Not ready to go as itty bitty as Burt Lancaster in The Swimmer? Even if you aren’t swimming home through the posh pools of suburbia, you should still do everything in your power to look your best when hitting the beach or pool. (And no, those ballooning board shorts don’t cut it.)
Below are my tips on what to look for in a well-fitting swimsuit, and my all-time favorite brand and style:
1) Trim leg openings make very slim legs look less so, and broad legs more proportioned.
2) A waistband that lies flat against your stomach will reduce any unnecessary bulging through the middle. This is why I will never tire of Orlebar Brown’s suits. He wrote the book on flat waistbands, and his swim shorts come in a variety of lengths (the Bulldog being the most universal).
3) Jams happened in the 80’s, and they should stay in the 80’s. So make sure the hem hits no lower than the middle of your knee. Your legs will look infinitely more athletic if you keep it to 2-3 inches above the knee. For more modesty, you can go for right at the knee, but please nothing longer.
4) Choose solids or a classy pattern, and avoid cargo pockets. (Hint: classy never involves skulls, jokers or fire-breathing tigers).
P.S. If you need more style help, I’m developing a program that might be right up your alley. It’s an online styling course called Next Level Style, and in it I teach all of my latest and greatest styling tools. The program gives you idiotproof tools for how to upgrade your style easily and effectively. So if you want to hang out with me more and learn how to take your style to a place you never thought possible, click here to sign up, and I’ll keep you in the loop about the program.
Is your summer wardrobe in need of a refresh? At key points throughout the year, my Rath & Co. clients and I reassess their wardrobes for the upcoming season. We look at what works and what doesn’t, and what they didn’t have enough of last year. If you haven’t gone through this exercise for summer, before you go into full beach mode, carve out time to go through all of your summer clothes so that you can create a clear list of what’s missing. Below is my hit list of 10 summer must-haves to help guide you, plus a couple of grooming bonuses:
1) Lightweight t-shirts: a mix of henleys, crew and v-necks
2) Sweatshirt or long-sleeve shirt for post-beach
3) Summer footwear: sandals, flip-flops, or what I call social sneaks (aka nice sneakers you wouldn’t work out in)
5) Swimsuits: here’s a guide on how to choose the best style for you.
6) Lightweight and light color dress shirts, pants, sportcoats, and suits (the latter two depend on your social calendar and how frequently you dress up for work).
8) Strong deodorant with anti-perspirant
9) Minty soap: for more on soaps and other grooming products that will keep you cool, check out my post on Heat-Wave Style.
10) Sun protection: I’m fair-skinned and super-picky about what type I use — VMV Hypoallergenics Armada Face Cover is what works best for me. Also check out Bioastin Astaxanthin, which is an antioxidant that’s said to help protect skin against the sun.
What’s on your hit list for summer?
The frost has finally lifted here in New York City, and it is officially time to start thinking about Spring dates. Whether you’re strolling through a farmer’s market, going to your local botanical garden, or picnicking on a lawn, it’s key to dress appropriately. Below is a perfect outdoor Spring date outfit.
What’s your favorite thing to wear on an outdoor date?
There’s nothing better than a well-dressed man in a suit. And yet, while suiting is one of my favorite things to style, many Rath & Co. clients work in casual environments and don’t have the need or opportunity to wear dressy clothes very often. For these clients, the challenge becomes how to be well-dressed and get noticed without looking out of place among their peers. There’s a fine line between putting some effort into your appearance and seeming like you’re trying too hard (which can often result in getting busted on by coworkers – never fun). Those offices where jeans, t-shirts and sneakers are more common than a jacket and tie can range from tech startups to laboratories.
With these challenges in mind, I’ve created the below list of 8 tips on how to step up your style just enough so that it improves your self-image and the way you’re perceived by others, but not to the degree that you overdo it and become the object of skepticism or even ridicule.
1) If you’re wearing sneakers, make sure they’re not ones you’d actually exercise in but rather what I call “social sneaks.” These are sneakers you wear for every day, not working out. They should be clean and fresh-looking. Wash or replace them as soon as they start to look grungy. Converse Jack Purcell’s are a great choice.
