Rugged, Refined, and Rakish

by Tanner

One of the most common complaints I see about my site on online forums or other areas on the web is that what I advocate is too hipster. Oddly enough, these accusations will usually come from men (or their women) past their mid 30′s who are still content to wear a T-shirt, cargo shorts, and flip-flops. I get that someone who has taken no real concern for his style is going to see everyone who dresses with care as a hipster – even if the accusation couldn’t be further from the truth.

In my Danger and Play series I spoke on the differences in attitude between dressing with an element of danger and dressing with an element of play. These two can be mixed and matched to accomplish certain effects and the same man can wear both styles on different days to drastically change the physical impression he gives.

That being said, the distinctions between styles can still be taken a step further.

If you think about the apex, alpha male that most men aspire to be, there are a few different categories under which those men fall.

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The Rugged Man is one who is physically masculine. He bends nature to his will by means of his brute force and has a cave-man attitude that brooks no nonsense. There is nothing subtle about the rugged man and everything in his life exists for a specific, direct purpose. He is the adventurer, the mountain man, the gladiator, and the blue-collar worker.

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The Refined Man is one who is financially and influentially masculine. He bends the world of men to his will by means of his connections, his money, and his political/social power. He is capable of mixing both direct and subtle elements to accomplish his ends and has so much clout that he very rarely has to adapt to situations going out of his control (because they never do). He is the titan of industry, the politician, the hedge fund manager, and the 1%.

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The Rake is a man who is socially masculine. He influences individual people to his will by means of his attitude, his charisma, and his disdain for following the rules of society and being beholden to another man. While he is capable of using direct elements to accomplish his goals, he lives largely in a subtle world and is always thinking two or three steps ahead of the people around him. He is constantly adapting to new situations and thrives in his ability to do so. He is the playboy, the rock star, the outlaw, and the vigilante.

Any individual man can embody any or all of these different types of the alpha male. Take Teddy Roosevelt as an example. The man was the epitome of a Rugged man. He was physically tough and imposing, even completing a speech after he’d been shot. At the same time, he was a refined man who knew how to dress in a way that met his station as president of the United States. He did not attend meetings or address the nation in his work clothes but did so in a well-fitting suit that fit the styles of the times.

Depending on what kind of man you are, you can build your wardrobe to better communicate it. There are elements of danger and play in all three of these men and the following posts in this series will break down each type of man and how to dress accordingly.

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NORDSTROM