Tips and Tricks

Behind the Scenes: Two New Before and Afters

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 AfterThe 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 AfterThe 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

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 Jeans4. 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

The One Shoe Type That Works with Almost Any Outfit

Men's Style Consulting: What Shoes to WearWhat 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 WearCheers,Julie

How to Wear Man Jewelry

Men's Image Consulting: How to Wear Man JewelryMan jewelry is one of those things that a lot of guys are curious about but are not sure how to (or if they even can) pull off. I get it -- it's so easy to do it wrong, that it's almost too intimidating to try. Take my long-time client "A," for example, who works for a management consulting firm. When we first started working together several years ago, every Friday when he came home from the office, he'd put on a colorful beaded necklace. This was his way of marking that the weekend had begun and he was transitioning into hip and relaxed dad mode. Only issue was the necklace looked like one of those candy necklaces kids wear (that's actually what I thought it was the first time I saw it -- oops). Not exactly cool dad material. Even though A didn't quite execute, I give him props for trying. Fortunately this problem had an easy solution -- we ditched the necklace in favor of a more masculine-feeling and subdued combination of bracelets that he looked forward to putting on every weekend and that didn't make him look like he shopped for accessories at the candy store.How can you avoid looking like a casualty when it comes to wearing man jewelry? I've put together the following 8 basic rules for you to follow so you can get it right the first time, plus a few pix from around the web for inspiration. [Note: for the purposes of this post, I'll only be addressing casual jewelry -- necklaces, bracelets and non-wedding band rings -- as that's what I see guys struggling the most with].Men's Image Consulting: How to Wear Man Jewelry

  1. The less shiny the better. Shiny jewelry can come off as cheesy, so if you're thinking of incorporating metal into your jewelry repertoire, go for darker tones and matte finish. Texture within a piece can also reduce shine and make it more wearable. Bottega Veneta and David Yurman make great textured metal pieces (woven, grooved, etc.).
  2. Man jewelry doesn't have to be metal. Consider pieces made of materials like rope, leather, wood and beads for a durable, earthy look. Think masculine shapes -- things like bars, nail heads, hooks, spikes, arrows, anchors, shapes with strong lines and hard angles, and antlers all give off a manly vibe that works well in jewelry.
  3. Bracelets > necklaces. If you're just dipping your toes in, I highly recommend starting with a bracelet or two, as opposed to a necklace. It's a more subdued statement that won't completely take over your look the way a necklace does. You can wear one bracelet next to your watch, or a few on their own. And don't be afraid to mix a couple colors or textures, while keeping the overall look tasteful. Once you're wearing it, try not to fiddle. Put it on, then forget about it.
  4. But if you're already a style renegade, go ahead and jump in with a necklace. A good length is somewhere between your collarbone and the middle of your chest. And one or two at a time is your max.
  5. If you're going to try rings, the most in my opinion a man can safely pull off is 2 or sometimes 3 per hand, and keep in mind the masculine shape element in #2 above.
  6. Try vintage. Vintage pieces often have a patina that give wonderful character to man jewelry. Bonus: they can also be good conversation starters. Things that are interesting and look like they have a story to them pique peoples' interest.
  7. Keep your build in mind. If you're smaller-boned, go for smaller-scale pieces. Similarly, if you're a big guy, you don't want to dwarf overly-delicate pieces.
  8. Don't match...complement. If your watch is black leather with silver-tone metal, then don't pick a black and silver bracelet to wear with it. Try a royal blue instead, something that will work with the cool tones. In general, warm tones (gold, mustard yellow, forest green, eggplant, maroon) work together, and cool tones (purple, royal blue, blue-based red) work together. If you're curious about how to combine colors for the best possible effect, you may want to check out my online style course, Next Level Style, which has a full section on color.
images via GQ, Giles and Brother Instagram

Do the front tuck

Men's Image Consulting: Half Tuck ShirtHave 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

Body Language Hacks to Improve Your People Skills

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 5 Worst Style Offenses of 2015

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 Length2. 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

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: Undershirts1. 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: Boots3. 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

The 2016 Rath & Co. Holiday Gift Guide

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 IdeasLana 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

Boss Level Layering

With Fall on the way, it's time to get down to the important business of layering.

Layering is THE way to get through transition seasons like Fall and Spring where there can be dramatic fluctuations in temperature at different points in the day. To make Fall shopping easier for you, below I've shared 4 of my top picks to layer with for layering this season, within a range of budgets, so there's something for everyone.