2) Same goes for any other kind of footwear you might find yourself in: keep it classy and avoid anything with the word “hybrid” in its description. The place where the sneaker meets any other kind of shoe (i.e., dress shoe, boot or sandal) is like a dark alley late at night — nowhere you’d want to be.
3) Just because you’re wearing a casual shoe, you don’t need to wear white gym socks or plain black dress socks. In fact, wearing more interesting socks is a great way to inject style into your look without going over the top. Try different colors or patterns, like those above from Drumohr. And even simply switching from black to navy or grey is a big improvement.
4) If you’d like to wear ties but aren’t sure where to start, go with one in a fabric with texture as opposed to a more business-y silk. It can be cotton, wool, cashmere or silk knit. Texture makes you look approachable, so this gives you the added effect that comes from wearing a tie, done in a toned-down way. Pierrepont Hicks makes a number of good choices with texture, like the one above.
5) Just because you wear glasses does not mean you have to resign yourself to life (visually) as a nerd. In fact, I get really excited (maybe too excited) when I have a client who needs glasses. There are so many terrific frames out there, and wearing glasses is an excellent way to improve your look – even if you sit behind a computer all day. The other nice thing about using glasses to step up your look is that wearing them is utilitarian, and unless you choose something that’s really wacky or overly-stylized, you won’t be perceived as trying too hard (assuming you actually do have a glasses prescription!). Here’s a guide I wrote on how to choose. One of my favorite resources for glasses in New York City is 10/10 Optics, and they were kind enough to offer the $100 discount above for my readers (Offer good on complete pair of frame and Rx only. Not valid on existing orders, contact lenses, Maui Jim or Ray-Ban Rx Eyewear).
6) Are untucked shirts more common in your office than tucked? If so, there’s a right way to do this – and several wrong ones. Done correctly, the shirt length should hit about halfway down your pants fly and no longer than that. Also, the bottom of the shirt should have a straighter and shallower curve than the tails you see on a traditional dress shirt (which are designed to help stay tucked in). If you buy a shirt and decide you’d prefer to wear it tucked out than in, take it to your tailor to have it adjusted accordingly.
7) Keep a sportcoat or blazer in your office – one that fits well and is easy to match like a solid navy or grey. That way, if you’re heading to a networking event after work, all you have to do is throw it on (but note, if your button-up shirt is untucked, switch to one that you can tuck in; you don’t want to wear a sportcoat with an untucked shirt).
8) For those of you in jean-friendly environments, keep your denim crisp and polished. Hint: these are not your weekend knockaround/football-watching jeans. Look for dark rinse, straight-leg styles with no holes or excess whiskering and detailing on the back pockets like those above from Bonobos.
Working in a casual environment is no excuse for giving up on the possibility of looking pulled together or stylish. By paying attention to a few details like those above, you can easily manage your appearance so that it enhances, rather than detracts from your overall appearance.
How do these tips strike you? Do they seem doable for you? Leave me a comment below.
Valentine’s Day is this Friday — are you ready? Don’t worry, I’ve got you covered. Here’s how to look dapper on your date, gifts and must-do’s to delight Ms. Right, and five genius date ideas to help you stir up some romance.
A lot of guys have a “uniform” – something they wear throughout the year, no matter what the weather is. I know one guy (not a Rath & Co. client) who wears the same logo’d windbreaker everyday to work over his dress shirt and keeps it on all day. On really cold days, he wears another jacket over it. Oh, and did I mention he even wore it to a holiday party I attended at his home — with shorts and flip-flops? He’s evidently missing the chip that handles distinctions for situational dressing.
To say the least, the “uniform” of the guy described above has room for improvement. However, in some cases, having a set look serves a positive purpose and is even desirable, but only if it’s well thought-out and well-executed. I get requests for this quite often from prospective clients – they want their own personal, iconic look, à la Steve Jobs. I get the appeal of this. First of all, it streamlines their getting-dressed routine. Also significant is that it can help cement one’s identity and give a solid sense of self both internally and outwardly with others. My only caveat here is that this needs to done in a way where a) it’s not boring (perhaps there are slight variations within what you wear each day – black v-neck sweater vs. black turtleneck sweater), and b) even though you’re sticking with the same theme each day, it shouldn’t look sloppy or as though you don’t care about your appearance (think Mark Zuckerberg’s hoody).
