Lads, let’s face it – unfortunately, we don’t always have an endless pool of cash to throw around on the latest trends, styles, and gear. There’s the ill-fated, daily onslaught of expenditure and outgoings which, at the end of the week, results in most of us looking into our wallets with bewilderment in our eyes, pleading for the next paycheque.
Some days, the average bear checks himself out in the mirror, donning out-dated garbs, dreaming of Crockett and Jones boots, Rolex watches, and Armani Jeans. Sadly, his modest salary does not permit procurement of such luxury items; but fret not, because you don’t need to puncture holes in your wallet to look like an unadulterated, hot piece of ass! There are simple, affordable, and novel ways which can help take your dormant style out of hibernation.
1. Get the Basics Down
There are some absolute essential items that a man must own. These key pieces can be alternated and matched with a multitude, to freshen up any tired old look, whether you’re at work, heading out for an evening of beers, or chilling with your latest squeeze.
- Suits– Whether it be navy, blue, grey, or even a funky tweed material, a well-fitted three-piece can take you to the office, to a wedding, or any other social engagement. The suit will generally be the priciest part of any man’s closet collection, but it will be with you for years. Topman stock some really great suits for all shapes and sizes.
- Blazer – Available in solid colours and patterns, a blazer is a fantastic way of dressing up a look in lighting speed. Great for those impromptu nights out. Slip it on with jeans, dress pants, over sweaters, or t-shirts. Go for navy and grey varieties. Check out New Look stores for some very affordable blazers, starting at just €40.
- Shirts – There are two types of shirts that no man is complete without: Block colour and striped. Pale blue and solid white shirts will never let you down when it comes to office attire, whereas a discreet, vertically striped shirt can be worn pretty much anywhere. All high-street clothing outlets stock shirts for a range of budgets.
- Smart Shoes – Next up on the list of essentials are the all-important dress shoes. In shades of brown and black these will literally go with anything. Well, except maybe shorts! Opt for a slim, derby lace-up that will sit just right, underneath the leg of your pants/jeans. No bulky shoes please lads.
- Dark Wash Denim – We saw trends like drainpipe legs and boot-cut go by, but one style that will never fade is a straight-leg, dark-wash pair of jeans. Denims are, sometimes, the most difficult thing to get right, because not all men are created equal and few are a perfect ‘32-32’ – it differs from body-to-body. Take a full day and try on a million pairs if you have to; getting the right fit is integral to any look. Avoid the droopy ass look if you can and a quick tip – small pockets on the ass will give much needed lift, having ladies (or lads) turning their heads to check out that pert derriere.
- Sweaters – A sweater/jumper is one of the best and most affordable methods of adding a splash of personality to your overall look. Depending on your skin tone – which we’ll cover later – you can add joie-de-vivre to an ensemble with bright, bold hues.
- T-shirts – Whether they are plain or printed, crew necks and v necks are inexpensive and versatile. Match ‘em up with your dark denims and fitted blazer for a simple, timeless guise.
2. Call Groom Service
Attaining the fabled – he’s an absolute ride – style look is not merely based on the threads covering your body. A regular grooming routine can add serious points to a man, transforming him from a ‘five’ to at least a ‘seven’. It is of the utmost importance to know – how much is too much – when it comes to preening. To exemplify: if the eyebrows are plucked thinner than your sister’s, you’ve gone too far. Just a very small selection of reasonably priced bathroom basics should keep a well-maintained look.
- Moisture Men: If there is one piece of advice that you should take away from this, it is the pure magic of a good moisturiser. Generally, guys should choose a moisturiser based on skin tone: oily, combination, or dry. In this instance, we are suggesting you throw on your shoes, get to the nearest pharmacy and procure some coconut oil, post haste. Coconut oil can be used to de-frizz your beloved beard, as a lip balm, an eye cream, or as an all-over body moisturiser. We love multi-purposing! A big-ass jar will set you back around €6.00 from your friendly neighbourhood chemist. The oil comes as a white solidified substance, but will melt almost instantaneously when it comes in contact with the skin.
