Men's Style: Beauty versus Status. Which one wins?

You might be wondering if looks matter to women. As a dating coach and style coach, I can definitely say: yes. But, not in the way that you might think. As men, because we depend a lot on looks (at least initially), we tend to think of women as focused on looks as well. This phenomenon is called Attraction Circuitry Projection.

However, a man’s physical beauty can be challenged by another man’s status. In “Survival of the Prettiest”, Harvard Psychologist Nancy Etcoff explains:

Even in the animal world females can be lured by males with big gifts and good territories.

Female scorpionflies will not even look at a male unless his gift, a tasty bit of insect protein, is at least sixteen square millimeters.

If she accepts his gift, they copulate, and the copulation lasts as long as the meal does. Better gifts lead to longer copulations, which are doubly advantageous because they are more likely to lead to conception, and because because the extra protein the female is eating will product better eggs.

Now, how does this translate in the human world?

Anthropologist John Marshall Townsend showed people pictures of men and women who ranged from great-looking to below average and who were described as training to be in either low-, medium-, or high-paying professions (waiter, teacher, or doctor).

They were asked whether this was a person they might like to have a cup of coffee with, date, have sex with, or even marry. Not surprisingly, women preferred the best-looking man with the most money. But below him, average-looking or even unattractive doctors received the same ratings as very attractive teachers. Status compensated for looks. This was not true when men evaluated women. Unattractive women were not preferred, no matter what their status.


Here is the interesting part. Pay attention.

When Townsend and his colleague Gary Levy made the men’s status differences more extreme, the women’s preferences were even clearer. Townsend and Levy took photographs of men wearing either a Burger King uniform and a baseball cap or a shirt, tie, and blazer, and a Rolex watch, and showed them to women. Some women saw Tom and Harry wearing the Burger King outfit and Him and Dan wearing the suit and Rolex, others saw Tom and Harry with the suit and Rolex and Jim and Dan in the Burger King outfit.

Women were unwilling to date, have sex with, or marry the men in the Burger King outfit but were willing to consider any of these when he was wearing the suit and Rolex. It was an interesting demonstration of “clothes makes the man” or that emblems of income and status make the man.

Despite his sense of humour, women probably won't go out with this guy

Thus, one might argue that a man who understand style and can use it to emulate social status creates the most attraction with women. This is our reasoning with defining and master the most important Style Attraction Switches in the SWS Ebook.


One thing to keep in mind, is that marketing companies know that men think higher status is equated to wealth. As such, some stores charge an extra high price for their products. Do not be fooled by this. Sure, a Rolex watch helps, but not every guy who appears to have status needs to spend thousands of dollars. Money is only as good as how you use it. Women, and people in general appreciate the EFFICIENT and Effective use of money. Therefore an Armani suit that doesn’t fit is simply that: an over-sized, ugly looking suit.

Price does not equate to value. It simply reflects how much the owner decided to charge (Warren Buffet). In understanding the underlying attraction switches, you can develop a high status style without spending a fortune.

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