Tag Archives: Men’s Image Consulting

Behind the Scenes: Two New Before and Afters

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If you’ve been hanging around here for a while, you’ve likely seen the before/after pictures of my work. What you may not know, though, is that it’s quite challenging to get these pictures together, and the ones that I have posted only reflect a small portion of the results I’ve gotten with my clients. Many of them (understandably) are private and don’t want their pictures included.

For those clients who are open to being featured, getting an accurate before picture that’s also high enough quality for web use, is often difficult, not to mention planning a professional shoot for the after shot. But when it does all come together, and the client is up for it, the results are thrilling! I love being able to feature my clients and show off the hard work that they’ve done to overhaul their image. Even though I’m the image consultant, much of the work is done on the client’s part: showing up for appointments, trying on all the clothes, implementing my advice, etc. Image consulting is like a 12-step program: it works if you work it.

So now that you’ve gotten that behind the scenes, you can appreciate how big a deal it is when the stars align, and I’m able to pull together a before/after I can use. Below are two new before and afters I’m proud to be able to share.

Men's Image Consulting: Before and After

The first one is a tech CEO and father of 3 who lives in the midwest. We started working together in Spring of 2014 (when the before pic was taken), and we’ve been traveling back and forth to see one another several times a year since. At first it was a complete overhaul; now we’re in maintenance, where we touch things up seasonally and depending on what events, talks, etc., he needs to attend or present at. This client is an absolutely fantastic guy, and I’ve loved every second of working with him (and incidentally, I’ve now worked with his wife and niece too — it’s a family affair!).

The after shot was taken exactly 2 years after we started working together. The first three things we worked on that were the keys to our success off the bat were: 1) getting him into trimmer and better-fitting pants and jackets, 2) convincing him that tucking in his dress shirts would actually be more flattering to his build than wearing them out, and 3) getting him an improved haircut that would be more flattering to his face shape and hair type.

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Men's Image Consulting: Before and After

The second before and after is one that my awesome client Michael H. sent me out of the blue one day. Michael is a busy attorney and father of two from the west coast. We started working together in April of 2014, coincidentally about two years ago as well. Even though the pix weren’t professionally done, and I wasn’t there to style him for the after shot, I was thrilled to get the email from him with the images and thanking me for my help. I don’t get all the credit here though — as you can see, Michael has not only been hard at work transforming his image and style, but he’s also lost a ton of weight and gained muscle. He dropped 4 inches in waist size. Michael told me in his email that he laughs now recalling that he had told me his before picture was his best outfit.

The top three elements that paved the way for Michael’s success were: 1) demonstrating to him that he had been buying shirts and pants in sizes that were too large for him, 2) upgrading his haircut and showing him how to style it and with what product, and 3) teaching him how to dress in a way that was flattering to his height and newly trim build.

Getting results and feedback like this is a true rush for me, and it’s the exact reason why I fell in love with the work that I do. I’m a Fixer (with a capital “F”) through and through, and I love being able to use my skills to help my clients become their best selves. I always like to say, “it’s you, only better.”

Thanks so much for reading, and if you’re thinking about making a major (or even minor) transformation, don’t hesitate to reach out to me.

Cheers,

Julie

 


Body Language Hacks to Improve Your People Skills

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Men's Image Consulting: Body Language

“There are two kinds of people in this life: those who walk into a room and say, “Well, here I am!” And those who walk in and say, “Ahh, there you are.”

-Leil Lowndes, How to Talk to Anyone

Even the smallest gestures can reveal insights into character and shape perceptions about people. While most of my client work is focused on the clothing and grooming elements of image, I do at times work on enhancing clients’ body language.

The cool thing about putting intention into how you carry your body is that you can actually improve where you stand socially and in your relationships just by how you move your body in the world. Below is a roundup of some of my favorite body language hacks and where to get more info about them.