How to develop that look? Well, that’s easier said than done and, I’ll be honest, you may need help from a professional. But I’ve outlined four steps below on how to move toward creating your own.
1) Make a list of words that describe the look you’re going for and how you want to be received by others. Then narrow that list down to three or four. If you’re not a wordsmith, spend quality time on Google looking at images of other guys who embody what you’re going for. Then describe that look verbally. You may also want to consult the thesaurus for ideas once you come up with an initial word or two.
2) If you haven’t already found visual examples of others who give off the same vibe you’re looking for, do that now. Then ask yourself, what are the identifying characteristics in those outfits that create that sensibility? It may only be parts of different looks (the shirt fabric, or the way patterns are combined, as two examples) that resonate with you. Make a list of those items. This is the source list that you’ll be pulling from when you test things out.
3) Using the list above, test each of these things out one at a time. If your financial resources are limited, you can do this in a dressing room without purchasing items. Ask friends whose opinions you trust and who you know will be honest whether the look works for you or not. (Generally, this is not going to be a store salesperson.) Doing this will allow you to narrow down your source list to your final choice(s). A word of caution: if the elements you’re trying out make a really bold statement, like brightly colored bracelets or socks with a standout pattern, limit yourself to a max of 3-4 items along these lines per outfit.
4) Whatever you go with, have CONVICTION about it. This is important because if you don’t feel confident about your appearance, most likely others won’t either. And remember, everyone looks at himself more critically than other people do (honing in on specific perceived flaws like a thick midsection or short legs – which others might not notice as acutely as you do), so try to take a more macro approach as I mentioned in this article on defining your personal style.
I know this can sound like a big undertaking, but if you follow these steps above and get advice from a professional or people you trust, you can absolutely achieve it. If defining your style is something you’re working on, let me know how it goes for you. I’d love to hear about your hits and your misses.
You want the latest when it comes to skis and other equipment, but do you look the part when it comes to your ski clothes?
If you look like the Michelin Man when you ski, it’s likely you haven’t rethought your attire since the late 90’s. Fortunately, along with advancements in skis, poles and other gear, there’s a lot new in the style department with plenty of excellent options that serve both form and function. Ski-wear designers have been heavily influenced by the more fitted cuts on the runways. And new fabric technologies allow for close fits that still provide warmth and flexibility. Bottom line: you can project a flattering physique on the slopes while staying warm and maintaining mobility.
When dressing for the slopes, you should wear a baselayer, midlayer, insulating layer, and coat or shell. Below are my suggestions within each category, plus accessories.
A baselayer is skin tight (or close to), thin- to medium-weight, and synthetic or wool. For wool, try brands like Ibex and Icebreaker. And for a high-performance synthetic, check out X-Bionic products, which are moisture-wicking, anti-bacterial, and designed to optimize circulation. All three brands even make boxer shorts. (Better safe than sorry.)
A midlayer is a sweater, fleece or thicker base layer like a turtleneck. Dale Norway (above left) makes very sharp-looking ski sweaters. And for something sportier, check out the half-zip options from Kjus (above right).
This is a thin, light down jacket worn beneath your shell (note: this layer is not always needed in non-frigid temps and/or if your winter jacket is very warm; it can also be a vest as opposed to having full sleeves). I like Kjus for this, along with Peak Performance.
For heavy-duty insulated pants, try Peak Performance’s Supreme Aosta. They’re highly wind- and waterproof and also have ankle guards, which is good if you ski with your ankles together (most intermediate or advanced skiers do). A good-looking lighter-weight option with more stretch and ankle reinforcement is Frauenschuh’s Alex pant.
For your outermost top layer, you can’t go wrong with a Canada Goose duck-down parka (above left). If you’re not a fan of logos, Moorer (above right) makes absolutely gorgeous, luxurious (and splurgy) parkas that sacrifice nothing in terms of protection from the elements.
