In honor of the fall season, Fashion Influencer Dr. Courtney A. Hammonds is offering his confidence-boosting keys for upscale magazines inquisitive male viewers. Ask Dr. Courtney A. Hammonds your question.
Dear Dr. Courtney,
What advice do you have for men? I want a way to dapper myself up without it looking girlish or too polished.
— John, age 35, from Charleston, S.C.
You ask a very common question! I decided to do a list of the top 5 ways a man can spruce things up in the world of grooming without looking “too feminine.”
Trim your eyebrows.
I recommend getting them professionally cleaned (not shaped) to open up the eyes. Remember these quick steps:
- Start With a Trim.
- Brush brows up with a comb or old toothbrush.
- Pluck Your Bert-Brow. “Put your thumb pad between brows, and remove any stray hairs below it
- Keep Things Natural.
Keep your nails short and clean.
If your budget or schedule permits, try a monthly manicure/pedicure to have someone take care of this for you. I also recommend buffing your nails as a way to keep the healthy shine without looking artificial. Remember, DIRTY nails can be a turnoff!
Brush and floss your teeth daily.
I have always believed that it does not matter if your teeth are not perfectly straight and white, but please keep them clean. It is unappealing to talk to someone and see built up plaque or food stuck between his or her teeth.
Following these tips can help you fight bad breath as well as keep your mouth healthy on a daily basis.
- Brush teeth twice a day
- Floss daily
- Brush or scrape your tongue
- Use a mouth rinse
- Visit your dentist
- Quit smoking and avoid tobacco products (no judgement on my end)
- Wet your whistle
Have your clothes tailored to fit your body.
Chances are some of your closest male friends are not wearing anything mended by a skilled tailor. There is a better chance that these people have not mended their own clothes. Would any of your friends know how to fix a threadbare knee or maybe even a loose button on his shirt? Most men today will not take an imperfect article of clothing into the tailor or fix it themselves.
A resourceful man should learn his way around a needle and thread. That way, these minor problems can be fixed before they require a professional tailor’s help. I have taught dozens of male friends how to use a simple thread and needle, make a few quick mends, and most learn easily.
Most of these guys do not want to ditch a perfectly good shirt because of one unsightly rip or missing button. However, as if in some rather disconnect with all logic and reason, they did not want fix it themselves before they learned the basics.
Maybe we relegate clothing alterations to a woman’s work or just a job better left to a professional. If this is your approach to minor problems, it is time to relearn that kind of sensibility. You will not look smart if a seam in the shoulder of your shirt breaks and you leave it frayed.
Taking it in to a tailor to have fixed is the kind of petty purchases of a spendthrift. Furthermore, what could more emasculating than pushing off your small alteration needs on a woman at home? Learning to sew makes you resourceful, saves you money, and may even spare you some stress.
Know your limits. Alterations can save you money, but they can only do so much with the article in question. Knowing what can be done and what cannot may end up saving you quite a bit of time and money. Is your closet full of secondhand suits that are too big in the shoulders really worth the effort?
Not only will understanding alterations help you make wiser purchases, such knowledge will extend the life of your clothing. A tailor can get you back into those pants that have become a bit too snug and save the jacket, that has developed a small tear, but he cannot miraculously redesign an entirely ill-fitting suit.
Remember, less is more when it comes to fragrance.
Fragrance is such a personal preference, and you really must find the one that works best for you. Just remember not to bathe in it.
Here are some checks to keep in mind:
- Avoid “splashing” your cologne. It will really overpower you and everyone in your vicinity.
- If you are applying cologne from a regular bottle, take one finger and press it against the opening of your bottle, and then tip it over gently.
- Apply to these main points: inner wrists, behind the ears, or near the neck glands. Do not try to use it randomly over your body, but just two or three points that you personally find best.
- Don’t spray the cologne into the air and then walk through the mist, letting it settle on your hair and shoulders. It is bad idea because most of it actually settles on the floor and only small percentage ends up on you.
- Don’t apply cologne to your clothes. The scent my last longer but it could stain and ruin your clothes.
- Spray cologne from a distance of around 15 centimeters (5-6 inches) from your skin.
- Be sure not to rub the skin after you spray or dab on your cologne.
- Maximize the life of your bottle by storing it away from light. Stash it in a drawer or cupboard in a cool, dry place for it to last its longest.
- Your fragrance will last longer on an oily skin so it is a good idea to apply moisturizer or some other unscented oily applicant before applying cologne.