Stop Phoning It In

10 February, 2018

I have another sports analogy for you.

Yes that’s two in one week, but bear with me – this does bring up a different point though.

Currently at church my responsibility is to help oversee the 16 and 17-year-old boys – which is an absolute blast and one of my favorite things to do.

In addition to our regularly Sunday meetings and our weekly get-togethers, we’re currently in basketball season.

So each Saturday our boys will play against other boys from different wards (congregations) in the area.

We had a game this morning and it was very interesting to watch what happened.

There were two boys on the other team who were intimidating. One was obviously athletic and a very good player – the other wasn’t as coordinated but he was big and had a big personality, making him someone my boys were cautious around.

From the very get go they weren’t playing to win – they were simply trying to not lose too egregiously. They’d already decided they were the inferior team and you could see it in how they played.

They were lazy about rebounds, didn’t stick on their men very well, and got visibly frustrated when missing shots. It got to the point where one of them even lay down on the court during a time out because he said “he wasn’t feeling well.”

Basically, they were phoning it in.

They were just as good as the other team – legitimately. But they got destroyed because they had decided they didn’t want it enough.

They didn’t play aggressively, they didn’t command the court, and they didn’t have any real tenacity.

The final score was 43 – 21 and no one was surprised.

While watching them I was frustrated because I saw myself in those boys. At 16 I had the same defeatist attitude. If I wasn’t automatically going to excel at something, then I’d only put in a token effort.

It’s an attitude I’ve tried very hard to cure myself of, but can still be a fight sometimes. Thankfully, I’m now aware of what it is and can cut off that negative talk before it starts to take root.

Sadly, at 33 I still see this same attitude in the majority of my peers. They phone it in at work, with their wives, with their kids, and with their friends.

They’ve given up on hobbies that require anything more than passive consumption and take pride in doing the bare minimum.

It’s one of the reasons I’m so insistent on dressing with style all the time and everywhere. The more I can signal to myself and to others that I’m not just another guy phoning it in – but a man who’s actively and intentionally building my life, the better off I am.

It’s easier to weed out those with a defeatist mindset. They see the way I dress and immediately disqualify me as someone they can identify with.

Rather than feeling lonely or dejected by it – it energizes me. It helps me stick to the course and not fall back into a lazy mindset.

It forces me to put up or shut up.

It also helps others who are living intentionally pick me out from a crowd and identify with me.

In a way, it’s a tribal signal – separating the tribe of mediocrity from the tribe of intentionality.

Can you be stylish and be part of the mediocre? Sure, but it’s not very likely.

And I can guarantee that any man who belongs to the tribe of intentionality is eventually going to have to reconcile how he dresses and what signal that sends to him and those around him.

PS. Wherever it is that you are in your journey, if you belong to the tribe of intentionality, I want to help you dial in the style aspect of your life. It will help you in more ways than you can count and help separate you from the mediocrity of the world around you. If you’re interested in seeing if and how I can help you out, schedule a call with me and we can talk it through.

Is Caring How You Look Shallow?

8 February, 2018

I saw a graph on Twitter this week that was an interesting approach to how most people see the dichotomy of rich vs poor and then a new graph showing the reality of it. Here’s what it looked like.

I loved this because it helped take the morality or immorality out of wealth. There are good poor people, good rich people, bad poor people, and bad reach people. Rather than choosing to avoid the rich or the poor, we should be choosing to avoid the bad of both.

It’s obviously a super simple concept but it helps break down the constant messaging that pursuing wealth is somehow greedy, immoral, selfish, or any other negative character trait you want to associate with it.

As I was going through this I realized we do the exact same thing when it comes to appearance – especially for men.

We create a false dichotomy where caring about how you look is shallow, vain, effeminate, gay or whatever negative term you want to use.

And not caring about it is stoic, manly, practical, or any positive term you want to use.

But once again, the reality is a little different. Let’s just focus in on the shallow aspect.

You have shallow people who want to look good, wear nice things, and status signal with their appearance, and then you have shallow people who don’t  – shallow people who would rather turn their noses up at anyone who DOES wear nice things, or put some energy into getting dressed in the morning, or doesn’t have to be dragged kicking and screaming to buy clothes.

Just like you have good, profound people who really don’t put too much effort or energy into their appearance and good, profound people who have learned that the way they look is both a tool and an external expression of internal value.

Caring how you look isn’t shallow any more or less than being rich is bad – both can be taken from a healthy level to a dangerous extreme, but neither is inherently good or bad.

