On Dressing for Compliments

Warning: raw and unfiltered opinion contained within.

Something I see with regularity whenever I come across a website, or YouTube channel, that purports to educate the reader/watcher on how to dress well is a recurring theme about dressing in order to gain compliments.

It’s something that’s absolutely rife in the fragrance world as well, as I’ve discovered during my exploration of it, with many people discussing the ‘compliment factor’ of a fragrance or cherry picking the fragrances that they wear in order to elicit compliments from others.

If you’re a long term reader of this site, you’ll know that I’m a firm believer in individual style being your own and can probably guess what I’m going to say here. And I’ll keep it concise, because it doesn’t need an essay. Even if it could easily spawn one.

But Seriously…

If you’re basing the ‘success’ of an outfit on whether people give you compliments, in real life or online, not only is it going to massively restrict your creativity but it’s an indicator of some seriously frail ego going on.

Sure, a large part of menswear as a hobby or interest is about looking good. But it’s about looking YOUR version of good, not anybody elses. Your outfit is an expression of you – your mood, your outlook on life, your person, what you’re doing that day and I could go on in this vein for a whole page.

Long story short – there’s no harm in using the opinions of others for guidance, but it should be you and only you who determines whether how you dress to meet the day is good enough.

It’s a unique style that attracts interest.

A Side Note, and Wrapping Up

In case you were looking for another reason to avoid dressing for compliments, I’ve noticed an interesting trend among the times that I’ve been complimented on an outfit in person.

Almost all of the outfits in question, when I look back on them, have been in my opinion some of my worst creations. Hell, some of them I downright regret stepping out of the house in.

Especially ones that have elicited being called ‘dapper’. I haven’t heard that word used in reference to myself since I learned how to match patterns properly. It leads me to believe the word has lost its original meaning, and is now just used to describe a man in tailored clothing displaying loud, clashing and unharmonious patterns.

Not something I want to aspire to.

So I reiterate: dress for yourself, and damn the compliments. Let your confidence be inspired by how you feel in your clothing, not whether others compliment you.

Hope you’re all staying safe,


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With content features ranging from appearances on popular menswear hubs (The Rake, StyleForum, Put This On) to French perfume newsletters and university course readings, Sam is a writer, designer and enthusiast in the fields of menswear and fragrance.

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