Rugged (/ˈrəgid/) is defined by the dictionary as being “(of a man’s face or looks) Having attractively strong, rough-hewn features. He was known for his rugged good looks”.

But how can you achieve that tough ‘Gerard Butler’ look at home without sacrificing your sense of style? Join me now as I give you a quick low-down on how to achieve a hard, coarse look without dressing like a complete bum!

Unrefined isn’t unkempt

The first thing you need to learn is that there’s a difference between wild and unrefined. Don’t assume that you can let your grooming regime drop by the wayside just because you want a more ‘manly’ vibe.

For example, that ‘five o’ clock shadow’ can be achieved with careful clipping and electric razoring; don’t let ‘sexy stubble’ become ‘unkempt beard’ or you’ll soon find yourself gaining unwanted management attention at work!

In a similar vein, if you have trouble growing stubble or possess particularly wispy facial hair, go for a clean-shaven look – nothing looks more adolescent than light ‘peach fuzz’.

Choose harder fragrances

From cologne to your deodorant, lose the jasmine and citrus and replace with muskier, arid tones. Chose traditional smells and products like Old Spice that instantly brings to mind ‘primal man’.

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Switch out ‘skinny’ fits

Wave goodbye to your tailored shirts and skinny jeans; the rugged look requires more traditional fitting. Pick ‘box’ cuts over more modern, narrow tailoring.

Forget the feminine colors too; replace light pinks and duck-egg blues with strong reds and sumptuous blues. Lose the delicate, fine patterns and replace them with more industrious designs such as plaid and large checks.

Keep it classic

When choosing your clothes go for traditional, heavy-weave fibers like wool. These will give you instant bulk and definition. Shop for authentic second-hand goods, or new clothes with a vintage vibe.

Always choose a weathered or matt finish with leather shoes, and remember that wider belts with a ‘flat’ buckle say rugged far, far better than dress belts ever could.


Blue Jeans are your friend

Nothing says “tough” quite like the hard weave of denim. Try not to iron your jeans and wear the ‘boot cut’ style if your body shape allows for it.

Don’t take it too far!

Mistaking ‘masculine’ for ‘rock-hard cowboy’ is all too common. Don’t go overboard with the icons – you don’t need a Stetson and leather waistcoat to prove just

About The Author

Johnathan Bell is the founder, owner and main author of Guy Style Guide, a website dedicated to everyday male fashion, style and grooming. The primary mission? To guide clueless men through the tricky mindfield that is the growing world of male couture. Find him on , Twitter and Tumblr.

5 Responses

  1. Mike

    Well what do ya know. I’ve been reading all these style blogs thinking the skinny suits and jeans looks they espouse are too femmy for me. Nice to know I’ve been rocking the rugged look all along without trying to.

  2. Anonymous

    When I think of a rugged guy, I think of a guy from Alaska or a tattooed Russian criminal. I don’t think of a man trying to “look rugged” by wearing “harder fragrances”. I also think that rugged guys wouldn’t give a damn about any guide on how to look, and they’d think for themselves!

    • Johnathan

      An interesting viewpoint ‘Anonymous’. While I agree that men have the ability to ‘think for themselves’, you must remember that people don’t exist inside a vaccum – everyone makes choices based on their environment: or are we to assume that a tattooed Russian criminal would be as equally likely to grab a necktie as the nearest pink, frilly tutu?

      A ‘rugged look’ is tailored just as easily as ‘punk’, ‘business man’ or ‘waif chic’. You don’t imagine that ‘sexy stubble’ magically appears overnight at that exact length, do you 😉

      Thanks for the comment.