You don't have to spend hundreds of dollars to look and feel better. Improving your image may actually require little effort, time, and money. Keep the following tips in mind the next time you are preparing for that big job interview or special occasion.
1. Always iron your clothes before the big interview. If you're like me and you hate to iron, you can take your shirt and pants to the dry cleaners and they'll clean and press your garments for you. You'll look as sharp as a tack in your freshly pressed clothes. Approximate cost: $5.00 for dry cleaning 1 shirt and 1 pair of pants.
2. In warm weather, wear light-colored fabrics that breathe (linen blends, cotton, etc.). This will absorb less heat and "sweat stains" will be less visible. Also, always wear a white t-shirt under your dress shirt. You'll look more professional and your shirt won't stick to your skin if you begin to sweat. Approximate cost: $7.00 for a pack of 3 white t-shirts.
3. You don't have to have to spend hundreds of dollars on your shoes to keep them looking good. Some guys forget this detail, but polished shoes show that you care about your entire image. You can buy a sponge brush at most stores that sell dress shoes. Also, when buying a new pair of shoes for work, before wearing them have heal and toe protectors put on them at the nearest shoe repair shop. Approximate cost: $10.00 for sponge brush and heal/toe protectors.
4. When wearing a belt, make sure it's the same color as your shoes. Also, do not EVER wear white socks with dark shoes. Try to have your socks match your shoes. Approximate cost: $6.00 for new socks.
5. Try trimming your arm pit hairs in warm weather. Less hair means less bacteria and less smell. Approximate cost: $5.00 for hair scissors.
6. Remember to floss every day before brushing your teeth. Your gums will stay healthier and your breath will smell better because you're removing tiny particles of food from between your teeth. Fresh breath is the invisible grooming habit that can make or break your complete image. Keep a pack of mints with you at all times, especially before the big interview. Approximate cost: $3.00 for dental floss and mints.
7. Has anyone ever said your feet smell? Well, it's time to take care of that problem, and is pretty easy to treat. Scrub your feet daily and dry them completely...make sure you get between the toes. Insert a pair of Odor-Eaters Insoles into your shoes, which will absorb wetness and odor. This is a great tip for the summer. Approximate cost: $5.00 for Odor-Eaters Insoles.
8. Don't forget to include those hands when developing your grooming routine. There's nothing that looks worse than a well-dressed man with long, dirty finger nails. Make time to clip your nails at home. Nails should be worn short with just a little bit of white showing at the end. File your nails to give them a smooth finish. Approximate cost: $4.00 for nail clippers and file.
9. Cleaning and protecting your skin is extremely important, even more so during the summer months when you spend more time in the blazing sun. Use a face wash (not soap!) with salicylic acid which helps prevent acne. Use a moisturizer with at least 15 SPF before going out in the sun. This will protect your skin from the harmful ultra-violet rays that can cause damage to your skin. Approximate cost: $12.00 for cleanser and moisturizer.
10. A fresh haircut immediately transforms the appearance of any man. That's why I get mine cut every week! Get a haircut 1 to 2 days before your interview. It will help to make you look neat and professional. If you have long hair, pull it back into a pony tail away from the face. Approximate cost: $15.00 for haircut (at a Super Cuts!).
Try these tips and I'm sure your friends, family and even your future employer will notice. Good luck!