Most men’s style and grooming advice is long-game stuff: “Wear SPF so your face doesn’t look like a well-worn shoe in thirty years”, “Always have your suit tailored before wearing it”, etc.
But this wisdom is pretty much useless when, for example, you’ve already fallen asleep in the sun and are facing a red-faced day at your desk. Or when you’ve just bought a suit for tomorrow’s job interview and your tailor’s on holiday.
Arm yourself with these quick fixes to get your look back together without the wait.
The Problem: Baggy Shirts
Either your favourite store’s changed their shape, or you’ve changed your own. Which means your shirt could double up as a sail. Menswear’s silhouette may be getting looser, but not so much that you’re at risk of blowing away in strong gusts.
The Solution – 2 Minutes
The military tuck is a soldier’s staple for getting billowing fabric parade ground-ready. Simply grab the sides of your shirt at the seam, press your thumbs against your waist (similar to how you would do against your ankle for a trouser pinroll) and fold the fabric back to pinch the excess.
Then, pull your trousers up at the waist to hold the material in place for a bespoke look without the price tag.
Long sleeves are trickier. Unless you’re moonlighting as a Wild West bartender, you probably don’t have sleeve garters – elastic bands are easier to dig out and do the same job.
Straighten your arm and pull the sleeve fabric up until your cuff hits your wrist, then fold the excess and secure with the elastic band around your bicep.
Just make sure you keep your suit jacket on – unless of course you want to make a case for elastic bands being key men’s accessories.
The Problem: New Shoe Discomfort
Your new shoes aren’t playing nicely with your heels or little toe. They’ll soften up with wear, but until then you’re hobbling between meetings.
The Solution – 30 Minutes
Take a trip to your nearest Sports Direct or JD Sports and invest in some specialist running socks. You’re after a two-ply construction with a reinforced heel, which will help you ditch that Keyser Söze walk.
Colour-wise, plain black is best; they’ll be indistinguishable from your office socks – unless they’ve got a white swoosh emblazoned on the ankle, obviously – and absorb more sweat to keep your new shoes stink-free.
Alternatively, if you’re at home, grab some thick, heavy-duty socks and a hairdryer. Put your feet in, and then blast your shoes on full heat while flexing your feet to soften and stretch the leather.
Keep the shoes on as they cool down, and be sure to treat with some leather condition afterwards. And tell blisters to take a hike.
The Problem: Short-Lived Summer Scents
Your summer scent’s almost entirely evaporated by the time you’re at your desk, and you don’t fancy dropping double the cost to pay for another bottle to top up throughout the day.
The Solution – 10 Seconds
Be smarter with where you spray and always opt for an atomizer over dabbing, as you’ll deploy less fragrance across a wider area for better overall coverage.
If you’ve already purchased a traditional bottle of aftershave without a spray mechanism, buy a travel atomizer from the likes of Muji, Travalo or Sen7 and fill as and when required. These handy little gadgets are also great for taking your favourite fragrance with you on holiday (or to work), making them a worthwhile addition to your grooming armoury.
When it comes to applying your fragrance, remember to moisturise first (with a fragrance-free product), as oils help keep the scent locked down, then spray under your clothes. Think chest and biceps regions rather than neck and wrists – the evaporation rate is slower in these areas, ensuring a longer lasting scent and subtler wafts as you move.
The Problem: The Mother Of All Hangovers
That ‘one for the road’ became a skinful and now, the next morning, you’ve got four minutes to turn the ashen man in the mirror into something appropriate for work. Not to mention find your keys.
The Solution – 4 Minutes
Those black bags under your eyes are the biggest giveaway, but don’t reach for the concealer just yet. Instead, hunt down some haemorrhoid cream – it tightens your skin and combats puffiness, leaving you bright-eyed if not bushy-tailed.
You’ll want to mix it with some of your everyday moisturiser to dial down the scent, though.
With no time for a shower, talcum powder is first aid for your hair. It works just like dry shampoo, sucking up the grease. Apply it to the roots, then brush out to avoid white hair prematurely adding forty years.
No talc? Grab your pomade and comb. It’s time to embrace the 1950s greaser look.
Clothes-wise, snatch a pressed white shirt and blazer from you wardrobe. Dressing up will distract from the fact that you’re feeling down, while the pale shade contrasts with sallow skin to fake a brighter complexion.
Once you’re at your desk, guzzle as much water as you can and hope that no one talks to you.
The Problem: A Broken Fly
Noticing weird downwards glances as you stroll through town? It’s unfortunately not appreciation of your move into the world of pleated trousers. Your fly’s broken again.
The Solution – 3 Minutes
If your zip’s stuck down, grab a 2B pencil – graphite lubricates the zip’s teeth and you don’t risk getting equally unsightly oil spots on your crotch.
If it’s gravity you’re fighting, not friction, loop a key ring through the zipper, pull up and then hook it over your waistband button to protect your dignity.
The Problem: Soaking Shoes
The morning rays glimmering around your bedroom window curtain said “suede shoes, no socks”. The forecast – which you forgot to check – said sky-rendering showers. Your boss’ look says: “How have you stamped that much water across my carpet?”
The Solution – 20 Minutes
There are those who say that suede, like Converse, looks better once it’s a bit battered. These people aren’t aware that rubbing stale bread crusts on stains absorbs their oils and gets your suede numbers looking new again.
It probably won’t do much for the carpet, though.
The Problem: That Vintage Clothes Smell
That vintage shearling jacket may have saved you a fortune on the newly fashionable version, but while Tom Ford’s take comes with a four-figure price tag, it doesn’t come with thirty-year-old mustiness.
The Solution – 60 Minutes
Pour yourself a drink. Vodka, to be precise. Then dilute with twice as much water and use a diffuser (or empty a thoroughly washed out bottle of cleaning product) to spray on your offending purchases.
Hang for an hour – the booze will penetrate funky oils and evaporate to shift the scent. Put that bottle of Grey Goose down though; the cheap stuff will do.
The Problem: Lobster Skin
With little sun on offer in Britain, it’s no surprise you want to make the most of it when it shows. But every season you make the mistake of forgetting why god made suncream. Now your lobster face is prompting digs and giggles at work.
The Solution – 8 Hours
Drop six teabags in a bucket of hot water and allow to steep until it’s black. Leave it to cool – or you’ll only exacerbate the issue – then dab the liquid onto your screaming skin.
Let it soak in, and reapply as often as you can. The sooner after you burn you can get the kettle on, the better. You’ll notice an immediate painkilling effect and by morning, your ‘Brits abroad’ look will have faded to mahogany. And that surely deserves a celebratory cuppa.
Have you tried any of these style and grooming hacks? Care to share any easy and immediate remedies of your own?
Make sure you drop them in the comments below.