When I started “Metalhead Fashion Makeover” week, I said there would even be something to interest you boys. And, here it is. Steff’s definitive guide to dressing for male metalheads.
Now, don’t groan. Don’t say “I don’t care about that shit. I just wear what’s comfortable”, because it’s a lie. I know – anthropology tells me so.
Here’s why. You’ve all done high school biology, and you know about animals performing overt displays in order to attract females – from those birds who dance, to peacocks unfurling their feathers, to rhinos clashing horns … and, for many species of animals, the colours of their skin / feathers / fur can tell a male whether that animal is friend or foe, predator or prey.
And it’s not different for humans. The clothes you wear give very specific, subconsciously-coded messages to others around you. They tell people whether you are friend or foe, and they give females clues as to whether you make a good match or not.
Every time you pull something from your closet to wear, you are making a choice. You are deciding how you wish people to perceive you. There is no “neutral” clothing – every colour, brand, shade, tone, style and pattern you wear conveys specifc messages to the people around you. Whether you realize it or not, when you dress yourself, you are donning a visual manifestation of an aspect of your personality.
Still not convinced? Have you ever said one of these before?
- “My mum / sister / girlfriend brought this shirt for me” – you’re perfectly happy wearing clothes you didn’t pick yourself, (doing things, making decisions you didn’t choose) because you trust other people to know what’s best.
“I just thought the picture was cool” – you love comic books, computer games, movies, art or other mediums with highly visual stimulations.
“I love this band and the shirt is comfortable” – you love not only that band, but a particular style of music, which we all know carry specific connotations about your personality.
“I like wearing black, it’s simple”.
“This shirt cracks me up” (said of a shirt with a funny slogan). You find this juoke hilarious enough to share with the world, which suggests you love a good laugh, and what kind of jokes you find funny.
See what I mean?
When I first met my husband, he was wearing a metal shirt. This immediately tells me two things:
- 1. we have something in common
2. he probably has a “metal” personality, and likes other “metal” things.
He also had long hair. To many women, the way a man cuts his hair gives her distinct clues about the kind of person he is. Short hair is civilized, safe, someone who cares about keeping himself neat, someone who lives in the modern world. Long hair is untamed, wild, barbarian, unapologetically masculine, and tells us here is a person whose real life exists outside the modern world – whether that’s in a mosh pit, in a hippy commune, or whatever. Long hair tells us this person likes a littler risk (it’s harder to find a job with long hair, etc). Some women love the former, some the latter. I am instantly turned-off by short hair.
He wore a single earring. I love meeting men who wear one piece of jewelry, be it a thor’s hammer on a leather thong, a wedding ring, a bone carving from their girlfriend, or an earring or nose piercing. When you ask about their piece, they always have a beautiful story about what it means to them, either on a spiritual level, as a gift from a loved one, or in memory of someone they loved. These pieces aren’t “accessories” so much as “talismans”. And yes, the esoteric nature of that appeals to me.
Also, wearing a single earring is big with my dad’s generation, and Father Metal has his ear pierced still. Having something that reminds a girl of her father is actually a surefire way to her heart (not in a yucky paedophilia way, more in a “this is what I think a man SHOULD be like,” way.
On the other hand, men who wear jewelry because it’s trendy are a huge turn-off for me. I think jewelry should mean something – all my jewelry has some kind of meaning for me – either because someone I love gave it to me, I brought it in a place that was special, or it represents something important to me. I’ve never brought something simply because it “looks cool” or would go perfectly with an outfit, or something. I normally only buy jewelry from places I visit that are special to me.
He also wore boots. To me, boots say “I am a man and I am ready for adventure.” Boots say “I will tramble my enemies.” In contrast, white shoes say “I care about the things I wear and I don’t want to get my feet dirty”, and that doesn’t seem like any fun.
However, to someone else, a metal shirt says “I am a scary person with scary hobbies and beliefs. It’s best to stay away.” To some, it even says “I believe in abhorrent things and should be stoned to death.” If you’re trying to impress a person who falls into one of these categories, you wouldn’t be wearing a metal shirt. This is why we don’t wear Slayer shirts to job interviews.
To some people, long hair – even tidy long hair – says “I am a scruffy person who doesn’t care how I look.” Long hair can also say “I am on drugs”, and “I do not play well in modern society”. Boots might say “I am working class” or “I am here to fix the sink”.
So now you know why fashion is important for you, let’s move on to how fashion can help you.
Girls Notice What You Wear
Whoever said girls weren’t as visually stimulated as guys was a big, fat Harvard idiot. No, we’re not generally as drawn to porn as men, but we love staring at hot guys.
Every girl’s impression of a hot guy is different. With men, there’s less media attention on what looks hot, so we’re all free to make up our own minds, mostly influenced by our fathers, men who inspire us and our dreams for the future. For example, a girl whose dream is to be the farmer’s wife, cooking and raising the kids and helping to feed the cows, will find farm boys attractive. A girl who dreams of being a rich lady of leisure will be attracted to men in high-powered business positions. And a girl like me, whose dreams for the future involve more travel, lots of metal festivals, and a life of adventure and chaos – I like me some metalhead men. Mmmmmm.
So what kind of girl do YOU want? Or – if you swing the other way – what kind of guy? What kind of lovers do you seem to attract and how do you feel about them? Do you find yourself always dating the same type of girl, and it always ends the same way? Are you doing all you can to attract the kind of partner you want?
Think about your perfect girl (or guy) – what would she look for in a guy? If you feel totally stumped by all this thinking, get a smart female friend to help you. We are very good at putting ourselves inside other girl’s heads. Having a girl go through your clothes to tell you what other girls might think of what you wear can also help.
