8 Wardrobe Items Women Wish You’d Toss Out

They say that clothes make the man, but which fashion choices make the worst impression on the fairer sex? Here are some of the things women wish you'd banish from your date-night wardrobe forever.

By Theo Pauline Nestor

et's face it: there's a reason why Queer Eye for the Straight Guy was a hit a few years ago, and that reason is — drum roll, please! — most straight guys don't care that much about their clothes. Yes, it's a generalization, but there's enough truth in it that men would be well served by finding out what women hate to see them wearing, because sadly, many of us women make snap judgments
Own what you've got and we'll love you for it.
based on the way someone is dressed. Ergo, a few tosses into the donation bag could mark a sharp improvement in a guy's dating life.

Here's a list of the top eight clothing items women do not want to see on a date (or anytime, perhaps!):

1. The super-baggy t-shirt
Many men tend to dress for comfort, and there's no doubt that the baggy t-shirt is comfy — which is why so many people sleep in them. However, if you are not asleep and are in fact awake and on a date with a female of the species, your best bet is not a piece of clothing that resembles a pup tent. "Boxy t-shirts are only OK when they are in the box or on the shelf," says Sarah Shin, lead stylist for, a monthly service that delivers "female-selected" clothing to male subscribers. "Women want to see what's underneath just as much as men do. Even if there is a little something extra in the middle, the key is to not look sloppy. You want to appear polished — and more importantly, self-aware! Own what you've got and we'll love you for it."

2. The glued-on baseball cap
Constance Dunn, author of Practical Glamour: Presenting Your Most Beautiful & Polished Self to the World, concedes that baseball caps have their place… but that place is not everywhere. "If you are a male over the age of 21," Dunn says, "it is perfectly reasonable that you should be wearing a baseball hat on either of these occasions: 1) you are playing baseball, or 2) you are at a baseball game. If you are wearing one while in a restaurant, on a date (or any place else, come to think of it), you are communicating to others that you're still mad at your parents for making you clean up your room and do your math homework all those years ago."

3. The tank top
Tank tops might be a great option for the beach, but many women want that tank to stay seaside. "I think many men tend to wear them to show off their biceps and feel manly," says Alicia C., a 48-year-old writer from New York City. "However, I (and many women I know) find the often-bushy display of armpit hair on a stranger extremely unappealing — not a turn-on in the least. Most of them are ugly colors, say something silly, or are workout wear." Alicia feels so strongly about men wearing tank tops that she even mentioned them in her online profile, saying, "Please note: I am allergic to cats, most tattoos and tank tops."

4. The worn-out anything in your closet
Wearing clothes long past their expiration date is another fashion no-no that tops many women's lists. "Single guys' surefire way to turn off a woman? Show up for the date in anything that's ripped, tattered or torn," says personal stylist Jené Luciani ( "Think of your clothes as an expression of yourself, and first impressions mean everything when dating. If you show up looking washed up, you can assume the girl will look at you that way — and that won't bode well for a lasting relationship. Toss
Don't bother hoarding a dated suit in the hopes it will make a comeback.
anything in your closet that looks like it's been through a fight with Mike Tyson." Lisa Schaefer, Ph.D., 41-year-old chief futurist and engineer in Vienna, VA, agrees: "My husband has this paper-thin sweatshirt he got in 1987. He has plenty of shirts in good shape; I don't know why he keeps this one. I've threatened to throw it out many times!"

5. The ugly sweater
Makenzie G., a 24-year-old website editor who met her husband on, would like to put a ban on "sweaters with one or two horizontal stripes across the chest. You know what I'm talking about! Guys wore them in 1998, probably [purchased] from the GAP. [They are] sadly prominent in programmer-filled Seattle." Makenzie — who says it was her husband's fashion sense that wooed her, in part — is also not a fan of the deep V-neck style that's currently popular, noting humorously that "your cleavage does not have the same effect on me as mine does on you. Yes, I'm picturing Ronnie from Jersey Shore here."

6. The cheesy suit
"There are few things I like more than a lovely man in a fine suit," says Dunn; however, "there are few things worse than a lovely man in a cheap suit." Dunn says to watch for "suit cheesiness" in the following areas:
  • Fashion: "Don't bother hoarding a dated suit in the hopes it will make a comeback. If it does, it will be with some new twist to keep your favorite suit from the 1990s looking anything but current."
  • Fabric and construction: "School yourself in the difference between various suit fabrics and levels of workmanship. Flimsy fabrics and low-grade, clumsy construction are the hallmarks of the cheesy suit. If there are any such suits in your closet, give them a toss. Think: fewer suits, better suits."
  • Fit: "No matter how au courant the style or how fine the quality, you'll look way less than dapper if your suit is off the mark in terms of fit. An ill-fitting suit is a sad suit. There are few things worse than a fine jacket that's too long, beautiful trousers that are trailing on the ground — or worse, dangling inches above the ankle."
7. The free shirts given out by your employer
It's really great if you work for a company that gives out free shirts, but you might want to save those for the gym. "Wearing business-logo polo shirts (unless you're coming from a company golf outing) looks like you're too cheap to buy your own shirt" notes Lauren Schugar, stylist at

8. A bad pair of shoes
It is a poor presentation in the shoe area that seems to distress women the most in the wardrobe department. Some of the chief offenders mentioned include boxy-toed dress shoes, skater shoes, old running shoes, flip-flops (especially when worn with dress pants), tennis shoes with dirty shoelaces, and sandals worn with socks. Laura Henderson, matchmaker and author of How to Meet Your Match Online, also nixes clogs from men's what-to-wear-on-a-date list, saying: "There's something inherently non-manly about seeing a guy slip on his little clogs and plod around. Women tend to like a man with plans for his life and ambitions, and there's something about seeing him slip on a clog that says, 'My plans are resting on the couch, slipping off my clogs, and getting a good foot massage from you.'"

Theo Pauline Nestor is the author of How to Sleep Alone in King-Size Bed: A Memoir of Starting Over and a regular contributor to Happen magazine.
Related Articles

print send feedback subscribe to
What kind of relationship are you looking for?

Marriage—I'm definitely looking for The One.

I'd like a committed, serious relationship, but not marriage.

I want someone to have fun with—I'm not ready to settle down.

Browse singles in your area.
About | Your Privacy | Terms of Use
Contact Us | Advertise with Us | Become an Affiliate

Copyright 2011, L.L.C.

partner sites:  HSN  Citysearch  Evite  Expedia  Hotels  Ticketmaster  ReserveAmerica  Hotwire   LendingTree 
Entertainment  TripAdvisor  CondoSaver  TravelNow  ClassicVacations  LiveDaily  Udate