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Brand and shopping advice

The broke man's guide to looking better for less

The broke man's guide to looking better for less

January is a time for new beginnings. But it's also the time when your bank balance is at its most frightening. So how do you level up your style without doing the same to your overdraft? Well, with our favourite cheap (or even free) options for making yourself look and feel better.

Improve your posture

You know how teachers were always telling us to stop slouching and to sit up straight? Well, we should have listened. Hours spent hunched over keyboards can leave many of us with a rounded upper back, which makes you look shorter and leads to shoulder pain. By fixing this, not only can you reduce backache, but the lungs can expand more fully, allowing extra oxygen into your bloodstream and energising your body.

Here’s a quick exercise to help: straighten up and lengthen your spine. Then, draw your shoulders down and back, as if you're trying to pinch a pencil between your shoulder blades. You should already be able to feel the tension dissipating from your shoulder muscles. Repeat throughout the day, especially if you have a desk job.

Clean your shoes

“They’re the first thing other people notice about your outfit,” says Thread stylist Luke McDonald. “And you can get everything you need to polish your shoes for under £20.” He recommends taking a tin of polish to your leather lace-ups once a month, or once every two months if you don’t wear them frequently.

If you’re more of a jeans-and-trainers guy, then sneaker maintenance is just as simple. Canvas shoes can be chucked into the washing machine on a gentle cycle, and then air dried. But if your kicks are made from leather, suede or nubuck, then you’re going to need a tailor-made treatment like the Jason Markk Premium Shoe Cleaner.

Ditch dingy whites

New Year, New You, but same old greying tees? Not on our watch. Unfortunately, white shirts have a habit of taking on a slightly dishwater hue after a few too many washes in a mixed load. We recommend being militant about washing your whites separately in future, and chucking in 1/2 cup of baking soda to your laundry.

Treat yourself to a couple of new white t-shirts and vow to maintain them better from now on.

Get a haircut

It might sound obvious, but your hair really is the one thing that you wear every day. As such, it’s worth spending some time and money on it. A fresh haircut can make you feel more confident and you’ll carry yourself differently as a result. Depending on the style and how quickly your hair grows, you should be looking to get back into your barber’s chair every three to six weeks. Been longer than that? Then go figure out your face shape, and find a winter-proof haircut to suit. Pronto.

Words: Theresa Harold
Illustration: Paul Layzell