$0-100 Thin Sweater - This sweater is the perfect basic. You can wear it in place of a standard dress shirt under a sportcoat or suit jacket. It can go under a thick button-up shirt, and even under a chunky, textured cardigan sweater.

$100-150 Dressy Hoodie - Another versatile piece of knitwear, this hooded linen blend cardigan is perfect zipped up or left open in place of a jacket on a crisp day. For dressier occasions, you can wear it in place of or under a sportcoat/suit jacket (with or without neckwear).

$150-200 Lightweight Vest - Like the hoodie above, this vest can go beneath a sportcoat/suit jacket (the idea behind this look is that just a portion of the vest or hoodie peeks out on either side of the jacket opening, thereby creating visual interest. Unlike the sweater, however, the vest can also go on top of the jacket. For casual looks, try it as shown above right over a dress shirt and zip-neck sweater. The three collars work together nicely as they frame the face.

$200-250 Denim Overshirt - A.P.C. is a French brand known for high quality denim. A shirt like this will only get better with time. Wear it over a t-shirt, henley, or thin sweater like the first one listed above. Leave it unbuttoned or buttoned just to the bottom of your breastbone.

How to Shop on a Budget

I know how it is. Your wardrobe is missing some key pieces, but you don't have tons of cash to devote to the resolution. Don't worry -- I've got your back! Read on for some of my best budget shopping secrets.

  1. Get on the lists - There are some great flash sale and deal sites out there like Jack Threads and Gilt. These websites have daily drops of curated collections at excellent prices (and yes, you can typically return things that don't work). Also, make sure to check out Dappered, which is a site that shares some of the best deals to be found on the web.
  2. Make friends with the salespeople - Salespeople (naturally) like to make sales. For that reason, a really good salesperson will go out of his or her way to let you know when certain items are going on sale, often in advance. If there's a store with clothing you typically like, look for a friendly salesperson who will add you to their "book" and let you know when the items you're interested in are going on sale before the sale gets announced to the general public. They may even be able to put things on hold for you so that you can snatch the items up before anyone else gets them.
  3. Set up alerts - If you find an item you like online that's out of your budget, you can set up a sale alert so that you're notified of when the price drops. ShoptagrNifti and Rack It Up are three sites that do this for you.
  4. Get the code - Most online stores will give you 10-20% off just for signing up for their list. That allows you to take a good amount right off the top. You can also try googling the store name plus the word "code" or "coupon," and you may be able to get a discount that way too.

Happy Fall, and happy bargain-hunting!Cheers,Julie 

And the Winners Are [LinkedIn Profile Pic Reviews]

In July, I made an offer that as a free gift, I would evaluate five of my newsletter subscribers' LinkedIn profile pics. I chose randomly from the applicants to give suggestions on where they can make improvements.  These guys were brave, agreeing to be critiqued in public like this! (I warned them that they needed to be thick-skinned to apply.) Huge props to the guys who did. See below for the 5 reviews. And if you aren't on my newsletter list, definitely check it out, as I make offers like this frequently.Men's Style MakeoverFran, you have an open facial expression, which is very appealing. Busy backgrounds are usually not a good idea, but the trees in your picture mesh together, and your face pops against them so we don't lose you in the background. Given your profession as a chaplain, these elements of openness are a bonus. The main thing I'd change about your picture is that I'd much rather see you in a button-up shirt or even a nice sweater than a plain t-shirt. Simply put, it's more professional. There's also something about the way your face is skewed to the diagonal that makes my brain hurt a little! The shot would be better if it was straight on so people don't have to tilt their heads to look at you.

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Men's Style MakeoverHi Terry, thanks for the nice note you included in your entry. Here's what I think you can improve upon with your profile pic -- overall, the image feels dated to me with that colorful mottled background. For a studio shot, you're better off with plain white behind you instead. If you're going to redo these, I'd also suggest you get (and use) a higher resolution image so it doesn't look as fuzzy on screen, and when you crop it before uploading, I want to see more of what you're wearing on top. I like to think of a suit, shirt and tie as a portrait themselves, and it's distracting that we only catch the top part of your tie. Try to show more to waist level or the bottom of your breastbone, and make sure you're centered in the image when you crop it too. You're smart to be wearing a solid shirt (solids photograph easily), but white can look stark in pictures, so I'd suggest a different solid like light blue instead. In terms of the content of the image (aka you!), I know it's hard if you aren't comfortable being photographed, but it would be great if you could give more of a natural smile. A good photographer will be able to help you relax and be more yourself in the moment during the shoot.