Gloves or Mittens
Black Diamond is by the far the highest-ranking winter company for accessories by outdoor enthusiasts. These mittens are warm in sub-zero temps, are fully waterproof, and have removal liners, which is great because you can use them on warmer days without the liners. Liners are key also if you’re skiing multiple days because you can dry and/or wash them more easily. For gloves, if you’re really popular, these are integrated with Bluetooth technology and a vibration alarm for incoming calls.
A single layer is best because it preserves the “micro climate” between your foot and boot, circulating air and keeping your feet warm. Go with 100% wool. DarnTough is great quality and has a lifetime guarantee.
You can’t go wrong with one of these in a color that coordinates with the rest of your gear.
Wear a beanie like this one above under your helmet.
Smith I/O Recon goggles have a micro-optics display where you can view your speed, real-time jump analytics, weather and buddy tracking, GPS mapping, and even a music playlist mode.
A note on combining: don’t go nuts mixing too many colors. If you wear a pop of color like bright red or orange, have it be on either top or bottom, with the remaining colors in the look neutral and coordinating with one another.
PSA: make sure to wear sunblock when skiing. The sun reflects off the snow onto your face, so you need to take extra precaution. I like Armada Sport 70 for all outdoor activities.
Are you ready to hit the slopes in style? I’d love to hear what you’ll be wearing – let me know in the comments below. And if you’re more about hot chocolate than black diamonds, stay tuned for an upcoming post on one of my favorite activities to style: après-ski.
How did 2013 go for you style-wise? Were you totally on point, or was there room for improvement? I’ve been traveling over the past month visiting out of town clients and doing some serious people-watching while on the road. I was sitting in LaGuardia Airport at 6AM one day, and I started a list of don’ts, which grew at each of my stops (Minneapolis, Chicago, North Dakota, and Palm Springs), evolving into the New Year’s Bad Style Cleanse below. Read on for 14 habits to purge from your style diet.
1) Don’t wear a crewneck undershirt with your button-up shirt. Showing your undershirt collar is like showing your underwear, something you don’t want to do in public (I hope). This goes for both casual and dress button-ups. I like Tommy John for great undershirts with v-necks that are low enough not to be visible. Here is my review of the brand.
2) Even if you’re traveling, you shouldn’t wear loafers with a suit. Try monk straps instead, as they can slip on and off easily when going through security (tip: packing a travel-size shoe horn will make your life easier).
3) You can leave the top button of your dress shirt undone with a tie, but don’t have the tie hanging down below your collarbone. Your tie knot should be no more than an inch lower than the top of where your shirt collar closes.
4) Never wear a backpack with a suit or sportcoat. It’s terrible for the shoulders. Also, you are going to work, not for a trail run.
5) Don’t wear a striped jacket as though it’s a sportcoat. A striped jacket is only worn as part of a suit, never as a separate.
6) Don’t wear a Hawaiian shirt unless you are going to an actual luau.
7) Avoid those hybrid sneakers-shoes at all costs. It’s a sneaker or a shoe. Not both.
8) While you’re at it, say no to those hiking-type sneakers for anything other than an actual mountain trek.
9) Skip the strong colognes or aftershaves (Old Spice, I’m talking to you) if you know you’re going to be on an airplane. This is a courtesy to those around you!
10) Grab the waistband of your pants (yes, right now) and yank on it. If you can pull it away from your body more than half an inch, your pants are too big. Go down in size until you find the right fit.
12) A t-shirt is too tight if it pulls such that the fabric creates a diagonal crease from your collarbone to your armpit. Go up a size if this happens to you.
13) Don’t be that guy who wears a parka with ski tags dangling from the zips out to a restaurant. Technical/athletic gear is meant for just that – not date night. This includes outerwear and accessories like hats and gloves. One of my favorite brands of outerwear that gets the job done sharply is Aether.
14) Don’t wear ties that are too wide for you. This is true even if you paid a lot for it/wide ties may come back in style someday/your Aunt Edna gave it to you. Either donate or send them to somewhere like Tiecrafters to have it narrowed. Here’s my guide on how to choose the best proportion for you.
