So you want to dress better, but hate being told to basically trash your entire closet and buy a whole new wardrobe that doesn’t reflect your personal style. I’m with you, and I won’t tell you to do that. There are, however, other ways a guy can dress better without having to uncomfortably wear clothes that he just doesn’t dig.
1. Wearing Collar Stays
Many guys have no idea that collar stays even exist, but these little pointy stuff can make a boy look like a man. Most shirts have a slot right under each collar where you can slide these bad boys in, and as their name suggests, they’re there to keep your collar straight and neat.
The good news? They’re dirt cheap! Depending on whether you get plastic or steel (recommended), you can get either a pair or an entire set for under $10. Obviously, steel is sturdier than plastic, and collar stays are something that you’ll use over and over, so you might as well spend the extra $2 to get better quality ones. Just make sure to take them out before you throw your shirts in to the washer!
(A set of 36 collar stays; you pick the sizes): Amazon.com – 36 Collar Stays for $7.95
2. Wearing Tie bars
Take a look at Channing Tatum, Michael Fassbender, and Jake Gyllenhaal above. What do the three have in common (besides being highly-paid actors)? They’re all wearing tie bars! This one is a no-brainer; who actually likes having their tie fly all over the place? Nobody. But still, tie bars still aren’t seen as a necessity when donning a formal wear. It’s not going to kill you if you don’t wear one, but you surely would look and feel well put together if you did.
(A set of 8 different tie bars): Amazon.com – A Set of 8 Tie Bars for $16.99 + shipping
3. Using a Shoe Horn
This one, and the one right after are more about shoe care than actual things you wear. But hey, if you don’t take care of your shoes, they would look bad on you. A shoe horn is something that allows you to easily slide your heel in to your shoe without having to cram a finger in or stepping on the back of it. It’s especially perfect for those who don’t like to untie their shoes, and find slipping them back on somewhat difficult since the laces are always done. Worry not, the shoe horn is here to make your life easier. It lets you be lazy and take care of your shoes at the same time. Who wouldn’t want that? You can get either plastic or metal; I personally have no preference since they both do the job right. It’s even possible to get one for free if you’re buying a pair of shoes from a mid or high-end store. You’re already spending hundreds on a pair of quality leather shoes, so the store would likely be willing to throw in a shoe horn for you at no extra cost.
(A stylish metal shoe horn): Amazon.com – A stylish metal shoe horn for $6.99
4. Using Shoe Trees
If you were to get just one shoe accessory and nothing else, then I’d say get the shoe trees. They’re one of the most important shoe care tools because shoe trees absorb moisture from your shoes after you wear them, and they help maintain their shape. These are especially necessary for shoes that you invest in, like leather shoes for work. It’s said that our feet produce 1/4 cup of moisture on a normal day and 1/2 cup when active. You do NOT want those moisture staying in your shoes after taking them off. And as mentioned earlier, shoe trees will help prevent your shoes from deforming. Go into any luxury store that sells shoes and chances are, they’ll have equally fancy-looking shoe trees stuffed in the shoes on display. Good news is, you don’t need fancy ones, as long as they work (and are cedar!). Buying them requires a bit of research though, because they do come in different sizes and you want to make sure they’ll fit nicely in your shoes.
(Cedar shoe trees): Amazon.com – Cedar Shoe Trees for $19.95
5. Knowing Color Coordination
Of course, there are other ways you can dress better without having to spend a dime, like knowing what color looks good with what. I know, I know. No one ever wants to worry about things like that. But if you’re staring at your closet and you have 15 seconds to find something to put on, knowing which colors work together would actually narrow your choices and speed up the process. For instance, blue works with brown. If you’re wearing a grey or navy suit, you can either wear brown or black shoes. If your suit is black, ONLY wear black shoes. If you’re going on an African safari tour, do NOT wear black and white stripes, or the lions would mistake you for an animal to prey on. That’s one of the few instances where the wrong choice of color to wear can actually get you killed…
6. Knowing How Buttons Work
The last button on your suit never actually gets buttoned. Yup, never. If it’s a two-button suit (which is the standard), only the top button ever gets touched. If you’re wearing a three-button suit, then you go by the sometimes, always, never rule: The top button sometimes gets buttoned, the middle always gets buttoned, and the last never gets buttoned. If you’re not a believer yet, just take a look at these photos. You’ll see something that their suits all have in common:
Well, besides the pocket square.
These are just some ways to dress better without giving in to trends like “plaids are out, stripes are in!” that are designed to take all your money. The best way to look more presentable is by keeping your personal style, and learning how to maximize its potential. Knowing these things will not only make you look better, but also make your clothes last longer.