  1. If you want to come across as 100% credible to everyone, according to the book How to Talk to Anyone, by Leil Lowndes, avoid fidgeting at all costs. It’s especially important to squelch any motions around your face (wiping beads of perspiration, scratching an itch, loosening a collar, etc.), which can be read as deceitful.
  2. If you want to intrigue people, use the technique Lowndes calls “Sticky Eyes.” This is where you “pretend your eyes are glued to your conversation partner’s with sticky, warm taffy. Don’t break eye contact even after he or she has finished speaking. When you must look away, do it ever so slowly, reluctantly, stretching the gooey taffy until the tiny string finally breaks.” Lowndes says men should do this in particular when talking to women. It can also be done man-to-man, but just want to make your eyes a little “less sticky” when discussing personal matters so that your intentions don’t get misinterpreted.
  3. In Harvard professor and social psychologist Amy Cuddy’s Ted talk, she shares how just two minutes of “power posing” can affect how you feel about yourself, and in turn, how others perceive you. Power posing actually changes your body chemistry, thereby affecting your behavior and interactions with others. One pose that’s easy to remember is standing with your legs wide, chest puffed out and your arms in a wide V above your head or your hands on your hips. What’s interesting about this pose is that it’s innate — people who were born blind do it when they are victorious in events, even when they’ve never been taught to do so. Cuddy suggests doing this high-power pose in private before important meetings like job interviews in order to improve your confidence and presence during the meeting. I’ve actually used this technique myself before going into high stakes meetings and found it to be very effective.

 

Have you tried any of the techniques above? Or found any others that work? Let me know in the comments below!

Cheers,

Julie


The 2016 Rath & Co. Holiday Gift Guide

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Welcome to the 6th annual Rath & Co. holiday gift guide! This list is one of my favorite posts to create for you. And if your inbox over the past week has been anything like mine, it’s filled with a frenzy of sales and offers, some better than others. It’s a little overwhelming, even for me. There is so much stuff to weed through. And let’s be real, much of what’s being touted as good holiday gifts is uninspired and trite. Kind of like just going through the motions of giving someone a gift without putting much thought into it. What’s the point of that?

What I’ve done with this year’s gift guide is scouted for Rath-approved items that not everyone else will be getting — interesting and unique gifts that show some thought was put into choosing them. The list is divided up into ideas for men and ideas for women and cover a range of budgets. The ideas for men may cover the guys on your list — or maybe they’re things you’ll ask for yourself.

FOR HIM

Executive Image Consulting: Men's Holiday Gift Ideas

Cause and Effect bracelet ($50) – This is for a guy who’s somewhat advanced in the style dept. Man jewelry is not the easiest thing to pull off (post coming soon on that, I promise), but I love the raw feel of this painted copper cuff. It can be worn alone or in combination with a watch or other bracelets for a full-on arm party.

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Men's Image Consulting: Gift Ideas for Men

Nike + Undercover Court Force High-Top Sneakers ($150) – OK, so he’s got a basic non-workout sneaker (hopefully). Now it’s time to take it up a notch with something more stylish. This high-top from Nike is a great option for a guy who wants to step up his style but doesn’t want to get involved in wacky colors or over-the-top patterns.

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Executive Image Consulting: Men's Holiday Gift Ideas

Felisi jeans belt ($175) – If you or the guy on your list doesn’t have a solid jeans belt (no, the reversible black to brown one does not count), it’s time to remedy that. I like this one from Felisi because each buckle hole is embossed with numbers for a subtle twist on the classic. 

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Executive Image Consulting: Men's Holiday Gift Ideas

Wooly Mammoth Tusk Kershaw Knife ($270) – I can’t think of many gifts more manly than a badass knife like this one. The handle is made from the tusks of wooly mammoths that lived around 15,000 years ago. 

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Image Consulting for Executives: Men's Holiday Gift Ideas

Kingsman + Deakin & Francis rose gold chevron money clip ($395) – Many of my clients use money clips, so I’m always on the lookout for extra cool and different ones. This rose gold chevron one is a great find — totally unique and eye-catching.

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FOR HER

Image Consulting for Executives: Men's Holiday Gift Ideas

D.L. & Co snake journal ($35) – There’s something so luxurious about pulling a gorgeous journal out of your bag to write in, and this glitter snake journal does not disappoint. If snakes aren’t her thing, D.L. & Co. has a number of other lovely options including feathers and butterflies. 

