Most everyone would love to look like Brad Pitt and have a wardrobe budget like Kanye West……but most of us don’t quite get there. Fortunately, you don’t have to have flawless genes and a celebrity budget to still look good. Looking well dressed and stylish is not some mystical and elusive super power, reserved for the elite and a mystery to most. There are a handful of basic tweaks that anyone can make to their personal style to get them looking sharp and feeling confident, without spending a fortune. Here are a few of them, broken up by category:
1. Don’t Wear Baggy Clothing –
- Baggy clothing might seem more comfortable than fitted clothing, but that probably just means that you’re not doing the “fitted” thing right either. Clothing that fits correctly is comfortable. End of story.
- If you’re even the slightest bit heavy, it can be very tempting to hide your weight under loose clothing. But here’s the thing: You’re not fooling anyone; everyone already knows that you’re big. Wearing baggy, loose clothing just makes you look frumpy and amorphous and you always appear larger than you really are.
- Sometimes getting your clothing to fit correctly does mean that you have to go to a tailor. This is something that I fully endorse, especially with nicer clothing. However, more often than not, it’s just a matter of trying a size or two smaller when you shop. So before you drop the cash at the tailor, just size down a bit or try out the “slim” or “tailored” cuts and see how things look. It may take a bit of adjustment, but if you’re not sure you can trust your own judgment, bring a friend who’s not afraid to be honest.
2. Tuck in Your Shirt – Regardless of size, having a waist makes you look fitter, taller and more put together.
3. Pull Your Pants Up – It can be tempting to let slacks and jeans ride a little low because you can fool yourself into thinking that you have less of a belly. But the aforementioned waist rule goes out the window if your pants are riding significantly below the equator. Plus, whatever posterior you have out back is the only thing to visually balance the belly you have out front, so even if it’s not much, wearing your pants close to the mid line of your body is the best way to look at least somewhat balanced.
4. Make sure your belt and shoes match – The color and leather grain don’t have to be exact so long as you stick with brown and brown or black and black. Cordovan shoes, though much debated, should be matched with a black belt.
5. Your watch should correspond with your shoe style – I can’t stress this enough, if you’re wearing dress shoes, don’t wear a clunky rubber sports watch. If that’s all you have then either save it for the gym, or go ahead and drop $35 on a Timex Weekender, throw a leather strap on there and be done with it. Ultimately, a bare arm is better than a watch that’s out of place.
6. Wear colors and patterns that contrast, not clash. – For example, if your pants are dark, wear a lighter colored shirt, and vice versa. Same goes for patterns; Solid pants, pattern shirt. Striped or checked pants, solid shirt. Easy. (Yes, there ARE plenty of great ways to use “conflicting” patterns and colors to look stylish, but they simply don’t belong in this post.)
7. Stand up straight – As a general rule, people tend to have bad posture. To a certain degree, having good posture it’s simply an issue of mind over matter. Stand up straight; don’t slouch in your chair, roll your shoulders back and hold your head high.
8. Undo Bad Habits – Many of us either work at a desk, or do something where we’re hunched over which makes good posture very difficult to maintain because our bad habits constantly work against us. There are a lot of great options for working out and stretching to counteract these effects. Most of my life I had terrible posture until I started practicing the 5 Tibetan Rites each day. In just a couple weeks my whole physical presence changed.
9. Don’t have “weak feet” – The way a man stands and walks speaks volumes. Fallen arches and knock knees are two of the most common “style” problems that men have. Learning to engage your lower body muscles, stand with your feel anchored and walk with purpose tells people that you mean business. Purchase solid shoes* and work to avoid rolling your ankles in. Believe me, women notice the way you stand. (*it’s only the rarest of men who can make Toms shoes look masculine, just FYI)
10. Get a Haircut – Unless you have truly fabulous, romance novella hair, going with a clean cut, high and tight hairstyle is the best option. The 1960’s era side part is more popular than ever and looks dapper on darn near everyone.
11. Shave Your Head – If you’re thinning, or already rocking the donut hairdo, there’s never been a better time to go ahead and mow down the left over weeds. This GQ article shows just how manly it can be.
12. Grow a Beard – More than ever, the beard has rightfully returned to the top of the well dressed food chain. Grow one and instantly look better. By way of example, this gallery.
13. Shave Your Face – A full beard, or even a quality mustache is great, but if you can’t grow a good one, then admit that and do yourself a favor; shave regularly. Wearing week-old scruff can also be a good look, but as a general rule, if your mustache and chin don’t have comparable growth, the scruff look isn’t going to work for you either, so your best bet is to either grow a full beard, or shave it all off.
*Whether shaving your head or your face, Harry’s razors are the best and most affordable way to do so well.
14. Give a firm handshake, look people in the eyes, don’t scan the room when someone is talking to you, use table manners, be patient, control your temper, don’t raise your voice – Conducting yourself like a gentlemen is the best way to look the part. Actions/Words….you know what they say.