Don’t own an iron? Can’t tell when to wear a tie? Unable to point out the difference between a button-up shirt and a button-down one? (The latter has buttons on the tips of its collar.) That’s exactly what the MeNBN style guide is here for. It's perfect for all those times you’ve snoozed your alarm a few too many times, and have woken up just minutes before you were expected to leave.
And there’s no need to worry, a 15-minute shopping spree to lighten your wallet along with your problems isn’t what we have in mind. Instead, we’re going to show you how you can mix and match pieces you may already have in your closet and still come out looking dressed according to the situation.
15 minutes before a job interview:
The goal: to appear professional and well-coordinated, even if it is far from the truth.
- Any and every guy should own a pair of well-ironed slacks and a button-up shirt. Button-down shirts, on the other hand, are largely seen as less formal than button-ups, and are more suited for business casual attire.
- Unless there is a particular color combination that you generally stick to, it’s difficult to go wrong with a crisp, clean white shirt.
- Wear your shirt before your pants to make it easier for you to tuck your shirt in.
- If these items of clothing are wrinkled and you don’t have time to iron them, just hang them in the bathroom (if your bathroom is small enough) while you take a shower; the steam will even out some of the wrinkles, making them less noticeable.
- If the shirt is still wrinkled, tuck it in to make it smoother, or wear either a vest or a jacket to cover it up.
- Shoes that are already tied are a plus, and formal black or brown shoes are the way to go.
- Do not neglect the basic tenets of personal hygiene and grooming; wash your face and brush your teeth. You’ll appear more awake and refreshed than you actually are.
- Never underestimate the compelling power of a tie, it makes you look much more professional and shows potential employees that you’re ready to represent them. Ideally keep some pre-tied, but even going for an elastic or a clip-on one is be better than abandoning it altogether.
- Just make sure that the tie is a dark or neutral color with no striking patterns.
15 minutes before a theater audition:
The goal: to look unique and memorable without going over the top, while remaining comfortable and flexible.
- Well-ironed slacks or even well fitting dark jeans work for theater auditions depending on how formal the show is expected to be. If the chances are that the audience of the show will be wearing formal attire, it’s best to stick with slacks.
- Whether you shower or not, ensure that your face is washed and cleanly shaven and that you’ve brushed your teeth. No amount of chewing gum or mouthwash can substitute for that.
- Wet your hair to make it more manageable and use some hair product to make it neater.
- Again, it’s easier to slip into pre-tied shoes to save time on dealing with laces, but just make sure they’re comfortable enough for movement.
- While it’s tempting to want to make a strong first impression, stay away from bright colors and patterns on that you wouldn’t wear in other formal situations.
- It’s preferable to not wear a tie, simply to not have it as a distracting factor as your make your way across the stage.
- Unlike in a job interview situation, don’t tuck your shirt in or else you’ll restrict your movement.
- Similarly, vests and jackets should be left at home to allow yourself the freedom to move as you please.
- Don’t forget to wear a thin T-shirt underneath your shirt if you don’t have time to shower and think you may work up a sweat.
15 minutes before a first date:
Your goal: to come across as cool and laid-back, while maintaining your maturity as an adult.
- First and foremost, brush your teeth, wash your face and make sure your hands (fingernails especially) are clean. We cannot stress how important these three things are.
- Dress according to the formality of the date. Dark wash jeans will cover you in almost any situation (literally and figuratively), but if you’re planning on going to the opera, the theater or any place where other people will be wearing formal wear, go for a suit or dress pants, a shirt, a tie and a vest.
- Wear clean, comfortable shoes; pre-tied shoes or slip-ons are the most convenient. Sperrys go well with jeans, formal shoes with slacks and dress pants.
- As is with all formal wear, tuck in your shirt on a fancy date, but not necessarily on a casual coffee date.
- Stay far away from shirts with gaudy patterns or cheap t-shirts with printed logos on them to save yourself from embarrassing your date. Any button–down with the top button left undone or a polo shirt in a solid color will complement jeans well.
- If your shirt is wrinkled and you don’t have time to steam it in the shower, wear a nice well-fitting sweater over it - just not the one your grandma knitted for you four years ago.
- One of the biggest turn-offs for women is being able to smell her date from 50 feet away. Whether you take a shower or not, control your urge to douse yourself in cologne, and stick to a single spritz or two.
In the end, though your clothes can help make a good first impression, they do not entirely “maketh the man.” The effect of a well-pressed shirt and slacks shouldn’t be underestimated, but having a pleasant demeanor and a clear mind is far more important, and will stick in peoples’ minds for longer.