a businesswoman with an interest in fashion. PHOTO | COURTESY

Connie Aluoch, an image consultant says she believes that as long as a man wears comfortable, well-fitting clothes, he should be fine. She explains that every event demands a certain dress code. “If it’s a formal black tie event, please don’t show up in a basic business suit or sports jacket. Always invest in a bow tie, a tuxedo and a pair formal black whole-cut dress shoes. Jeans or chinos are a big no! no!,” she says.

If on the other hand it is a fashion-forward award ceremony, break the tuxedo with minimalist low-top sneakers, just to stand from the crowd.

“More importantly, ensure you have some classic times pieces in your wardrobe. Dress your age with confidence and let your body language confirm it,” she says.

Connie Alouch

Connie Alouch, stylist. PHOTO | COURTESY

A few basics and a few non-essential items men could wear.

1. Shirt

2. Trousers

3. Boxers/Briefs

4. Shoes

5. Watch/Timepiece

6. Vest (inner shirt)

7. Jacket/Blazer/Coat

8. Socks

9. Bracelet

10. Pocket square

11. Belt

12. Ring(s)

13. Ear Studs (for the Metrosexual)

14. Suspenders (Braces)

The top four are your bear minimum, the last four might cause some consternation, wear with care.