Men's Personal Styling

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

What to Wear for the Kentucky Derby

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 StyleHats, of course, an optional bonus ;)Cheers,Julieimages via kentuckyderby.com, GQ.com, vineyardvines.com

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

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

The Case for Wearing a Watch [and some non-bank breaking picks]

Men's Image Consultant: How to Choose a Watch

Are you wearing a watch everyday? If not, you're missing out on an easy way to create a signature look, one that will set you apart from everyone else. In the image above, I've selected 25 of my favorite watches on the market right now. Many of them are from under-the-radar brands you've likely not heard of. The nice thing about these watches is that NOT every other dude in your office will be wearing the same thing as you. Several are under $300, so you don't need to break the bank to do this (although I did choose some deliciously splurge-worthy ones as well!). Below are where to find/buy, along with style notes for a few of them.

1) Tsovet, $2002) Tsovet, $2253) Aark Collective, $1994) TID, $2505) Nixon, $350. The face is made out of recycled newspapers fashioned to look like wood.6) Daniel Wellington, $2997) Orient Watch, $3408) Orient Watch, $3409) Diesel, $35010) Seiko, $35011) Aark Collective, $31912) Tsovet, $45013) Tsovet, $47514) Helson, $59915) Bravur, $82016) Autodromo $87517) Bravur, $88018) Jenny Watches, $990 [click for black band]19) Seven Friday, $115020) Uniform Wares, $120021) Autodromo $120022) Junghans, $212023) Graham Chronograph, $282524) Tsovet, $10,00025) Rolex/Bamford Watch Dept., Price upon request [If you haven't heard of Bamford Watch Department, they take various luxury brand watches like Rolex, Panerai, Patek Philippe, Audemars Piguet, etc. and customize them, for example with military grade titanium or graphite particle coating, along with bespoke dial colors. Pretty much your wish is their command. Just like with anything on this level of exclusivity, be prepared to open your wallet in a big way for watches like these. There's some amazing pieces on their website, along with some pretty trippy pieces (like this), so it's worth a click over even if just to browse.]Tip: if you like the overall shape of something but aren't sure of the color, click over anyway, as many of these styles come in multiple colors.

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

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?

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

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

Two Easy Outfits to Help You Stand Out From the Crowd

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 DatePurple 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

10 Quick and Painless New Year's Style Resolutions

New Year's resolutions are so cliché, I almost can't stand writing about them. But the truth is, when a new year rolls around, it's nice to take stock and see what you could start doing differently. The usual suspects here are diet and exercise, and often such resolutions are overzealous and set us up or failure. So this year I'm here to help boost you up with some totally doable style-related resolutions that will require very little of your time.Read on for this year's top 10 style resolutions.Men's Style Advice: New Year's Resolutions1) Try one new thing with your wardrobe. It can be easy to find one thing that you're comfortable in and that feels easy to you. But it can also be really boring! Give 2015 a fighting chance and add some sort of new element to your look -- maybe it's starting to wear more color, or swapping out your logo'd/free event t-shirts for something nicer (here's my guide for how your t-shirt should fit).2) Don’t shop without a plan (or on an empty stomach). The last thing you want to do when shopping is make mistake purchases. And shopping without knowing what you're looking for -- or when you're hungry -- will put you on the fast track to a shopping fail.3) Donate anything with holes or stains that won’t come out.  This one really doesn't need explaining. I'll just say that when you wear torn-up, crappy clothes, the message you send is that you feel torn-up and crappy about yourself. This then becomes an unfortunate vicious cycle which causes you actually to start feeling that way. (Confirm with whatever charity you're donating to what condition they will take clothing in.)4) Take your oversized clothes to the tailor. This is an instant, low-cost (at least compared to buying new things) option for upgrading your wardrobe. Stay tuned for an upcoming post about how to know what's worth tailoring.5) Think before you stink (a.k.a. avoid strong aftershaves). This one was on last year’s list, but I had to include it again. I did a lot of traveling in 2014, and one of the biggest conclusions I drew is that there's an Old Spice epidemic in the US. Nearly every morning flight I took, I felt as if I might become asphyxiated by the scent of the man sitting next to me. Trust me, just because you can't smell it doesn't mean others can't either. Ask one or two lady friends with good taste to tell you honestly if any of the product smells you're wearing are offensive. And if the initials for any of said products are O.S., drop it like it's hot.Men's Style Tips: New Year's Style Resolutions6) Wear a watch. I get it, watches are no longer necessary since we all use our phones these days. But if you're not wearing a watch, you're missing out on an excellent opportunity to distinguish your look. Above is a serious arm party courtesy of one of my clients. You don't need to break the bank when adding a watch to your look, however. There are plenty of good choices under $200 (including this one for $185 from Miansai). Choose something that resonates with you personally and that you'd feel good wearing -- not what others would expect you to wear.7) Make sure you have one suit that fits you like armor. Chances are, sometime in 2015 there will be a wedding, funeral, or job interview you'll need to attend. And you'll need a great-fitting suit for those situations -- one you don't have to think twice about. Often such events spring up out of nowhere, so it's to your benefit to have a suit ready and waiting in your closet. And if you think you can get by with that old boxy one from ten years ago, think again. There are few things less flattering on a man than an ill-fitting suit, and there's definitely no way to disguise a poor fit.8) Buy flattering jeans. Most new clients I meet are in need of a jeans refresh. Even if you have a pair that was flattering when you bought them two years ago, chances are at this point they've stretched and faded, and it's time to replace them. If you've never had a pair of jeans you feel great in, it's time to add that to your wardrobe. Here's my guide for how to find flattering jeans.Men's Style Advice: Square-Toed Shoes9) Lose the square-toed shoes. These were cool in the 90's. But the 90's is not now. Do yourself a favor and get them out of your closet so you aren't tempted to wear them.10) Take your dress shoes to the shoe guy for a cleanup and to be resoled. This is another low-cost way to refresh things, and in fact a good cobbler can make your shoes look almost new. If you don't already have someone you use, look on Yelp or other user-review sites in your area for one with high ratings, or ask any well-dressed guys you encounter where they take theirs.How many of the tips on this list are you able to implement? I guarantee that even if you do just 3 of them, you'll be in great shape, and you'll feel that much better about yourself.Wishing you a very stylish 2015!Cheers,Julie

