Life’s hard. In between getting along with your boss, having a social life, paying rent on time and generally just being a grown-ass adult, it’s a wonder we have any time to sleep or the brain capacity to remember our underwear.
Even looking your best costs time and money. So to save you a bit of both, we’ve compiled a list of ways you can cut corners without sacrificing so much as an ounce of style.
These are the style hacks every man should know. Step one: put on some underwear.
Roll Your Shirt Sleeves Like A Marine
Though you might labour over deciding how to nail a dress code to the letter, it’s worth remembering that often it’s the little things that let an outfit down.
Messily rolled shirt sleeves are a prime culprit. Not only do they make it look like you’re about to do battle with a blocked toilet, but they’ll also fail to hold their shape and repeatedly fall back down your forearms. For a neat roll, deploy the marine’s approach.
- Start with your sleeves fully extended and cuffs unbuttoned
- Bend the sleeve at the cuff, curl it upward and over itself until it’s inside out
- Straighten both the bottom and top of the rolled cuff, ensuring there are no creases
- Repeat the process as necessary, gradually folding up to the desired height on your arm
Keep Your Knits Neat
We’re pretty sure knitwear bobbles are a punishment sent down from the style gods for one fashion crime or another (we’re looking at you, bootcut jeans).
The result of fibres on the surface of the fabric becoming tangled together, they’re a surefire way to make a jumper look like it’s ready for the bin.
To restore your garment’s true nap (the raised fuzzy surface on your knit), you could use a Sweater Stone, a pumice-like lifesaver that lifts away the offending clumps, or an electric debobbler. But in a pinch, raid the bathroom cabinet instead. A disposable razor will do a similar job as both, but use this trick sparingly as the blades can damage sensitive fibres.
Match Your Socks Like A Pro
Small (and mostly out of sight) as they may be, a flash of novelty socks from under even the best-fitting suit trousers can instantly undo any and all of your sartorial efforts.
To stop playing a game of chance with your underwear drawer, stock up on styles that work with what you usually wear. As a general rule, you should aim to match the colour of your socks to that of your trousers (a shade darker or lighter works, too).
For more seasoned players, try a contrasting colour that doesn’t clash so much as complement your trouser and shoe choice.
Kill Creases With Ice Cubes
Fine lines may add character to the faces of Messrs Clooney and Downey Jr, but a rogue wrinkle on a shirt is enough to bring even an A-lister’s outfit down a peg or two.
An alternative to hanging it in a steamy shower which a) takes ages and b) wastes water, try chucking your shirt into the dryer along with a couple of ice cubes. Running the machine on its hottest setting causes the ice cubes to melt to steam, relaxing creases and leaving your shirt smooth and fresh.
Don’t get heavy-handed, though – use two to three ice cubes max, and be sure to only run a couple of shirts, or a shirt and a pair of trousers, at a time.
Swap Hair Gel For Moisturiser
As good as it is crafting the perfectly coiffed quiff, there are two potential pitfalls when using almost any type of hair product.
The first is that if you use too much of it, you can end up looking like a dead ringer for nineties-era Nick Carter. The second is that regularly used without thorough washing, the ingredients can strip your locks of their natural oils, making it straw dry.
Provided your usual style doesn’t require a cement-like hold, try using some hand or face moisturiser to shape your hair and keep it moisturised, as well as free of frizz. Not too much, mind – a pea-sized amount rubbed between your palms will suffice.
Spot Clean Toothpaste Stains
Toothpaste is great for ensuring you don’t head out the door smelling like you ate trash for breakfast. It’s less great on your clothes.
If you don’t want a questionable white stain to stand between you and the dream job you’re about to interview for, or the hottie you’re about to go on a date with, try some spot treatment.
- Act fast before the stain dries and fuses with the garment’s fibres
- Moisten a clean cloth and blot the stained area (don’t wipe or you risk lifting the colour – particularly on dark items)
- Mix a few drops of laundry detergent with a cup of warm water
- Dip the moistened cloth in the sudsy water and gently blot the stain
- Gently blot again with water to rinse, and leave to dry (or, if in a pinch, use a hair dryer on a moderate heat setting)
Photograph Your Labels
Unless you want a load of ill-fitting jeans, it pays to be a meticulous (and sober) when shopping for clothes online. Because the cuts and measurements at different brands often vary widely, whenever you find something you like that fits perfectly, take a quick snap of the label on your phone and save them in an album for future reference.
Not only will this make re-stocking your wardrobe staples a breeze, it can also help a store assistant point you in the right direction of an alternative if your go-to Oxford shirt falls out of production or changes name.
Rotation, Rotation, Rotation
We’re all for establishing a uniform, whether it’s immaculate tailoring, bleeding-edge streetwear or Scandi staples. But wearing the same thing day in, day out (like, the actual same thing) is not only gross, it’s bad for your clothing’s lifespan too.