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Image Consulting for Executives: Men's Holiday Gift Ideas

Eberjey pajama set ($102) – Nice pajamas are the kind of thing women rarely buy for themselves but make them feel totally pampered when slipping into them at night (I will admit though that I inspired myself with this post and picked up a couple pairs of these for myself). 

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Image Consulting for Executives: Men's Holiday Gift Ideas

$495 Dana Rebecca earrings – Every woman needs a pair of signature everyday earrings — ones she can wear to spin class and straight into the shower after — without having to remember to remove them (who has time for that, really?). Jewelry is also an awesome gift because it’s something she can wear but that you don’t have to worry about sizing for. Bonus is she’ll think of you whenever she looks in the mirror.

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Image Consulting for Executives: Men's Holiday Gift Ideas

Miscere weekender bag with zip on/off appliqués ($650) – I discovered these Miscere weekender bags on Instagram a while back and became obsessed immediately. With interchangeable fabrics/patterns to choose from for the center panel, she can adjust the look seasonally or just according to her mood or outfit. Such a smart idea in this era of “bespoke” everything.

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Image Consulting for Executives: Men's Holiday Gift Ideas

Lana Jewelry necklace ($980) – If you want to roll a little bigger on the jewelry front than the earrings above, then have at this black mother of pearl and quartz necklace. It has tons of different colors in it and will therefore work with a lot of different outfits. It’s unique, sexy, earthy and interesting — lots going on in one piece!

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Here’s to a hip and happy holiday season.

Cheers,

Julie


Dating Profile Contest Winners Unveiled!

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I held a contest a few weeks ago, along with dating coach Sarah Jones, to review the dating profiles of 3 guys’ from our email lists. We had some great entries, and I’m excited to be sharing our commentary with you. Huge props to these guys for entering the contest — it takes some serious cojones to put yourself out there like this. If you’re not on my newsletter list, I highly recommend getting yourself on there, as I frequently hold contests and share commentary in my newsletters that you won’t find me posting about anywhere else. Read on for our reviews…

Men's Style Advice: Dating ProfilesJulie:

These pictures display a great mix of expressions and moods. It shows you as a well-rounded guy, and I like that you included one with more of your body as well as just your face. What would make your profile pix an even more thorough combination, is if instead of using all of them from the same scene, you included pictures from different situations. That gives you a chance to show yourself in various situations where you show up in your life, and how you dress for each one.

Overall, you have a friendly, open and smart look, which is appealing. I like that the images aren’t too posed — you come across as very “real” in them. Great shirt choice, too. The grey picks up nicely on the silver tones in your hair, and the rolled up sleeves make you look approachable.

I do have a couple of suggestions for you:

  1. In the two closeup shots, your dark glasses frames obstruct your eyes. Most women find eyes extremely appealing (they’re often the first thing people look at in others’ faces), and with the glasses impeding my view of them, I lose that connection.
  2. There are a few red spots on your face, which can be a little distracting to the viewer. I’d love for you to clear them up so that we can focus on everything else that’s so great about these shots. Here is a blemish patch that I’ve found works well for my clients, and it’s only $5.

Great work!

Sarah:

Hi there! Excellent job right off the bat talking about her and her values. Intelligence, openness, and playfulness. “Deliriously exciting” — so good! Every woman wants to have that effect on a man. 🙂

I love the “stimulating conversations that would last all night…” — very, very good. See what you did there? You incorporated “stimulating” with “lasting all night.” Very sexy and yet subtle. It is referring to “conversations” after all, ahem (straightens collar). 😉

In that second paragraph, you go more into what those initial values you mentioned in her say about your relating with each other and your experience of her as well as what you’re like as a man.

Then you segue into who you are, and I love that you’re not overly humble. You’re honestly stating what you enjoy about yourself — so important, as it sets the tone for her to enjoy you too!

In the end, go into a little more sensual detail about your favorite kinds of gigs and museums and where you’d like to take HER.

Also, maybe replace the last line, “If this sort of man would rock your world, get in touch as I’d love to hear from you,” with something like, “If you’re half as excited reading this as I was writing it, message me. I’d love to hear from you.”

It feels more natural and playfully personal.

