A Quintessential Man’s Inner Fight – Dress Up Or Dress Down?

How you dress each day is an essential part of your identity. It’s an encapsulation of your self, your aspirations, and the essence of you that you want to project to the world.


It goes without saying that it’s an incredibly important decision to make – and one we come to again and again, every day we stand before the mirror.


So what path do you choose? Do you dress ‘up’ – and arm yourself with the sharpest suit in your collection, impeccably shined shoes, artfully chosen accessories and an incredibly refined presentation of good taste?


Or do you dress ‘down’ – an option that’s no less artful in the making, but gives a carefully curated vision of nonchalance, casualness and a laid back vibe?


For us it’s not a question of either/or. Instead, it’s about understanding the power of style and presentation – and choosing the right combination to suit the situation.


The power of a good suit

 dress up or dress down?

There’s a time and a place for artfully distressed jeans, soft leathers and rock ‘n roll tees – but when your mission is to make a lasting impression that will be seared on to the minds of the people you encounter, that’s not it.


Instead, it’s the moment in life to step up to the plate. To empower yourself. And this is what a good suit can do for you.


Forget the ‘power suits’ of the 80s – boxy, rigid affairs that conveyed equally box and rigid personalities. The contemporary suit takes on all the feelings of confidence and success, and presents them in a careful, elegant and individualised form, that instantly speaks volumes about the man you want to be.


To keep the high-impact vibe, the cleaner the impression, the better. Dressing up in this case is all about careful refinement – choose a base foundation of black, grey or navy. Make sure it is impeccably tailored to sculpt your body and fit like a glove. And keep your eye on the subtle details – cufflinks, shoes, ties and socks – as these minor elements will speak volumes about you.


Check out our Suit Guide for more ideas and stay tuned because in the upcoming weeks we will be posting an extensive article dedicated on the History of Suit and how it epitomized the idea of Man throughout the past decades. 

The art of nonchalance

dress up or dress down? 

The Italians have a word for it – sprezzatura. It sums up the essence of what dressing ‘down’ is all about:


Looking good, without looking like you’ve tried too hard.


Sure, a power suit looks fantastic – commanding, inspiring and confident. It also looks as if you’ve spent a serious amount of time before the mirror, making sure the image your present is just right. And there are some occasions when this is the last impression you want to give.


Instead you want to be able to roll in, brimming with confidence and charisma – without a steam-pressed crease in sight. So how do you do it?


First off, choose your fabrics with care. Sure, you are not going for sharply tailored suits or dress shirts – but your choice of clothing still speaks volumes about you. A softer silhouette created by a leather or denim jacket is an essential staple – but just like a formal blazer, fit is absolutely key. Oversized anything does not look good – it’ll swallow your form and leave you looking swamped and saggy.


Choose your jeans with the same care and consideration that you’d give to picking a pair of formal trousers. Consider fit, waist height and length. Don’t get too swayed by trends and instead work with your own body, to pick a style that enhances your shape.


Lastly, choose your color palette with care. Neutrals are a great base for dressed down looks – grays, blacks and blues can be combined more or less effortlessly, to create an instantly put together look. And you can easily throw in punches of color – a hat, a satchel or even an knotted, slouching scarf – to elevate the final result.


Whether you dress up or down – one element is vital. Make sure that you are the one wearing the clothes – and not the other way around.


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Andrian Iliopoulos

Andrian is the founder and main contributor at The Quintessential Man - The only online community that offers a holistic approach to self-growth. We are striving to create high-quality content by investing in a reality-based form of self-help, informed by a deep understanding of psychology, culture and our own personal experiences and social adventures.
  • There’s definitely been times when I’ve said to myself “yep I definitely should have suited up”

    • You know what? Many people underestimate the power of a good suit and feel somewhat self-conscious about wearing one. IMHO if you are not sure about what to wear and what attire is “appropriate” for the occasion, definitely go for a suit. You may not believe it but it is the only way to play it safe.

  • William o’neal

    Is it a nono to wear loose fit pants(not baggy)? Being really skinny with long legs and short torso, tight fit pants would not suit me well.

    • Hi William! No matter your body type, wearing the correct size is vital. Sizing up or down flatters virtually no one. For a skinny man with a short torso, it makes you appear more scrawny and even childlike beneath your clothes. I would recommend going to a tailor to help you out. Finding the right fit is all you need! 🙂