Dear Sharon: I know I’m overweight and have as much sense of style as an aardvark. My hair has a shapeless (un)cut that is graying and I would consider some hair dye. In the past, this never seemed to bother me. I’m a man who has spent more time concerned about developing my mind rather than my appearance.
Now that I’m approaching 50, my post-hippy club kid look has passed its prime. I’m a successful Internet designer and professionally competing with people half my age. I want to be perceived as intrinsically vital as the young guns who flood this industry.
How can I look youthful without feeling like a Ken doll? I don’t want an obvert physical change that will make me look like I’m trying too hard to others, just something that I can grow into. – Second Class Male (via e-mail)
>> More: Men’s Style Advice
Dear Second Class Male: Most men who snag some zzzzzzzz’s on their personal style won’t even flicker an eyelash at the thought of sprucing up their image. You must be one gutsy guy!
Don’t fret, I won’t suggest any abrupt 360-degree daredevil makeover maneuvers. Just a few up-to-date, gradual changes that will make you subtly appear like your inner-Adonis.
Before we take out the style chisel, let’s first understand that clothes and a well-groomed appearance are just part of our overall persona. Who we are, our self-confidence, knowledge, intelligence, and inner-strength are just what makes the person. The better we feel about our appearance, the better we feel about ourselves. Everything harmoniously flows together when we are in balance. Sooooo, get over your bugaboos about the “young guns” and get with the program to make yourself soar! Don’t be bitter, be better.
Your makeover is not about becoming a clothes nut with 6-pack abs, it’s about developing a refined personal style and a healthier, stronger body. You know you need to put a reduced-calorie eating plan and some exercise on the top of your to-do list, so get off your duff and start “doing” it. I know it’s easier said than done, but you can do it!!! The commitment to looking and being fit is is worth more than a closet full of Armani’s.
Next, find the best hairdresser in town. Note: I did not say barber. Go for a consultation, maybe a short, styled cut will make your grays look George Clooney-ish and you can forget about the dye. A drastic new haircut is the best subterfuge for any other big time metamorphosis.
Keep your next set of changes to your face. Ditch any facial hair (nose and ears, too), it’s aging. If you wear glasses, update the frames or try contacts. Get a facial, use moisturizer, keep your skin looking hydrated. Eighty-six baseball caps unless you are in the dugout… if you wear one to cover a bald spot, you’re not fooling anyone except yourself.
Find a friend with taste and a tailor you can trust. Opt for modern elegance. More gentleman, rather than rock star. Buy one slim navy or gray suit, a complementary sport jacket, two coordinating pants, three dress shirts, four ties, two sport shirts, a turtleneck for fall, a crew neck for summer, well-fitting (the butt doesn’t droop) jeans, one dress shoe, matching belt with muted buckle, one casual slip-on shoe or boot, and a zip-front leather jacket. Add pieces as you go. Think contemporarily hip, not granola hep.
Ugly is easy. Style takes thought. Once you get the knack for making the most of what you’ve got, you will never go back to looking dilapidated again.
Copyright (c)2000 Sharon Haver