On your way to a meeting with the boss…in line for a promotion…
But you can't get your tie to hold a dimple.
You notice a massive crease in your shirt sleeve
You've got a bad scuff on your dress shoes…you don't have 30 minutes to shine them up.
So much for your chances right?
Most of the essential skills that men need to look their sharpest are quick and easy.
I'm going to show you 10 fundamental style skills every man should master…
If you do, these tricks will help you put out style “fires” before they start.
Style Skill #1 – Half-Windsor Tie Knot
The Half-Windsor? It's a medium-sized tie knot which forms a Inice symmetrical triangle. But that doesn't make the necktie too flashy. It's still business-appropriate.
Since the knot is smaller than a full Windsor, it's compatible with button-down, medium spread or point collars. So imagine the flexibility of knowing how to tie it…and it'll work great for either corporate functions or your friends' weddings.
The good news: a Half-Windsor is relatively quick and easy to do. Start with the wide end longer than the narrow end. Cross the wide over the narrow before you let it pass behind and go through the neck opening. Cross it in front of the narrow end, going under and up through the neck opening, and slip it through the loop you just formed. Hold the narrow end and push the knot up to your neck.
Sounds confusing? You don't have to rely on verbal instructions. Check out this infographic plus a step-by-step guide to the Half Windsor knot.
Style Skill #2 – Perfect Necktie Dimple
Not everyone can smile and show off attractive dimples…do you want to know how to compensate for a dimple-less face?
Make use of necktie dimples. Trust me…they really add more character to your formal and casual outfits by showing the world your attention to detail.
Start by tying whatever tie knot you like. Then right before you pull down to tighten it at the end, simply pinch the fabric of the knot to create a “W” shape. With everything locked in place – the dimple stays put all day.
Style Skill #3 – Parisian Scarf Knot
Scarves can be tricky. While they're supposed to keep you warm during winter when you're strolling outside…you don't want them placed around your neck clumsily.
So all scarf-wearers should learn the Parisian knot. It's an easy-peasy knot that makes your scarf perfectly functional and stylish. No fuss, tangles or loose ends to worry about.
You can tie the Parisian for a long wool scarf (better if 70+ inches) to get the best results. Fold the scarf in half lengthwise. Hold the looped end with one hand and the two loose ends with the other.
Wrap the scarf around your neck, threading the loose ends through the loop. Then pull them down to secure the knot. Neat, warm, and charming! And that's just one of several manly ways to tie a scarf. So don't undervalue this item.
Style Skill #4 – Quick Shoe Shine
Some of you might question this one. It's such a straightforward task that nobody would get it wrong. Well…not exactly.
The first step is actually brushing the dirt off your dress shoes, skipping this step means you're actually sealing all the dirt and harmful chemicals ONTO the leather. You need a good horsehair brush to clean out the dirt, grime, and old shoe polish residue. Then you proceed with the polishing (using an old white cloth).
The best way of shoe-shining is to do small circular strokes. When that's finished, buff the shoes using the brush once more. Maintain a light pressure while buffing the leather. This lets the new polish come out looking as consistent as possible.
Style Skill #5 – Ironing A Dress Shirt
No one likes ironing shirts but if you care about style as much as I do…you already know how important it is. Did you know you can iron strategically?
It's all a routine that takes getting used to. You turn on the iron with the right heat setting. Pour in distilled water. Start with the back of the collar (going from the ends towards the center). Then the sleeves (flatten the cuffs on the ironing board). Then the back (where you'll reposition the shirt a few times).
Smooth the fabric to prevent creases. Spray distilled water to undo the tougher ones. Then transition to the shoulders before turning the shirt over to the front. Iron the buttons and pockets carefully. Then end with the front of the collar.
But you also need to understand how much heat is required to iron specific dress shirts. There are different temperatures for cotton, silks, wools, and shirts made from synthetic material. That's why you can refer to this ultimate shirt ironing guide which expands on the topic.
Style Skill #6 – Master Sleeve Roll
They don't call it the “Master” roll for nothing. It does the job that's required…but it's also the least restrictive folding technique. Your arms still move naturally. Plus unrolling the sleeves is super quick.
Also, if you've got a chambray or flannel shirt (or any shirt with a distinct color/pattern on the inside of the cuffs) this is the way to crank up your casual style.
Simply pull the cuff up your arm. Then all that's left is to roll back the sleeve so it only exposes the top end of the cuff. This keeps your modified sleeve style neat and secure.
Style Skill #7 – Keeping A Dress Shirt Tucked In
No matter how well a dress shirt fits you…it won't do you any good if it suddenly goes untucked. It's worse when it happens in front of colleagues, clients or a lovely woman you're talking to. You might push the shirt back into your trousers from different sides…but that looks just as awkward.
The solution? Buy shirt stays (shirttail garters) and get used to wearing them. With their strong elastic tension, they lock your shirt into place the entire time. You'll even forget you've got them on as the day progresses – whether they're connected to your socks or wrapped around your legs. You can select from 4 different versions of shirt stays and comfort won't be much of an issue.
Style Skill #8 – Folding A Suit Jacket
Imagine you'll be flying out for a conference. Big names, influential people, and semi-celebrities are showing up (or you yourself might be one of those). Either way…don't let a wrinkled and poorly packed suit ruin what could be a life-changing experience.
Here's how to properly fold a suit jacket when traveling:
- Turn one shoulder inside out.
- Put the other shoulder inside the gap.
- Fold the jacket in half lengthwise.
- Load it in your suitcase (ideally lightweight with a hard exterior).
Style Skill #9 – Presidential Pocket Square Fold
Pocket squares are small but powerful. How do you think the sharpest-looking men stand out in a room full of suits and ties? They've also got a suit and tie…and something extra which gives them an edge. That's what a well-folded pocket square offers.
Here's how to make the simple and stylish Presidential pocket square fold:
- Keep folding the square in half until it fits in your breast pocket.
- A small part should be sticking out of the top of the pocket.
- (If it doesn't fit in the pocket) make adjustments to the fold.
Style Skill #10 – 2-Second T-Shirt Fold
For t-shirt wearers, this skill is probably the best invention around since sliced bread. Folding tees has never been this easy – or time-efficient.
The first step is laying out the shirt flat and removing any wrinkles. Then visualize two lines: (1) a horizontal line across the middle and (2) a vertical line which cuts between the neck and left sleeve. The two lines intersect to create point A, with points B and C being the top and bottom endpoints of the vertical line. Stand on the right side of your shirt and pinch point A using your left hand. Make sure you're grabbing both the front and back layers.
Pinch point B using your right hand, then bring down point B to point C. Then uncross your arms and lay the t-shirt face down on the table. Fold in half to expose the front…and that's it! With a little practice – you'll become lightning-fast at this in no time.
Do all those skills really matter? Yes – not just for bragging rights or being a man. They prove that you don't just care about style on a surface level.
If you master how to tie a Half-Windsor, how to put on scarves or pocket squares, how to iron your shirts and fold your jackets…you're not just a guy who can dress well. You're someone who embraces style – and the discipline that comes with it. That kind of discipline benefits both your professional and personal life. So gentlemen, let's all aim to live in style.