No guy wants to be just another pretty face, but these days, most men are interested in looking as good as they can for as long as they can. Part of that may be our youth-obsessed culture; part of it may be a shrinking job market that favors the survival of the fresh and the fit. For whatever reasons, baby boomer men are buying grooming products at record rates, shelling out for designer haircuts and even dye jobs and highlights, and they’re signing up for cosmetic procedures as well.
But while women are inundated with advice on beauty and fashion, many guys admit they’re a bit clueless about what they should do to look great and up-to-date—and they’re reluctant to ask. So we did the asking for them, reaching out to Sarasota experts in everything from apparel to cosmetic surgery. Here’s what they had to say.
Fashion Ground Rules
“I look at things as a state of mind, rather than an age,” says Geoffrey Michel, co-owner of The Met, Sarasota’s fashion palace and day spa. “Know who you are and own it. Graceful confidence is naturally attractive.” That said, here are a few of his top tips for looking great at any age.
It’s better to be slightly overdressed than underdressed. But overdressed doesn’t mean “Hey, look at me!” Think subtle sophistication. Think James Bond.
A great haircut and well-groomed nails go a long way.
Choose your fragrance carefully; subtle is always better.
Pleats aren’t in and haven’t been for several years. Flat-front trousers are a new classic.
A proper fit can take years off your age. Don’t try to camouflage extra pounds with baggy clothes—or squeeze into a size that’s too small. A good tailor is a great investment.
Buy good shoes and take care of them. Cheap, dated shoes can ruin a great new suit.
Ditch the bulky wallet. We need a driver’s license, a credit card and cash. We don’t need an expired gym membership card and 20 other irrelevant items.
Follow a healthy lifestyle, with a sensible diet and regular exercise. It’s good for romance, parenting, business—and your clothes will fit better.
Dress for Success
Like Michel, Harold Freeman, co-owner of Martin Freeman, a new upscale men’s clothier on Palm Avenue, agrees men should avoid extremes and build a strong foundation of essentials. “Begin with the dark navy blazer,” he says. “Complement this with a selection of khaki and bone or off-white trousers.” And then there’s the classic, all-white dress shirt. “A man should always have a freshly pressed one ready to go,” he says. Spice up your collection with light-blue dress shirts because they “blend with anything and are applicable for any occasion.”
Hank Battie, the owner of Cravats, a custom clothier for men and women, says, “It all goes back to personal style. Forget what the other guy’s wearing. What works for you?” For example, not everyone can wear the new skinny suits. “You can’t be too tall or too heavy,” Battie says. And he adds that fabric is as important as fit. “The best tropical-weight woolen suits weigh less than 10 ounces; there’s no reason a businessman can’t wear a woolen suit year-round in our climate,” he says.
Don’t mix a formal suit with casual shoes. “Wear lace-up shoes with a suit, not slip-ons with tassels,” Battie emphasizes. And even though business attire in Sarasota is less formal than in Northern cities, Beattie believes that men who work in banking or the financial industry do need to don a suit for work. “If I’m going to give you my money, I need to know you’re making some yourself!” he says.
If the Shoe Fits
What’s the one item all men should have for their shoes? A shoe tree, says Sergiy Nemnozhko of Main Street Shoe Repair. “Your shoes will last twice as long if you hang them up every night when you come home,” he says. “If you come home and throw them on the floor, you’re bound to eventually ruin the leather.” The second key to long life for your shoes is using a shoehorn when putting them on. “This wonderful tool extends the life of a good shoe by eliminating unnecessary crushing of the back. On top of that, long-handled shoe horns are lifesavers for people with back or joint problems,” he says.
Glasses with Class
Men over 40 look “terrific in rimless frames,” says Sharon Katzman, owner of IOptics, a trendy area eyewear boutique. “This look shows off the color of the eyes best—and most men have beautiful eyes,” she declares. Whatever you do, please do not “purchase rimless frames with boring, colorless temples,” warns Katzman. “Have some fun with the side pieces and go for dark blue, brown, red, or even black. You only live once, so make sure you look as young and handsome as you feel.”
The Time is Now
Kristin DeFrancisco, the manager of McCarver & Moser, says that even though many of us now tell time by our computers or iPhones, every man needs a good watch. “It’s an essential element of his style,” she says. What kind of watch? That depends on taste—and budget. If money is no object and you’re looking for something timelessly classic and elegant, try a Patek Phillipe. The Calatrava 18K line comes in rose, yellow and white gold (or platinum) in a price range upwards of $15,000. For a more affordable and modern look, DeFrancisco raves about the Philip Stein collection of brightly colored watches that come with interchangeable watch straps (some are even made out of ceramic) and a “natural frequency technology” that measures stress. We’re not sure about the latter claim—but these watches, $550 and up, are sporty and bold, sending a message of exuberance and excitement.