Overall, beautiful job! I can feel your excitement through your thoughtful, visceral words. You took it home for the win with the “stimulating conversations” line. Well done. 😉

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New York Men's Image Consultant: Dating StyleJulie:

Your images show a nice mix of expressions which allow your potential dates to see both your serious and fun sides. To add to that, if you’re going to include two pics, I’d love for one of them to show more of your body (either full body or even just the upper half). That way, they can get a sense of your build and how you dress, and therefore determine if you’re a match physically. It also makes it more personal and less like you’re using posed headshots. This is an excellent start!

Sarah:

Hi there!

I like how you share your value of meaningful conversations and discovering new places. It goes harmoniously with your expat detail and love of adventures. Beautiful statement, “I consider myself an energetic person with a stable character.”

I can see your character shining through in that very statement! That’s not something you hear often – the combination of those traits — so it’s fresh and sincere.

I’d replace the, “Some people would say they don’t understand my sense of humor,” with, “It takes a special jewel of a person to really, fully understand my sense of humor — most likely, a jewel with a deep sense of humor herself who I’d immensely enjoy getting to discover!”

This way, you’re acknowledging her, calling her special, and generously / rightfully sharing the attention with her and her sense of humor.

In the food and books section, talk about your very favorite Mediterranean dish and your very favorite Asian dish. The sensual specificity of the exact meals shows your own sensuality, that you experience the world in a delicious way — implying that you’ll delight in her sensually as well, and she in you. It brings the conversation there in a subtle way. (Thanks to my friend and colleague Adam Gilad for that special tip as well as the principles of a lot of the advice I’m sharing!)

Overall, your personality shines through, and what I suggest is bringing her in more and sharing your sensual side more through describing food and places you enjoy.

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New York Men's Image Consultant: Style Advice for Dating

Julie:

I love the friendly, engaging smile you have in your profile pic. It makes you come across as easygoing and happy with lots of positive energy. I do have a few suggestions which will help make your images even better:

1) I like your breezy haircut, but it would be great if you could trim the hair over your ears (or have your hairdresser do it). This will clean up the look and make you look a little less shaggy.

2) It’s a bit hard to tell because the image size is so small, but I’d love for you to consider whitening up your teeth. You have a wonderful smile, and this would freshen it up even more. Crest Whitestrips are a great, affordable option.
Overall, like I said, you come across as very appealing. And with a few tweaks, you’ll be even more so.

Sarah:

Hi, your profile is great. We worked on it together, and when you first sent it to me, it was a little too strong with, “We are going to do xyz,” instead of, “Let’s see about xyz,” which is a more laid-back feel.

For everyone else reading, I’ll share what you and I did with your profile so they can benefit too. 🙂

First, you open with the, “You’re the kind of woman who…” frame, which sparks her intrigue and pre-qualifies. The women who respond to, “You’re usually shy, but bubbly and talkative around people who ‘get’ you,” are women who are right down your alley, from Sentence #1.

Then you continue to explore her personality, views on life, and values in that first paragraph, allowing her to see herself there.

In the second and third paragraphs, you talk about the two of you together on a fun date, piquing her interest further and showing your playful side.

Then you mention you as a couple, “if we’re fortunate to get that far with each other,” which acknowledges that you are two people with your own choices and preferences and may or may not be the right fit. This is realistic and the opposite of needy. It sets a strong vibe.

Finally, you transition into, “As for me,” and share more about yourself – both your personality and your values so she can really get a sense of you. I remember we changed one sentence in that last paragraph from details all about your multiplayer tactics game “‘baby’ project” and replaced it with, “I’ll spare you the details, but just know – it’s quite exciting though a potentially distant second to sharing a laugh with you. :)”

I love that sentence! It shares your real, palpable passion for what you’re creating while also giving her “potential” space to come in and share a laugh with you, bond with you, and be the center of your attention for an evening.

So good! All in all, you share what she’s like, what you’re like together, and then what you yourself are like, all in a way that showcases your unique personality in an inviting, laid-back, genuine way.

Well done! 🙂

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For more information on Sarah, including how she might be able to help you, click over to her website Introverted Alpha.

Cheers,

Julie

 

 

 


How to Look Attractive in Glasses

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Today’s post is a guest piece written by Ruth Domber, owner of 10/10 Optics.

