Fixes for the everyday annoyances of trying to dress well.
Thanks to Slick Collar for supporting Primer’s mission to make dressing confidently affordable and effortless by partnering on this post. Primer readers save 15% with SLICKPRIMER.
Most men’s style advice comes across in a few flavors:
- aspirational, either the expensive/out-there clothing or the man himself
- outfit ideas you’re left trying to recreate on your own
- historical and cultural understanding of why you should wear something
But there is an extremely overlooked part of style that we’re just left dealing with.
The practical. Getting all of these different types and quality of clothing to work together on our bodies in the way we live our lives that doesn’t make it more expensive than it already is, rarely gets a mention.
But there are a few things that make trying to dress better a little less frustrating.
Fashion Tape for All Kinds of Things
Add it to the list of things women have known about forever while guys just bumble through life annoyed at stupid clothing things. Fashion tape is like double-sided tape that’s specifically made to be used with fabric and skin. It’s commonly used to hold low cut dresses in place – a DEFCON 1 level of job that is either pass or fail. So the stakes are high for these sticky little things, which means they should be more than up to the task for the types of things men face.
The uses are honestly endless. One of my favorites is to use it to hold my no-show socks in place for those annoying pairs that ALWAYS seem to ride down and get stuck under your heel. You have one job no-show socks, c’mon!
Using a little piece of fashion tape on your heel, right where you want the top of the sock to stop keeps it in place all day – meaning no more scrunching and no more blisters. And it’s cheap too: Each piece works out to be about 15 cents, and for a lot of uses you don’t even need a whole piece.
Another thing I’ve used it for is holding the narrow end of a necktie to the back of the wide end so it doesn’t go rogue on days where I’m moving a lot or a wonky knot is making the ends not get along.
If you find yourself going tieless frequently, fashion tape is also great for giving your collar a “2.5 button” setting. For when going up to the 2nd button is too high, and going down to the third gives your acquaintances a chest hair extravaganza, putting a little square of fashion tape half way between the 3rd and 2nd buttons gives you that professionally-casual look you’re going for.
But if you’re a guy who regularly goes for the Open Collar look in professional environments, then you definitely need to check out:
An Easy and Effortless Fix for Droopy Collars
Unlike other open collar solutions on the market, the Slick Collar doesn’t require it to be permanently sewn into your shirt. Simply flip your collar up, slide it on the back of your collar, flip your collar back down, and you’re good to go. Completely invisible and you can’t even feel it’s there. It usually goes flying across the room when I’m taking my shirt off at the end of the day because I’m oblivious that it’s there.
It’s honestly impressive how well it works because of how affordable and straightforward it is.
What I appreciate about the adjustable Slick Collar is it’s the ideal product of frustrated innovation. Started by a couple of professionals trying to fix a problem they were annoyed by, the small Canadian business created and released the Slick Collar, for a price that is on the mark for the everyday, behind-the-scenes task it does.
Each Slick Collar actually comes with two, a standard sized one and one for more slim profile collars and can be used with all types and sizes of collars. It’s the most budget-friendly open collar solution on the market that also lets you re-use it with all your shirts. But don’t just take my word for it, the Slick Collar has thousands of 4+ star reviews on Amazon.
Primer readers can give it a try and save 15% with code SLICKPRIMER.
Use the Savile Row Fold So Your Pants Don’t Slide Off The Hanger
There are three types of guys: Those who have to hang their dress pants twice every time because they always slide off, guys who buy special pants hangers that lock them in place, or guys who use the Savile Row fold.
Named after the famed street of men’s tailors in London, the Savile Row fold creates a neat self-locking pants fold that works much better than simply folding dress pants over the hanger bar.
How to Fold Pants with the Savile Row Fold
- Holding the pants upside down, line up the ends of the legs
- Position the hanger between the pants legs
- Fold one pant leg over the hanger, from the outside in, until it is most of the way down to the crotch of the pants
- Fold the second pant leg over the other, from the outside in.
Give it a good shake and marvel!
