What Men Want


It has well been established that when hard-working ladies with legit careers come home from a long week of work, pour themselves a glass of wine, and decide what to wear out on a Friday night, they are hardly considering the preferences of the opposite sex. Men, it’s true, we are more concerned with what she thinks of our fashion than what you do (and by she I mean our best friend, our worst enemy, and the waitress at the next table). Aside from that, guys have been telling us since the impressionable age of 13 that they don’t even care about we’re wearing; so imagine my surprise when I heard my friend and dating coach Shannon Mattingly of Dating Shannonigans tell someone (it wasn’t me) that while their skinny jean and denim button-up combo was cute, the type of guy it would attract might be not be up to par. Wait…WHAT? When it finally registered, I had a life montage of every Starbucks and bar run-in I’ve had and things made perfect sense.

Ladies, we’ve been fooled; and while I personally view fashion as an art of self-expression, it’s interesting to get into the minds of these men and discover exactly what opinions they are quick to form about our “Night out with the girls” attire. It’s true, you are being judged. With 2013 coming to a close, I wanted to end with this oldie, but goodie: last year, I interviewed dudes from all walks of life to find out what they think of a hottie in a duster versus someone in skin-tight garb or a blazer. Not that we actually care what they think, the results were surprising. Then of course I needed Shannonigan herself decipher the code. Fashion Psychology 101.

1. Casual Chic-Skinny Jeans/Baggy Top/Heels.

This look is easily a weekend staple for women, and men are okay with that as long as the top doesn’t offer too much coverage.  The guys’ first impression of this girl is that she is down-to-earth, approachable, and attainable: Girl Next Door. In a sea of men, anyone is likely to approach you in this look because you aren’t setting yourself apart from the crowd.  Work your assets: If you’re slim, wear a fitted top or let it hang off one shoulder-there’s nothing to hide.

SHANNONIGAN SAYS: “Be prepared to chat with ‘Casual Carl.’ This look will attract guys that are not very serious."

2. Floozy-Tight, Short, Low-Cut Dress/Heels.

This gal has been dubbed the “One Night Stand” of the group. Oy. Men said they would not take her seriously and would only approach her if they were looking for someone to take home (and I don’t mean home to Mom). This is sad because that fitted dress is what women often bust out if they want to meet a man; it’s usually not fashionable and is highly uncomfortable. Fix it by buying the right size; if it feels too tight it probably is, and all of the pulling, tugging, and rippling isn’t cute. Most importantly: Legs, butt, or boobs…you get one. Nobody needs to see all the goods.

SHANNONIGAN SAYS: “This woman may get attention but it isn’t the kind that is going to foster an amazing relationship. But hey, you’ll get a boyfriend for one night.”

3. Girly-Simple Top/A-Line Skirt/Heels.

Five stars. This is the look if you ask a man. They find it classy, confident, and sexy without looking slutty. The simplicity of an A-Line silhouette tells them that the girl is put-together without being over-the-top. It’s a sleek look, so if it’s really not yours then try some different variations of your favorite separates. Make sure to keep it clean and try for something tailored to show off your waist. Avoid blousy because a couple of sodas in and that gets sloppy.

SHANNONIGAN SAYS: “Remember men are visual. Show off your best attributes in a very classy way to attract the Perfect Catch.”

4. Boho-Printed Maxi-Dress/Layered Cardigan optional

Women love long, floral dresses; men hate them. This hippie look reads, “Depressed,” “Lazy,” and “Sour” to the opposite sex. And some admit to the automatic assumptions that she doesn’t shave her legs and that there is a good chance she’s A-Sexual. It’s a hard one to change, as it is probably the most personal style of them all. I suggest wearing a similar style with a shorter hemline and rubbing your stubble-free legs against him at the bar.

SHANNONIGAN SAYS: “First impression is everything and you are putting out the wrong image if you want to attract anything other than a hipster. You have to put in a little effort.”

5. Business Casual-Dress or Separates/Blazer/Heels

Men like this look because (they think) it shows that the woman has to dress up for work (aka has “a real job.”) However, they are only attracted to this woman in the light of day. Wearing this outfit after sunset gives off the impression that you are boring, uptight, or potentially "related to Ellen DeGeneres”...that's a direct quote. If you don’t have time to change between office meetings and a night out with the girls, simply lose the jacket and switch out the office kicks for your favorite Louboutins.

SHANNONIGANS SAYS: “This is a little too serious for a bar. You have to know your surroundings.”

Well there you have it, straight from the monkey's mouth. Men have said, and will continue to say, that they don’t care what a woman is wearing. 


Lies. Now we are all strong, creative women and I don’t expect anyone to go out and change their entire wardrobe; but depending on who you’re looking for, you might style a few things differently or visit a tailor. Only minor tweaks within your own closet, you’ve still got to stay true to your own personal style. Who knows, with a few edits you may never give out the wrong number (or go on another Tinder date) again.

Happy New Year! See you on the other side...

LIFE + STYLECatMen, Psychology