Mind The Little Details
Queer eye for the Straight Guy?
We don’t have to go quite that far.
However, I do notice a lot of poorly dressed, misshapen and sloppy men out in the world today. Many guys don’t seem to understand that the smallest details make the biggest difference in your appearance. From proper fitting shirts to polished shoes the devil is in the details. Simply matching your shoes to your belt can be all that stands between you and that womans phone number, or the big promotion. Nobody is going to point those things out to you, but they all play an important role in how people perceive you.
In this first installment of the fashion column for the genuine man, I wanted to point out a couple of details that guys commonly miss. The point of this column isn’t to turn every man into Ralph Lauren. Its simply to get you to think about the small changes and to bring yourself up a notch in the eyes of the world. To help make you a well-dressed man.
I know a guy who from a distance seems like he would be a pretty good catch. Decent job, his own house, nice car, and has all his teeth and hair. However, in social situations, nobody wants to sit too close to him. Its not that he doesn’t bathe, its just that his clothes are…seasoned. If you plan on wearing something twice, hang it up after you wear it, and if you think you should sniff it before you wear it, wash it. Laundry isn’t difficult. Keep dark colors separate from light colors, wash in cold and hang most things to dry to prevent shrinking. Sometimes it helps to wash dark colors inside out to prevent fading.
Break out that ironing board. Even if you are simply wearing a polo shirt, sharpening up that collar before heading out the door can make a big difference. A bit of spray starch will crisp up the corners and make the collar lay properly. We have a great article on laundry here. We also have a great article on ironing here.
Lastly, check your clothes before you put them on. Look for rips, holes, etc. It may be possible to have the item repaired if the damage is minor. Anything with more serious damage should be thrown away.
I am a relatively recent graduate of the Shoes Matter school of thought.. In my early 20’s I would wear the most god-awful footwear that I could find laying in my closet. I thought that as long as there were no (obvious) holes in them, that they were okay to wear out in public. Was I wrong. Women in particular, shoe nuts that they are, often check out a guys footwear when deciding what to think of them. And if that weren’t bad enough, other guys who have gotten wise to the footwear movement also do it, and decide how to categorize you because of it. Guys like your boss, your girlfriends dad, maybe even your own father or friends.
Keep them clean, and always match them to your belt. If you are wondering what type of belt to wear with running shoes, you need some help. Keep the running shoes for running, and find a nice casual non-running shoe to wear with your jeans. I prefer brown leather to black with blue jeans, but thats just my preference. There are many styles of non-white footwear out there today. Take advantage of it. If you are wearing dress shoes, make sure you polish them! Nothing looks worse with a good suit than a pair of scuffed up shoes. We have a killer article on polishing shoes here. I would also like to mention that your socks should match your pants, NOT your shoes.
A future article on shaving is planned. In the meantime, please shave everyday. As a guy, I too enjoy the feeling of a days growth on the weekend and holidays. This is one of the great things about being a man. However, it is not okay to go out anywhere other than the hardware/autoparts store with this growth on your face. You never know if you will bump into that important client, your boss or simply someone else whom you know. I know Colin Ferrel sports the stubble look, but you are not Colin Ferrel. It only takes a few minutes to shave properly. When finished, make sure you moisturize.
Aside from shampooing your hair and conditioning it everyday to keep it clean and free of little bugs, how you shape your hair can speak volumes about the type of man you are. If you ordinarily see an old-school barber, or even if you don’t – treat yourself to a haricut at a good salon next time. Speak with the stylist, tell them what you do for a living, explain that you are wondering what they think the best hairstyle for you would be. These people see hundreds of hairstyles, and can often make great recommendations based on the thickness and fullness of your hair, as well as your particular face. Just be sure to keep the workplace dress code in mind – purple spikes are just as bad as a combover for an accountant.
Speaking of comb-overs, please just don’t. If you’ve got hair from the left side of your head covering the right side of your head this is a great time to try shaving your head clean, or perhaps just clipping short every few weeks. A short, spiky cut will help cover the bald spot.
These are just a few of the basic items that I wanted to draw attention to in this introduction. In the coming months we will have articles on how to iron, polish your shoes, tie a tie and make sure your clothes fit well. Until then – pay attention to the details.