So, how does this work? Say you really want is to date a metal girl, but an intelligent and slightly geeky one. So how might she tell from your clothing that you are a metalhead, intelligent, but also slightly geeky? Well, here are some ideas:
You have to read fantasy novels or play computer or RPG games to love this kind of stuff, I think. But what if you wanted a girl who loved brutal death metal, watching war documentaries and horror films?
See how this works?
Wearing clothes that attract your kind of people is only the first step – you also have to go to places where they’re more likely to be, and talk to them, and be nice, and make eye contact, and all that other scary stuff that goes along with talking to girls (or boys). But the clothing is definitely the first step – it’s the mating dance on the way to hot metalhead sexings.
Your “normal” clothes
In a perfect world, we could all wear our metal shirts all the time and life would be great. But, this world is intrinsically flawed, and sometimes we have to go to job interviews and weddings and court appearances, and we need at least one outfit of “normal” clothing.
Sure, you can wear a metal shirt to a job interview, or a funeral, or your sister’s wedding. But unless your sister is the world’s biggest Slayer fan or you’re applying for a job at Nuclear Blast, it gives a bad impression. You know you’re expected to wear something “normal” and flouting this rule forces the people around you to pay attention to you in a negative way. This is especially bad when you’re:
a) diverting the attention from someone else – the married couple or the deceased.
b) Forcing people to judge you on your clothes – potential employers or business clients
When choosing your “normal” outfit, you have to say to yourself “If I don’t want people to know I’m a metalhead, what do I want them to know about me?” Metal isn’t the only facet of your personality – what else do you love? Egyptian mythology, spicy food, fixing computers … you can find an item of “normal” clothing that evokes practically anything
My husband’s “normal” outfits consist of three nice linen shirts – one white, one a pale emerald green, and the other a lovely sea blue. He chose these colours because they’re colours he associated with the ocean, and the diving he’s done. He owns one tie – I think its navy or black. He does not own a suit jacket, because any job requiring him to wear such a thing would not be a job he wanted. But he has a very nice leather jacket – a classic cut, no spikes or gang insignia – and this does the trick.
My own “normal” clothes tend to reflect my anachronism, with cuts and details evoking vagually historical details – Victorian cuts and classical pleating. I tend to wear quite basic black pieces with statement jewelry or a funky scarf or hat.
I have a lawyer metalhead friend who sometimes wears a skull-printed tie to court, and a seriously awesome fedora hat. He looks stylish, but quirky and slightly oddball, which is exactly what he is.
Shopping Advice for Men
Eat something before a shopping trip. Shopping on an empty stomach makes the whole experience even LESS enjoyable, and you will end up spending more just to escape.
Write a list before you go. What do you need? 1 new shirt, 1 pair dress pants, q tie. Men like to shop with a list because they want to get in and out asap.
I read a study, which I can’t now find again, suggesting men actually spend more money shopping than women. Men go into the first shop they find, and upon procuring the item they wanted, buy it, and leave. Women hunt around, compare quality and price, and pride themselves on finding the best bargain.
If you know you are like this, often it helps to have a budget for how much you want to spend. Sometimes men just don’t know what clothing should cost. How much should you pay for a nice shirt? $20, $50. $200? I think you should always take a girl-friend along to help – just don’t choose me, because I’m color-blind and know nothing about men’s fashion.
Sales assistants love to help men, because they understand if a man walks into a shop and they have what he wants, he’s probably going to buy it. If you are lost or confused, ask a sales assistant because she’ll be happy to help.
Always try clothing on, and get a second opinion if you are unsure. Even if you know your size, you should always try something on before you buy it.
Take inspiration from others. There’s no harm in looking at another dude and thinking – hey, his shirt / Thor’s hammer / dreadlocks / boots are pretty cool. In fact, you should even ask him where he got them from. It’s not gay.
Don’t just buy something because it’s on sale / cheap / you’re cranky and you need a sandwich. Money spent on stuff that’s not perfect or surplus to requirement is wasted money. Spend it on Mayhem tickets, instead.
Look after your feet. Prepare to spend a few hundred dollars on a decent pair of comfortable shoes / boots. At any one time, I have only two pairs of shoes in rotation – my “everyday” pair and my “good” pair. I don’t believe in a closet full of shoes, but I do believe in buying good quality shoes – they’re essential for adventuring.
Take care of your clothes. We hand up all of our favorite metal shirts. Use wooden or padded hangers – NO WIRE HANGERS. They warp the shoulders of clothes. You can buy sets of wooden hangers from places like IKEA or The Warehouse. Tidy up your “floordrobe”. Crumpled, smelly clothing tells those girls “I am scody and will give you crabs if you sleep with me.” Unfair, yes. True, also yes. Use E. Bleaks excellent guide for caring for metal shirts.
Reward yourself at the end of the day with ice cream or a big, juicy steak. You’ve totally earnt it.
Whew. Sorry guys, this article ended up being over 2000 words.
I really hope you learnt something about why you dress the way you do, and how you can use this knowledge to bring good things and hot women (or men) into your life. Remember, plenty of girls out there think metalheads are hot: you just have to appeal to the right ones.
Truly stylish people exude confidence, and you can do this in Ralph Lauren, thrift-store vintage or a Slayer shirt and New Rocks. Style is NOT about looking a certain way, but wearing whatever you’ve got with confidence. What you wear tells other people a little bit about who you are, so make sure the side you present is the one you want people to see.
Gentlemen and Ladies, any thoughts?