Chris Jackson counts down the nine steps to improving your looks.
Repeat after me: Thank God I’m a man. Not for as hours of primping to pull off an extreme makeover. A few minutes at a time of doing the right things, buying the right stuff and standing up straight is all it takes to turn even average looks into great ones. Don’t believe me? Just take a look at Brad Pitt in his early days. The “sexiest man alive” was practically unrecognisable as the callow youth from Kickapoo High School in Springfield, Missouri.
A GOOD HAIR DAY
Greasy hair can blitz your look. Keeping hair clean and lightly styled at all times is easy -so do it – and keep your locks trimmed. Many men are tempted to slack off on hair care because flyaways and extra length make it harder to keep things under control. And never plonk on a baseball cap, which are a giveaway disguise for bed head.
PUT THE MAN IN “MANICURE”
Chewed or dirty nails make you look permanently nervous and careless about personal hygiene. You don’t have to book an appointment at a grooming salon (but that’s not a bad idea from time to time). Simply keep your nails well-trimmed, free of dirt and buffed with an emery board. Your hands, too, should look and feel cared for, not as if they belong to a labourer. At least once a day, preferably after a shower, smooth on some quality hand cream.
THE LITTLE THINGS
When you have passed a certain age – say, 28 -you have to consign some items of clothing to the charity bin. I am referring to sleeveless shirts, jeans with holes in them and the sort of outsized clothing worn by hip-hop artists. Exfoliate your face once or twice a week and keep your shoes polished. Floss your teeth for the sake of your gums and to keep bad breath at bay. Finally, there’s nothing worse than cracked lips – for kissing or sealing a deal- so smooth on some lip balm. They’re so cheap and easy to carry around that you have no excuse for having a FLAKEY mouth, especially in harsh winter weather.
The phrase “a well set-up man” says it all. If you slump or slouch you look as if you want the world to pass you by- and it will. To check out your posture stand in front of a full- length mirror and note which parts of your body are holding you back – literally. Is your head forward or your back curved? OK – straighten up and get your eyes, shoulders, hips, knees and ankles in a straight line. Then relax the shoulders and knees a little to avoid looking like a sergeant major on parade. Sitting properly is equally important. Always push your hips as far back against the back of a chair as possible and keep your knees and hips in a straight line. That’s the easy part. Now all you have to do is to follow these rules at all times.
LESS IS MORE
Don’t overdo anything. The only piece of jewellery that conveys an unmistakeably patrician bearing is a classy watch. Don’t put too much wax or gel in your hair – it looks cheap. A spritz or two of cologne is all that’s required. If you want to wear a patterned shirt team it with something simple, like jeans.
This might sound like a spruik but you need expert help to keep up with style and how it evolves from reading articles in magazines like Men’s Style, fashion websites and frequenting your favourite clothes shops. Local men’s brands as well as imported designer labelshave trained staff to help you to achieve the right personal style. They aren’t there only to sell. If they flog you the wrong stuff, you won’t be back.
Your clothes and shirt should always be ironed and pressed—except when you are being a couch potato an weekends. Even if you are wearing a Zegna suit and a very expensive shirt, you will still look like a down-at-heel con if the creases aren’t sharp and the shirt isn’t spotless and crisp. If ironing shirts is not your best skill, it only costs $4 to $5 to have men’s shirts laundered and pressed. And if in doubt about which shirt to choose to make the maximum impact, buy the most expensive white one you can afford.
GET IN SHAPE
A good suit can hide many faults but even a hand-made Brioni would struggle to make up for a beer gut and stooped shoulders. Clothes look better on better bodies. It’s not just the shape it’s the quickness of movement and the healthy glow that regular exercise gives a man. A long-term fitness goal is best but even a quick workout done regularly will improve your physique.
Excess hair is a matter of taste. Most women don’t like it. It’s the single most dramatic thing you can do for your face and instantly makes you look more groomed and professional. Any growth in the ears, nose or on the back of your neck should be given the bum’s rush, too. And if you have facial hair, always keep it trimmed and in shape whether it’s a goatee, soul patch or sideburns. Straggly hairs look scruffy.