How to Look Great Every Day

We pooled the professionals, combed the journals, and checked out the stats. The results? Eight scientific principles of dress that leave nothing to chance.

How to Look Great Every Day

We pooled the professionals, combed the journals, and checked out the stats. The results? Eight scientific principles of dress that leave nothing to chance.

Woman holding a cocktail laughing with a man

1
Woo her with fragrance

“Women have a better sense of smell than men do, and it’s even sharper in the middle of their menstrual cycle, when estrogen levels peak and women are more likely to be deciding whether a man’s attractive.” says Helen Fisher. Ph.D., a professor of anthropology at Rutgers University and the author of Why We Love. Wearing fragrant leather is one great way to get inside her head.

TIP: WEAR LEATHER. You’ll encourage her animal instincts. Maintain it well — preserving its oils releases natural fragrance.

Man adjusting tie in pinstripe suit

2
Explore the vertical

Women rate tall men as more sexually attractive than shorter guys, and tall men are more likely to find a mate. Proof: A British study of more than 10,000 people found that men 6 feet tail were more likely than average-height men (5’10”) to be married and have children.

TIP: WEAR PINSTRIPES. Vertical lines enhance your height, and it’s easier than standing on your toes.

Man with bracelets in a suit

3
Convey status

We all know what you’re looking for when you check out a woman. You dog. But that doesn’t mean she’s looking for sex signifiers when she scopes you out. A study of mate selection in 37 cultures found that women seek partners with status, class, and success. So when she’s checking you out, she’s looking for the bulge in your pants, all right; the one made by your wallet. “Now, this doesn’t mean that every woman wants a businessman from New York City,” says Fisher. “But if she walks into a bar and there are three accountants and one is wearing a nicer suit, she might notice it and be attracted to that man. Women like signs of money and education—things that indicate that not only is this guy going to have some resources, but he’s also willing to share them.

TIP: ACCESSORIZE WELL. Spend, and spend some more, on watches and cool shoes. They’re the first two stops on her itinerary.

4
Project strength

Broad shoulders connote strength and confidence—and 22% of women in a British study rated them as men’s sexiest body part.

TIP: DRESS LIKE A YANKEE. Wear a shirt with raglan sleeves (diagonal seams from the armpit to the neck). Ballplayers wear them. and they routinely reach third base.

Man posing in suit

5
Show off your testosterone

“Women are looking for men with good genes so their children can have good genes,” says Devendra Singh, a professor of psychology at the University of Texas. One thing they’re noticing, probably without realizing it, is a man’s waist-to-hip ratio. In cross-cultural studies, women rate men with 0.8 to 0.95 ratios (almost a straight line) as most appealing. “Women are unconsciously performing these calculations—judging men on the basis of how body fat is distributed,” she says. The ratio is an indicator of testosterone. Testosterone inhibits fat in the buttocks and waist but allows it in the upper body. So when a man has a large waist or butt, it indicates low testosterone, and a woman will consider him less attractive.

TIP: WEAR A SPORT COAT. Don’t leave home without it. A sport coat creates a visual line from your neck to your thighs, which conveys an appealing waist-to-hip ratio, according to Michael Cunningham, Ph.D., who studies attraction at the University of Louisville. Unless you regularly appear on the cover of a magazine, avoid anything cinched or tightly belted at the waist.

Folded point collar shirt

6
Give good face

Pure animal attraction is linked to your face and its symmetry. Sixty-five studies of 42 species have connected symmetry and sex appeal, according to the Penguin Atlas of Human Sexual Behavior. In addition, the better a man’s symmetry, the more quickly he gets women into bed, the more sexual partners he has, and the more orgasms he causes in women partners, says the Atlas. You can’t change your face (at least not without a scalpel), but you can frame it properly:

TIP: COLLAR SOME ATTENTION. Wear a point-collar dress shirt, with collar points 2 3/4 to 3 inches in length. This collar frames the face best and with the least margin of error for most men, regardless of face shape, says Alan Flusser, men’s-fashion expert and author of Dressing the Man. When you’re not wearing a tie, unbutton the top one or two buttons.

Man in pink shirt smiling

7
Display your true colors

Women have a better sense of color and a better color memory,” says Fisher. “They’re more likely to notice when something doesn’t match; more likely to notice what you’re wearing,” Use different colors to convey different desirable personality traits and to evoke different feelings in your date.

TIP: SURRENDER TO PINK. “It’s a color women gravitate toward,” says Lisa Herbert, an executive vice president at Pantone, a leading color-research firm. “It indicates intimacy and sensitivity.”
Man using phone while drinking coffee

8
Go skin to skin

Your first mission on a date (indeed, the key to all subsequent missions) is contact: Get her to touch you. “Touch is the mother of the senses,” says Fisher. “Not only are women more sensitive when they touch, but they’re also more sensitive to being touched.” It has to do with millions of years of nurturing behavior, explains Fisher. Women, as mothers and caretakers, have to identify health threats such as fever, swollen glands, and so on, by touch. Show a woman your soft side—she’ll expose hers in return.

TIP: FEEL GREAT. Apply moisturizer at least twice a day, and if you must cover skin, do it with touchable all-stars like cashmere, pima cotton, brushed corduroy, merino wool, and suede. When sex is on the line, definitely wear velvet.