Besides feeling and behaving like one, a man ought not to forget to also look the part. So many boys and men have lost control of their appearance, or their drive to maintain a self-respecting image that radiates confidence and command.

To me, cultivating and maintaining a masculine appearance doesn’t mean growing a large beard, sporting a high and tight haircut, wearing a flannel with some type of work boots, and smelling of fresh cut cedar.  The stereotypical definition of manliness cannot be aptly applied to categorize an entire gender in appearance, since masculinity may be defined by a plethora of different appearances.

However, there are still many basic guidelines to help men gain an outward aura of masculinity, which have often been forgotten, overlooked, or even ignored.

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1. Maintain Proper Hygiene

You’ll think this was should have been learned when men were mere boys, long before their coming of age.  You’d think stench and grime shouldn’t be the first thing mentioned on this list, but it is.

Brush your teeth twice a day, including the tongue.  No one likes a dirty mouth.  Wash up – your entire body and face – at least once a day.  If you just finished work or some heavy lifting at the gym, you reek.  Apply deodorant after your shower and reapply throughout the day as needed.  Never over-do the cologne.  If you can smell yourself, that means the people around you can’t breathe without suffocating on your scent.

2. Groom Your Beard

If you’re going to grow out a beard, especially if you’re attempting to keep one in a professional setting, make damn sure you keep it well groomed because there is a very fine line between looking like Ricki Hall and looking like Tom Hanks in Castaway.  Keep your beard trimmed to give it an appealing shape.  Even if you’re going for length, your beard should get a regular trim every now and then to cut off any broken and split hairs so that it can continue to grow unimpaired.

Don’t forget to apply beard oil and beard balm in the morning and after washing your face to keep it soft and healthy and avoid scraggly dryness.  Going a step further, beard wax will help control and style your beard so it doesn’t point out in a million directions.

3. Ditch the Boyish Wardrobe

I don’t find solace in telling people how to dress, so I often just give tips and guidelines.  However, the way a man dresses and presents himself with his style, does say a lot about the man he truly is.  If you want to appear like a man, dress like one.  Convert your wardrobe.  Trade in your college hoodie for a knitted pullover or sweater without the big, bold lettering.  Definitely stay away from any clothes that advertise their brand names.  You’re a self-respecting human being, not a walking billboard.

Invest in some casual khakis and chinos for a more professional look.  Toss those faded and ripped jeans and opt for some quality dark or medium blue denim for work or going out.  A button up or button down shirt is always a better option than an ironic t-shirt whose punchline has long been worn out.  Own at least one well-fitting, tailored suit!  Why don’t men own whole suits anymore?  Every man should have in their closet a versatile navy blue or gray suit.  Or, at the very least, keep a navy blue blazer that can be paired with a multitude of clothing options for many occasions.  For footwear, I’d advise saving white socks and athletic shoes for gym sports.  Step up your footwear with casual chukkas, loafers, or canvas sneakers and a versatile pair of brown oxfords, wingtips, or captoes for more professional attire.  A pair of sturdy, brown leather boots is great for wintry climates.

4. Smile

Not to be done with a creepy grin and glaring eyes.  Spend a minute at the beginning of each day forcing a smile and your mood will almost wondrously uplift.  When you greet someone for the first time or the 500th, smile and look the other person in the eyes.  Eye contact is important.  It connects you with the person and reveals the radiating aura of your confidence coupled with open friendliness.  You’ll look happier and more confident as well as feel happier and more confident.  Try it.

5. Straighten Your Posture

A big part of your manly appearance is determined by your physical posture.  With your head down and your shoulders hunched over, you present yourself as nervous, unsure, withdrawn, and lacking confidence.  Keep your head and chest up and roll your shoulders back for a more manly, confident, in-control, and outgoing appearance.  People are more likely to approach you and ignite a conversation if you open up your posture rather than keep it closed up.

The greatest way to fix your posture is to work out your muscles, especially your upper back and abdominal muscles.  A strong and active core keeps your extremities from collapsing in on themselves and hunching into a ball.  The upper back muscles also pull your shoulders back and open up your chest.  Many guys that do regularly work out neglect their backs with a lack of pulling movements by over-developing their chest and anterior deltoids (front part of the shoulders) and end up having a hunched over posture.  Make sure your workout is balanced between pushing and pulling movements to build a balanced body and manly posture.

This was a guest post by Rugged Fellow’s Guide: the step-by-step guide to manliness that explores the fundamentals of fitness, grooming, style, and knowledge which provides a variety of lifestyle skills for every man.

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