Danger and Play: Part 3

Read Part 1 here and Part 2 here.

In previous posts in this series I’ve spoken on the difference between Danger and Play in a man’s wardrobe and how both of those elements can be used to visually communicate power and respectability – with Danger being a direct communication and Play being indirect.

Today we’ll continue talking about Play and how it is an effective communication of power even if it is indirect.

One of the most attractive things to a woman is a man who is willing to take a risk. This may be a physical risk the likes of Evel Knievel or a social risk. Either way, a man who is willing to take a risk demonstrates almost every single attractive masculine trait by doing so. He shows power, control, confidence, ambition, and focus. This is why the world is full of stories of men who have risked life and limb for the attention of a beautiful woman.

While most men understand this on the scale of physical or even financial risk, it’s a lot harder for men to take a social risk. It’s why you freeze up before you approach or why younger guys get tongue-tied talking to the hot girl. A social risk is still a risk and its results are just as real as any other type of chance you take.

By understanding the implications of social risk, it’s easy to see why having elements of Play in your wardrobe can create success with women. Our clothing speaks volumes about us before we even open our mouths and the man in the madras jacket is saying he’s comfortable with taking a chance and also the attention it brings him.

Checked Jacket

This is why peacocking (as stupid as the term is) can work if done correctly. Taken to too much of an extreme – like wearing fuzzy hats, steampunk goggles, rings on every finger, etc. – it becomes the social and sartorial equivalent of trying to pick up chicks by impressing them with your ability to burn your arm with a cigarette without flinching – you’re showing a willingness to take a risk, but you’re going too far with it.

I believe PUA’s like Mystery were able to succeed in spite of their peacocking, not because of it.

Proper Play in your wardrobe is a variation of degree, not kind, from the Danger elements of your clothing. It’s wearing pants that fit impeccably well but are a loud color, wearing a traditional hat even when everyone else calls you a douche bag for doing so, having a bit of jewelry without going overboard.

Black Watch Gloves

There’s no hard and fast rule, but starting slow and then building up to your comfort point is the best option. By adding more elements of Play into your wardrobe, at appropriate times, you’ll be able to get a leg up on other men before anyone even asks your name.

If you liked this series and are interested in learning more about some of the principles discussed throughout, I suggest reading my series on the Man or the Clothes.

Meet The Author


Tanner is the founder and primary author of Masculine Style. He lives in Salt Lake City, Utah with his wife and two kids, and helps run Beckett & Robb - a men's clothing company built around custom suits and shirts.
  • great series! got me really thinking about power, danger, and playfulness as a cool counterpoint (like the striped socks).

  • This is an awesome post. Perfectly articulated.

  • Mikey

    Those gloves are dope where are they from.

  • Johnny Caustic

    I agree with most of what you say, but you are underestimating Mystery.

    Peacocking works best when you have to have a personality congruent with your style. You have to have the talk to back up your walk. Mystery only started the supercrazy outfits when his game skills and body language got so good that people tended to assume he was a rock star. When he started dressing like one, it just made him more congruent.

    Another important thing to understand is that Mystery’s taste is women who peacock. He goes for the class of hot women who wear ubersexy outfits to make themselves stand out the most. When he does the same, he intimidates a lot of girls, but he does better with his target market. And I’ve personally witnessed him perform miracles of seduction on those girls.

    Now, I agree with you that many PUAs have succeeded despite their peacocking. Not Mystery. He has the most supernatural ability to figure out exactly what turns women on of any man I’ve ever met. Sometimes I wonder if he sold his soul to the devil.

    For mere mortals, it’s a good exercise to peacock at a level just a little bit higher than your personality, so you’re out of your comfort zone but not completely crazy. It forces you to walk a little taller, be a little more uninhibited; otherwise, you crash and burn. If you do, cut it out for a few days, build up your courage, and try again.

    • I think that’s a good point. Dressing like a rock star works when you act and expect to be treated like a rock star within a rock star venue. Someone going out and doing day approaches in the grocery store looking like Mystery is going to crash and burn, but the same man could get some good responses by making those same approaches in a blazer and some go-to-hell chinos.

  • Where I live (Portland Or) I find that just dressing with actual style is a powerful form of peacocking as so few men do. A well placed tattoo is pretty great also – I have one on my inner arm and love to note a change in people as I roll up my sleeve

    • While I’m not a fan of tattoos and regret mine, they certainly do get some attention when they’re presented in contrast to a stylishly clean-cut man.

  • Jid

    That sky blue jacket!

  • JPW

    “wearing a traditional hat even when everyone else calls you a douche bag for doing so” hahaha