Now that you’ve effectively cleansed yourself of bad style habits, check out this list of 8 style resolutions to embrace for the new year. Out with the old and in with the new! What are you adding and removing from your style repertoire this year?
Wishing you happiness, health and success in 2014.
Few things are worse than getting caught in the rain in your dress clothes. Especially if you’re on the way to work, and you know you’re going to spend much of the day in wet clothes until your outfit dries. My suggestion: check the weather before you get dressed, and make sure your wardrobe includes rainy weather gear. Below is my list of must-haves for soggy days:
Raincoat – I spend a lot of time in peoples’ closets, and I’ve seen some pretty awful windbreakers masquerading as rain gear. Bad weather is no excuse to look drab and unstylish. Pull it together with a sharp raincoat. Two great options are a classic trench, or a more modern mac (above left and right). If you wear suits or sportcoats everyday, buy in a size that will fit over them.
High Quality Umbrella – Don’t be that guy whose umbrella turns inside out and flies across the street poking someone’s eye out. Cheap umbrellas break easily, leading to wasted time and money (not to mention adding to pollution in landfills). Why not spare yourself the headache by investing in a high quality umbrella? Blunt and Davek are two of the toughest umbrellas out there, and they come in various sizes. Just make sure you don’t leave it behind in a taxi.
Overshoes – There’s a whole new generation of good-looking overshoes that are nothing like your father’s black rubber rain shoes. If you have nice shoes, it makes sense to protect them. I’m a big fan of Swims which come in a variety of colors including navy and olive green (which are nice if you only want to get one pair; if not, black goes over black shoes and brown over brown).
One of the most important components of being well-dressed and having a well-rounded wardrobe is dressing appropriately in all situations, including bad weather. Fortunately, dressing to dominate the rain only requires three items. Does your wardrobe include these three things?
Even if you’re still rocking shorts and polo shirts, the time is now to make plans for your cool weather wardrobe. I’ve been pounding the pavement and interwebs hard looking for the best items for my clients as the stores are flush with new merchandise. If you’re planning on doing some Fall shopping yourself, I must warn you that one of the worst things you can do is to go shopping without a plan or, at the very least, a list. Just wandering into a store aimlessly is for sure the easiest way to end up with nothing at all, or worse, to get pushed into buying a pile of clothes you’ll never wear. With that in mind, I created this list of 18 must-haves (or nice-to-haves) to inspire and keep you organized as you craft a smart Fall/Winter wardrobe.
Transitional jacket — think peacoat, car coat, or other medium-weight option
Leather jacket — here’s how it should fit
Overcoat — buy now while the selection is good, and there’s still time to have one custom-made
Outerwear vest — wool/cashmere/down, as in the header image
Lined raincoat — you can also get one with a zip-out lining, which is one of the most versatile garments you can own
Dress boots — yes, you can wear these with your suit!
Bad weather boots — look for options that are waterproof and have rubber soles for traction
Wool/cashmere socks — if you’re tall or have very long legs, get ones that go over your calves so your legs remain covered when you sit
Wool/cashmere ties — perfect for frigid days in combination with a scarf
Hat, gloves and scarf — don’t wait for someone to give these to you as a holiday gift!
Winter-weight casual pants — Incotex makes great corduroys and moleskin pants
Heavier-weight sport shirts — a trim-fitting flannel is a great weekend go-to
Heavier weight dress shirts — in more tightly-woven fabrics like oxford
Fall/Winter suits, dress pants and sportcoats — look for tweeds, flannels and heavier-weight worsteds
Menswear vest — wear with jeans for a stylish going-out look
Sweaters — v-necks, polo-necks, henleys, thin cardigans and thick shawl-collared cardigans are good options
Long sleeve tops — in thick materials like waffle-knit
Hoodie — look for one that’s super soft and trim-fitting
Remember, autumn is all about layering, so even if for example the idea of a thin cardigan or outerwear vest don’t appeal to you, think about them in combination with the rest of your wardrobe. The more you can mix and match pieces, the more versatile what you own will be.
If you’d like more tailored help with your Fall/Winter wardrobe, contact me. I’m currently booking appointments for the first week of October.