As some people, including me, have said over time — it takes guts to wear certain articles of clothing out in public, especially if others are not accustomed to seeing you wearing such items such as boots and/or leather garments (besides a leather jacket.)
I cannot tell you how many people have written to me or searched this blog about “men wearing boots to the office / church / in general.” Same goes for wearing leather pants or jeans, which I wrote about in my last blog post.
The general gist of these questions have been concerns about…
…what others, especially those in authority (clergy/boss), high esteem (spouse/family), or influencers (the guy other people always seem to watch or listen to) will say.
…how I may look or be perceived to look by others. Such as when you are seen in cowboy boots, “Hey cowboy, where’s your horse?” or if you are wearing leather jeans and a jacket, “Are you trying out for the Village People?” … with subtle or not-so-subtle undertones if questioning your sexual preference.
…being the center of attention when you would rather just fade into the background. This is especially true for introverts.
…how I can physically “pull it off.”
That is, will cowboy boots with “high heels” make me trip? Will black leather jeans be too hot and uncomfortable? Or will I look like I am trying to be something I am not?
Well… just who are you? That is what I have asked myself and countless others over the years.
It is all you — your decision.
If you are truly concerned that you would become an unwanted center of attention, then socialize your interests first before acting on them.
For example, if you are concerned that your wife would think you look silly in boots — the next time you see a guy wearing boots on TV or in the movies — or better yet in real life out on the street — point out the boots to your wife and say, “those boots look good.”
Continue to point out boots or talk about them over time when the situation naturally presents itself.
Then step up to the next level. Say to her, “I’d like to have a pair of boots like that.” Just talk about boots and wearing them. That’s all. I can almost guarantee you that after a few months, she will stop questioning you and boots.
Then buy a pair of “regular” boots (all leather, black, black cherry, or brown) and pull them on with a pair of denim jeans. Try ’em out. Wear ’em. Eventually the concern about what “other people will say” will fade. YOU will feel more confident that you did it! You pulled it off! The world didn’t end!
Wearing boots to church or the office … that takes some adjustment, too. Again, socialization of the concept of you wearing boots in these locations can be done in casual conversations over time, pointing out each time you see a guy in boots that you like how the boots look. That’s it… short comment… just continue to do that over time.
Wearing leather jeans or pants takes a bit more time and experimentation. The cost of new leather garments, especially made-to-measure, is daunting. You realistically may be asking yourself, “what if I really don’t like them? Why spend a lot of money on something I may not like or wear?”
So start how many other men do. Buy a pair of used leather jeans from eBay (or other on-line “used clothing” source.) Find a pair of leather jeans that will fit you and just try them on. Wear them around the house to get used to how they feel and look.
Wear them with boots, though. (Or maybe black shoes, but wear boots if at all possible.) After all, ol’ BHD here has some standards. You don’t want to wear leather jeans with sneakers or even worse — flip-flops. That combination just doesn’t work, especially on men over age 30. Kids and sneakers and leather may work okay for them, but not for older guys.
Then comes the test — wear the leather jeans while doing something you ordinarily do, such as running errands, grocery shopping, or watching the kids play ball on a cool day.
Look around. Yes, some people may notice. Even a few may raise an eyebrow. A couple might even say something — but I betcha — the comments you will hear will be positive. “Cool pants!” or “wow–those jeans look good on you.”
Even if you do get the odd comment about trying out for the Village People, rock band, or if you are going to buy a Harley — just smile and be honest. Say, “I thought I’d try these leather jeans. I like them.” That’s it.
I can almost guarantee that after a few more times wearing leather in public, you will feel your own self-confidence rise. You will stand taller, smile broader, and think to yourself, “why didn’t I do this before?”
I invite comments (below) from other guys who have been down the road of building confidence in wearing boots and/or leather garments (more than a jacket) in public places.
Life is short: to thine own self be true. Have confidence in yourself.