10. Get rid of pet hair and sweater fuzz.
It should be your choice to talk about your adorable pet Mittens, rather than have it be obvious you two are close. If you lack a lint roller (or an over-priced refill for one), you can use the palm of your hand, or a document mailing package laying around the office. For non-mammalian trappings on your most stylish sweater, try using a disposable razor.
9. Track the time between haircuts with automatic reminders.
Nobody's going to up and tell you that your hair's in need of a trim, and it's hard to make it a priority when you've got a packed schedule. If you're Googler Matt Cutts, you still manage to keep up appearances by using a Google Calendar hack to track your between-cut time. Geeky? Yes. Easier to listen to than your boyfriend/girlfriend's gentle nagging? For sure.
8. Fix your clothing choices with hangers.
We all make mistakes when it comes to clothing choices—busted gray T-shirt with khakis, huh?—but you can fight your own worst instincts with nothing but a few hangers. You can, for example, use them to weed out clothes you really don't need any more. If you have to dress for co-workers' scrutiny every weekday, you can arrange a left-to-right closet to avoid over-wearing outfits. Best of all, using these tricks frees up space for important stuff—like DIY projects.
7. Give your shoes a drill-instructor-approved polish.
Nice leather shoes stop looking so darned crisp with time, or after being actually worn and walked around in. Restoring their luster isn't hard at all—you just need a can of the black stuff, a horsehair brush, a newspaper and a rag. Check out the Art of Manliness' polishing guide and queue up the boot camp marching songs. No time for the rag routine? You can still pull off an acceptable shine in five minutes. Photo by abchbum.
6. Get a sharp-looking suit on the cheap.
Sometimes, advanced common sense can pay off big. Brazen Careerist blogger Penelope Trunk notes that for those who will only wear a three-piece once every job, spending a lot of dough just isn't necessary. Spend your time instead looking for a good tailor; buy a passable suit, have it cut to fit, and don't hit the Wii Fit before the interview.
5. Freshen your breath without mints.
At many white-cloth Indian restaurants, customers are given a dry assortment of herbs after the meal, or between dishes. That's because herbs like coriander seeds and spearmint do a heck of a job destroying harsh breath. MSN Health points out that yogurt, fiber-rich fruits and veggies, sugarless gum, and snacks stocked with vitamin C are similarly potent at knocking down post-meal remainders. Photo by yoppy.
4. De-grease unwashed hair.
Maybe the alarm didn't go off, or the night went a bit late—however you ended up with greasy hair, you can pull off some one-minute triage. Throw some baby powder (or talc, or even corn starch, if you're out) into your palms, run it through your hair with a comb or fingers, and wipe off any excess white dust. eHow's got the details, but our commenters have got their own bad hair how-tos.
3. Learn to shave with a straight razor.
If you want to look good, save money, and feel like an old-fashioned man's man, learning how to shave with a straight razor is your ticket to all three. It can be a bit daunting, but it's the closest and cleanest shave, and quite a bit greener, too. If tackling your face Sweeney-Todd-style is just a bit too intimidating, you can still avoid razor bumps and get twice as much life from disposables.
2. Get a black belt in tie-tying.
Maybe the reason so many people never quite master the art of tying a tie is because it's embarassing to ask—it's a total head trip in helplessness. Luckily, there are lots of ways to get your tie on without ever having to admit naivete. For straight-up, diagrammed knots, check out Tie-a-Tie.net, with a basic video tutorial at YouTube. For advice on what style and knot go with which occasion (or face structure), try the Kinowear blog's guide. Feeling confident, grasshopper? Learn how to get it done in 10 seconds.
1. Pack for wrinkle-free clothes.
Hotel room irons—they're small, leaky, and not very good. Avoid them altogether by packing like a pro. Travel firm Fodor's suggests separating hanger items with bags. Then there's the Advanced Hobo-jitsu of the bundle wrapping technique, and the mind-blowing skills of the Japanese turbo-fold for T-shirts. If you're fearing the worst, no matter how skilled your packing, you can avoid giving Downy their pound of flesh and whip up your own wrinkle releaser.
How do you stay a sharp-dressed, neatly-coiffed, proper-looking lad or lady? What routines or last-minute tricks save your morning routine? Tell us your not-so-secrets in the comments.