Your eyewear just may be one of the most important accessories you wear. This one item can create the image that you’d most like to project. Your specs say as much about you as the clothes on your back. With that in mind, here’s how to choose frames that will make you look attractive. [Julie note: many women find glasses super sexy on a man, so it pays to find frames that truly flatter you.]

Men's Style Blog: How to Choose Glasses

Size matters The best nonverbal tool you have for communication is your eyes. By choosing a frame with the proper proportions, you maximize eye contact and increase possibilities for communication. Here’s how to figure out the right size: pinpoint the widest part of your face as a guide for width, contour the shape of your brows for height and the top of your cheekbone for depth.

Quick tips for a great fit
*If you have oily skin, stay away from shiny frames and opt for a matte finish instead.
*Make sure that your bridge (nose area) is a perfect fit, as that’s the one part of the frame that cannot be easily corrected if the fit is off.
*The arms of the glasses should not squeeze or push in on the sides of your face.
*How deep should the frames sit on your face? Never past the flare of your nostrils and never resting on your cheeks.
*The arms should be enough length to anchor at your temples at least 1/3 way around the back of your ear.

Men's Style Blog: How to Choose Glasses

Men's Style Blog: How to Choose Glasses FramesOther features If your hair is thin, or you’re bald, a bolder look brings the attention back to your eyes. Angles make weak jawline look more defined.

Men's Style Blog: How to Choose Glasses Frames

Color as your best asset If you want to keep it businesslike, stay with blues, garnets and greens. Think about your favorite tie colors, and go in that direction. Color communicates individuality, creativity and openness to new
ideas. You can keep it subtle or go big.

Men's Style Blog: How to Choose Glasses FramesIf you’re more into neutrals, use your hair or eye color as a simple way to find your best tones. And if you’re not sure about color, try natural materials. Horn, wood and leather are all tactile and elegant choices.

Men's Style Blog: How to Choose Glasses FramesLet your glasses be an outward representation of who you are on the inside. If you’re still unsure of what works for you, try on a few styles, take some pictures and compare to figure out which suits you best.

If you’re in the NYC-area and in need of new glasses or sunglasses, I highly recommend you check out 10/10 Optics. It’s one of my favorite local style resources!

Cheers,
Julie


Is It Time for a Style Update?

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Men's Style Advice: Style Update

Does any of the following sound like you?

  • You’re wearing the same clothes and hair style you did ten years ago.
  • You aren’t happy when you see yourself in the mirror.
  • You look in your closet every morning and are unsure what looks good on you or what to wear in a given situation.
  • People don’t respond to you in the ways you’d like them to.

If the answer to any of these questions is yes, then it’s likely time for a style upgrade.

Updating your style can include anything from a complete wardrobe and grooming overhaul to simply adding a handful of outfits to your closet. It all depends on your particular needs.

There are 3 routes you can take to achieving your upgrade:

1) DIY – Look through magazines and at blogs and earmark guys with styles who you like. Make a list of the individual elements of their looks that appeal to you specifically. Put that list in order of priority (you don’t want to try everything new all at once, or you could go down the path of fashion victim). This list may also be affected by your budget, i.e., if what you like is going to be very expensive, say a certain type of suit, that may need to go lower on the list than something less pricey like trying out some cool patterned socks. Make your way down the list incorporating one new element every few weeks. You can also check out this piece on how to define your personal style if you’re unsure even of what appeals to you.

2) Semi-Assisted – There are online courses which can teach you how to become self-sufficient with styling yourself with varying levels of individual help. You can check out my courses Next Level Style and What Looks Good on You and see if those resonate for you. Many of these courses (including mine) offer satisfaction guarantees and are therefore completely risk-free to try.

3) Fully-Assisted – Find an image or style consultant to help you one-on-one. Working with someone who is seasoned and knows what he or she is doing is a serious financial investment (my average client spends several thousand dollars to work with me). I would also highly recommend working with someone who specializes in consulting for men. You want someone who lives and breathes this stuff, and in my experience many image consultants who work with both men and women only work with men a small fraction of the time and therefore aren’t necessarily on top of the menswear market. Do a google search for “men’s image consultant/style consultant/personal stylist/personal shopper [where you live]” and see what comes up. You can also go to AICI.org and check their listings for accredited image consultants in your area.