Anyone who tries to convince you otherwise is not seeing the whole picture and is likely trying to reconcile any cognitive dissonance they’re experiencing because they choose to see things through that false binary.

Are You The Aesthetic Equivalent of a Fullback or a Wide Receiver?

7 February, 2018

I’m about as neutral on the Super Bowl as you can get.

I grew up in a family that didn’t watch it. But, I’m certainly not cynically antagonistic about it either.

In fact, getting together and watching it is one of my favorite annual traditions with my in-laws.

And I know the game well enough to be able to follow along and enjoy good plays.

I also know the game well enough to know that each position is highly specialized.

Highly specialized.

Not all players can train and play the same – yes there are some consistencies across the board, but each needs to specialize according to his role.

They eat differently, follow different protocols in the weight room, prioritize different abilities, and sacrifice some of their overall effectiveness in order to maximize their abilities within their specialization.

On top of that, all the players got where they are by learning to lean into their natural tendencies – the fast guys receive, the big guys block, etc.

Now, take those natural strengths and weaknesses, add in the specialized training they get, and top it off with the fact that all the players are better because they’re coached.

Can you imagine how much worse each individual player would be without a coach? How about how much more difficult it would be to function cohesively as a team?

The coaches are everything – and that’s why they make the big money they do.

A terrible coach would take a one-size-fits all approach rather than knowing each of his players strengths and weaknesses – which is why terrible coaches don’t last very long.

But a great coach – he takes the time to know his players – their strengths and weaknesses, their doubts and ambitions – he can see potential connections that they miss themselves.

So let’s bring this into your approach to your appearance.

The problem with learning about style solely from free content is you don’t get the individualized training – so you may be working on the equivalent of drills necessary for a tight end when really you’re a quarterback.

It’s a waste of your time, energy, and talent.

You also – like the players on the field – have your own natural strengths and weaknesses that need to be worked with.

And lastly, you likely can’t always see the whole picture.

Which means you need the basics, along with a specialized approach and an understanding of how to adjust for your own needs and goals.

You need a coach.

Sure you can get there without one – at least mostly there.

But even then, it costs you more time, money, and energy having to reinvent the wheel on your own.

So you need a coach.

Now, like most coaches, I don’t let just anyone onto my team. You have to be the right fit, we have to know we can work together, and we need to be aligned in our goals.

So if you want an opportunity to take a deeper dive with me, to see how I can help you, and to see if you have the right mindset to become successful on my program, let’s do an interview.

We’ll jump on a call for a bit, talk about your needs, strengths, weaknesses, and so on.

If I can’t help you, I’ll tell you (and that happens sometimes) and point you toward someone who can.

If I can help you, and believe you’ll see real success on my program, I’ll invite you to join me.

Tryouts are free. So let’s chat and see if we can get you to hit your goals.


3 Ways to Wear Chambray

5 June, 2017

Big thanks to this post’s sponsor Gant. The shirt featured in this post is from their Tech Prep collection and is my new favorite chambray!

Chambray is a weave that’s been around for more than 400 years. And, while it gained its initial popularity after being adopted by the US Navy in the early 20th Century, it’s really seeing a strong resurgence in the last decade.

This is due to the fact that’s it’s incredibly versatile while still being more unique and visually interesting than a simple Oxford weave.

Here are three ways to rock a chambray shirt!

Click Here to Watch the YouTube Video: 3 Ways to Wear Chambray



This is the most commonly associated use of a chambray shirt. It looks like denim but wears much cooler – making it an ideal alternative in the warm months of spring and summer.

It’s versatile enough that it can be worn on its own, or as an extra layer over a T-shirt or henley.

The key to making it look appropriate in a rugged environment is making sure the details are dialed in. Look for things like a button-down collar, traditional placket, and maybe even a pocket on the chest.

Not every one of these details needs to be present, but the more there are, the more casual it appears.

You’ll also want to make sure the length of the body isn’t so long it looks silly when it’s untucked. Keep it right between the bottom of the rise of your pants and the top of their waistband and you’ll be set.


Most men misunderstand a Rakish look.

It doesn’t have to be a bunch of competing pieces that are all incredibly loud and attention-seeking. In fact, the more you’re able to anchor down your statement pieces, the more of a punch they’ll pack.

Take a pair of white chinos as an example. These are pants that men don’t accidentally wear. You don’t see them on the average guy and they certainly require a bit of a go-to-hell attitude to pull them off.