The 2014 Rath & Co. Holiday Gift Guide (gifts for you and her)

It's holiday go-time! Are you ready? If not, don't worry. I've compiled a list of gift ideas to help you make sure all bases are covered. Read on for 3 gifts you can ask for for yourself (and for the ladies reading this, they're for your man), 3 you can give to her, and 1 sexy gift for the both of you.

3 FOR YOU

Men's Personal Shopper: Holiday Gift IdeasS'well Water Bottle $30 - A client of mine recently embarked on a major fitness and weight loss project. As part of that, we upgraded his workout clothes and gear so he'd feel better about himself while he's working out. Since starting, he's lost 25 pounds of fat and gained 10 pounds of lean muscle. Proof positive that upgrading your exercise gear can only help you achieve your fitness goals. This sleek and sharp-looking matte grey BPA-free water bottle is a great gift for the fitness enthusiast -- or someone whose new year's goals involve fitness. The bottle will keep a beverage cold for 24 hours or hot for 12. And it has a vacuum seal that keeps drinks and carbonation fresh.Men's Personal Shopper: Holiday Gifts 2014 Striped Belt $117 - Do you, or does the object of your gift-giving, keep going back to the same wardrobe items over and over? If so, then it's time to diversify. A belt with some color/pattern to it like the one from Anderson's above is an excellent way to accomplish this. And the nice thing about it having multiple colors is that it's easy to coordinate. Since the leather is brown on this one, and it has a brown stripe, it should be worn with brown shoes (navy would also work for a more outside-the-box look). Post on how to incorporate cool non-basic belts into your look coming soon.Men's Personal Shopper: Christmas Gift IdeasSilk Blend Scarf $150 - Scarves are always a great gift (most guys I meet are in need of one), and this navy polka dot/stripe combo from Paul Smith has just enough visual interest without being over-the-top.

3 FOR HER

Men's Personal Shopper: Christmas Gift IdeasSet of Notebooks $14 - There's something uplifting about writing in a beautiful notebook, and the gold foil detail on these from from Rifle Paper gives it a rich, special feel that she'll love.Men's Image Consultant: Holiday Gift Ideas for MenMelissa Joy Manning Opal Earrings $210 - The hoop part of these delicate opal earrings goes around the back of the ear as an interesting departure from basic and boring studs. Your subtle message that she is anything but basic and boring to you.Men's Image Consultant: Christmas Gift ListBlack Saint Laurent Wallet $675 - A basic black wallet like this is an absolute fail-safe option. Clean, classic, sophisticated. You can't go wrong.