You should be able to tell pretty quickly from the person’s website if they’re the right fit for you. The aesthetic of their website is a direct reflection of his or her taste, which, given the visual nature of the business, is key. If you can’t find anyone you like in your area, then look for someone who does online consultations, and you might also consider traveling. I’ve had people fly coast-to-coast to work with me, and it makes sense if you think about it: the amount of money you spend on airfare and hotel could very possibly equal the amount of money you spend on mistake shopping purchases if you choose with the wrong consultant just because he or she is located near you. If it’s in your budget, you may also consider flying the consultant in to see you. It’s certainly more convenient if you can swing it.

Finally, if one-on-one seems like it’s going to be out of your budget, then contact a local fashion school with styling programs and ask if any of their students are looking for practice clients. Many up-and-coming stylists actually are looking for people to style, and they’ll help you either for free (in exchange for images for their website and/or testimonials) or at reduced rates. I worked with a practice client when I was at FIT, and it worked out great for both of us!

Are you ready to take the plunge to upgrade your style? If so, let me know in the comments below what you’re going to do first.

Cheers,
Julie


Two Easy Outfits to Help You Stand Out From the Crowd

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Have you ever been out on the weekend or after work and looked around to see that there are basically 2 or 3 types of outfits every guy is wearing, and no one is standing out from the crowd (in a good way)? Most guys are wearing what they wore earlier that day (jeans and logo’d/giveaway t-shirt, and blue button-down and khakis are two examples), with no effort to step it up for going out.

How incredibly boring! Dressing this way is certainly not going to help you be attractive to new women, much less the one you’re already with if you are in a relationship.

With the above in mind, I put together 2 sharp going out looks that you can recreate easily either using these specific items or a variation on each theme. The first is dressier, for when you truly want to dress to impress. And the second less so.

Also, if you’re looking to try to learn how to put great looks together yourself, I included reasoning behind my the choices.

 

Men's Style Tips: What to Wear on a DateGrey suit, J. Crew, $650 (Gray reads friendlier and less business than navy.)

Chambray shirt, Theory, $195 (A denim or chambray dress shirt is a nice departure from the everyday dress shirt for business. It shows some thought was put into creating a stylish look.)

Red tie, Billy Reid, $59 (The texture in this tie contrasts well against the smoothness of the chambray shirt above. Texture will also make you look approachable, which is a good thing for when you’re going out and looking to meet people, or on a date.)

Blue tie bar, The Tie Bar, $15 (A tie bar is a small detail that adds visual interest and reflects style prowess. If you want to stand out from the crowd, this is the perfect way to do so without being loud or obnoxious, a trap many guys fall into when dressing for going out – in effort to be noticed.)

White and gray pocket square, The Tie Bar,$8 (This pocket square is simple and classy yet adds a stylish touch to the outfit.)

Brown shoes, Massimo Matteo, $169 (Double-monk shoes will allow you to look sharp and distinguish you from all the other guys in loafers and laceups.)

Grey socks, J. Crew, $14 (Because there’s a fair amount going on otherwise in the look, I kept the socks quiet and matched them to the suit pants, a stylist trick that elongates your legs.)

Brown belt, Magnianni, $125 (I kept it classy, matching belt to shoes.)

 

Men's Style Tips: What to Wear on a Date

Purple gingham shirt, Proper Cloth, $85 (Women can find it boring when men wear the same color light blue dress shirts day in and day out. Wearing purple shows creativity, and it’s a good conversation starter.)

Jeans, John Varvatos, $228 (The slight wear in the rinse on these jeans lend them a somewhat casual feel, which works well with the tweed fabric of the vest.)

Brown vest, Billy Reid, $159 (It’s easy to fall into the trap of wearing all black when going out, mainly because you don’t know what else to do. But this can make you look remote and unapproachable. The softness of the brown and textured fabric on this vest will lend you a friendly air instead.)

Navy knit tie, J. Crew, $59 (I kept the tie simple so as not to draw away from the patterns in the vest and shirt. The texture in the knit keeps you approachable, as above with the vest.)