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Men's Style MakeoverHey Rob, your image is another where my eye immediately gets distracted by the background. You get lost in front of the tree, lights, snow, decorations, and pine cones -- that's a lot of stuff going on behind you that isn't related to your work! It's cool to take your pic outside or look for an interesting background, but it should be neutral and not distracting. My advice: keep it professional and get the seasonal stuff out of there. Check out point #4 in this post on how to get good headshot photos, and also this portfolio of client images on my website for ideas on better backgrounds. Your outfit, too, is a little casual for a LinkedIn shot (definitely looks like this is a pic that was taken socially but that you're using for business). I'd suggest the same shirt with a sportcoat or suit jacket instead. Otherwise, your smile is fantastic -- you come across as very personable and likeable, a can-do guy!

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Men's Style MakeoverChris, I love how you come across in this image as having a fun, upbeat personality. Who wouldn't want to work with someone with that energy?! With your sales job, being magnetic in that way is key. A few things for you -- see if you can crop the image so that the top of your hair doesn't get cut off and so that we can see more of your upper body. Cut it to mid-chest at least. That said, the shirt you're wearing is too busy for a headshot (which may be why you cropped it so much!). Busy patterns are distracting to the viewer. So, eventually, you should look to have a new pic taken wearing a solid color or less busy pattern instead. Finally, there is nothing like a gleaming white smile, especially if you're selling things. Check out some of those tooth whitening toothpastes or Crest whitestrips and/or, if you know someone who's good with photoshop, you can have him or her whiten your teeth couple shades. It'll brighten you up and make you even more appealing!

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Men's Style MakeoverCalvin, you clearly put time and energy into this shot, and it shows. I like how you're looking off to the side -- it's different from the standard straight-on shot, and with your line of work being creative, it's compelling. The first thing my eye is drawn to though is a dark line that cuts across the top of your image, skirting your hairline. Can your photographer edit that out? It would make a huge difference. I'm also not wild about the grey suit against the grey background, as it gets a little lost, but the windowpane pattern on your suit does make it stand out somewhat. Like I said, you clearly put effort into creating this shot, and a lot of things about it work -- the patterns in your suit and tie are the right scale for a headshot (i.e., not too small). The charcoal grey suit picks up on the grey in your hair, and your skin pops against your vibrant blue shirt. In terms of your outfit, the two things I would change are your pocket square and lapel pin. The pocket square is too close to your shirt color but not exact -- it looks like you were trying to match it but didn't quite execute. Rather than matching your pocket square to a major element in your look (i.e., your shirt), you're better off with a square in a color that picks up on a minor color elsewhere in the outfit. A light grey like the one in the pattern of your tie or the windowpane of your suit jacket would be better -- it will be a more nuanced look. You might even be able to have the color of your square photoshopped so you don't have to reshoot. Finally, the lapel pin. It's a great detail for in-person, and it suits you and the creative image you're putting out there, but it doesn't translate in pictures. To someone who doesn't know what a lapel pin is, it will be confusing and distracting (it almost looks a little like a microphone!). It's a nice touch, and it suits you, so save it for in-person appearances.Thank you so much to everyone who entered. You guys are awesomely bold putting yourselves out there for critique like this -- I know it isn't easy! I'll be doing more contests like this in the future, so if this sort of thing interests you, make sure to sign up for my list so you can find out about it.Cheers,Julie

The only swimsuit style you need

Men's Style Advice: SwimwearSummer 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

Where George Clooney Gets It Wrong

George Clooney StyleWhenever I start working with new clients, one of the first questions I ask is if there's anyone (celebrity, newscaster, politician) whose style they'd like to emulate. More often than not, George Clooney's name shows up on the list. No shock -- Clooney is a boss on the red carpet. Has been for years. But GQ just released its annual 20 Most Stylish Men Alive list and, with it, took the following swipe at him:FWIW: George Clooney may be an icon of manliness to those of us who were born before 1985, but nobody under the age of thirty seems to think of him as particularly stylish.Under thirty crowd comment aside, I'm prone to agree that his casual gear could use some touching up. Here's why, and what you can learn from it:1) Tequila t-shirt: if you run a business, don't turn yourself into a human billboard for it. I get the irony -- Clooney's net worth is estimated at $180 million. He doesn't need to hawk tequila. But the t-shirt does nothing for him, and it makes him look like he's stepping out in old, dirty clothes.2) Dad jeans: it's no secret that dad jeans do not a style icon make. Some dad jeans are worse offenders than others, and while these aren't most awful ones I've seen, they are indeed very bad with their stumpy-leg and diaper-butt cut. Especially with his leggy new wife Amal, the last thing Clooney should do is wear jeans that make his bottom half look squat.3) Backpack and jacket: looking for a surefire way to look like a clod and ruin your tailored clothing while you're at it? Wear a backpack with your sport or suit jacket! This is one of the worst style mistakes a guy can make, and I am still trying to retrieve the contents of my head after its explosion thanks to the image above.What do you think of Clooney's style? Do you agree he's losing his edge? Let me know in the comments below.Cheers,Julie