Hair, Glorious Hair
Most men have two big hair worries: baldness and turning gray. Terry McKee, head of the Nuovo Salon Group, suggests men with thinning hair should consider just shaving it all off. “Sometimes a lack of hair is a look,” says McKee. “Many bald and balding men embrace their baldness; they grow a little facial hair to give color to their face.”
As for coloring hair to hide gray, McKee warns, “It can look fake if it’s done wrong. I don’t like my hair gray, but I don’t like it when it is freshly colored, either, so I apply a gray blending, leaving a little gray around the front so that you don’t have to worry about telltale lines of demarcation.”
Love the Skin You’re In
“Men should never forget how important a regular skincare regimen is,” says Nicole Rutkowski, spa director at The Ritz-Carlton, Sarasota. “The first thing people see when they meet you is your skin. Keep it clean, dewy, and hydrated.” Every single day you should apply sunscreen and moisturizer. And if you want to take it to the next level, do what your wife or girlfriend does: Schedule monthly chemical peels. “Peels remove excess oils and dead skin cells, calm acne and rosacea, lighten sun spots, tighten enlarged pores, and firm the skin,” Rutkowski says. For a deluxe experience, The Ritz-Carlton’s Gentlemen’s Executive Facial includes a SkinCeuticals peel and a chest, arm, face and head massage that promotes circulation and sends many customers off into blissful sleep.
Keep bar soap away from your face, warns Katherine Duggan of JustGents. “Instead, men should use a face wash to remove debris and reveal renewed skin,” she says. Duggan recommends the Microfine Face Scrubby Men’s Science, recently lauded as the “Best Face Scrub” by Men’s Health magazine. “It visibly revitalizes your face in less than one minute by gently exfoliating dead skin cells and dull build-up,” says Duggan. “It’s a great product to use to prepare your face for shaving.” Duggan advises men to shave in the shower or “immediately afterwards because the warm water and steam will soften your beard and make it easier to cut.” Don’t press too hard, and shave in the direction your beard grows. “Going with the grain minimizes your chance of razor burn, redness and irritation,” she explains.
At Just Gents, Duggan uses Jack Black Beard-Lube Conditioning Shave with jojoba and eucalyptus. “It’s transparent and lightweight, so you can see every whisker for fewer nicks and cuts, while the natural oils moisturize and help reduce razor burn,” she says.
Cherylyn van Kirk, proprietor of Starflower Essentials, a holistic skincare products manufacturer, and Starflower Organic Spathecary, a day spa and skincare boutique, says it’s imperative for men to exfoliate regularly. She recommends a biodynamic, all-organic product called ChamoMillet Exfoliant Cleanser. “Men have a thicker epidermis, and this has grains of millet powder in it for more scrubbing power,” she says.
Vanessa Opstal of Simply Spoiled likes the Art of Shaving line of products, which are rich with glycerin, coconut oil and essential oils, resulting in “more moistened and smoother skin,” she says. The company also makes after-shave balms with lavender, lemon or sandalwood essential oils, leaving a man’s skin smelling absolutely fresh and kissable.
More than Skin Deep
According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS), facelifts for men rose 14 percent in 2010, while male liposuction increased 7 percent. An American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery report shows that men underwent more than 750,000 cosmetic surgery procedures in 2010.
Cosmetic procedures are a guy thing now. Go for it. But you need to know what you’re doing first. Let’s start with non-surgical treatments.
“The science of men’s skincare has taken a quantum leap,” says Dr. Marguerite Barnett, founder of Mandala Med-Spa. “Men’s attitudes have jumped ahead along with it—guys dig science.” Barnett says men have been asking for Botox, injectable fillers and laser treatments. She prefers the Fraxel laser treatments, which require less follow-up care than most other procedures. In Barnett’s capable hands, the Fraxel pinpoint laser zaps away fine lines, wrinkles, sun spots and other damaged areas of skin. “It stimulates the body’s own natural healing process to replace damaged skin with fresh, glowing, healthy skin,” she explains. The procedure takes about 40 minutes and the results usually last six months to a year. “There’s a rumor going around that Brad Pitt undergoes regular Fraxel and dermabrasion procedures for acne scarring—but don’t quote me,” Barnett confides.
