Tag Archives: men’s style advice

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

 


Pro Tips: Jean Tailoring FTW

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Men's Image Consultant: How to Tailor Your Jeans

There very few things like a perfectly-fitting pair of jeans on a man (the above British GQ spread of Matthew McConaughey-hey-hey is pretty good proof). And the way you have them tailored — or not — can make or break them. I recently did a jean overhaul with a client, and as we were having them tailored, I realized that even though I’ve already written about how to find a great-fitting pair of jeans, it’s also important to talk about the tailoring. 

1. When shortening jeans that have any kind of distressing or detailing along the hemline, ask the tailor to re-use the original hem. That means he or she will remove the hem that’s already there, cut the jeans shorter, and then reattach the hem higher up. And you get to avoid that my-mom-hemmed-my-jeans look that distressed jeans get when they’re just folded under and hemmed normally. If your tailor doesn’t know how to do this, find another tailor.

2. Check the waist — if it gaps when you put a belt on but fits well through the seat and thighs, the waist needs to be taken in. Ideally, though, your jeans should fit well everywhere, so I’d only suggest this for jeans you already own or that are on super sale. 

3. During tailoring, wear the shoes you plan on wearing most often with the jeans. That way, you and the tailor can choose the length based on that. Keep in mind that once you’ve chosen a length based on heel height, you’ll be limited to shoes with the same or similar heel height. If you have a broad range of shoe types (which hopefully you do — if not, here’s my post on the 6 essential shoes every guy should have in his closet), then not every pair of jeans is going to work with every shoe — i.e, you’ll have some that will work with flip flops and flat loafers but not with your dress shoes. So it makes sense to think ahead when having your jeans hemmed as to which shoes you’ll be wearing them most frequently with. And once you’ve decided, make sure you actually bring those shoes to the tailor when you go.

Men's Image Consultant: How to Tailor Your Jeans

4. Taper jeans that are excessively wide-legged. Elephant leg, as we’ve discussed, is not a good look. It can make your legs look short and stumpy — not recommended! This often happens unintentionally when jeans get shortened — the tailor brings them up without realizing that the new bottom of the jeans is unflatteringly wide. So take a good look at the width of the jeans around the new hemline to see if it needs tapering. Some jeans only need a slight taper to just above the ankles, and others need it almost as high as the knee.

Do you have any tips or tricks for how you get your jeans tailored perfectly? Please share in the comments!

Cheers,

Julie


What to Wear for the Kentucky Derby

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Even if you’re not going to the Derby itself, but rather watching at home or a party, I highly recommend dressing for the occasion. There are plenty of options for Derby gear, suitable for everyone from the most conservative guys to those with a little more style aplomb. Here are a three outfits to consider, from least to most dialed:

Men's Personal Shopper: Kentucky Derby Style

  1. Navy blazer, chinos or shorts, light colored dress shirt, and bright or pastel colored tie or bowtie (extra points for coordinating pocket square).
  2. Men's Personal Shopper: Kentucky Derby StyleSeersucker suit or jacket, white shirt, open collar, pocket square (in either a traditional/neutral color like navy or a bright/pastel).
  3. Men's Image Consultant: Kentucky Derby StyleBrightly colored pants, light colored shirt and sportcoat, pastel tie and pocket square.

Men's Image Consultant: Kentucky Derby Style

Hats, of course, an optional bonus 😉

Cheers,

Julie

images via kentuckyderby.com, GQ.com, vineyardvines.com


The One Shoe Type That Works with Almost Any Outfit

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Men's Style Consulting: What Shoes to Wear

What would you say if I told you there was one shoe you could wear with just about anything on a daily basis? You’d be all over that, right? It’s true. A medium brown lace-up dress shoe can be worn with any outfit except for a tuxedo, a black suit (which you shouldn’t be wearing anyway), and shorts. Wear them with jeans, chinos, suits and dress pants.

One of the places I always recommend investing in wardrobe-wise is shoes — you’re better off buying one pair of quality shoes and replacing them as needed every 5 years or so, than a crappy quality shoe that you have to replace every year. When it comes to making the most of your footwear investment, another key to keep in mind is not to wear the same pair of shoes two days in a row. If you rotate your shoes, they’ll last a whole lot longer.

So if you’re going to make an investment shoe purchase, I highly recommend a medium-brown lace-up. They can have a cap toe, no cap toe (see above), or you can do a wingtip (see below).

Men's Style Consulting: What Shoes to Wear

Cheers,

Julie


Do the front tuck

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Men's Image Consulting: Half Tuck Shirt

Have you tried the front-tuck yet? It’s one of the best (and easiest) ways to create that undone-done look that makes it look like you’re not trying too hard.