By pairing them with a shirt that’s too loud, the outfit becomes clownish. But when they’re anchored down with a solid item like a chambray shirt, then they still make a statement without looking like a costume.

Finish them off with some loafers and nix the socks and no one will think you’re trying to blend in to the background.


You may think that a more casual, rugged piece like a chambray shirt has no business in a Refined outfit – but you would be very wrong. In fact, chambray is currently one of the most worn items in the sartorial corner of the menswear world.

There’s something about the casual nature of it that makes you look like you’re dressing well because you want to, not because you have to.

However, it’s not just a matter of slapping on a chambray shirt with your favorite navy suit. In order to pull this look off correctly, the rest of your outfit needs to be appropriately casual.

Dark colors, shiny materials, and fine weaves won’t work here. You need to embrace pattern and texture to avoid having the contrast being too strong and making the shirt look inappropriate.

A pair of cotton chinos, with a basketweave sport coat, and a knit tie all are textured and casual enough that they work excellently with the look of chambray


Once you pick one of these up you’ll quickly realize it’s on heavy rotation in your closet. To that end, it’s worth it to buy one that breaths well and easily moves with you – which is exactly what they’ve created over at Gant with the Tech Prep collection. These shirts use materials and weaves that dry quickly, move easily, and wick away any moisture.

Let me know below how you’ll pair yours up!


Clothes That Attract Women

5 May, 2017

One of the most common questions that I get is related to one of the most common search queries for men’s style, and that is – “Tanner, why don’t you talk more about dressing in ways that are attractive to women?”

Those of you who have been following me for a long time will know that is a glaring omission from what I cover and the truth is that it’s on purpose.

The short answer is because I think it’s an irrelevant question. And the long answer, well let’s dive into the long answer.

CLICK HERE to watch the YouTube Video Clothes That Attract Women Part 1

CLICK HERE to watch the YouTube Video Clothes That Attract Women Part 1

There’s a lot to this and I’m going to take my time with this, so let’s get started.

Also, you’ll probably not like some of what I share in here. That’s fine. Just don’t respond emotionally and instead, tell me what you disagree with and why.

Attraction & Comfort

Before we can dig deeper we need to first work from the understanding that – when it comes to relationships – there are two primary things men and women are trying to signal to each other.

The first is Attraction and the second is Comfort.

Attraction consists of things things like:


Physical Attractiveness




Comfort is things like:






Notice that those traits don’t conflict with each other.

There are men who have all Attraction and no Comfort. Typically they’re only out for number one and they also happen to be surrounded by a lot of beautiful women.

There are men who are all Comfort and no Attraction. Typically they’re weak-willed doormats who end up being taken advantage of by the rest of the world. They also very rarely end up with a woman at all, let alone an attractive one.

All attraction with no comfort is great for hedonists but it’s awful if you’re trying to establish a long-term relationship or marriage.

All comfort with no attraction is awful. The best-case scenario is a long-term relationship in which you’re more like roommates than a couple

Most nice guys go for all comfort and no attraction. Most bad-boys are all attraction and no comfort – think of the difference between losers and PUA’s.


Status is the most important aspect of attraction and that can be on a broader scale – relationship to overall status in the world or in a tribe – or on a smaller scale – relationship to the woman you’re trying to attract.

Status is relative to women – they always want someone who’s higher status than they are

Status is tricky because it can be overall status or status within a particular subculture. In fact, the more isolated a particular subculture is, the less overall status within society at large matters.

The problem with signaling nonexistent status is that eventually you get found out. This is the main play of the PUA community, and it works for one-night stands, but you can’t keep up a charade like that long term.

Yes there are overall things that are relevant to general attraction – things like a good physique, deep voice, strong body language, and a commanding presence that all cross cultural and historical lines because they’re biological manifestations of genetic fitness.

This is why there are general standards of attractiveness – for both men and women.

Meeting some minimum standards of status for men is the same thing as meeting minimum standards of beauty for women – which is typically why the happiest couples are paired fairly closely, with the man being higher in status than the woman.

Those relationships that don’t work out often are because either the man is lower status than the woman (think of clingy, desperate guys who never get over a girl) or because the man is so much higher in status that both he and the woman know he attracts more beautiful women and could have relationships with them if he wanted to.

This often leads to discontent on the part of the man and jealousy/dread/unhappiness on the part of the woman.

Yes all of these things can be balanced out and mitigated by traits of comfort and moral codes, but from a purely attraction-based standpoint, that’s the reality most men deal with.

