I am a working professional in my mid-30’s and sort of going through a small mid-life crisis (thought it only happened to women, but I was wrong). In my teens and 20’s, I was in my best physical shape, always wore the best and “coolest” clothes and now I find myself struggling to keep up and look good. I am single and in need of some advice. How or who can I go see that will help me with my clothes, my hair, etc. Socially, I am pretty active, but with my supposed “new look” I’d want to get advice on how to get more involved with the community and go to more events in DC/VA. Bottom line, I am looking for a freakin’ “make over” I guess (hate saying that, sounds like a girl, but what does a masculine guy call it?) Thanks in advance for helping me out.
Dear Joe Ego,
Thank you so much for writing in. I know it’s hard as a masculine man to admit you need an image makeover and there isn’t a lot of good information out there for men on this topic. I think Bravo needs to bring back Queer Eye for the Straight Guy. So many men don’t know where to turn for a “man makeover”, image consulting, or rebranding. TLC’s What Not to Wear typically focuses on women, but occasionally they will makeover a man.
From your email, I can tell you miss being in amazing shape like you were in your teen’s and twenties. While hair, clothing, accessories and a cool bachelor pad can do wonders, how you feel about yourself is the most important thing. A masculine man needs to have confidence, and if you grew up being the hot guy, and now feel badly about your physical condition, I think you need to start with getting a gym membership and a trainer. New clothes and a new image are great, but they may only cover up the underlying problem – how you feel about your body and yourself. I believe that if you are a man or a woman with a healthy, fit body you can wear almost anything and you’ll look better than those who are overweight, unfit and spend a ton of money on their clothing, so long as you choose something tasteful.
I know some guys think they don’t need a trainer and feel it isn’t cool. But I have seen so many men at the gym you don’t know how to lift weights properly and are doing more damage to their back and aren’t lifting effectively by using a steady, smooth motion and really working out a specific muscle. I always find it helpful to get a trainer for a month or more to kick-start my workout routine. Have a couple of appointments at the gym for the first 6 weeks will keep you going to the gym until your body gets addicted to working out again. So don’t feel weird about getting a personal trainer.
Take some time to think about what you feel your new style is. Think of your favorite musicians, actors, or successful business men you admire. Pick up a GQ magazine and take a look at their hairstyle, what they wear casually, formally and to work. Rip out any images you really like and can relate to. You want to look like your best self — not like someone else. So if you’ve always been preppy, do preppy in a new, more polished way. If you’ve been the “bad boy”, do a higher-end, more grown up rebellious look. Make a budget for yourself, so that you don’t get carried away. You may want to consider hiring an image consultant/stylist. A stylist will go through your closet and edit out pieces that no longer fit you, are out of style, or colors that don’t work with your skin tone. You can donate these items to charity, and take some items which just need alterations to a tailor so that you can use them. Be honest with your stylist about your budget, so that the stylist can prioritize what you need and tell you where you have “holes” in your wardrobe. I highly recommend Lana Orloff and Lauren Rothman. Between the two of them, these ladies have given the gift of great style to the most powerful and successful men and women in Washington.
Changing up your hairstyle can really transform your look. Go to a great salon rather than a barber. Ask some of your friends around town whose hair you like where they go. Again, look through GQ magazine and see what you like. Be sure to compare your facial shape to that of the image you like to make sure they match up. Also the texture of your hair will make a difference, so ask your stylist if she or he thinks this look would work on you. Also, be sure to ask how to style your hair on your own, so that you’ll have the right products and will know how to take care of your hair on your own. I recommend Andre Chreky, Toka Salon and Roche Salon.
You may also want to consider investing in some manscaping.I don’t believe that all men need to have a waxed chest, but women don’t like men with hairy backs, and who are super bushy down below. So go someplace like Hela Spa or The Grooming Lounge, and take care of these issues. Also, be sure to take care of your feet. I know a lot of guys think its weird to get a pedicure, and that’s fine, just buy the proper tools so that you can do it yourself at home. Get a pumice stone so you don’t have rough, calloused heels, trim your toe nails, and clean underneath them. If you have some funky athlete’s foot or toe nail issues, please see a doctor to rid yourself of these issues quickly. Women will notice.
Also consider changing up your cologne. A man shouldn’t wear a ton of cologne, but women do like men to use it sparingly, so go to a nice store like Neiman Marcus or Saks Fifth Avenue, ask someone to help you and figure out what you like. I don’t like jewelry on a man, but I do think a man should have a nice watch. So this may be something you want to consider. Guys also seem to like their high tech gadgets, so invest in a cool phone. Also, invest in a housekeeper and make sure your bachelor pad is clean, and inviting.
As for getting more involved in DC and going to more events, read this post I wrote a while back on being new to Washington and getting involved and meeting new people. Fortunately, Washington is a very inclusive city compared to others like Charleston. Read my post and write me back if you have any questions.
I hope this helps. Please write back and let me know how it goes!
– Miss A