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A Gentleman’s Guide to Looking Polished

Looks do matter – even for men, as the author Charles Hix said: “Looking good isn’t self-importance; it’s self-respect.” A well-groomed appearance can do wonders for your first impression, whether it’s an important meeting or a date. So gents, take these tips to create the polished look that will set you apart.

Crowning Glory

Your hair can make or break your appearance, so choose your hairstyle wisely! For the professional man, a classic barber haircut is ideal, but should you get a fade, pompadour, or undercut? According to Canton Barber’s Barber Manager Sam Wong (see left), it all depends on your personality and needs. “The office worker may want a more conservative style – perhaps a sleek pompadour – which is trimmed closely around the edges for a tidy look,” he says. “If you work outdoors, consider a short skin fade or even a buzz cut.” And if you’re a sporty person, you may like to layer it or get a crew cut.

What if you’re an active guy with an office job? “The trick is to use different products to change your style,” says Wong. “A matte pomade, for example, gives a more natural look, while the oil-based pomade is best for the shiny, slicked-back style.” The latter is hard to wash out, however, so many now prefer the water-based version, which also allows for easy rework during the day.

Fresh Faced

Just as prominent as the hair on your head, your beard says a lot about you, too. “It can make you look masculine and confident, but it can also appear messy and weathered when you just let it grow naturally,” Wong says.

Your face shape, beard colour, density and thickness of hair strands are all factors that determine which styles work for you. “Men with dense facial hair can fade it – this creates a defined look with a seamless flow from the hair and sideburns down to the chin,” he advises. And for those with less hair, either leave the side hair long enough to avoid a detached look, or pick a thin style such as the anchor beard (famously worn by Robert Downey Jr). If you’re growing a moustache – it’s Movember, after all – Wong has a tip: “Don’t let it extend down past your lip line unless you want food stuck in it!”

Suit Up

Wearing a suit that fits the occasion is an essential part of looking polished. “For everyday wear, Italian suits are all the rage now because they’re flexible and comfortable to wear while looking trendy and sharp,” says Andy Cheung of Suit Artisan(see left). “British styles are more structured, with defined and thick shoulders – great for formal occasions.”

This season, earth tones such as khaki and light beige are in trend, but classic colours like navy blue and grey are never out of fashion. “The key is to mix and match everything with thoughts,” he says. “Unless you’re wearing a full suit, the trousers should be in a contrasting colour to the jacket. Your shirt can be white, pink or light blue.”

There are rules for buttoning a suit jacket, too. “Always have at least one button fastened when standing,” he explains. “The bottom button must be undone for two-button and three-button suits, while the top button is optional for a three-button jacket.”

Finishing Touches

It’s the little details that set you apart from the rest, so don’t forget to add a finishing touch! There is a range of accessories to switch up your look, from watches and eyewear to tie clips and cufflinks. “One basic accessory is pocket square,” says Cheung. “It doesn’t matter what style it is, as long as it isn’t in the same colour as your tie. Do a modern ‘puff’ fold to look smart and casual, or the TV fold for more formal settings.”

Finally, complete your outfit with a pair of leather shoes. “Ideally, they should be made from the same leather as your belt, but if that’s impossible, at least make sure the colours match,” says Cheung.

Looking for more fashion tips? Check out these wardrobe tips from the fashionstas in town.
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