Tan belt, John Varvatos, $295 (This belt works with the brown in both the vest and shoes. The subtle details give the outfit more personality than a plain brown belt would, but the statement is not so strong that it draws away from everything else.)

Bracelet, Miansai, $60 (For an element of fun, I’d add this bracelet in. Blue and purple work together because they’re analogous colors, i.e., they sit next to each other on the color wheel.)

Brown chukka boots, H by Hudson, $285 (Brown shoes work best with this outfit due to the brown in the vest. Chukkas are a nice boot option in a look like this, as they’re casual but certainly not boring.)

The playful and stylish elements of these looks clearly distinguish them from typical office garb, making it clear that the wearer knows how to dress for play vs for work.

How do you like to dress for going out? Let me know in the comments below how the outfits above have inspired you!

Cheers,

Julie


Sweater Wearing for Non-Sweater Wearers

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With the cold weather here (and here to stay), it’s time to consider the sweater. In case you missed it, my advice was referenced in an excellent Wall Street Journal article about how to incorporate sweaters into your look. Even if you’re not typically a sweater-wearer, don’t click away just yet. I’m not talking about the basic sweater-over-a-dress-shirt look — anyone can do that. It’s the non-typical ways to wear knits that I’m interested in. Below are 5 ways to use sweaters to add a fresh spin to your look:

Men's Style Advice: Sweaters

1) Jacket alternative with a casual outfit a.k.a. swacket (sweater-jacket combo) – Leave the North Face in the closet and put on a a chunky sweater instead. As I’ve mentioned before, outerwear is key to pulling together an effective outfit, as it sets the tone for your look. And wearing a sweater as outerwear is a great way to mix things up. The cardigan above from J. Crew is an excellent option (similar here) is an excellent option, as is this one from Billy Reid, which is lined the same way a regular jacket is and therefore provides good protection from the elements.

 

Men's Style Advice: Sweaters

2) Cardigan worn as a sport coat – In lieu of a sportcoat, wear a shawl collar cardigan like the one above from Suit Supply with a dress shirt and tie. This is a smart look for a cozy evening holiday party. You can also add a tailored menswear vest for further visual interest and warmth.

Men's Style Advice: Sweaters3) Vest worn over shirt and tie – This is a nice choice when it’s not cool enough for a full-sleeved sweater like in #2. Above is another option from Suit Supply which shows how to do this. The teal blue sweater paired with the rust orange pants is a solid Fall color combo. Leave the bottom button undone as you would with a regular menswear vest.

Men's Style Advice: Sweaters4) Sweater in place of dress shirt – This is a very sophisticated look, especially when done tone-on-tone as in the runway image above from Valentino (the model also has a grey scarf tucked into the sweater).

Men's Style Advice: Sweaters

5) Thin cardigan under suit or sportcoat – On days where it’s not quite cold enough for an overcoat over your suit/sportcoat, throw on a cardigan as an in-between layer. If you want to try this look, make sure that the cardigan is thin and try leaving the top and bottom buttons open for a less “done” look as in the above image.

Two additional notes…

-Because wearing sweaters can get hot indoors, it’s key to dress in layers which can be easily removed and replaced. The above looks work well in this way, as they each have pieces that can be removed and added back as needed.

-Bear in mind that because knitwear has texture, it’s inherently going to impart a casual feel to your look. The less textured the sweater is, the more dressy it will be. So if you’re wearing one of these looks for work but don’t want to be too dressed down, make sure it’s a fine knit with a smooth surface to it.

Sweaters can often feel stuffy and “old,” but if you try them in new and unconventional ways as above, you’ll breathe new life into your look.

How are you wearing sweaters this season?

Cheers,

Julie


The Six Shoes Every Guy Should Own

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In a perfect world, you would have something in your closet to wear for every occasion. Part of that is having the right footwear. After all, having the WRONG shoes can completely throw off an otherwise great outfit (we’ve all seen that guy looking smooth in his well-fitting suit but massacring the look with his 90’s square-toed dress shoes). If you only focus on how you look ankle up, you miss the mark. Below is my list of the 6 essential shoes every guy should have in his closet.