How to Look Attractive in Glasses

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 GlassesSize 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 GlassesMen'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 FramesColor 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 newideas. 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

In Case You Missed These

Men's Style Advice: How to Change Your HairstyleI'm always on the lookout for the perfect style topic to share with you in each post. And I was looking back through my archives recently when it occurred to me that there are some gems in there you may have missed. So in case you didn't see them the first go-round, below are four of my favs that I think you'll find useful.How to Change Your Hair Style (George Clooney sets a good example above)The 6 Shoes Every Guy Should OwnHow to Combine Dress Shirts and PantsHow Your T-Shirt Should FitEnjoy!Cheers,Julie

How to Up Your Belt Game

Guest article by Napper Tandy of ntandy beltsA man’s belt is often a missed opportunity to have a little fun by providing a spin to whatever you’ve decided to don and exit your home in. There are no hard and fast fashion rules one should live by other than the fact that it’s dangerous to overly color coordinate. Matching a brightly colored belt with your shirt, shoes or socks can become hazardously close to fast food uniform territory.Men's Online Style Course: How to Wear a BeltThat said, socks that have some small colored polka dots or stripes, or a nato watch band of the same color, work… but tread lightly.When it comes to adding a shirt, you can never lose with a white oxford and/or a shirt which features a bit of the belt color on display.Men's Online Style Course: How to Wear a BeltThese thoughts above work for khaki, olive green or other earth-toned pants as well. Just always remember not to get too matchy or clashy. It’s not advised to go with green pants and a green belt.Men's Online Style Course: How to Wear a BeltHelp a suit take itself less seriously.People often ask if one can wear a suit with a colorful belt? The answer is hell yes, but like everything in life it’s all about context. One shouldn’t wear a red belt with a navy blue suit to a private wealth management meeting with new clients. But, one could wear it to dress down a suit when he still wants to look fearless on the street or while enjoying a cocktail at a bar. A colorful belt with a suit is like a pair of sneakers with a suit -  a dash of cranberry in vodka to ease the bite.Tropical storm?Headed to the Bahamas to recharge your soul? Colorful belts party with tropical flair like Hunter Thompson at a Hell’s Angel kegger. Just remember again, stay away from overly matchy or clashy -- contrast is king. Be bold, but work smarter not harder.Men's Online Style Course: How to Wear a BeltNapper Tandy is the founder and creative brains behind ntandy belts. Read more about Napper here, and check out his belt designs here.

Is Your Closet a Hot Mess? [Part 2, Guest Post by Korinne Kubena Belock]

