It’s not about sexuality; it’s about looking great. Say ciao to the metrosexual, it’s the Wow Man who rules!
Dear Sharon: Help! I need help to save my marriage!
Can you recommend anyone in the San Francisco area that can assist with a male makeover? I’m 42, 6’3 250 lbs, and I am in a crisis situation with my wife. It’s a long story but happy to tell it for some help? - Wake Me, When You Make Me Over (San Francisco, CA)
Dear Wake Me, Make Me: Sweetie, your letter sounds like an application for “Queer Eye for the Straight Guy,” but this is not that show. However, I have been in the fashion biz for longer than any gay man would allow me to admit and have been fiercely accused of being a queen trapped in a woman’s body, but we won’t go there.
Here’s another place not to go: please don’t explain further about how your appearance puts you in some sort of marital jeopardy (she married you in the first place?!). That, my poor misguided terror of testosterone, would clearly fall under the Too Much Information Act of Personal Restraint. Nevertheless, it does sound like you’re saving up your restraint for your wardrobe.
It’s beyond baffling that you cannot find a fabulous store or grooming salon that you could just walk into and get gorgeous when you make your home in San Francisco- that’s the proof that you’re in SOS Style Distress. You live in a place where male bonding takes on a whole new life! Open up your eyes, there are men who apply moisturizer all around you. While, I’m not in the position to recommend anyone locally, let’s get crackin’ to get your gaga back.
Suddenly, the media is saturated with information about how men can (re)discover their inner “feminine” sense of beauty. No one is asking you to preen yourself into a walking peacock or wax your eyebrows into a Elizabeth Taylor enviable arch, we’re just asking you to give more of a who ha about your personal grooming, than, let’s say, the Unabomber. Simple manly methods to make more of what you’ve got, and that’s not an overly obsessed beauty junkie either!
If the current adoration with the term meterosexual is about a big city dwelling, narcissistic male who likes to dabble in the heightened exploration of his own male vanity, so be it. But, the average guy doesn’t care about flaunting his bum in his jeans, he cares that his jeans fit his bum. That has nothing to do with being straight, gay, bi, double dipping, transgender, or asexual. It has to do with self-confidence. Not where you’re putting it.
Girly boy men like soccer star David Beckham, may have fired the fuel for all this foofoo frivolity in fashion, but most men can’t pull off the look like he can, and thankfully so.
Celebrities, male models, and the idle rich or luckily well-informed have always managed to look better than the average Joe. Perhaps, that’s how they got to where they are in the first place? But the one thing that they share is a little extra time in paying attention to their skin, having the right haircut, wearing clothes that fit, and not being ashamed of it. Keep in mind, women do appreciate men who take care of themselves that’s not such a big deal if you figure how to master what works for you.
Let’s wave a unanimous ciao to the metrosexual, and focus on becoming a WoWMan: a guy who cares as much about his appearance as the woman he admires most, regardless of his zip code!
Before you start the visual revamping, you need to clear out the cerebral attic. Who wants this makeover, you or your wife? If you are not comfortable in your own skin, nothing you wear will make you feel great. Conversely, always stay within what you feel comfortable wearing to avoid raising the suspicions that there’s a fashion victim in need of style resuscitation.
Find the style or fashion icon that you want to emulate and get inspired- don’t go flipping through an International Male catalog when you’re more of an Orvis kind of guy and don’t think of yourself as Hugh Jackman when you’re more of a Jack Black- be realistic.
However, don’t stifle your collective style to become a one-look wonder your attire can help you appear like a different kind of man to suit the occasion and your mood. Think of yourself as a rugged outdoorsman by weekend, corporate head by day, a little George Clooney hunk-a-rooney by night! Whatever style works for you, as long as it’s flattering is fine-don’t narrow your choices, live a little.
