Two wonderful things have happened in the world of men’s style in recent years: men who take care with their looks are no longer condescendingly labeled “metrosexual,” and looking your best has become synonymous with feeling good about yourself (that one’s a win for everyone).
For those who want to get their dapper on but don’t really know how, sound advice has arrived in a new book by an actual Dapper Dan–British journalist and fashion consultant Dan Jones. With jaunty illustrations by Libby VanderPloeg, Man Made lays out handy tips “for men and manly people of all ages” who want to put the best foot, hand and hair forward. There’s sage counsel on how to wear basics, which Jones says include a good blazer, a peacoat and a blue or gray suit. Among his neckwear maxims: “A knitted tie fills in that tiny gap between smart-casual and formal.”
Readers can decide how much time and money they want to spend following Jones’ guidance and whether to indulge in the more faddish trends he explores, like man buns and dry-brushing skin to exfoliate. But many of the suggestions involve simple modifications to common practices: Count to 30 while washing your face, rubbing in circular motions, to get a deeper clean and brighten your skin; tackle body odor by toweling off more thoroughly after showers; for a closer shave, zap a wet washcloth or towel in the microwave for a few seconds, then hold it to your face to soften and prep.
Jones’ advice can at times be proscriptive. On cover-ups for balding: “A comb-over is indeed an international crime.” And themed boxers: “No Tweety Pie, Garfield or Simpsons cartoonery,” though “Snoopy’s okay.” Overall, the tips in Man Made are in line with today’s feel-good, look-good ethos. “The fail-safe approach–one that wins every time–is to balance fitting in (to be respectful) with sticking out (being yourself).” As long as being yourself involves gentle exfoliation.
This appears in the November 23, 2015 issue of TIME.