Category Archives: For Men

10 Fashion Tips for Men Who Aren’t Into Fashion

By and large, women spend a lot of time studying style trends and determining which looks do and don’t work for them. They read fashion magazines, observe other women, and ask friends for image advice and feedback. Men? Not so much. In general, guys don’t put nearly as much time and energy into figuring out what works for them. And unless a style-savvy woman in their lives takes on the role of image advisor, their “look” often comes together by happenstance.

Now, don’t get your feathers ruffled, guys. (You know it’s true!) While most men look presentable most of the time, paying more attention to your look can pay off in ways large and small. I always tell my clients—female and male—that you begin to communicate with others before you ever open your mouth to speak. This is true for life in general, and especially in a professional setting.

So, what does this mean for men who are used to giving the mirror only a cursory glance before heading out the door? Just this: Spending a few more seconds really looking at and interpreting your reflection each day can boost your self-image and your professional stature.

Ask yourself, Does everything look well kept and congruent? Does anything stand out or look out of place? What would I assume about someone wearing this outfit? When you’re interacting with others, you want the focus to be on you—your face, your eyes, and your words—not your clothing. And remember that when you’re confident in your look, you feel good about yourself too.

For the man who (let’s face it) will never buy and read a fashion magazine cover to cover, here’s a quick hit list of my best practices for polishing your image:

Spring for quality. Frugality may be in style (and more power to the money savers!), but filling your wardrobe with the cheapest price tags you can find won’t do much for your image. Always buy the highest quality fabrics you can afford—even if it means owning fewer clothing items. Quality garments tend to travel well. They last for a long time and don’t need to be dry cleaned as often. And, of course, quality looks great. In particular, I recommend looking for lightweight wool suits, trousers, and sport coats, as well as fine cotton shirts.

Make sure it matches up. Your clothing doesn’t need to be “matchy-matchy,” but each outfit should have balance. When you choose a shirt, tie, and blazer combo, everything should blend. (So leave the “loud” statement ties in the closet.) If one element stands out in contrast to the rest of the clothing and draws the eye, it can be a distraction that keeps other people from really engaging with you. And don’t forget about “hidden” elements of your outfit, like socks. Make sure your socks match either your pants or your shoes, and ensure that they are long enough so that your leg never shows if you cross it.

Join the navy. The ranks of men who wear navy, that is. Every man should own a tailored navy suit and navy sport coat. Navy works well with virtually every skin tone and is very versatile when pairing with other colors. In particular, a navy blazer can take you from casual Fridays to a date night look, depending on whether it’s paired with jeans, khakis, or wool trousers.

Work from the feet up. If you don’t already own a pair, invest in a good dress shoe. I like a long toe box—it makes the wearer look taller and leaner. When clients are skeptical, I ask them to wear their old shoe on one foot and the new shoe on the other. Without fail, they see a difference. And one more thing: Make sure your shoes are always polished and properly heeled and soled. No scuffs allowed!

Belt it out. For a modern look, I recommend quality leather belts that are between 1 ¼ and 1 ½ inches wide in brown or black—depending on the color of your shoes! Look for a matte finish on the buckle—preferably in a silver or pewter tone—and avoid buckles with logos.

Focus on fit. Many men tend to buy clothing that is too big for them, which can look sloppy. Be sure to look for pants, shirts, and coats that fit your frame—and take everything to a tailor! Proper alterations are so important. When a garment is too tight or too loose, when your sleeves are too long or your pants are puddling over your shoes, when your pants ride up and show your socks—all of these are red flags. I tell every client that good tailoring can make a $100 garment look like a $500 garment…and the reverse is true for a piece that doesn’t fit properly.

Give grooming some thought. Skincare and hairstyle make a difference in how you’re perceived. If your skin is dry, for instance, you can look older than you are—and you don’t want to be thought of as “not vital” or up to the job. Look for an unscented moisturizer and drink plenty of water, which lubricates the skin naturally. And if you’ve had the same haircut for years, ask friends, family members, and your stylist for an honest assessment. Does it need to be updated? Is it flattering? Should you go in for a trim more often?

Pay attention to posture, too. Posture is key. The way a man carries himself can make him look more successful and healthy—or not. I have instructed many male clients on their posture, and I know that slouching can be a difficult habit to change. Working out with a trainer to strengthen your back is a good place to start.