Guest post by Korinne Kubena Belock, of Urban SimplicityWhether your closet is a large, roomy walk-in or the standard New York City shoebox of a space, keeping it organized is key to getting out the door as efficiently as possible. Once you’ve followed Julie’s steps from this article to get your closet in order, consider following a few best practices to keep common categories of items organized.Ideally your end result is as dreamy as…Men's Style Blog: Closet OrganizingClothing – For shirts and jackets, the best bet is hanging items on matching hangers, organized by type, then color. For shirts, I like Real Simple Slimline Hangers and a sturdier hanger for suits and blazers. Sweaters are best folded on open shelving, organized by color, and always use a shelf divider to keep stacks upright. In a dream world, every man’s closet would include a pull-out pant rack.Men's Style Blog: Closet OrganizingShoes – In some ways organizing men’s shoes is so much easier than ladies – simply because there are generally fewer of them. That said, the best way to keep shoes organized is open shelving so you can see everything you own. Always place your go-to shoes in sight-line with the shoes you wear less often, either up high or down low. And remember to keep casual and work shoes separate for easy access.Accessories – Are your belts piled in a corner and ties balled up with the knots still in them? I hope not! For belts, hooks are the way to go with a pull-out rack or simple hanger. Ties can be hung on a similar hook system or rolled and stored in a shallow drawer – always use drawer organizers and group ties by color. In closets with very limited space, I like to utilize the back of the door, and this valet system from Longstem Organizers is a great option that also keeps items like cuff links, sunglasses, and keys organized.The Basics – The best solution for everyday items like socks, underwear, undershirts and tees is to neatly fold them in drawers. Drawer organizers can be used to keep socks and underwear in order. For undershirts and tees, a good fold is key to make sure items don’t get buried. I always suggest folding tees and “filing” them away.Men's Style Blog: Closet OrganizingLesser Used Items – Consider storing lesser used items, like swim suits and baseball caps, in coordinated bins on higher shelving. Don’t forget to label the bins.Dirty Laundry and Dry Cleaning – The number one way to wreck a closet space it to leave dirty laundry lying around. Always have an open top bin to quickly throw things into. For clients with lots of dry cleaning, I always suggest a separate smaller bin to toss those items into to make drop-off easy on your way to work.Drop Zone – Men’s closets in particular can quickly become cluttered with everyday items like wallets, keys, change, receipts, and business cards. If there’s space, create a drop zone to organize these items on an open shelf using small catchall trays and bowls.korinne2Korinne Kubena Belock, founder and owner of Urban Simplicity, a professional organizing company based in New York City. Learn more about her company’s services at UrbanSimplicityNYC.com.

Is Your Closet a Hot Mess?

Men's Style: How to Organize Your ClosetYour closet called. It’s time to get organized.

I spend a lot of time in guys’ closets, and let me tell you, I’ve seen it all. From paint cans and bikes to ladies’ underwear, closets can easily become a catch-all for all the stuff we don’t have the time or energy to deal with. So we just toss it in, close the door, and forget about it until we have to get dressed again the next morning. With Spring upon us, now is an excellent time for a closet sweep and organization. Below is my 6-step process for how to whip your closet into shape.1) Go through everything in your closet and assess it for fit, style and function. Refer to this post for the seven questions to ask yourself about each item as you decide whether to keep, donate, or toss. The questions make it crystal clear as to how to handle each item. During a purge, I like to lay out garbage bags flat on the floor and then pile all the giveaway items on top so I can track as I go how much is being removed.2) As you’re going through items in  Step 1, remove the wire dry-cleaning hangers (and plastic dry cleaning bags). They can damage your clothes, which costs you money in the long run because it means you have to replace them sooner. Swap them out for wooden or plastic ones, and if you’re pressed for space, use slim-line hangers. If the majority of the hangers in your closet are uniform, you'll eliminate distraction, and it will be easier for you to find what you're looking for when you need it.3) Turn everything to face in the same direction, and organize by type, and then color. That means, put all your dress shirts together, and within that bucket, all solid white shirts, solid blue shirts, blue patterns, etc., go together. I get that this may be hard for you to maintain, but if you do it now and find that it saves you time when getting ready in the morning, you may be more likely to stick with it in the long run. (I don’t know about you, but anything that helps find what I need to get out the door in the morning faster, thereby affording me more sleep, is priority).4) Keep shoes neatly stacked on a shoe rack or in shoe boxes. Use shoe trees for nice shoes.5) Put belts on a belt rack and ties on a tie rack (or you can roll each neatly and put them in a drawer). Each different "type" of item should be kept together.6) Anything you don’t use on a daily or weekly basis like luggage or sports equipment should be kept outside the main areas of your closet. You want easy access for the things you need frequently; everything else can be out of sight and less accessible.Stay tuned for my next dispatch, a guest post from one of my favorite resources, closet organizer Korinne Kubena Belock. She’s going to get down and dirty with more specifics for how certain items should be stored for easiest access and maximum longevity.In the meantime, you can get started on your Spring cleaning project. Leave me a comment below to let me know how it goes for you.And if you're still feeling lost with how to whip your wardrobe into shape, my Next Level Style course might be for you. In it, I spend a whole section on how to do this, including how to create a "gaps list" to determine what's missing from your closet and how to go about acquiring these items in a strategic and intelligent way. The course also has a bunch of great bonuses, including a $50 Nordstrom gift card. Click here for more info.Cheers,Julie

How to Choose a Custom Clothier

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

Is It Time for a Style Update?

Men's Style Advice: Style UpdateDoes 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