So, if we know that status is the primary Attraction standpoint for men, what does that have to do with clothing, and why don’t I talk about using clothes to attract women?

The first question is easier to answer. The reality is that clothing is always signaling status.

Clothing & Status

CLICK HERE to watch the YouTube Video: Clothes That Attract Women Part 2

CLICK HERE to watch the YouTube Video: Clothes That Attract Women Part 2

Think of the military – a tribe with a very hard hierarchy and how clothing is used to indicate rank and achievement. This is done through patches, medals, pins, and other articles of clothing.

Or consider a suit and how it’s an overall indicator of status in the Western world – especially when worn correctly. It signals that you don’t have to work with your hands, you have access to financial resources, and – if it’s a nice suit – that you have the time and mental capacity to develop a sense of taste and express that through your clothing.

Think of the cut of a motorcycle club. The men in the gang have to go through a lot to earn the right to wear that jacket and they do so with pride.

And even just being on top of a trend is a way in which we subconsciously signal status. Those who are higher up will create a trend, those in the middle will be early adopters, and those at the bottom of the totem pole will be the last to catch on – which means that trend is no longer a visual means of separation and those at the top will start all over again.

You want to accurately signal your own position within your relative social hierarchies and even dress in a way that’s aspirational, but you don’t want your clothing to lie about your status

This is why young men in suits often look so dopey. It signals to the world a lack of social fluency first because they’re trying to signal overall status when they haven’t earned it. They don’t have age, wisdom, experience, or finances on their side. So they’re telling a false story to the world in general.

Secondly, within their own subculture, there are very few tribes that embrace young men wearing suits. So, it shows an inability to understand clothing in the context of their own groups and cultures. If suits were common on high school or college campuses, then different variations of them would make sense and would be more popular.

But, because they’re not, because they’re ex-tribe from the different subcultures most young people find themselves in, they look silly, try-hard, and posing. They’re using an unearned, ex-tribe symbol of Attraction and making themselves stand out negatively.

It’s kind of like thinking the best way to pound in a nail is with a fishing rod. Sure both are tools, but they’re intended for VERY different jobs.

Which brings us around to the final point – who determines what constitutes high status?

Who Grants Status?

The simple answer is that it’s other men.

That’s politically incorrect and socially inconvenient. But, in the vast majority of tribes and cultures, men have evaluated the worth and value of other men.

Women confirm and reaffirm status once it’s been achieved. But the standards by which its gained are determined by men.

Ancient tribes granted status to those who could contribute to the overall benefit of the group – whether that was through leadership, courage, fighting ability, or mastery in a field. In fact, Donovan’s four tactical virtues – courage, strength, mastery, and honor are all yardsticks by which men measure ourselves and each other.

Those who measure up well and are respected by other men within the tribe, will have the status necessary to attract the more beautiful women – which reaffirms their high status and perpetuates the cycle.

Those who don’t measure up will be shunned by other men and, therefore, by the more attractive women in the group – which reaffirms their low status and perpetuates that cycle.

You may be thinking of exceptions to this and there are some – kind of.

Take for example the lone-wolf who doesn’t want or need the approval of any other men. From a tribal standpoint his status is so low he’s not even a part of the group. So then why do these men still attract beautiful women?

Because they have all the other traits of attractiveness. They’re confident, charismatic, physical specimens who are powerful and dominant

Whereas loners who don’t have those characteristics are at the very bottom of the social barrel. They don’t belong to a tribe, nor are they powerful enough that they can thrive on their own – they’re the outcasts that no one wants anything to do with.


From a style standpoint, it becomes fairly easy to see that dressing to attract women is often a false and limiting goal. By making finding and getting a date/girlfriend/wife your primary purpose, you’re subtly and subconsciously signaling low status. You’re granting tribal primacy to Attraction instead of Power – the main prerogative of women within the tribe.

For men, the ability to attract the right women comes with Power. For women, the ability to gain and maintain power and influence comes with Attractiveness.

Our modern world may be changing this paradigm, through things like feminism, the outsourcing of tribal protection to governments, and technology that minimizes the physical differences between the sexes – but it still exists both culturally and biologically and affects our lives today.

So if I tell you to dress in a way that prioritizes attractiveness – either so you appear more attractive or feel like a more attractive man – we’re missing the mark.

However, if I help you dress in a way that prioritizes power and/or status – either so you appear to have more or you feel like a more powerful man – then you get those benefits, along with being attractive to women