Make sure the eyes have it. If you wear glasses, you probably don’t think of them as a fashion accessory. But they are an important factor in your overall look. Glasses can age you, make you look tired, and/or be a distraction if they are not the right color and shape for your face. Choosing the right glasses will bring positive attention to your face and can even help others maintain eye contact with you during conversations. A pair of quality frames is worth investing in. And be sure your glasses are clean! Smudges on the lenses can look very sloppy.

Don’t leave out outerwear. A properly fitting overcoat, scarf, and gloves (and possibly also a briefcase or computer bag) complete the look for a well-dressed man. If you arrive to a meeting in an ill-fitting, beat-up old coat, that might be what people remember—not the beautiful new suit you were wearing underneath! And on some occasions, others may never see what you’re wearing under your outerwear, so think these details through. As with “regular” outfits, make sure that everything coordinates.

 

You don’t have to be a slave to fashion to look polished and put together. Paying attention to a handful of details can make a huge difference in your image and in how you’re perceived by others. It might just have a surprising impact on how comfortable and confident you feel, too!

 

 

Accessories for Men Are in the News

I recently read a New York Times article about how consumers have started to buy more and more accessories now that the worst part of the recession is over. (You can take a look at it here.) The surprising thing about this article is that it doesn’t focus on female shoppers. Instead, it’s about men!

As an image consultant who has worked with numerous male clients, I found myself nodding as I read about how men are using various accessories to distinguish and pull together their outfits. When I’m working with men, I always stress that the little details have a huge impact on how you look and how you are perceived.

With that in mind, here are some accessories I recommend all men pay careful attention to:

Ties. Ties are an accessory that many men love to hate. But even if you’re one of those guys who wear ties only when it’s absolutely necessary, you should still put some thought into what looks nice. Avoid safe, boring, or dated ties—I call them “nothing” ties because they bring nothing exciting to your outfit and say nothing about you. It’s fine to choose bold or rich colors, especially since they can set you apart and function as a tasteful statement piece. If you’re looking for inspiration, Brian Williams on the NBC Nightly News is a good example of a man who gets it right. He consistently succeeds in wearing interesting ties that match his suits well and are still appropriate in a conservative setting. When making your own choices, take a page from his book and always make sure that your tie blends with your shirt and suit color! If you’re unsure as to what might coordinate with your suit while flattering you in particular, ask a friend, salesperson, or image consultant for advice.

Glasses. If you have less-than-perfect vision and haven’t opted for contact lenses, chances are you wear your glasses every single day. And since they’re one of your most-used accessories, it’s worth your time and money to invest in a pair that looks good on you. When I’m working with clients, I recommend plastic or metal frames because they give the wearer a much more modern look than a wireless rim would. Plus, a more substantial frame gives definition to your face. Once you have found a pair of flattering frames and have become comfortable wearing them, consider adding a second pair to your collection for a little more variety! And, as you would with any other piece of clothing, work with the sales consultant to make sure that the color and shape of the frames flatter your coloring and the shape of your face.

Cuff links. Cuff links are one of those suit elements that fall into the “optional” category. If you already wear cuff links or like the way they look and want to incorporate them into your wardrobe in the near future, one of my cardinal rules of accessorizing definitely applies: Make sure that what you are wearing coordinates with the rest of your outfit! Gold or silver cuff links are a classic choice, but it’s also fine to add a little personality to your look with color or fun shapes.

Shoes. Don’t make the mistake of assuming that your shoes are less important than the rest of your clothing! If your footwear is noticeably old, worn, or scuffed, it can cancel out the effects of an otherwise put-together outfit. Like women, men have an ever-increasing amount of styles to choose from. I suggest investing in a medium-to-light brown pair of loafers for casual wear, and either brown or black dress shoes to wear with your suit. Depending on your career, you might also consider a pair of leather lace-ups so that you can alternate your look!

Socks. The same principle applies to socks as shoes: Don’t assume that they don’t matter! Especially in more formal situations, be sure to wear a sock that is either the same color as your suit or the color of the shoe you are wearing. Also, do a “test-sit” before you leave the house to make sure that your sock is the right height. Your leg should not be exposed when you sit, even if you cross your legs.

Belts. Even if you don’t habitually wear suits, you should still own at least one nice belt in the best-quality leather you can afford. A classy belt is definitely an investment piece! Choose from crocodile, black leather, and/or brown leather. I advise my male clients that a wider belt (a minimum of 1.25 inches) will give you a modern, stylish look regardless of your size or height.