Men's Personal Shopper: Crockett and Jones Finsbury Oxford

1. Brown Laceups — A lot of new styling clients resist this one thinking there’s no need for it, but truly it’s the most versatile shoe in your wardrobe — you can wear it with everything from jeans to a suit. Go for a medium shade of brown that can be worn with the widest variety of pant shades.

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Men's Personal Shopper: Crockett and Jones Alex Laceups2. Black Laceups — This is your dressiest shoe, to be worn with suits and on formal occasions. Choose one with a clean toe, i.e., no seaming or broguing, so you can wear it with a tuxedo (after polishing it up).

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Men's Personal Shopper: John Varvatos Loafer3. Loafer — There are lots of variations on loafers, so you should go with what appeals to you visually. And avoid the pitfall of buying a “hybrid” shoe (anything with a very sporty sole). As I’ve said before, the place where the sneaker meets any other kind of shoe is like a dark alley late at night — nowhere you’d want to be.

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Men's Personal Shopper: Common Projects Sneakers4. Social Sneaks — This is my term for a clean and classic non-athletic sneaker (i.e., one you wouldn’t work out in). It’s for casual walking around.

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Men's Personal Shopper: Chelsea Boot5. Dress Boot — A dress boot adds wonderful versatility to your wardrobe. It’s the perfect answer to the question of what to wear out on weekends. And with a dressy enough boot and in the right environment, you can also wear it with dress clothes like a suit or pants and sportcoat. For more on the different types of boots to choose from, go here.

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Men's Personal Shopper: Rain/Snow Boots
6. Rain/Snow Boot — Depending on what type of inclement weather you get, this is either a rain or snow boot (or both). It should have a rubber sole for gripping and be waterproof or water resistant.

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Once you have these essentials, you can build from there, getting variations within each category. Think variations on toe detail and broguing for the black/brown laceup, and different varieties of boots.

Do you have everything on this list? If not, what are you missing?

Cheers,
Julie


Wake Up That Navy Blazer

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Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz. Oh, excuse me, someone was talking to me about navy blazers, and I fell asleep.

The idea of navy blazers typically conjures memories of a first trip to Brooks Brothers for a rite of passage Sunday jacket, gold buttons and all. But not all navy blazers have to be a snoozefest. In fact, there are ways to take this conservative stalwart and give it a good shake-up. Read on for 5 tips on how to make a navy blazer your own:

1) Get it tailored so that it FITS you. I’ve you’re a current Rath & Co. client, or if you’ve been following me for some time, you know I’m a stickler for clothes that fit perfectly. So if you have a navy blazer that’s been hanging around your closet for a while, and the fit is within striking distance (the first thing to check is if it’s right across the shoulders), take it to a tailor you trust, and have him or her check the rest, including waist, arms and length, and make adjustments as needed. You’d be amazed at the 180 a jacket can take with a few nips and tucks.

Men's Personal Shopper: navy blazer

2) Swap out those trad gold buttons for ones made of horn or gunmetal, like in the image above of a blazer I designed for a client. You’ll go from preppy to polished in no time.

3) Rather than standard navy, consider a blue with some kick to it, like midnight, cobalt or royal. Check out the same shot above of my client in his spanking new bright blue blazer. (His fiancée wasn’t complaining.)

Men's Personal Shopper: navy blazer 4) Instead of a solid, try a subtly patterned fabric, like this tone-on-tone windowpane (above left — you have to expand the image to see the pattern) I just picked out for a different client. A blue hounds-tooth or pin-dot (above center and right) would also work, as would blue tweed in cold weather. From 4 + feet away, these fabrics read as solid, but up close you can see the extra oomph.

 

Men's Personal Shopper: navy blazer

5) Wear it casually. This is an entire blog post on its own – much bigger than one bullet point, but I’ll give you the broad strokes. If you’re bored by the navy blazer-khaki pants routine (or if it just isn’t you), mix it up by pairing your blue blazer with casual pieces: with jeans, layered over a t-shirt and hoodie or cardigan, with a casual (perhaps short-sleeved – no one will know) shirt in a quirky pattern as seen in the above image and/or with casual laceups.

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How do you like to wear a navy blazer?

Cheers,

Julie

Images via Rath & Co. and The Wall Street Journal