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We receive an overwhelming amount of emails from men seeking style advice, grooming tips and fashion counsel.  Our featured article section addresses many of these style questions by providing answers and advice.  However, because we receive a number of emails directed to our “Ask Erika” column from men seeking style advice, we decided to feature a Q&A article that allows us to answer these style questions with short and precise answers.  This is a great if you are a “just give me the bottom line” kind of man.  Some of the men’s style questions we receive cannot be answered in a full article so My Image Expert will start a forum where you can post your men’s style or fashion questions.  We will answer these questions by providing helpful and practical solutions.  Please send your style or image questions to the “Ask Erika” column on the top right hand side of our websites home page. 

The following questions have been submitted by men all over the world whom are seeking expert advice for style and grooming related issues:

Teeth Whitening for men
Q: I am reluctant to get my teeth whitened.  Is this something I should have done professionally?
A: Unfortunately, most people don’t pay enough attention their teeth until they reach 30.  When you’re a teenager, the idea of following a proper routine for great teeth involves a dental visit with an occasional teeth cleaning.  However, when you get older you realize you're stuck with the same neglected teeth unless undergoing replacement surgery.  It is a must to follow a daily routine to ensure great teeth and an unforgettable smile.  Men should floss daily and brush two times a day or after each meal.  Keep water picks nearby in your car or office.  If you can’t afford to spend a small fortune on a new Hollywood smile, then you must take good care of your teeth.  There’s nothing worse than greeting someone who bears a yellow smile or stained teeth.  If your teeth have encountered too many cups of coffee, acidic foods, or cigarettes; than it is a great idea to revitalize those pearly whites.  See your dentist about whitening procedures or ask about having molds made for your teeth.  Molds are like a mouth guard that is custom fitted to your teeth and mouth.  You use them once a month with a whitening formula that has a lower level of bleaching concentrate to protect tooth enamel.  You can re-use these molds whenever necessary.  If you are a “do it yourself” kind of man; try crest whitening strips.  These also work very well and the results last up to 6-8 months.

Chest Hair Trimming
Q: My chest hair is thick and long which sticks out through the top of my shirt.  I want to groom this area but I am not sure if it is better to use a razor, scissors, or wax?  What do you recommend is the best way to handle this unruly area?
A: For men, waxing can be rather painful and can leave you feeling strip of your manhood.  It is best to use an electric razor that has an attachment.  If the hair is very long it should be trimmed first and then apply the razor with an attachment that will automatically shave the hair down to  ¼ ".

Balding Head
Q: I am losing the hair on the top of my head.  It is thicker on the sides above my ears but scarce everywhere else.  Should I shave my head, do you think I can pull it off?
A: Sometimes you just need to let go. Holding onto those few hairs that seemingly grow on the side of  your head can look ridiculous.  It may boost your self esteem to embrace a fully bald head as opposed to a half bald head. When people ask why you shave your head you can just say, “It’s a fashion statement!”  This is ultimately a cleaner and more sophisticated look for any balding man.  If you are going to shave your head, please don’t accent it with unruly facial hair.  Keep your head and face clean.  Many men will contemplate shaving before they actually make the decision to do so.  It’s a style change that will give you a new look for the better.  The horseshoe or comb-over style is never a good idea and looks silly.  Just let go and embrace change!

Q: My  friend is getting married and I am the best man.  Should I step it up and get a manicure?  Do men get manicures, is this socially acceptable?
A: Keeping good hygiene is universal and definitely socially acceptable.  Your fingernails should be clipped, clean and filed down so that the length is appropriate.   This should be a grooming habit that is done regularly not just in the event of a special occasion.  Some men may struggle with the idea of walking into a nail salon to get a manicure. If you feel uneasy about this part of the process then simply do it on your own in the privacy of your own home.  Make sure that once you clipped the nails, you file the ends down so that they are round and not rigged. 

Pant Cuffs on My Suit
Q:  I need to get a new suit for work. I have seen some guys wearing cuffed suit pants and would like to know if I too should get cuffed pants?
A: As a designer and wardrobe consultant, I recommend looking at the style of the suit first. For example; if the pants are pleated, then they should have cuffed (or turn-up) bottoms.  This helps to balance out the weight and bulk of the fabric in the panel and seat area.  Pleated suit pants are the best style for heavier set men.  If you fall into the leaner category, then you should definitely opt for flat pants with no cuff.  Flat front pants should never have a cuff and pleated pants should! Pleats do not go in and out fashion; they are a design element engineered to ensure all body types a proper fit.

Pant Bulge
Q: There seems to be a lot of men wearing tight, skinny jeans that exposes the bulge in their crotch region.  Is this a new trend?
A:  Bad style and fashion choices are never a trend!  Celebrities and A-listers alike are notorious for this unflattering look.  Tight pants were not made for men and are never a flattering look.  Whether it’s an 80’s hair band or a rapper named Kanye West; nobody wants to see the details of your package.  However, your pants should fit you properly without excess fabric looming in the thighs or seat.  Try a fitted boot cut style instead of a skinny pant to protect your man hood and alleviate crotch bulge.  Make sure the inseam is a suitable length thatis fitted but allows enough room for your package to be delivered.

What Color Socks
Q: I have heard many different things when it comes to selecting the right sock color. Can you clarify the rules, if any?
A: It’s a simple rule and yes, I will clarify it for you and all the other readers.  When wearing a suit, your socks should match your pant color. It can also be a shade lighter or darker, but keep it close in color.  If you are wearing blue jeans, chances are your shoes will either be brown or black. In this case you can wear black, navy or brown socks.  The rules change for blue jeans because denim is a heavy fabric whereas wool suiting fabric is not.  It shifts around more frequently and creeps up when you’re sitting which exposes your socks and shoes.

Cuff Links with Casual Attire
Q: Some of my button down shirts have French cuffs which I wear to work with my suits.  I keep a pair of jeans in my office to change into if I am meeting friends after work for a casual get together.  Is it ok to wear a button down dress shirt with jeans if it has French cuffs?
A: French cuffs are definitely better suited for professional business attire as opposed to casual clothing.  If the shirt is white or blue then avoid pairing it with jeans or any other garments that are not business professional.  White and blue dress shirts tend to be the most traditional colors for button down work shirts.  Adding a French cuff to these colors makes it a formal traditional classic style.  You should keep some alternative shirts in the office for emergency situations or last minute casual plans.  If you have a French cuffed shirt that is dark in color then you can pair it with dark denim jeans and a sport jacket or blazer with a dress shoes.  This is a dressier form of casual style that may be accpetbale depending on what city you live in.

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