Let’s hear it for the guys

Most men HATE shopping…. am I right? They might give it an hour once a year and that’s it! Gathering the rest of their wardrobe attire can be left to their significant other…let’s just hope that it isn’t their mother doing it! I suppose shopping online can be wonderful for men, as long as they are a standard size and don’t end up with any disastrous buys – it will only take one and they will never shop online again. As partners, wives, sisters or mothers (only when they are young), we need to encourage the men in our lives to take a keen interest in their appearance. It takes time to get to know someone, to find out if they are friend material, personality type is unfortunately not a visual, so image and getting it right is key. 

Guys, everyone is busy but how about you obliterate panic mode shioing completely….you simply cannot find great clothes in a one-hour window because you ‘the match is starting at 2pm’ and you need to be done quickly. Just like playing sport or cooking, dressing well is a skill that can actually be learned. With all skills, you get better the more you practise and unless you live in a nudist colony, you do need to dress yourself every single day. Nobody is born in a perfectly tailored three-piece suit, or with some magical intuition on how to dress well. It is at this point that I have to add that it is a sin to wear sports clothes every day or every evening after work or every weekend…unless you are a personal trainer or paid to advertise them! Can you please read the previous sentence at least FIVE times until it makes sense and seeps in? 

You can solve 90 per cent of your style problems by getting the fit rught…it’s the same for us girls. When clothes don’t fit properly, they throw off your body proportions and excess fabric can make you look sloppy, fatter and shorter – I don’t need to mince my words here. How you get the perfect fit is by taking the time to take multiple sizes into the dressing room, rather than just look down at yourself when you have tried on the t-shirt or jeans; look at yourself in the mirror too. Men go for the ‘feel’ first, if it feels good then they are happy, but it is possible to buy clothes that look and feel good.

Always surround yourself with stylish people, even if it’s online. When making any changes in your life, especially something that’s physical like your style, the biggest roadblock can be the most surprising….the people that you know, family, friends etc. They may act a little shocked that you are making an effort in your appearance all of a sudden…Don’t take it as a negative thing! Irish people are the absolute worst in the world to promote change, we automatically criticise first…rise above it. The damage could be done in the ‘Well, look at you!’ and they may be about to follow it with ‘You look really great’ BUT you have already left the room after the first comment. Also, some partners or wives can insist on buying the clothes for you – they may have a style in mind that they would  want you to wear but it may not always translate into a good look for you. Your girlfriend might be obsessed with Ryan Gosling and his effortless sense of style but YOU ARE NO RYAN GOSLING who has a stylist and spends thousands on that ‘effortless look’! Change is uncomfortable for people, it makes them face the reality that someone is working hard to improve, and it also challenges what they are/are not doing for themselves, just keep that in mind too.

Who you surround yourself with has an extremely important impact on your action, behaviour and mindset. This is why wealthy successful businessmen tend to be friends with each other. When it comes to your style, that’s exactly want you need if you want to improve. With many successful business roles now requiring travel and impeccable communication skills, you simply cannot afford to let yourself down at the first hurdle…the visual. The brain is a funny old complicated thing but for the most part, if it likes what it sees then it only makes sense that impeccable style wins and believe it or not, at certain levels, is expected!

Don’t over-think, keep it ‘classic’, keep it simple. Focus on getting the basics really right first. Build your wardrobe one step at a time. Buy a tailored suit – wait for the sales if needs must, it will be so worth it. Throw out your square-toed suit shoes, they are gone, gone, GONE. Invest in only the best and don’t be afraid to ask when the sales will be on so that you can buy two really good pairs. Only wear a white shirt if it IS white, ditch it as soon as it goes off white. Buy really well-fitting comfortable jeans, they will cost more but will look better. Next time that you go jean shopping, don’t buy the brand that you have always worn, go up price and see and feel the difference. Good quality cotton t-shirts look better, wash better and last longer. As you age stay well clear of graphics, logos and wild prints…they are for college boys and you are now at a stage in your life where you want to be taken more seriously. Of course, have one completely daft festival shirt in your wardrobe…even if you never wear it, it will make you smile everytime you see it! 

Save time going to the fitting room by always taking three sizes with you, your size, a size down and a size up….it works a treat. Invest in a block (solid) colour casual jacket that doesn’t scream HH or Tommy Hilfiger…have you ever seen these labels screaming on stylish people…me neither! Good quality and a good fit speaks in a more classic stylish way than any obvious label can.

Learn to take your style seriously enough not to take it too seriously. Yes, great style can truly impact your life, I’ve seen it first hand and better style can make you get taken more seriously in your job and it can also make you more attractive…..but you need to enjoy it and have fun with it….Away with you now, the match is starting!

Louise O'Dwyer

Louise O'Dwyer is an Image consultant based in West Cork

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