Leaving a day or so between wearing your trusty Derby shoes or that classic grey sweatshirt allows them to absorb perspiration and dry thoroughly.
Fail to do this and the shape of your footwear will soon warp, while the rest of your clothing will quickly acquire a pungent fragrance you’ll never quite be able to wash out.
Swerve Shirt Strain
Sit down in the changing room every time you try a shirt on. A button-up that fits just fine when standing can have you looking like an overstuffed sausage skin once you’re parked.
To avoid a surprise button-pop, make sure your shirt can comfortably handle sitting down, even if that means going cross-legged on the floor. You’ll thank us later.
Beat Red Wine Stains With Harder Hooch
If you’re so drunk that you’ve upended your pinot noir onto your trousers, hit the vodka, quickly. A shot of clear, high-proof alcohol (gin and white rum also work well) will unblot your soiled clothes. Gently daub the spirit on with a paper towel or clean cloth and watch the stain disappear before your blurry eyes.
How does it work? Red wine’s anthocyanins (the pigments that make it red) are alcohol soluble, which means the colour dissolves into the strong stuff instead of your merino wool. Just save the top shelf stuff, won’t you?
Is your crew neck T-shirt now more of a crop top? Or maybe your finest knitwear is more of a soft toy accessory? If you discover your clothing has dramatically shrunk on removing it from the dryer, all is not lost.
- Fill a bucket or bath with lukewarm water, and swirl in a tablespoon of hair conditioner (or baby shampoo) for every litre of water used
- Submerge the shrunken item in the soapy solution for about 30 minutes
- Remove from the solution and gently wring the garment dry (don’t rinse)
- Place the item on a towel and gently stretch it back to, or something close to, its original shape
Wash Jeans Inside Out To Protect The Dye
As the experts will tell you, jeans rarely need washing. In fact, in the case of raw denim, avoiding doing so helps with the breaking in process for a more custom look and fit.
But on the occasions that they do need to shake off unwanted travellers, turn them inside out before bundling them into the drum to help your sought-after dye stay exactly where it is.
Replace Your Laces
Ignore those high-fashion nutcases trying to flog pre-battered footwear for the cost of a month’s rent. If you want to stand any chance of getting the most wear out of your sneakers, they should be kept pristine.
Because they’re made of fabric rather than wipe-clean leather, dirty laces are a dead giveaway that your kicks are anything but box-fresh.
For an easy way to turn back time to the day you queued round the block to cop a pair, regularly replace the laces with new white ones or throw the old ones in with a hot white wash.
Pack Blazers Inside Out To Reduce Creases
Going somewhere fancy? You’ll need to pack a blazer. Can’t be bothered with a suit carrier? You’ll need to proceed with caution. Otherwise, you’ll be desperately ironing your jacket on a low heat and praying for the best.
To make sure creases don’t get their stubborn claws stuck into your tailoring, either wear it on the flight or learn how to pack it properly so it doesn’t arrive at your destination dishevelled. Even if the red-eye means you do.
- Lay the suit jacket face-down with the buttons undone
- Fold left shoulder back then turn right shoulder inside out and tuck left shoulder into it
- Fold the jacket in half lengthwise and then fold it again horizontally
- If travelling with trousers, wrap these neatly around the jacket
- If possible, place the suit in a plastic dry-clean cover to further protect against wrinkles
Declutter The Scientific Way
Just as you should put some thought into what you add into your wardrobe, the same approach should be taken when bidding adieu.
Cutting down your sartorial arsenal is a worthwhile task that can actually make getting dressed easier in the morning. But you don’t want to waste money restocking something you thought you no longer needed. Which is where the reverse hanger trick comes in.
Start by turning all of your hangers to face in one direction. After you’ve worn an item, return its hanger to the wardrobe facing the opposite direction. After a few months, take stock of the clothes on hangers which haven’t changed their position and get them down the charity shop, pronto.
Dry Your Cashmere In A Salad Spinner
There’s a reason delicate knitwear is labelled as such. Sure, if you want to whizz your money up the wall, by all means, stick cashmere and alpaca in the dryer.
If, however, you want your wardrobe investments to avoid going from flawless to threadbare in an instant, but don’t have days to wait after each wash, you need to get creative.
The savvy way to dry wet knitwear is to stick it in a salad spinner. The force will draw out excess water, speeding up the drying process without causing irreversible damage. Sounds weird, works like a charm.
Give Your Zip The Slip
We’ve all seen There’s Something About Mary; when zips go wrong, they can go very wrong. Whatever’s tangled in there, stop tugging with all your might and avoid a trip to the emergency room, because there’s a less labour-intensive way to get your zipper back on track.
Simply rub the metal teeth gently with a bar of soap or candle wax, applying gentle pressure, then watch as your zip stops being uncooperative and goes on its merry way.