No matter what your personal or professional situation—newly engaged or married, recent college grad, newly employed or between jobs, or just keeping a tight hand on to your money (the way a Scotsman holds onto his—bagpipes)—there are meaningful, and inexpensive, ways to add sizzle to your style. You don’t have to be a fashion plate to make a fashionable statement about who you are, and what you are getting across with how you look and dress. Try these ideas—each of them under $20—on for size.
1. LIGHTEN YOUR LID Getting your hair cut makes you look five years younger, and 10 pounds lighter.
2. WASH YOUR FACE At the risk of sounding like your Mom—on Father’s Day, no less—the importance of personal grooming cannot be overstated. Using a facial scrub at least twice a week will help keep your skin youthful and fresh-looking.
3. SCISSORS, SISTER No. Untrimmed. Nose. Or. Ear. Hair. Ever.
4. THE SHINING Now I sound like your Dad: Shine your shoes. Do it yourself for free.
5. “T” FOR TWO Although you may not have worn an undershirt since you were in short pants, now is the time to start again. It is easier on your dress shirts (“Look, ma—no sweat stains!”), and adds a touch of professional class to your style. Get a two-pack for less than twenty bucks.
6. MAN, YOU STINK This is a no-brainer. Regardless of how much or how little we sweat, men—from the burliest bear, to the most delicate twink—give off a “healthy” musk, and it needs to be combated with a deodorant that contains an ANTI-PERSPIRANT. At the old Stanley’s in Fort Lauderdale, the late Carlos nicknamed a dancer “Campbell’s Soup,” and it wasn’t because he knew his way around a ladle—his body stank! Deodorize, or risk never having sex again.
7. SOCK IT UP Throw out your socks that no longer have strong elastic, and make sure the ones you wear are always pulled up all the way—you’re a big boy now.
8. LOSE YOUR WALLET The fat wallet in your back pocket does nothing for either your fashion mark or your spinal alignment (and besides, you don’t need to carry around ten Post-It notes with random guys’ digits on them, anyway). Get rid of the thick wallet in favor of a slim-line option, or, better yet, a money clip.
9. WHITEN THOSE PEARLIES Yucky teeth are a deal-killer—or should be—both personally and professionally. A dental teeth-cleaning, followed by regular use of whitening toothpaste, and liberal application of breath freshener—now, even I want to plant a wet one on you.
10. SHADES OF CLASS Sunglasses add mystique to your manliness. (This is the secret of professional poker players: nobody knows what you’re really thinking if they can’t see your eyes.) Just don’t EVER wear them at night, or at the club.
Colognes that Every GUY Must Have
To paraphrase Don Corleone in “The Godfather,” “a man who doesn’t wear cologne can never truly be a real man.” I don’t care how naturally-pleasant your body odor, every man should compliment his God-given fragrance with something that comes from a bottle. The odoriferous compounds that comprise men’s perfume—a mixture of fragrant essential oils or aroma compounds, fixatives, and solvents—give the human body a more pleasant scent than the one we give off, say, first thing in the morning, or after a strenuous workout.
Texts from antiquity and evidence unearthed at archaeological digs show that perfumes have existed since the earliest human civilizations. (For a literary example of the benefits of cleverly using perfumes, read the world’s first novel, the 11th Century Japanese classic, “The Tale of Genji.”)
For men’s fragrances, the year 2012 is one of intricate combinations and unusual pairings—for instance, basil and mint mixed with wood scents, and the distinct aromachemical fragrance of musk. The right cologne adds sophistication and style to your personal grooming strategy.
At Work There was a time when Grey Flannel was an acceptable choice before leaving for a hard day at the office—but that time was literally during the last century. For the decade of the Twenty-Tens, you want to distinguish yourself, and make every moment in your company—and AT your company—pleasing for all the senses. tickles the olfactories, with the right suggestion of pepper and lavender, and a hint of Tonka bean that’s reminiscent of vanilla, almonds, cinnamon, and cloves. They combine to form the perfect—gay—marriage of sprezzatura and insouciance.
Being in a literary profession, I like a scent that evokes machismo—along with bookcases, single-malt Scotch, and the double-vented suits of old Fleet Street in Britain. Jack Black’s “JB” is fresh and crisp, like a Londonderry air (which smells much more pleasing than a London derriere). If you are employed in a professional office setting, give this one a splash.
Think: Casual, Sport So maybe you don’t wear cologne to go workout—but you should. Victorinox Swiss Army Unlimited, the manufacturer of apparel, pocket knives, and watches, brings you a fragrance that isn’t the usual lifestyle company fare. This is exactly how Swiss Army Knife cologne should smell, with the essence of Alpine fir trees evoking perfect wood notes, and absinthe and genepi liquor combine to pour masculinity over the whole affair.
Night Moves Ask yourself why you go out for a night of cocktails (and then take a moment to consider the word itself). You want to smell like THE MAN if you want to BE The Man. Gucci Guilty Intense is everything the name says. Fragrances of lavender and lemon combine, and then retreat before the INTENSE, but complimentary, mélange of cedar, coriander, neroli, and patchouli. The bottle itself embodies Guilty—and raw—sexuality, like a pair of hyper-carnal gender symbols. If you are the right man, this scent will set your night into motion.
Combining notes of musk, sandalwood, and vanilla bean that provide foundation for breezes of citrus, jasmine, and patchouli, and a crescendo of bergamot and cypress leaves, Bond No. 9 New York Andy Warhol is as multifaceted and many-layered as its namesake: mercurial, complex, and irresistible.
Mr. & Mr. Danny and Donnie Jones Request the Pleasure… There was a time when a man wore a tuxedo just to have dinner on Saturday night. Those days may be over, but there are still events that call for you to wear your suited—or tux’ed—best, and on those occasions, use a scent that combines delicious and distinctive bergamot with cedar and woodsy floral fragrances that manage to support a manly vibe. Jo Malone Oud & Bergamot will do for you what Pippa’s dress did for her ass, but without the need to deal with all those big-eared, buck-teethed in-laws afterwards.