Here’s how you do it:

  1. Pick a t-shirt or button-up shirt that fits you well and that hits about halfway down the fly of your pants.
  2. Button your shirt all the way to the bottom. (Even though the front will be tucked in, it’s easier to control if it’s buttoned).
  3. Tuck the front of your shirt into your jeans or chinos (again, these should fit well).
  4. Don’t think too hard about what you’re about to do next.
  5. Pull the front out so that it’s blousing over your pant waistband as in the image above. The front/center 3/4 of the shirt should stay inside your pants.
  6. Go on with your day! The less you fuss around with this look, the better.

Note: this does not work with baggy shirts (it just looks sloppy), so make sure you don’t skip step 1!

image via people.com


The 5 Worst Style Offenses of 2015

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People ask me if when I’m out in public I mentally critique what other people are wearing. While unflattering outfits do register on a subconscious level, I’m actually not always scoping folks out. But every now and then I come across a particularly egregious style snafu that makes me stop and scratch my head.

Below are 5 of the worst style offenses I came across in 2015, and because I like to keep things positive around here, I also put together 5 easy actions you can take to improve your image in 2016.

The Worst of 2015

1. Pants so tight we can see the full curvature of your rear end. Let’s keep some of that badonkadonk a mystery, shall we?

Men's Image Consultant: Tie Length

Tie length is just right. Image via GQ.com.

2. Tie point hitting in the middle of your belly. When this happens, because the tie point often lands on the widest part of your stomach, this can actually make you look like you have more of a belly than you actually do. The bottom of your tie should instead hit at the top or center of your belt buckle, so tie your knot accordingly.

3. a) Poorly-fitting rented tuxedos.

b) Known associate of offender #3a: tuxedo vests.

4. Excessive amounts of cologne and/or aftershave. If your smell stays in the elevator for more than 5 seconds after you exit, I implore you to tone it down. And I know I said this last year and the year before that, but my nasal passages are still being assaulted more often than they should be by awful-smelling aftershaves. If the kind you use rhymes with Schmold Schpice, find something less offensive to wear.

 

Men's Image Consultant: how jeans should fit

Even just an extra inch of fabric around the ankle makes a big difference. Images via nordstrom.com.

5. Jean pant legs that run like a straight column from knee to ankle (above, left). I call this “elephant leg.” Some tapering above and around your ankle will make you look longer and leaner (above, right).

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Style Do’s for 2016

Men's Image Consultant: Undershirts

I’m a fan of Tommy John undershirts. Image via tommyjohn.com.

1. Get undershirts that fit trimly. This will make a world of difference in terms of how your dress shirts look on you.

2. Replace your worn-out jeans. I get it, they’ve been with you through all your ups and downs. But trust me when I say the holes and shredded bottoms are not cute.

Men's Image Consultant: Boots

A Chelsea boot is one type of boot to consider.

3. Incorporate a great pair of boots into your wardrobe. If boots aren’t a regular in your casual wardrobe routine, it’s time to change that. Get yourself a go-to pair of leather or suede boots, and your wardrobe will be elevated instantly.

4. Update your loungewear. Just because you’re hanging out at home doesn’t mean you need to be sitting around in a pair of old mesh shorts or your boxers. Get a few pairs of shorts and t-shirts that are specifically for just chilling (bonus: if there’s a fire alarm and you have to run outside, you’re set). James Perse and Derek Rose are two brands in particular that I like for this.

5. Dress situationally. One of the secrets to refined style is to dress in line with whatever situation you find yourself in. This means if you go out at night, you don’t wear the same thing you did to work that day. You take it up a notch. Similarly, you wear different colors and fabrics in Fall and Winter than you do in Spring and Summer. Think darker tones and more texture. Once you start learning how to dress situationally, you’ll actually radiate a sense of effortlessness through your look.

Wishing you a dashing and delightful 2016.

Cheers,

Julie


Fall Jacket Picks

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Fall jackets represent one of the biggest gaps in a man’s s wardrobe. And as I’ve mentioned before, your outerwear sets the tone for your entire look. It’s the first thing people see on you when you walk in the door, and the last thing they see when you leave. So even if the outfit you’re wearing underneath it is on point, a jacket that’s off kills the whole look. 

Below are my Fall jacket picks for this year in a range of price points.

$0-300

Men's Image Consultant: Fall Jacket

Asos Burgundy Peacoat $126 – This one is a little out there with the burgundy color, but the classic peacoat style keeps it grounded. It’s for the guy that wants to think outside the box while maintaining a level of convention.

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$300-500

Men's Personal Shopper: Bonobos jacketBonobos grey quilted $328- The heather grey on this jacket is universally flattering, and the waist tabs in the back allow for a trim fit around the waist where many jackets balloon out.