- The Right Hair Product: For as many guys as there are in the world, there is an equal amount of hair types and styles. Yes lads, we are all snowflakes! Some of us have thin hair, while others have thick – and some have no hair at all! Depending on the length, you will need to choose an appropriate styling product. As the crowning glory gets longer, a less heavy product should be used to style. For those with short hair, using strong clay can achieve messy and textured, or sleek and smooth. For the boys with a medium length, a lighter hold styling cream can imbue your locks with plenty of volume. Not forgetting the surfer dudes with Jesus-inspired, luscious locks – you guys can get that messy beach hair with a simple easy-breezy mousse.
- The Hidden Extras: Okay, so that’s skin and hair covered, but we can’t omit those hidden extras i.e. the elements of man-care that are sometimes overlooked. Guys, please trim your nails and do not let your eyebrows grow like that baby with one eyebrow from ‘The Simpsons’. Do not over-pluck, just focus on the space between the eyes. Always maintain a decent level of oral hygiene and if you feel like a bit of manscaping, go for it; but like the uni-brow, don’t overdo it.
3. Details Details Details
Adding individual and bespoke details to a look can really take it to another level, securing a poll position outside the crowd. Take a stroll beyond the comfort zone, because you know what they say: “That’s where the magic happens.”
Charity Shops: The humble and often overlooked charity shop is one of the best places to land a bargain. Like your hunt for the perfect jeans, spend a few hours rooting through all the wonders. Second-hand swagger shops can really be an Aladdin’s cave of steals. Now, honestly, you will find a lot of garments that you’re not into, but when you find that special piece, you’ll be laughing. (Galway SVP Pictured)
If lady luck doesn’t smile down on your local charity shop, accessorising is another great way to add a touch of individuality to your look.
Ties/bowtie: No matter what your style sensibility, a tie/bowtie can jazz up any suit, or waistcoat/shirt combo. Prints, colours, patterns, the formal world is your proverbial oyster.
Man-Bags: Call it what you will – man-bag, satchel, or messenger bag, these functional and fashionable accessory can complement any casual/formal attire. Check out TK MAXX for plenty of varieties and sizes.
Hats off to you Sir: It’s a fact that a hat will instantly set you apart. Some guys overlook headwear, but it’s time we all start to change that. We’re not talking beanies and baseball styles; it’s time to fancy a fedora, pop on a panama, and bang on with a boater – not all at once.
4. Colour me Impressed
One big mistake that we see a lot of guys (and some girls) making is, not dressing in colours appropriate for skin tone. Certain shades can leave a man looking washed out. Learning what hues suit you (sir) can save countless time spent trying on black shirts, when you should be wearing green
- Dark Skin Tone
Generally, darkskinned lads will have dark hair and eyes to match. If you’re a darker guy, then wear colours that work in stark contrast to the colouring you’re already rocking.
Wear – Pink, white, baby blue, orange, cobalt
Avoid – Black, dark brown
- Pale Skin Tone
On the opposite end of the spectrum there’s the pale and interesting skin type. Pale guys will usually have red or blonde locks and will want their clothes to match their skin type. Wearing bright, strong shades will not work
Wear – Pale blue, beige, light brown
Avoid – Purple, yellow, black
- Medium Skin Tone
Those lucky, lucky lads with medium-olive skin can wear pretty much anything their hearts desire. Dove grey looks amazing when it’s matched with a sun-kissed complexion. Whether you have light-medium or medium-dark, take a pick from the ’50 shades’; try avoiding red though.
So there it is fellas – some very simple, affordable methods of attaining a stylish façade. Get your basics right, choose threads based on skin colouring, maintain a commitment to personal hygiene, and jazz up your wardrobe with some accessories. One final thing that makes any guy look great is confidence. So walk like you’re ten feet tall, even if you look like a hobbit!