Dr. J. David Holcomb is also a steady hand with the laser. His beam of choice is the Acculift procedure. “Most of the signs of aging result from the constant assault of gravity on the human body,” he says. “From the bags under your eyes to the jowls under your cheeks, gravity is constantly pulling you down.” Acculift helps reverse the process. “It’s a facial-contouring procedure,” Holcomb says. “It allows us to selectively remove fat deposits that pool in the sagging areas of your face and make you look old.” The procedure isn’t a true facelift, but the results are basically permanent. The Acculift laser liquefies fat deposits below the skin, and then a tiny tube sucks up the fat through a small incision, which Holcomb closes with a minute suture. Apart from the small incision, Acculift is non-invasive—and almost instantaneous. Unlike laser resurfacing and other procedures, there’s rarely any bruising, swelling or downtime. “There’s only local anesthesia,” notes Holcomb. “It’s a completely outpatient procedure. Some of my clients go out on their first night.”
You look at the mirror. Richard Nixon looks back. Help is on the way for those jowls, flaps and folds. Nurse practitioner Cheryl Giangrante at Les Ciseaux’s Medi Spa uses volumizing fillers like Radiesse and Juvederm. “They stimulate collagen growth,” she says. “The results can last up to 18 months or longer.” And, for those unstatesmanlike frown lines, she uses good old Botox to “relax the hardened edges around the eyes and forehead.” (Botox lasts about four months.) Giangrante stresses that she doesn’t treat a man’s face like a woman’s. “We keep the masculine edge. We soften and refresh the skin’s appearance; we don’t erase every wrinkle or line,” she says.
For men seeking a fast, effective way to refresh the skin and eliminate the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles, enlarged pores, brown spots and hyper-pigmentation without any downtime or discomfort, JoAnne Ronzani, a medical aesthetician at Sarasota Plastic Surgery, recommends the HydraFacial treatment. “This gentle resurfacing treatment removes the top layer of dead skin cells and then bathes the skin with glycolic acid and lactic serums that renew it,” she says. The result is skin that is “radiant and hydrated for at least a week,” according to Ronzani. There’s no downtime or redness; the treatment works best if repeated every three to five weeks.
And Don’t Forget to Smile!
Everything changes with age—even our smiles. “Like all of our body parts, teeth deteriorate if we don’t care for them,” says Howard M. Chasolen, D.M.D, a prosthodontist and past president of The Florida Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry. Cosmetic dentistry has made tremendous strides in the past few decades, and a good cosmetic dentist can often improve your appearance as much as a plastic surgeon. Chasolen advises men to make sure that the professional they work with is trained and experienced in cosmetic dentistry—and that the ceramist the dentist works with is master of his craft. “Getting healthy-looking teeth may involve more steps than just slapping on veneers,” he cautions. “The goal should be a perfect cosmetic and functional outcome.” First your dentist should ensure that the biological and structural foundation of the teeth and mouth is in order, he says. “Then the cosmetic outcome should perfectly complement the man’s skin tone, eye color, and even personality. You want your teeth to look healthy—but natural.”
Martin Freeman, 75 S. Palm Ave., (941) 953-2948; martinfreemanclothing.com.
Cravats, 1530 Dolphin St., No. 5, (941) 366-7780.
Main Street Shoe Repair, 22 Goodrich Ave., (941) 951-2359; sarasotashoerepair.com.
IOptics, 446 Burns Court., (941) 955-5133; iopticseyewear.com
McCarver & Moser Jewelers, 482 John Ringling Blvd., (941) 388-3666; mccarvermoser.com.
Nuovo Salon Group, 4952 S. Tamiami Trail, (941) 684-9000; nuovosalongroup.com.
The Ritz-Carlton, Sarasota, 1111 Ritz-Carlton Drive, (941) 309-2000; ritzcarlton.com/en/Properties/Sarasota/Default.htm
Just Gents, 126 N. Orange Ave., (941) 330-9100; just-gents.com.
Starflower Organic Spathecary, 415 Pineapple Ave., (941) 554-4292; starflower.com.
Simply Spoiled, 1471 Main St., (941) 364-3337; simplyspoiledboutique.com.
Mandala Med-Spa, 1715 Stickney Point Road, (941) 927-2278; mandalamedspa.com.
Holcomb Facial Plastic Surgery, 1 School Ave., (941) 365-8679; srqfps.com/
Les Ciseaux Salon and MediSpa, 6 N. Boulevard of Presidents, (941) 388-2176; lesciseauxsalonspasarasota.com.
Sarasota Plastic Surgery Center, 2255 S. Tamiami Trail, No. 104, (941) 366-8897; sarasotaplasticsurgery.com.
Howard M. Chasolen D.M.D., 2033 Wood St., Suite 125, (941) 957-0063