How to Hem Pants in an Emergency Without Sewing
Let me write a story that I’m sure you’ll relate to a variation of:
You just discovered last-minute that you have to go to something that requires dress pants, maybe a funeral, a wedding, some work function for an otherwise casual job, but the only ones you have – or can buy on short notice – are far too long to get away with wearing. There’s no time for a tailor.
Permanent fabric fusion tape. Like the temporary fashion tape above, but on steroids, fabric tape isn’t intended to be removable. Available at your local crafts store, using permanent fabric tape really is as simple as peel, stick, fold.
However, you’ll want to be methodical about it to avoid taped-in wrinkles or one side that’s longer than the other.
My recommendation would be to call around to local dry cleaners and tailors with your sob story to see if anyone can squeeze you in. Short of that, use the permanent fabric tape as a stop gap until you can get your pants permanently hemmed the right way.
Avoid Yellow Pit Stains
Have you ever had to sheepishly toss a favorite shirt because of yellow pit stains you believe were caused by sweating? Well, turns out, sweat is naturally odorless and colorless when it leaves your sweat glands. It isn’t until it mixes with bacteria on your skin that the putrid party gets started.
But that yellowing? Believe it or not, that’s coming from friendly fire.
When your sweat mixes with the aluminum in your antiperspirant it causes a reaction that stains fabrics. Stain removers and laundry enhancers like OxyClean can help remove some, but the best defense is a strong offense.
Look for an antiperspirant like this one that labels itself safe for black and white clothing, which won’t cause white, cakey marks on darker shirts or yellow staining on lighter ones.
Read more about why your current deodorant probably isn’t cutting it.
Wrinkle Releaser Actually Works
Wrinkles are a frustratingly prominent reality in my relationship with clothing. It seems my lazy habits are just no match for the creasing nature of cotton. I try to pull things out of the dryer right away, but even then I’ll still get that “lightly textured” wrinkle look. Or I’ll make too heavy of a use of the “clean clothing chair” in my bedroom, crushing what should be wrinkle-free clothing under a mound of more recent additions. Or perhaps, while traveling and dealing with the inevitable wrinkles that come regardless of how precisely you pack.
While I’m a big fan (and frequent user) of a clothing steamer, for quick/light jobs, touch-ups, or while traveling, wrinkle releaser products work surprisingly well. I remember the first time I saw one thinking, “yeah right,” but wouldn’t you know it, they have a noticeable effect and work better than just a water mister.
Simply spray and smooth over the wrinkles with your hands. It won’t completely remove hard creases (but can help in an emergency) but for the wrinkles and textures clothing develops just by *existing* it’s surprisingly useful.
Pick up a travel sized bottle like this one from Target to give a try, and you’ll also be able to take it in your liquids bag when you fly.
Make Laundry Day Less Aggravating
I would not procrastinate on doing laundry and letting hampers overflow if it were just the loading, waiting, swapping to the dryer, and hanging. For some reason, the sorting of socks from the dry laundry – pulling them out of a pile of clean clothes and trying to find a match – always seems to take more time and energy than it should.
Much like fashion tape, there’s a common solution many women use all the time.
Mesh laundry bags allow you to dump all your socks in one place, separated from the rest of your clothing, place them in the washing machine and dryer and then very quickly sort into your sock drawer. They can also be used to wash delicate items like sweaters or things that can get wrapped around the machine like shoe laces or a bathrobe belt. Best of all a multi-pack is dirt cheap.
Re-dye Your Old Denim to Extend Its Life
When I find a favorite pair of jeans that fit perfectly, I hate having to give them up and buy new ones just because they’ve faded and lost some of their luster.
Fortunately, it’s super easy to give your go-to denim a new lease on life by re-dying them. Pick up a bottle of black RIT clothing dye from the grocery store for less than $10. Soak in the tub, launder, and go. Read Primer’s more thorough tutorial here. I’ve been doing it for years.
Do you have a practical style hack that makes dressing well easier? Keep the list going in the comments!