Men's Style Consultant: Aether Apparel JacketAether Apparel blue zip $395 – This Aether Apparel jacket is perfect for a sporty yet tailored look. I love this brand because their clothing is performance-focused but still manages to look sharp on.

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$500-1000

Men's Personal Shopper: Belstaff Fall jacket

Belstaff navy quilted and ribbed $650 – Known for well-made and stylish outerwear, Belstaff jackets are an easy win. (David Beckham is a fan — he has a capsule collection with Belstaff of moto-inspired pieces which I also recommend checking out.) I like the combination of the knit and quilted textures in this one.

 

Men's Style Consultant: Belstaff Fall jacket

Belstaff multi-toned wool and nylon $850 – Similar to the navy Belstaff above, the mixture of different colors and textures in this jacket give it a strong visual appeal.

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$1000+

Men's Image Consultant: Thomas Maier Fall jacket

Tomas Maier grey cashmere $1250 – This faux shearling cashmere jacket is understated luxury at its best. The knit texture gives it a relaxed sweater-y feel, and yet it’s tailored enough that you could also wear it more dressily.

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Early Fall is the best time to buy because selections are good, and many stores are running sales. Don’t delay — if you wait too long, you run the risk of there being nothing left in your size, and you being stuck jacket-less until next year.

What’s your Fall outerwear of choice this season?

Cheers,

Julie

 


The only swimsuit style you need

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Men's Style Advice: Swimwear

Summer is over halfway through — how strong is your swimsuit game? If you’re feeling iffy about it, I highly recommend you try a swim short with a side waist adjusters. It might just change your life — or at least make you feel like a stud when you hit the beach or pool. Below are 3 big reasons why this style swim short is so flattering:

1) Flat waistbands — have you ever noticed that a swimsuit with a bunchy waistband makes you look bunchy? That’s no bueno. A waistband that lies flat against your stomach, however, reduces excess fabric which can make you look bulky around the waist. The net net is that the flat waistband you get on a swimsuit with side adjusters can actually make your stomach look flatter.

2) Pool panache — just as they do with dress pants, side adjusters convey a class and sharpness in a way those ballooning board shorts can’t dream of. And of course you can tighten or loosen them for the perfect fit.

3) Après-swim friendly — because these have such a smart, tailored look, all you need to do at the end of a successful beach day is throw on a trim-fitting polo, and you can head straight to the beach club for drinks and hors d’oeuvres.

I like the brands Orlebar Brown (one of my go-to’s for clients), along with Frescobol Carioca and Robinson Les Bains for this style.

Now obviously you’ll need to adjust the length of the legs based on your body type and comfort level, but I will say that I’ve tried this style swimsuit with personal styling clients of all different shapes and sizes, and they’ve only ever given rave reviews.

So are you convinced? Let me know why or why not in the comments below.

Cheers,

Julie


How to Choose a Custom Clothier

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Have you been wondering about getting a custom suit or shirt but aren’t sure where to start? Between the newspaper ads (“3 suits, 2 shirt and a tie for $199!” – what??) and the Hong Kong tailors coming to your office with wheelie bags full of fabrics, the whole thing can be pretty overwhelming. I’ve been working with custom tailors for my one-on-one clients since starting my business and based on that, I put together the guide below for you on how to choose wisely. Your results, after all, are directly related to who you select to make your clothes.

And before you get dollar signs in your eyes at the talk of custom clothing, you should know that you can often save money buy going custom. That’s because you’re not (typically) paying a premium for a brand name or store overhead.

Men's Style Tips: Custom Clothing
Rath & Co. client dancing his way back into the fitting room. He was happy with the results of our order!

If you have time to devote to the process, 9 times out of 10, guys are better off with custom clothing (particularly for suits, sportcoats, dress shirts and tuxedos) than off-the-rack. Time frames can vary widely, taking anywhere from 4 to 12+ weeks from the time of the order. It’s an up-front investment of time that pays off in the end: when you’re done, the clothier has your measurements and knows how to fit you, so you don’t have to go through major fit adjustments each time. And of course the biggest benefit to going custom is that your clothes will fit you immeasurably (haha) better than off-the-rack. The second biggest benefit is that you get to select the exact fabric and details you want.

Once you’ve decided you want to make the move to custom, it’s key to find someone reliable and who does good work. Here’s how to do that:

1) Look on local listings like yelp or other user-review sites for well-recommended ones in your area.

2) Google “best custom clothier/suits/shirts [where you live].” If you live in a major city, the local magazines often rate area vendors like custom clothiers, so check their websites as well.

3) If you come across any men with bang-on style, ask them where they’re doing their shopping. Chances are these guys will have a great custom tailor they can recommend to you.

