in: Dating & Relationships

Suit Up: Advice for Men from a Woman Working in Fashion

men fashion

Put on a suit once in awhile, listen intently, open doors and don’t talk about your ex. Dawn Estenor doesn’t think it’s too much to ask of modern gentlemen.

I’m not soliciting advice nor am I an expert. I’m merely bringing to light common dating woes based on several conversations between the sexes. These topics are based off of conversations between various men and women that I encounter.

As a Men’s Style Consultant, I often get asked from clients and prospective clients about my dating perspective, opinion or advice. I genuinely take interest in every person I meet. The fact I’m a female working with males, I seem to be a voice of reason or a sounding board for the single ones. When women find out what I do as I’m networking, I suddenly become the designated “expert on a man’s psyche.” I am not…I just work solely with men, it’s my job.

Based on countless conversations and my own experience with men, I’ve provided some “golden nuggets” on bridging the gap between the sexes. Men, read up.

Adopt a bit of swagger.

What is swagger, you say? It’s having so much confidence that it’s oozing out of every pore in your body. This does not mean you act cocky, obnoxious or show everyone how completely self-absorbed you can be. It simply means you show confidence by being poised in how you carry yourself and what you say.

Exuding confidence gains attention. When someone confident walks in a room, people notice. I’m going to throw out co-ed celebrity names that the masses would agree have “swagger.” Ryan Gosling, Adam Levine, Jay-Z, Mark Wahlberg, Pharrell Williams, Nicole Scherzinger, Beyoncé, Madonna, Jennifer Lopez… catch my drift?

So how does this apply in dating? When asking someone on a date takes the initiative of making plans for that night based on what you’ve found out about their interests. This will remove the pressure of, “so where do you want to go? What do you want to do?” When you are on the date, don’t be wishy-washy or indecisive. Be at ease and self-assured. Convey this through body language (don’t cross your arms unless you are actually cold) and conversation (make eye contact, smile). Swagger is all about the confidence and confidence is sexy.

Chivalry shouldn’t be dead.

Chivalry, an unfamiliar term to many, comes from the Middle Ages and defined a standard of “knight behavior/warrior code.” It includes courtesy towards women, service to others, bravery and honor.

These days, this word is synonymous with the ideals of courtesy, politeness and respect. We are in an uber-modern world with technology and so many societal advances, but people still want old world traditions to an extent. I won’t get into “gender specific” chivalrous actions, so I’ll put it this way… act refined, not barbaric.

Talk with me and not at me.

“I must have had two words in. He sat there and talked at me versus with me. He hardly asked me any questions about myself and just gabbed on about himself.”

An anonymous single female told me this at a social event. Men, engage in conversation. Relax, ask questions, laugh and smile. You do so well texting back and forth before going on a date that it shouldn’t be a challenge to converse in person. One can be nervous and therefore verbal vomit occurs, but if you know you’re doing it then ease up and even try to humor it.

Humor wins. Insults lose.

Be funny, not insulting. Everyone loves a good laugh, but not everyone has the same sense of humor. As you’re getting to know each other figure out what that is. It’s great to be funny, but remember: when you’re texting or emailing, the humor can easily be misconstrued when you’re getting to know one another. Ease up on your comedy act the first couple dates or phone conversations until you have a good grasp on each other’s personalities.

You can break up with your smartphone for a couple hours.

You know exactly what I am talking about. Put your smartphone away.

You are getting to know each other and it’s rude to be checking your phone for text messages, fantasy football stats, Facebook updates, Instagram curiosities, missed phone calls and emails. You are pretty much telling the other person they’re not interesting enough to hold your attention.

My boyfriend and I, after several years of being together, have date nights during which we make it a point to turn our phone on silent and stow it away while on our date. Be present in the moment and pay attention to your date. Unless there is a very special circumstance and you must have it readily available, put it away for the short period of time.

Yes, I’m judging what you look like.

We are only human. Let’s face it, we are initially attracted to the outside. The physical aspect drives us to want to talk to the opposite sex and when we get to know them the personality is what fuels the attraction even more (or it douses the fire).

Colorado is one of the fittest states. Denver and Boulder definitely showcase some fine specimens of the human body. Ladies constantly tell me, “He looked like he just came from working out—which is fine if we were going to go hiking or work out, but we were going to eat dinner at a nice restaurant in Cherry Creek and I made sure I looked really cute. I was way overdressed next to him and kind of felt awkward and it made me feel bad.” Men have told me, We decided on going to a yoga class since she likes yoga and I have always wanted to try it. She showed up looking amazing in a really great workout outfit, but then had her hair done and all this makeup on. I was hoping to see her a little more natural.”

When you’re going out, dress appropriately for your plans and think of how you want the other person to react to you. Guys, if you’re taking her out to dinner try to avoid wearing your favorite, worn out Star Wars tee shirt that you’ve had since the college days. Ladies, if there’s a chance for discomfort or wardrobe malfunction, opt for the sensible yet chic choice. There’s a time and place for everything.

No more “drink dates.” Alcohol no, food yes.

I often hear that men and women are tired of the liquid courage on the first couple dates, as it can be an “artificial someone” they’re getting to know. Opt out of the alcohol so you can overcome the nervousness naturally and genuinely get to know someone. You can have a drink later on. Trust me, there’s no shortage of alcohol in Denver.

When you talk about your ex, you instantly become one.​

It’s simple: don’t talk about your ex. It’s tacky.

The minute you say “ex” the person sitting across the table has already felt secondary and thought that a) you’re not over the other person b) has already decided not to go out with you again and c) he/she is not as good enough as the ex and may even begin to wonder how they compare.

If you find yourself talking about the “ex” in the beginning stages, you have already put yourself on the do-not-call list.

At the end of the day, single or not single, all we want is to feel appreciated and loved. Just as you desire to meet mindfully, someone desires to a meet a mindful you.


[image via BBQ’sOnSunday on flickr]

About the Author:

Dawn Estenor

Dawn Estenor lives in Denver, CO and is a Personal Haberdasher/Style Consultant for Adatto Custom Menswear. Born and raised in Chicagoland as child of immigrants from the Philippines, Dawn is no stranger to the world of custom made garments. Influenced by the art of sewing and construction by her Mother, Grandmother and Father's Personal Tailor, she started constructing garments as a pre-teen. She says, "I spent a lot of time watching people sew as a kid. My mother sewed beautiful draperies at home, my grandmother custom made all of our special occasion dresses and my father had a personal tailor who took care of all his suiting. These were some of my best memories as a kid! I fell in love with all of it and truly find it to be a blend of art and science. The process from start to finish, the amount of detail are absolutely beautiful to me." Naturally this led her to a creative journey in Fashion/Retail working for Ralph Lauren, Nike and Nordstrom among others. Email her at: [email protected] and Follow her on Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram.


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