You want your clothes to send a message.
Style matters. You get it.
But where will you find the time?
The fact is, between hectic mornings, busy workdays, and packed family schedules, looking your best is usually just one more thing on your to-do list.
How do you face every day with great style down to the details–and avoid those night-before-the-presentation/date/interview moments of panic–without worrying about it all the time?
The secret is learning how to make it easy, even when you don’t have a lot of time or money to spend. I’ll show you 10 quick style hacks to streamline your day.
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Nobody wants a muffin top…or the illusion of one. In order to keep your shirt tucked in all day, a shirt garter is one of those little details that can save the hassle of reaching your hand down your pants every 30 minutes.
The concept of shirt stays originated with military dress uniforms. They clip to your shirttails and the tops of your socks and then you adjust them so that both are held taut. This keeps your socks and shirt both neat.
Shirt garters are the same concept with a slightly different design. They’re worn around your leg and only clip to your shirt. They allow a bit more freedom of movement, but not the sock-straightening benefit.
Either variety is a huge help when you need to look polished, especially if you can’t have the shirt tailored.
#2. Build Your Wardrobe With Less
The core of your wardrobe should be made up of items you can wear a lot. You want each item of clothing you own to match as many of the other items as it can.
If you can easily mix and match most of the clothes you own, picking outfits is easier and you can afford to build an interchangeable wardrobe. It’s better to have a few clothes that you can wear a lot for a long time than a lot of clothes that you only get a handful of uses out of.
#3. Avoid Bad Haircuts
If you’ve ever been caught in a situation where your options for an unexpected but important appearance were ‘look scruffy’ or ‘get a haircut TODAY no matter how bad,’ you can probably begin to appreciate the benefits of scheduling haircuts.
Most barbers and salons are more than happy to make you a standing appointment for every month or every couple of months (it’s up to you depending on what you need to maintain your hairstyle). You can make sure it’s a barber who knows what you want and can do it right because you won’t have to squeeze your appointment in.
This habit assures that you never desperately need a haircut–it’s always taken care of.
#4. Get Dressed Faster
Especially if your outfit is elaborate or you’re dressing up for something important, you don’t want to underestimate how long it’ll take you to get dressed. And you definitely don’t want to be making decisions about your outfit, and therefore your first impression, at the last second.
Dressing well consistently is good for your confidence and your mental health, but the reality is most of us are tired and rushed in the morning. Getting in the habit of laying clothes out the night before makes it easy.
Tie your tie the night before too–loosen it and take it off when you’re done so you can just slip it over your head and tighten in the morning.
#5. Shop for the Future
Find a shirt, pair of jeans, etc. that REALLY works for you? Buy two. Buy three or four if you can.
Even the best clothes inevitably wear out. In five years or ten years, you don’t want to be stuck searching for an elusive replacement for your favorite henley.
Buying in multiples saves you time, energy, and heartache. It means you can be comfortable with more of your wardrobe more of the time.
#6. Get Smart About Your Laundry
Washing clothes is kind of a necessary evil–every wash adds wear and tear to an item. But there are ways to clean suits, delicates, and expensive clothing without ruining them.
For clothes you wear over other clothes (like sweaters or jackets that you put a shirt under) washing every time you wear them may do more harm than good. Wash them every two or three wears OR if they’re really dirty (stained or has an odor).
Washing dress shirts in a delicates bag dramatically extends their lifespan by preventing frayed seams. You can wash two or three shirts per bag–more and they won’t get clean.
Clothes that have shrunk in the dryer can be rehabilitated with a soak in hot water and hair conditioner. Leave them five minutes, and then gently stretch them back to the right size.
#7. Repair Dress Shoes
Buying new soles is obviously cheaper than buying new shoes. But not all shoes can be re-soled. Know how to choose shoes with stitched-on soles to save money in the long run.
Men’s dress shoes are constructed in three main ways:
- Cementing – used in cheap shoes, this sticks the sole to the upper and prevents resoling.
- Blake stitching – the sole and upper are machine stitched together from the inside. They can be re-soled, but only with a special Blake machine, which makes it more difficult and possibly more expensive. You can spot them by looking inside the shoe – you’ll see a row of stitches.
- Goodyear welting – The upper and sole are both stitched from the outside to a joining strip called a welt. These shoes are most expensive, but also most durable and easiest to re-sole, so can be good value in the long run. You can spot them by looking at the sole – it will have stitches visible.
Some manufacturers do add fake stitching to cemented shoes, so always buy from a reputable manufacturer and check the product description – it will often tell you how they’re made.
#8. Shave Your Sweaters
Shave the pilling off a sweater to get more wears out of it. As the style law of value states, the more wears you get out of a garment, the better value it is.
Just like when you shave your face, you need to be careful not to cause injuries. Leave the straight razor in the bathroom and use a new, sharp disposable razor.
Lay the cloth on a flat surface and hold it tightly with one hand. With the other hand, razor over the pills with short, quick strokes. Be careful around seams, and don’t press too hard.
#9. Fold A T-Shirt In 2 Seconds
This is my favorite way to fold a T-shirt. It creates a great looking fold, and with a little practice you can do it so fast it’s practically a magic trick.
Lay the shirt out flat, and smooth it out. Then stand on the right side of the shirt. Imagine a horizontal line across the middle, and a vertical line between the collar and the left sleeve.
With your left hand, pinch where the lines intersect. Make sure to grab both the top and bottom layer of fabric. Pinch the top of the shirt with your right hand, then bring the top down to the bottom. Now uncross your arms and lay the shirt face down on the table. Use the table to fold the shirt until you have an even amount of fabric on each side. If you want, fold it again in the middle to take up less space.
There are disadvantages to this method — it isn’t as space efficient as the army roll, or as wrinkle-proof as hanging your t-shirts up. But if time is your main concern, this may do the trick.
#10. Keep Dirty Shoes Contained
When storing shoes in your closet, keep the soles of dirty pairs away from your clean clothes by wrapping them in shower caps. A shower cap is the perfect size to stretch over a pair of shoes and hold them securely.
Put the pair in side by side, soles first. The cheap shower caps you get in hotels work fine, so you can pick some up for free on your next trip. Traveling is also when this hack is most handy–if your shoes and suits have to share a small space, this one can be a lifesaver.