Scarves. Some men see scarves as a true accessory: something with which to embellish their outfits. Others see scarves as something that’s purely functional: something to keep their necks warm when it’s cold outside. Whichever group you fall into, remember that scarves are an important element of your overall look. Make sure that yours coordinates properly with the raincoat or overcoat you’re wearing!

The Things You Carry. Most accessories are things you wear, but men should put some thought into what they carry, too, since these things still contribute to their overall images. First, if you need to carry more than can comfortably fit in your pocket, invest in a nice leather briefcase or messenger bag. Unless you are a student, it’s time to leave canvas backpacks behind. Also pay attention to the umbrella you’re carrying when it rains. You don’t want to walk into a meeting with a brightly colored umbrella or one that is ratty and on the verge of falling apart at the next gust of wind. Fortunately, there are plenty of affordable umbrella options in classic colors.

In fashion, as in most areas of life, “the devil is in the details,” as the old saying goes. When you pay attention to the accessories you’re buying and wearing, all of these seemingly small things will add up to a solid, put-together image and a great first impression!

 

 

 

Seven Fabulous Things That Every Man Should Have in His Closet

Pick up just about any women’s fashion magazine, and you’ll probably find an article on which must-have pieces a stylish female should have in her closet for the upcoming season or year. That’s great for us girls, but what about the guys? It seems to me that guys have men’s magazines that show them “stuff” but don’t dispense much good advice.   In general, they’re being left out. And as an image consultant, I think that’s a shame. I’ve spent plenty of time working with male clients so I know what works and what doesn’t. That’s why I’ve put together a list of seven things every man should have in his closet. If you’re a guy who’s interested in sharpening his look or a woman who’s wondering what to buy a man—maybe for his birthday or Christmas—I hope that my top picks will point you in a good direction.

1) Blazer. No, I’m not talking about just any blazer. I’m talking about one that’s well-fitting (possibly even tailored) and in the best fabric you can afford; preferably gabardine or light wool. Whether you choose navy or black, you can pair this stylish and versatile piece with wool trousers, khakis, or even a fabulous pair of jeans (which I’ll get to later!). Plus, a nicely tailored blazer can go just about anywhere, from casual Fridays to Saturday date nights.

2) Casual shoes. An adaptable pair of casual shoes—think loafers—in a warm, medium-to-light brown will see you through all seasons. They’ll be a wonderful accent for blue jeans on the weekend, khakis in the summer, and darker colors in the cooler months. Plus, loafers are the perfect shoe to wear when traveling, out with friends, or with your new blazer. As you begin to wear your new shoes more and more, make sure that you pay attention to keeping them nice—their condition can say a lot about you.

3) Belt. Every man needs at least one classy belt in the best-quality leather he can afford. Choose from crocodile or brown or black leather…or all three. And keep in mind that a wider belt (a minimum of 1.25 inches) will give you a modern look no matter your height or size.

4) Perfect shirt. Many men make the mistake of choosing shirts that are too big, which can make them look sloppy. Focus on fit rather than color. If you’re lean, choose an athletic fit, and if you carry more weight, make sure that the buttons aren’t pulling open. Also, be sure to press your shirt (including the collar) before going out, whether you’re going for a casual or dressy look.

5) Jeans. The “perfect” pair of jeans isn’t an article of clothing that only women should look for. Every man should also have denim in his closet that isn’t too tight or too loose—and that includes the rear! As with shirts, men tend to buy jeans that are too big, so pay attention to your body type and avoid bagginess and dragging cuffs. And if you’re splurging on one pair (perhaps raw denim, which conforms to your body), choose a darker wash so that you can dress them up.

6) Coat. Specifically, I’d recommend looking for a trench raincoat, which is useful, versatile, and good for traveling. Depending on the prevailing colors in your wardrobe, choose between khaki (my number-one pick) or black. Make sure to leave a little extra room in the fit since you might be wearing it over a suit.

7) Watch. Sometimes commercials hit the nail on the head—a man’s watch really does say a lot about him! After all, it’s the male equivalent of classy jewelry. Don’t worry, though—there’s no need to clean out your bank account. Simply choose a piece that’s not too small, but also not so big that it draws all eyes in the room. Avoid overtly trendy watches, too—one that’s simple and understated will fall into the “timeless” category.

No matter your size, style, or age, I promise that you’ll fall in love with these seven pieces. Once they’re in your closet, getting dressed for any occasion will be a breeze.