The Christmas season has officially started. Yes, I know it’s only November, but many companies have their staff parties very early. I’m booked as a Christmas Party Magician at three events this week!
Christmas parties often mean dressing up. Us guys are often not great at this type of thing, so whether you’re wearing a nice suit, or heading to a full-on black tie event, I’ve collated a few simple men’s clothing hacks to get you through the party season. (If you’re having an embarrassing Christmas Jumper themed party, there are other sites that can help you with that)
For many, this is the time of the year when you dust off the dinner suit to give it its annual outing. If you’re not used to wearing black tie, here are a few quick rules to help you out:
- Stick to black (or midnight blue if you want to stand out, subtly).
- Wear a peak lapel dinner jacket, with matching trousers not just a black business suit.
- Your bow tie should match the fabric of your lapels.
- Get a real bow tie and tie it yourself (there are plenty of videos to learn how if you don’t know already).
- Don’t wear a belt. Braces or a cummerbund are the way to go with a dinner suit.
- Make sure your shoes are shiny!
Keep your shirt tucked in
Does your shirt have a habit of coming untucked, or sagging out at the front? The “military tuck” is a quick fix for that (don’t worry, it’s not an army-grade exercise to get rid of your beer belly, as much as it sounds like it is). Here’s a quick video which will explain how to do it in a much clearer way than I can with words. Goodbye sagging shirt front!
An easy fix for long shirt sleeves
Ideally, you’ll have a shirt which fits perfectly. However, if your sleeves are too long and you don’t have time to get them tailored, the ideal solution is to buy some armbands which are worn on the upper arms to hold the sleeves at the correct length.
If you’re in a pinch, some rubber bands will do the same job. Just don’t take your jacket off while you’re wearing them!
Wear a grey undershirt
You may be tempted to wear a vest or a white T-shirt under your shirt to keep you warm in the chilly weather at this time of year. It may seem counterintuitive, but a grey T-shirt is less likely to show through your white shirt. Try it out for yourself.
Quickly deal with shaving cuts
It’s almost time to head to the party. Your shirt is crisply pressed, your tux is nicely dry-cleaned and you’ve got your bow-tie tying technique down pat. Right at the last minute, ouch, a nasty shaving cut. Your face won’t look great with dried blood over them and neither will your shirt, but you have to leave in 10 minutes!
A quick fix for this is Vaseline. Stick a blob on the cut and it will seal the wound until the blood dries, stopping it from ruining your shirt. You can dab off the excess later when dried.
How to roll a suit for travelling
If you need to travel to the party but don’t have a suit carrier, this is a great way to store your suit. It’s particularly useful if you’re lucky enough to be travelling internationally and only want to take hand luggage,
Put your hands inside the shoulders of the jacket and fold outwards, tucking one shoulder into the other. Roll up a t-shirt and stick it in the less padded side, then roll the jacket carefully around that. You can roll your shirt and trousers similarly. When you arrive at your hotel, hang the suit as soon as you can in the bathroom. Steam from the shower will sort out any minor creases that may have formed.
Keep your collars stiff
Curled up collars don’t look great with your beautifully fitted suit or tuxedo. Most good shirts come with collar straighteners – small plastic or metal strips which fit inside the collars to keep them straight. If you can’t find them, some paperclips inserted into the collars can do the same job. Or cut up a dental floss brush like this guy does.
Dealing with stains on clothes
Christmas parties generally mean lots of food and booze. And that means spillages and stains are often inevitable. Here are a few quick ways to fix quick spillages and prevent your best party wear from getting ruined:
- Red Wine: Blot up any excess wine with a paper towel, then gently dab with salt, white wine or baking soda. Once you’ve got rid of as much of the stain as possible, wash as normal.
- Blood: Leave to soak in salt water for as long as possible. Wash as normal.
- Candle wax: Place a paper towel over the dried wax, and then iron on a low setting through the towel. The wax will melt and be absorbed into the paper towel.
Do you have any other men’s clothing hacks you’d like to share? I’d love to hear them!