A Class Act - Part 2

Take pride in your outward appearance. It's part of your personal brand.

This part of being a class act warrants a little longer post because even though our outward appearance is an external thing, it's a lot of how we make first impressions, so it's important enough to spend some time on when you want to be a class act.

Taking pride in your appearance is looking (and smelling!) your best. It’s not competing with anyone - just upping your own game to pay attention to the details and take the time to be on top of things in this way. What separates those with exceptional appearance from those with poor appearance is not necessarily the price tag(s) - it’s the classy way they take care of, and present themselves. Here are some specific ways that can make the difference:


CLEANLINESS - Your body, clothes, living spaces, work spaces, and vehicle > Shower every day, wear deodorant that works; brush and floss your teeth. > Wash your clothes after one use, in most cases. > Keep your work space, living space, and vehicle as neat as possible, whenever possible (Obviously, not all work spaces are in your control, but your desk or personal work area probably is)


CLEANED AND POLISHED SHOES OR BOOTS

The devil is in the details. You’d be amazed who is looking at your shoes or boots and making a judgment call about you. Yes, it’s external, but it's an opportunity to let others know that if you’ll take care of this little detail, you’re good for it in bigger and more important things.

THE RIGHT CLOTHES IN THE RIGHT COLORS WITH THE RIGHT FIT Appearance is half the game of what it means to be classy. While clothing doesn’t have to be expensive, it should reflect good taste and match your personality. > Iron or dry clean (and starch) at least your shirts, and possibly your pants (even blue jeans) No matter what your style is, a great shirt looks even better when professionally pressed and possibly starched, from the dry cleaners. The starch keeps that pressed look longer too. And, compared to the time it will take you to get anything close to the same look, it’s a no brainer. > The right clothes for you are ones that fit - in your style. Not too tight. Not too loose. Clothes that are too tight draw attention to the most unflattering parts of your body. Baggy clothing is meant for the gym and the garage. Clothes that fit are not only comfortable, but done right, and in your colors, will make you look your best, whether you have broad shoulders, teeny waist or just the opposite - no matter what you spent on them. Clothes that fit are just more flattering and look better.

> The right colors for you can make all the difference between looking and feeling “ok” to looking and feeling great, with frequent compliments. Everybody looks good in certain colors, like navy blue and dark gray. Some men will look even better in black. Find someone who can help you with discovering your color palette (usually described in seasons like Winter, Spring, Summer, or Fall), and only purchase and wear “your” colors. Once you know what these are, your future clothing purchases will help you create a great wardrobe for every occasion that gives you that “wow” factor, nearly every time - whether your style is western, urban, or something in between. Shortly after my wife and I were married, she asked if she could separate my

clothes into what she called A and B piles. Out of curiosity, I consented, and she then asked me to try an experiment. To only wear what was in the A pile and see what happened. To my surprise, I started getting compliments nearly every time I went to work or anywhere else. It made me feel like a million bucks to know that just by wearing the best colors for me, people actually noticed and even said something about it! You better believe, that even my grungiest t-shirts are only in my colors now - why buy anything else?


TEETH For most folks, this means seeing a quality dentist every 6 months for a cleaning and checkup. Regular dental care can detect problems in your mouth that can cause bad breath, tooth loss or worse. And in a time when whitening your teeth costs as little as $25 for DIY, there’s no excuse to have yellow or brown teeth. Maintain the look with whitening toothpaste. Done! If you’re too far gone for that, pay for the whitening service at your dentist to get the ball rolling, and then maintain with the DIY products.


HAIR > Clean and neat hair - find a style that suits you, your personality and lifestyle > Comb and/or brush your hair, including facial hair regularly > Stay trimmed up and looking fresh with the right hair and beard products

NAILS - HANDS AND FEET It’s not uncommon in this day and age for a man to be seen in a nail salon. If you’re in a profession where your hands are seen (like sales), this is a must. You’re not going to look like a sissy. You’ll simply look more put together. If you’re in a profession where your hands are in dirt, grease, paint, or whatever for your career, manicured hands might be a little much for you. But keep ‘em clean. There are products out there that will address any of these things and keep your hands looking top notch. It’s worth the time.

DON'T LEAVE A TRAIL - Keep your cologne and after shave moderate Even though smelling good can be part of the overall big picture of “you”, it can easily be overwhelming when not done right. Ask someone where you buy your cologne how much is enough. You may have to tweak just a little to suit your body chemistry. Since smell can be powerful, less is more with cologne. And great smelling cologne doesn’t have to be expensive. Cologne scents are put in different categories: spice, citrus, earth, musk, and different combinations. Find the category you’re consistently attracted to and try something small. Do you still like it after a couple of weeks? Are you getting anybody complimenting how good you smell? Judge from that if you should buy or wear more (or less).

GOOD POSTURE - walk with confidence, with head up and shoulders back

This is basic body language 101. Your walk and general stature say a lot about how you view yourself.

CONSERVATIVE ABOUT TATTOOS AND BODY PIERCINGS

Less is more here too... Even though attitudes about tats and piercings are changing, it's still best to keep your skin art collection private.

ABSTAIN FROM TOBACCO AND DRUGS

When you're serious about taking care of your mind and body, others will take you more seriously too. They'll know you're not messing around - you mean business and you mean to "get 'r dun". No matter what your personal style is, it should not include things that make you stink or might put you in a position to compromise your integrity.

AVOID TRENDS For the most part, stick with the classics. Jeans, shoes and shirt styles change, but the basic, put together look stays pretty close to the same. There are modern versions of timeless men's clothing that look great on any man, no matter if you prefer western gear or urban chic. Start with the basics and build from there. It's more time efficient and financially conservative to own fewer (if necessary) quality pieces of clothing, shoes and accessories, Good clothes look better, and last longer. And classic colors like blacks, blues, grays, khakis and whites are a great place to start.

Having a few trendy pieces in your wardrobe can be fun. There's nothing "not classy" about that wild Hawaiian shirt you want, but don't make it a major part of your wardrobe. Sticking with the classics, in your colors, will simplify your wardrobe and keep you looking your best - no matter what the occasion.





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