This post is something that if you ask me 5 years ago that I would not be writing if you ask me. But here I am, writing about a subject that over the pass year that I have been experimenting with. It is an experiment that has been overwhelmingly good for me, mentally, physically, and has built up my confidence. The subject that I speak of is this; taking care of yourself by working on your appearance. That’s right, I said, I said appearance. It may be vain to some and even why should it matter. I am here to declare that it does matter. And I will tell you why.
This experiment started out after I stumbled upon a website called “The Art of Manliness.” The website which is geared toward men about learning and relearning about the proper manners and ways that a gentlemen should act. Which in my opinion over the years has been lost. Simply this, men have just let things fall to the wayside. Everything from manners, dress, and how to do handle various situation has been lost in our current culture. The art of Manliness website works and guides men that are willing to learn to help themselves and help make their world better for themselves.
I actually have started this experiment awhile back without really knowing where it was going to go. I believe that my experiment actually started more than 3 years ago when I started a weekly thing with my coworkers to get a free lunch and that was my Tie Tuesdays. 3 years has gone by since that all started but over that three years it has evolved to me learning about the finer things of dressing up. Before I would simply dress up and just go to work dressed up as I could be at the time. To now, it has evolved into a whole routine that I religiously follow on a daily basis. It has become a thing that I throughly enjoy and at the end of the process feel happy with myself and ready to take on the world.
But all this happen in just the last year. Once I read that there are men out there in the world recapturing what it means to be a gentlemen, it got me thinking and wanting to try out things that I’ve seen in movies and magazines but I only thought they happen there and not in real life. But there was always al part of me that thought, there had to be some that did it and where did they learn the art.
Well funny enough, I discovered it while I was searching for another thing that I have become passionate and very interested in. At about the same time I started to look into supporting things that were made locally and that were made in the USA. It’s funny to think about that because I can almost guarantee that there is about 50% of items that everyone owns is made in China. But just like I thought about men being gentlemen there had to be a way. And I found that in what I call the Hipster community.
In the hipster community I started noticing that those guys dressed up and presented themselves in a very clean and stylize way. A way that I don’t see most men present themselves. Here are few things that I started to notice. First they were well groomed. Their hair was neatly comb and cared for. It wasn’t overly styled but just looked very classic. Something that could be done years from now and wasn’t the thing of the moment. Next they dressed up very clean and fresh. Meaning that they wore casual cloths like button downs and jeans but they were fitted well. Not baggy or skin tight but it fit them. And lastly they just cool without being obnoxious about it. They cared about the way they look but did it grace and class.
So seeing this I new I had a place to start. So I started to research and dig deeper into what was the proper things to do. So back to the Art of Manilness I went. And over the course of the year, I started getting guy products. Things like shaves, face washing, face tonics, moisturizers, pomades, aftershaves, etc, etc. And that eventually lead to more “dressier” things like, fitted shirts, jeans, slacks, boots, dress shoes, and even a really nice pair of Converses. Over this pass year, I have learned a fine appreciation of things that I think men should look into. Yes, it would be fair to say that I do wish we lived in the era of “Mad Men.” And i do hope we do get there again.
Yes, I know, that there will be guys out there that will ask why and why again over dressing up. There will be things said like, I like being comfortable in what I wear and there is nothing I would change in what I wear today. And my whole point isn’t to change what guys do because of what I do but just to make them consider such things.
I mean, we guys do expect women to dress up for things and why shouldn’t we expect the same for us? And my answer is we should expect the same.
Because when we do start thinking and taking action to take of ourselves we will notice that things will start to change. It will be small things but it will all add up to noticeable things down the road. This will be a process that will take some time but will pay off in the end.
When we start to take care of ourselves we start to present ourselves to world in a different way. We feel more empowered to do things that we didn’t think we could do before. When I dress up on Tuesdays, I feel like I can walk into a place and gain the respect of everyone in there. I know what you may be thinking that it is based on what you look like. I would say Yes, you are correct because it is based on what you look like. These are strangers that don’t know you when you walk in and they only way they themselves can judge / assets you is by how you present yourself. If you present yourself in a way that say Hi, I’m here you could gain the attention and you feel more confident with what you do. However if you present yourself in a different manner, you give off a totally different vibe and people will judge you differently. If you don’t care what you look like, no one will care about you. Yes that is harsh but it’s the truth.
One thing to note though, friends and true friends at that will not judge you differently from how your dress to what you do in the morning, they just won’t because they care for you because of the person you are. But others that don’t know you will use something else to help them make a decision about you.
So take the time and pride yourself on taking care of yourself. Because if you don’t no one else will.
Here are few things that I learn:
1) Like all things, a morning routine takes time to establish. Don’t expect things will happen overnight and will happen quickly.
2) Dressing up does take a little more time for you to get ready. But it is well worth the effort.
3) Most people will not say anything to you about what you look like but you can tell by watching their body language.
4) Getting the products and wardrobe does add up financially so pace yourself. Give yourself some time to invest in your things. I recommend also look at this as an investment rather than throwing money away on things you “don’t need” and consider getting these things from local stores rather than chain stores. Yes prices are greatly different but customer service is so much better at your local businesses.
5) At first it feels weird and you may want to stop it at the first sign of being uncomfortable. However stick with it. It takes time to get use to it.
6) Invest in studying what the different types of products and wardrobe pieces that guys have available out there. There’s a lot but that doesn’t mean you need them all. Doing it smartly you can take simply wardrobe and make it go a long distance for you.
7) Develop your own style. It will take time to do this. But mimic a style from a magazine from somewhere and use that as a foundation and go from there. You don’t want to copy someone rather find what works for you.
8) Make a schedule for yourself for when you dress up and dress down. You don’t have to dress up everyday. You just have to make yourself presentable everyday. There’s a difference.
9) Have fun and experiment. Try things and see how it goes. This happens over time and after you have firm grasp on what work for you and only you.
10) Don’t let other tell you what to do rather listen those that guide you and give you advice and let you figure it out for yourself.
11) Support friends and others that are starting out to consider about dressing up too. There’s nothing more comfortable when you have someone who can help you when you have questions about things.
12) Don’t be afraid to ask questions about things you don’t know. There’s always someone that will know the answer and help guide you.
13) Be prepared to start getting noticed.
14) It not all about how you dress but also how you carry yourself. Remain calm and collective. Don’t be an ASS!
15) Styles will change over time so consider “classic looks.”
16) Invest in finding a great barber for yourself. Go to a barbershop that specializes on guys.