Having nice clothes is only part of being a well-dressed man. It’s also about taking care of the clothes and presenting them – and yourself – in the best possible way. These must-haves will ensure you look smart … every time.
A generation or so ago, men shined their own shoes. It wasn’t a chore; it was an art form, and one that demonstrated they took pride in their appearance. That trend seems to have faded in recent years, but I say it’s time to bring it back. What a waste to see a perfectly nice pair of black or brown shoes that look dirty, scuffed, and worn. Show your shoes some love by investing in a shoeshine kit. All you need are the basics: a horsehair shoe brush, a horsehair polish applicator, polishing cloths, and good-quality polish. Then you can step out in style!
Ever been getting ready for a meeting or a date and a button pops off your favourite shirt? With a sewing kit, you’re always prepared. This is a good one to keep in your toiletry bag for just such emergencies. Next time you’re staying at a hotel, you can often find a small, basic sewing kit as one of the in-room amenities, or you can ask the front desk if they have one. And again, basic is all you need: needles, pins, thread. (You can use a nail scissors or nail clippers – see below – from your toiletry bag to cut any thread.) If you’re in the habit of carrying around a backpack, your sewing kit can also be handy for making simple repairs.
Nobody wants to see your collar curling, rolling, or winging out. It’s just not the sharp, crisp, professional look you’re going for. Enter collar stays. Collar stays do what they say they’re going to do: they keep your collar in place (especially if you wear a tie). They look like flat little torpedoes (usually, they are plastic or metal), and you insert them into the slots under the collar of most good-quality men’s dress shirts. Too easy.
I’m not saying get a manicure, gentlemen, unless you want to. But given that your first impression – or most encounters, for that matter – often accompanies a handshake, it’s worth paying a little bit of attention to your hands. Keeping them clean and clipped will do. For best results, splash out on a nice set of stainless-steel clippers with sharp blades.
Using a lint brush is an inexpensive and easy way to maintain your wardrobe and keep you looking neat and sharp. Do away with lint, dust, dandruff, and pet hair with some simple swipes. Lint brushes are especially important for your dark jackets, coats, and trousers, which can highlight this debris like a beacon. To brush your jackets and coats, it’s a good idea to hang them up and brush from the shoulders (where the dandruff danger lurks) down. And always brush with downward strokes, never across the clothes’ fibres.
As I mentioned in my recent blog post about casual Fridays, the well-dressed man should never go out looking like he’s just rolled out of bed. Yes, ironing is a bit of a chore, but it’s worth it. It’s cheaper than always having your shirts dry-cleaned, and you’ll make the impression you want to make on a partner or employer. And there are ways to make it more fun. Grab a beer and turn on the telly while you starch and press. Just make sure you follow the clothing label’s care instructions and set your iron settings accordingly. Also, one caveat: I’d suggest not ironing your collars. Many guys make this mistake; ironing melts the fusing on the collar, bending it. Ultimately, ironing the collar will shorten the life of your shirt.
Alternatively, if you know you just won’t iron, there are some great non-iron shirt options on the market.
Cheers for reading. H