Widen your eyes and be alert to style. Have an open mind to fresh ideas and how they evolve-even the men’s evergreen, Old Spice has a new edge with its High Endurance Shaving and Face Care Products For Men. Learn to be aware of what makes someone look terrific and what makes someone look like a shlump. Even you can…
1. Cell phones, beepers, and electronic trinkets are not fashion accessories.
Never, ever clip them to your belt. Switch to vibrate mode and stash them in your pocket– if they don’t fit, buy a more modern, smaller model. Likewise for keys.
2. Body hair that you can twirl needs a trim.
Real men do use scissors and clippers! Hair creeping out of your shirt, poking out the back of your collar, sprouting from your nose or ears must be contained. No one is asking you to get an allover body wax (unless that’s what you want), just weekly grooming that shouldn’t take more than few minutes. If the tufts are out of control, you may want to consider laser hair removal.
3. Ditch the side part.
How many sexy, male stars have side parts? Can’t think of one- that’s because side parts are dorky! Get a descent haircut, brush your hair back, and don’t try to cover-up a bald spot-it’s there, we can tell, live with it! If you’re lucky enough to have nicely shaped head, go for a Mr. Clean, otherwise, keep thinning hair on the short side. What to do with a ponytail? Clip it.
4. Pleats are for geeks.
There is nothing that screams “I don’t have a clue about clothes” more than a pair of tan, wide wale, pleated corduroy pants, nothing! Except maybe, the brown woven leather belt, and polo shirt tucked in to the pleated plumpers. Everyone, looks sleeker, better, and more pulled together in flat front trousers.
5. Cuffs are for dress pants only.
And, even they look more modern and have a better drape when they are cuff-free. You can cuff up jeans in a Helmut Lang kind of way, but if you aren’t hanging out at the Helmut boutique- this look is not for you. Still not convinced? Cuffed trousers also make your legs look shorter and wider.
6. Untuck your shirt.
We know your mother told you to tuck in your shirt, but you’re a big boy now and boys of all ages look better in knit and t-shirts worn out-particularly polo shirts! Go ahead and tuck in your woven shirts with dressier pants, but keep your t-shirts out. Try layering a woven shirt worn unbuttoned over a sleek fitting t-shirt for a slimming effect. If you think your t-shirt looks dandy tucked into yours pants- check to see if your gut is hanging over your belt, your body looks stumpy and dumpy, or you have a sudden urge to memorize entire passages from Little Lord Fauntleroy.
7. Casual does not mean wearing a t-shirt with a beer logo.
If you’re lean and funky and happen to front a rock band, the belching booze bottle logo or any other obnoxious logo t-shirt can be kind of ironic. However, there are about 12 men that fall into this category and the rest of the male population should not even consider being a walking sandwich board even to wash the car. Select casual clothes where design, style, and fit come to play.
8. Athletic clothes are for athletic activities- this includes footwear.
Racing around in a running suit when the only time you actually ran in the last 5 years was to cut off the meter maid at the pass is simply not cool, it’s sloppy. Wearing a team jersey is fine, when you are on that team and you are playing- this is not fashion, it’s branding! Style crazy sneakers have multiplied at a berserk rate, so why wear a pair of bulky white cross-trainers with casual pants when you could look like a million bucks in a modern, updated classic court shoe in a color that a bride wouldn’t wear? Or, really up the style ante and go for a pair of shoes or boots with a nice manly, sturdy sole.
9. Real men have a skincare regime, no matter how minimal.
There’s nothing sexy about being mistaken for your grandfather. Use moisturizer, sunscreen, some anti-aging cream, eye cream, or at least one of the aforementioned. Treat yourself to a facial or use a facial masque once in awhile… try it, you may like it as much as the way it makes you look.
10. Hygiene is essential.
All the gorgeous clothes in the world will not be worth a damn when you reek. Wash at least once daily, use a clear formula anti-perspirant/deodorant that will not leave a residue on your clothes or little white clumps in your pits. Keep teeth clean and white. Get the gunk out from under your nails and a manicure (no clear polish, please) won’t hurt. Shampoo hair before it starts to smell. Don’t overdo the cologne. It’s the little things that make a big difference.
–November 4, 2003