A Sharper, More Confident You, 10 Ways

January is a rough time, guys. The holiday hangover is slow to fade, warm weather is far out of sight, and those New Years resolutions are looking less and less likely to pan out. It’s easy to slip into the winter doldrums and to let your appearance follow you there, but there’s no need to succumb! So maybe you’re not working out like you planned, or perhaps you’re still a little too post-holiday-broke to get yourself the slick new suits you deserve, but you can still look and feel your best with these ten easy fixes to help you be the best you—even in the least wonderful time of year.

1. Channel your inner Superhero

Start every day by getting in front of a mirror, then stand up straight, pull your shoulders back, puff out your chest, lift up your chin, and hold that pose for at least two minutes. Take some deep breaths while you’re at it. This practice of “power posing” was found by researchers at Harvard to generate a sense of powerfulness and self-confidence that sticks with you, by releasing testosterone and lowering cortisol. It also helps correct any inclination to shrink into a slouched posture, which limits your breathing and makes you look schlubby. And, as we all know, better posture is step one for creating a taller, slimmer, healthier appearance.

2. Only wear as much fabric as you need

If you’re aiming to appear trimmer (or just look better), eliminate unnecessary material in your clothes to create clean, sleek lines. Which is to say, bag the bagginess. Even if you’re a larger dude and feel self-conscious about body-hugging threads, bigger, bulkier clothes will just end up making you look bigger and bulkier yourself. Go with trim “athletic cut” shirts, single button blazers, and steer clear of thicker fabrics like corduroy or chunkier knits.

3. Be dark and mysterious

It’s common sartorial wisdom that dark colors are generally slimming, but you don’t have to dress like Johnny Cash to reap the benefits. Since it’s still winter, make the most of your dark grey suits and your navy blue wools and pair them with rich seasonal shades like eggplant purple, burgundy, and forest green. And avoid loud prints—if you don’t want to draw attention to your midsection, stay clear of busy patterns, which tend to make you look larger.

4. Wake up your face

No matter how dapper you are from the neck down, folks will still notice if your mug looks tired, droopy, or dull, so get your face in ship shape with the easy boost of a caffeine moisturizer. In addition to waking up your brain, caffeine is a powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory that’s believed to reduce wrinkles, eye puffiness, and dark under-eye circles and possibly even help prevent damaging UV light from causing skin cancer. Harnessing its power will give you well-rested, younger looking skin. We like Urth’s Antioxidant Face Complex.

5. Smile and the world smiles with you

While you’re perking up your face, give it (and the world around you) an even more meaningful perk with a more freely distributed grin. An easy way to gain a quick shot of confidence and calm, smiling reduces the intensity of the body’s stress response and makes you feel better when you do it, even if you’re faking it. And that’s not our opinion—it’s science, man.

6. Crew before V

We were always skeptical of the V-neck trend, and it’s just a fact that few people (particularly those past their twenties) look good in V-neck sweaters, and even fewer can pull off the tee. They tend to reveal a little too much skin and, by nature of the shape, look a bit slovenly. Plus, a V-neck is like an arrow pointing at your stomach, so if you’re a little thick around the middle, just steer clear and don’t look back.

7. Give your pockets a break

If you stuff your suit with keys, wallets, phones, chewing gum, Swiss Army knives, or whatever else you need to get through your day, you’ll quickly ruin the clean lines of your suit while simultaneously looking a little like a shoplifting hobo. So spare your jacket and your trousers and either minimize your on-body cargo or carry your essentials in a bag (and no, it’s not a man-purse).

8. Mind your trouser length

This should be square one of proper dressing, and yet the problem persists even among the highest echelons of style and access. Never let your trousers puddle over your shoes or bunch up around your ankles. Taking your pants to your tailor to get the hems properly situated (typically skimming the top of your shoes) is the easiest way to upgrade your wardrobe from schlumpy to sleek.

9. Avoid knee-sag

Many of our common winter fabrics, like wool and flannel, are very quick to “knee” (sag and pull around the knee area when stretched out) once you’ve sat down in them a few times. Avoid this by simply hiking up your trousers a wee bit when you sit down. Simple enough, but easy to forget.

10. Smell good, feel good, look good

Everybody loves smelling good, whether for yourself, for the benefit of a partner, or to add to your personal allure. But spritzing on your favorite scent may have even more benefits that you thought. A 2009 study found that fragrance not only juices your confidence but may also boost others’ perception of you. From the study: “Although there was no difference between groups in mean attractiveness ratings of men’s photographs by a female panel, the same women judged men using the active spray as more attractive in video-clips, suggesting a behavioural difference between the groups.”

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