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ALPHA MALE: Beyond the “Male Uniform”

Wednesday, July 18, 2012


While a man may not feel that he can create a GQ-cover-worthy style, he can certainly create his own, personal "uniform"... with a little counsel from an Alpha Male. Photo: WHARF Clothing & Wares.

As the baton gets passed here at Alpha Male, I thought the best way to introduce you to my particular viewpoint is not to talk so much about a particular look or occasion, but give you all an overall sense of what, as the author of this column, I see for today's modern man as he forges his way in the world—whether it be in the office, on campus, out to dinner or even at home.

When I started WHARF Clothing & Wares several years ago, it was with the desire to bring an honest take on menswear to the quickly shaping, over-hyped, over-exposed, Internet-driven and highly sensitized climate that menswear is becoming. After all, as a native Rhode Islander, I do not live in the most scrutinized style mecca, but I do have a sense of self and a sense of what is going on in the world. As the internet brings us closer together and attitudes shift with a greater sense of globalization, so too has our self awareness as a male population. Yes, ladies, you are not alone in the self-criticism department.

We don't need to be on the cover of GQ

Most guys, myself included, are not the jet-set, romanticized visage you see in movies or magazine ads. We read GQ or Esquire, sure. But like our female counterparts, we do not plan on ever looking like the dudes who grace the covers of our magazines like Tatum Channing or walk the red carpet like George Clooney. Yes, women tend to aspire to the aesthetics splashed across the screen and pages probably a bit more than their male counterparts. But make no mistake, we as guys do a lot of aspiring ourselves.

We hide behind the "male uniform"

Where the problem comes in is in the execution. I tip my hat to the women I know all the time because, despite their objections to the contrary, most of them can dress circles around me and any of my pals. There are genetic reasons for this I am sure are yet unproven, but the proof is in the daily output. Women show how much they care about their daily look and they wear it well. We as men, tend to be afraid to show off any personal style and so we hide it back under the “male uniform”. Shirt, trousers or jeans, simple shoes, maybe a blazer or jacket. Nothing outspoken, no detail of note or color outlandish. This, my friends, is where I hope the Alpha Male can expand your horizons.

How to create your own uniform

There will be lots of shirts and trousers and shoes, of this we can be certain. Because despite the “male uniform” stigma, there is a point to it. Functionality. But what is missing today is form to go with function. Guys dress in a high and low format, both in quality and construction (and price) of their clothes, as well as in the demands of their day—the work dress code or taking kids to soccer on the weekends. It is easy to fall into the same patterns to which we as guys are always accustomed. Here in the Alpha Male column, I hope to share with you my take on how to make your uniform truly yours, and along the way show you that guy on the cover of the magazine is not as far out of reach as you think.

Robert Babigian is owner of WHARF Clothing & Wares, a menswear retail boutique located at 212 Westminster Street in Providence, RI. A native Rhode Islander, Rob started WHARF after 2 decades in marketing and sales to fulfill his desire to combine his loves of consumer branding, small business and style that would fulfill a niche for desirable men's clothing in the Providence market. The apparel and accessories found at WHARF reflect Rob's own personal aesthetic—a combination of traditional New England staples mixed with modern fits, construction and fabrics blended together with a touch of European style. For more tips or to shop the store, stop in and see Rob and his staff or reach them online at shopwharf.com.


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I'm on the latter side of 50, doing a lot of networking, etc., and find myself unsure of what to wear. I don't want to look the fool, trying to look "young" when I'm not, but I don't want to look like a stodgy old-timer either. What are your thoughts?

Comment #1 by Richard Austin on 2012 07 18


Thanks for your question. Firstly, 50 is just a number. But I understand your dilemma perfectly- your professional acumen needs to be reflected in your outward appearance. For you, the first step I would recommend is the fit of your clothing as opposed to changing your uniform. Try "sizing down" in some of your clothes. It takes you out of your comfort zone at first, but when you realize you have been over-dressing your frame, you will see how a leaner look empowers you to others. Stop on by the shop and we can walk you through some of the finer points based on your body type! We are open M-Sat 11-6 and Sun 12-5. 212 Westminster St., 02903

Comment #2 by Robert Babigian on 2012 07 18

60 is just a number too, but I have the same question.
How old is too old for a skinny suit?

Comment #3 by Easton Robert on 2012 07 24

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