Monday, October 19, 2015

Seven Habits of Incredibly Stylish Men

This story was originally published on D'Marge. We've all seen them; know one, even. The incredibly stylish gent. Whether a stranger on the train or that annoyingly suave guy at work, the stylish gent gets around these days. Subscribe to Executive Style's newsletter, delivered twice a week to your inbox Here are seven habits of the incredibly stylish gent worth noting now. Pen and paper, ready?
1) Know a good tailor
The stylish man knows his sizing limitations. Models are sample size so only models can buy straight off the rack and walk out of a store looking like a million bucks. To overcome the problem of long legs on trousers and sleeves that cover your hands, see someone with the gift of scissors, needle and thread – an alterations specialist. Nowadays it's super affordable (and a lot cheaper than having your own suit custom-made) and easy; when you buy new work pants, take the trousers straight to your fix-it person. Put on some weight? Get the trousers let out to avoid looking like a squashed sausage. No matter how much you spend or how beautiful the fabric, there's no faking it when it comes to fit. Jackets that sag and baggy pants that slump look careless and stop you looking like the stylish gent you want to be.
2) Well-maintained shoes matter

It's all about the shoes (and the suit and jeans and pressed shirt, but that's another story).
Shoes are the first thing to be noticed when you meet someone for the first time. Rocking up to work in the latest Hugo Boss mohair wool three-piece suit is killer. But wearing derby shoes that look like they have been chewed on by the dog is a crime against your colleagues and the beautiful suit itself. Wipe your leather shoes with a damp cloth at the end of each day to remove dirt and dust and set aside time each Sunday to polish up your shoes ahead of the working week. A pair of beautifully made, expensive shoes will never stand their ground unpolished, torn, faded or dirty. Treat shoes like you do your oral hygiene.
3) Run a well-oiled grooming machine

Starting with the hair, book your appointments well in advance with a reputable barber. Even if it's to trim the neck fluff or loose the impeding ball shape your hair is taking, four to six weeks is a good cycle to be on. Facial grooming now, the typical products – face wash, exfoliation and moisturiser – should be done daily, preferably in the morning so you don't forget before bed. For the shaven gent, keep the face super clean, hair-free and shave the regrowth daily. For those working the five-o'clock-shadow look, keep it neat with a razor trim every two to three days. Beard lovers, trim your growth weekly. The most important thing about having a grooming routine is setting it in advance and sticking to it.
4) Invest in key pieces

Splurging on timeless pieces for the wardrobe is essential. This means investing in key fashion items that transcend what's in trend for a season. Stylish gents take a more universal, simple approach. A slim pair of dark denim jeans, crisp white Oxford shirt, razor sharp casual blazer, camel trench, black wool trousers, leather carry-all, plain white tee, leather derby shoes, aviator sunglasses – these are classic essentials and will get you started. And because these are 'investments', buy these in the best quality fabrics (cashmere, merino wool, organic cotton, calfskin leather) you can. You'll be wearing any one of these pieces every day.
5) Know your wardrobe

Getting acquainted with your wardrobe takes the labour out of dressing each morning. Have a few key looks memorised for play and for work (pastel blue shirt, navy suit and dark tan brogues make for a tonal, smart, alternative to a 'snore' black and white business look). Trying key pieces on together in advance can do this, or simply visualise the textures and colours coming together in your head. Organising your clothes in the closet helps getting to know them better. Buy wooden hangers and space your clothes out so they become their own. You can get an idea what works or what's missing by seeing them all lined up together and they don't get crushed in the process. For extra assertiveness the night before, lay out the following day's outfit, including accessories. Then hang your pre-selected clothes in your wardrobe or if packing for travel, lie them straight into the suitcase.
6) Have an air of confidence

Stylish men carry themselves with confidence. There is nothing more unattractive than a guy who looks like he's trying too hard while looking uncertain about himself. The confident man owns his look, because it's an authentic expression of his personality and who he is. But the insecure jock is shifty and unsettled (evident with his body language) and his appearance will be noticeably self-conscious – fiddling with things, playing with his buttons, and looking at himself in every mirror or reflective window he can find. The clothes are wearing him, and not the other way around. Before you step out the house ask yourself this: Am I happy with how I look today? There's no point wearing something that isn't you, just because it's a trend. If yes, go face the world. From here, be authentic, take the occasional risk to challenge who you are and then, don't give your outfit a second thought.
7) Keep one's self in check

With the time, effort and often serious money spent on clothes and looking the part, letting it all come undone during the day is not an option for the stylish gent. So keep yourself in check. Not that we're suggesting being that self-conscious guy in the previous point who can't leave himself alone. It's more about assertively making sure you aren't letting things slip: flies zipped, shirt neatly re-tucked, and belt fastened properly. Lop-sided ties and blunt knots look messy, too; while a big tomato sauce stain on a work suit after lunch is a deadly style sin. D'Marge is one of Australia's most popular men's style and fashion blogs. Follow D'Marge on Facebook and Instagram.