In a recent study conducted by the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, researchers concluded that physically attractive people in the United States commonly earn 5 percent more than their less attractive counterparts who do the same work. (OK, don’t ask me why a bank needed to find this out!)
It is my opinion that “attractiveness” is how the individual presents himself rather than a judgment of his physical features. As proof of this claim, I ask you to think about the men of Italy. They generally look great because they believe they look great. Examine them closely, beyond the wild hair, the sunglasses, and the 5 o’clock shadow and they’ve got all the imperfections of any other nationality.
So, it’s not about how you look, but how you see yourself that matters. If you think you’re attractive you will appear that way to others.
In that spirit, here are ten tips for looking your best that don’t have to cost you a dime:
1. Look in the mirror 3-4 times per day! It’s not vanity; it’s like using “spell check” for your body. Anything in your teeth? How’s your tie knot or shirt collar? Do you look happy?
2. Understand your fashion viewpoint. What do you want your clothing to communicate about you? There are only three messages for men and you’ve got to pick one or blend two together tastefully. Are you “conservative” (You can rely on me!); “traditional” (I am a force to be reckoned with!) or "fashionable" (I am hot!)
3. Dress yourself. It’s your responsibility to look good. No one else’s. Let your wife pick out your kids' clothes, not yours. If you want advice, get it from another man.
4. Don’t read the men’s fashion magazines or, if you must, don’t take them too seriously. They have an agenda and it may not be yours.
5. Better than the above, look at the men on the street’s of NYC. The layout of our subway cars make people watching acceptable. It’s the best school for learning the do’s and don’ts of dressing.
6. Don’t worry too much about color. Unlike women’s clothing, men’s clothing should not match perfectly. Think more about quality and taste. Take a chance on a color combination. It just might give you a fresh new look.
7. Once or twice per year, take an hour to go window shopping. Visit the best stores (at least in terms of displays) of New York with no intention of buying anything. You don’t even have to talk to a salesperson. Just look at the clothing and try to figure out what fashion viewpoint (conservative, traditional or fashionable) a brand is trying to create.
8. Don’t dry clean your clothing too often. Always judge whether it needs pressing by how the clothing looks on you, not on the hanger. And only clean it when it’s dirty.
9. Put a pocket square in your breast pocket. (You’ve got one somewhere!) Linen should coordinate with your shirt, silk with your tie. Don’t drive yourself crazy fixing it just right. If in doubt, go straight across.
10. Shine your shoes. Most of the time it just takes a few second with a soft cloth. Your shoes are what people often see first.
Kozinn+Sons Merchant Tailors
22 West 32nd Street, 5th Floor
New York NY 10001