1 FOR YOU BOTH

Men's Personal Shopper: Christmas Gift Ideas for MenL'Agent by Agent Provocateur Lingerie - The uber-luxe Agent Provocateur (with price tags to match) has collaborated with Penelope and Monica Cruz on a more palatably-priced, but equally delicious lingerie collection. This line is also available at Nordstrom, Bloomingdales, Shopbop and Net-A-Porter._______________________________________________What's on your holiday gift list? And what are you hoping to receive? Leave me a comment below -- I'd love to hear!Cheers,Julie

Fall/Winter Style Tip #2: Get a Killer Coat

Men's Style Tips: OuterwearDid you put together a great outfit today? That's all well and good, but I gotta tell you: if your outerwear is bad news, it doesn't matter what you have on under it. Your look is shot.Your coat or jacket sets the tone for your look, so read on for how to bring it up to speed.A lot of times my one-on-one clients know they need outerwear but don't know where to start. There are a multitude of different types of these jackets, and it can be really confusing, especially if you're shopping online (do you know what a "utility jacket" is???) To simplify your options, I've broken them down by length and given you samples for each. Click the links to see the samples.Here's what you have to choose from for Fall and Winter outerwear:Waist lengthIncludes: bomber, vest, leather and suede (usually this length, but they can also go to upper-thigh), denim (good for layering)Upper-thigh length (length hits about where your hip creases when you lift your knee up)Includes: parka, field jacket, utility jacket (has four pockets on the front), shirt jacket, peacoat, sporty shell-type jacketMid-thigh lengthIncludes: raincoat, overcoat (here's my rundown on how to shop for an overcoat)Knee lengthIncludes: overcoat, dressy/traditional raincoatOf these options, it would be great if you owned one from each length category, but if you can't swing that, try for one from each of two categories, preferably one with a dressy feel and one with a sporty feel. That helps add versatility so you aren't wearing the same thing day in and day out.And make sure the jacket or coat fits you properly. The seams should hit right on the edges of your shoulders, the sleeves shouldn't go past your wrists, and it should fit trimly through the torso, but you should be able to button/snap it.Cheers,JulieP.S. Make sure to check out Fall Style Tip #3 which shows you how to break the monotony if you find yourself wearing the same thing day in and day out.

Your Summer Hit List

 Men's Image Consultant: Summer WardrobeIs your summer wardrobe in need of a refresh? At key points throughout the year, my Rath & Co. clients and I reassess their wardrobes for the upcoming season. We look at what works and what doesn't, and what they didn't have enough of last year. If you haven't gone through this exercise for summer, before you go into full beach mode, carve out time to go through all of your summer clothes so that you can create a clear list of what's missing. Below is my hit list of 10 summer must-haves to help guide you, plus a couple of grooming bonuses:1) Lightweight t-shirts: a mix of henleys, crew and v-necks2) Sweatshirt or long-sleeve shirt for post-beach3) Summer footwear: sandals, flip-flops, or what I call social sneaks (aka nice sneakers you wouldn't work out in)4) Sunglasses5) Swimsuits: here's a guide on how to choose the best style for you.6) Lightweight and light color dress shirts, pants, sportcoats, and suits (the latter two depend on your social calendar and how frequently you dress up for work).7) Shorts8) Strong deodorant with anti-perspirant9) Minty soap: for more on soaps and other grooming products that will keep you cool, check out my post on Heat-Wave Style.10) Sun protection: I'm fair-skinned and super-picky about what type I use -- VMV Hypoallergenics Armada Face Cover is what works best for me. Also check out Bioastin Astaxanthin, which is an antioxidant that's said to help protect skin against the sun.What's on your hit list for summer?Cheers,Julie 

What to Wear on a Spring Date

The frost has finally lifted here in New York City, and it is officially time to start thinking about Spring dates. Whether you’re strolling through a farmer’s market, going to your local botanical garden, or picnicking on a lawn, it’s key to dress appropriately. Below is a perfect outdoor Spring date outfit. Men's Style Help: What to Wear on a Spring Date Blazer via East Dane, shirt via Gant Rugger, pants and belt via Bonobos, shoes via Nordstrom.What's your favorite thing to wear on an outdoor date?

The Six Shoes Every Guy Should Own

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 Oxford1. 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 Boots6. 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

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 blazer2) 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 blazer5) 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.____________________________________________________________How do you like to wear a navy blazer?Cheers,Julie

Images via Rath & Co. and The Wall Street Journal