Create a running list as you go and rule out any that are not comfortable for your budget (as I said above, you can save money by going custom, but prices can vary greatly depending on where you go). Take that narrowed-down list and make introductory appointments with your top 2 or 3 choices. Any good custom clothier will allow you to come in to meet with a salesperson and check things out in general without any pressure to buy. Here are some things to find out when you’re there:

1) How custom are they? – There are various levels of “custom clothing,” and it’s a term that’s used quite liberally for anything from made-to-measure to full bespoke. So it’s best to find out exactly what level of custom you’re getting with each clothier. (Try to find someone who actually makes a custom pattern for you, as opposed to made-to-measure. With MTM, they take a base pattern that already exists and alter it to fit you.)

2) Canvassing vs fusing – This refers to the construction of a suit jacket or sportcoat. Fully canvassed suits will last longer and drape better on your body than those that are fused (the latter basically means glued together). A canvassed suit has a layer of wool and typically horsehair between the outer and inner layer of the jacket, giving it body and helping it be more durable. A fused suit can develop “bubbling” on the lapel after a few rounds of dry cleaning or if you get caught in the rain. So ideally you’re looking for a custom tailor within your budget who offers fully canvassed suits.

3) Selection of fabrics – Look for fabric books from known brands like Zegna, Holland & Sherry, Loro Piana, Vitale Barberis, Thomas Mason and Canclini. If the clothier carries a variety of books from these brands, that is usually a sign of legitimacy. A broader selection will also make it easier for you to choose and get just what you want.

4) Details – Do they have a variety of options when it comes to details like buttons and thread color for monogramming/stitching? It’s better to have more options than fewer. And do they use real mother of pearl and horn buttons and bemberg linings? Ask. These details are an important sign of quality.

Men's Style Advice: Custom Clothing
Another Rath & Co. client being fitted for a tuxedo at Michael Andrews Bespoke in NYC. Smooth Operator!

5) Fit confirmation – For your first order, the clothier should only put one test for each type of item through first to confirm fit. Then, once fit has been confirmed (and any needed alterations have been made), they can put through the remaining items. Don’t work with a clothier who orders everything up front. In addition, most clothiers will have you pay for all or half of your items upon ordering, so it’s in your best interest to place a small order initially, and once you’ve confirmed you’re happy with the process and results, you can go back and order additional items.

6) Fittings – Any good custom tailor will want you to have at least two fittings (the number of fittings you need will depend on how “tricky” your body type is) to make sure the fit is right. If they simply order the clothes and tell you that you can come pick up, that’s a problem.

7) The cut – I’ve worked with a variety of custom tailors, and some have a standard cut (i.e., slim, classic, etc.) which they will automatically give you unless otherwise requested. And others will ask you how you want things to fit. If you want a slim, modern fit, but you choose someone who cuts more traditional, you’ll end up in a suit that feels too boxy to you. Go with someone who will deliver the type of fit you want and who will also talk it over with you if necessary to help you decide.

8) End result – The tailor you end up with should have a guarantee that you’ll be happy with the fit in the end, and if you aren’t that they’ll alter and/or redo items as needed until you are.

Based on the above, you can make an informed decision as to who your best option is.

Do you use a custom clothier? If so, how has your experience been? If not, what’s holding you back? Let me know in the comments below.

Cheers,

Julie


3 Style Mistakes You’re Making Everyday – and How to Fix Them

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People often ask me – usually at parties – if I walk around every day critiquing peoples’ outfits. While I can turn my critical eye on and off, and I certainly never go up to anyone and give them my opinion unsolicited, there are certain mistakes that I see consistently. If you’re someone who cares about how he looks (and I assume if you’re reading this article, you are), read on for three common errors and how to easily nip them in the bud.

Black-Ralph-Lauren-Double-M
1) Loafers with your suit – I get it. Traveling in lace-ups is no fun. Try a monkstrap instead, like the pair above. You can slip in and out of them, and they work with a suit.

Men's Style: How Pants Should Fit2) Wearing pants that are too big in the waist – If your belt loops are pulling up when you tighten your belt like in the picture above, it means the waist on your pants is too big, and you run the risk of having diaper butt. Go down a size and your pants and belt won’t work against each other.

Men's Style Advice: Boots
3) Mismatching themes – I often see guys in preppy polo shirts or khakis wearing things that are edgy in feel (like a biker jacket or boots) elsewhere in their outfit. It doesn’t work. If one piece in your outfit is preppy or conservative, the whole look should be such. Likewise, if one piece in your outfit has an edge to it, the rest of your outfit should too. For example, you wouldn’t wear a rough and tumble boot like the one above with a pair of traditional khakis. A pair of dark jeans or slim dark dress pants would suit them much better.

Have you ever made any of these mistakes? Fess up! I’d love to hear where things have gone awry for you. Leave me a comment below, and perhaps I can offer some additional solutions.