MAYBE YOU LOST OUT ON THE GOOD-GENES SWEEPSTAKES. You've got a schnozz with its own seat in Congress. Or you've got a lace and bod like Brad but a fashion sense that is truly the Pitts. Maybe you wish you could look half as good as Danny DeVito. Whatever. You can still move from not to hot without having the Queer Eye guys ripping you to pieces like hyenas on Animal Planet.
Start with these tips, our definitive list of everything you need to do to improve your looks: from what to wear and how to work out to what to eat and health dos and don'ts. In three months, when the paparazzi are hounding you 'cause you look like a star, just turn toward the camera and wink. We'll take that as a "Thank yon."
SUIT YOURSELF: When shopping for suits, worry more about fit than price: A $400 suit that fits perfectly flatters you better than a $4,000 ensemble that doesn't.
GET SHORTY: If you're under 5'10", stick with suits and jackets that have a "short" cut. They're better proportioned and won't make you look like David Byrne in Stop Making Sense.
PLAY YOUR HEAVY HITTERS. Better to own a few swanky clothing items you love than a closet full of cheap, ridiculous items you won't even wear.
MAKE AN UNDER STATEMENT: Wear a white undershirt in the office (under your outer shirt, Einstein). It soaks up sweat, plus that little bit of white poking out helps you look more put-together.
GET LOOPY: Wear a belt. Always. It's the follow-through in your backhand, the whipped cream on your Frappuccino. Plus, it gives the gals something to do (or undo) while you're kicking off your shoes.
TEE OFF YOUR WARDROBE: Everyone's real impressed by your muscles. But outside the gym, an armless muscle tee says "Clueless" before it says "Call me."
STRIPE A POSE: It's still true: Vertical stripes make you look slimmer, Fact: Rockers Jack and Meg White are actually 240 and 370 pounds, respectively.
COLOR SCHEME: Never pair a brown belt with black shoes (and vice versa). You're not a Doberman pinscher.
HANG UP YOUR TIGHTS: When your tighty-whities are no longer white, burn them. (That goes for your pit-stained tees, too, Casanova.)
PLEAT GUILTY: Take your pleated pants and donate them to the Salvation Army. Same goes for ones that taper at the bottom. They make you book top-heavy, fat, and, well, like you're trapped in 1985.
GET A LOOK: Pick a clothing style and stick with it. Don't dress like you're in Glee Club one day and like you're going to a Marilyn Manson concert the next.
PULL YOUR DAMN PANTS UP: When Britney Spears' undies stick out of her jeans, it's cute. When yours do, it's pathetic. If you've got bunching issues, wear boxer briefs--women eat 'em up.
COVER UP: Don't let chest shrubbery blossom from your undershirt. No need to hire a gardener to manicure your lawn. Just stick with a crew neck.
DON'T BAG OUT: When it comes to leather jackets, windbreakers, and winter outerwear, err on the small side. Don't be afraid to buy a fitted jacket: A baggy leather bomber is not "do bomb."
YOU GO, GIRLY: Dip into your girlfriend's I bag of tricks: Exfoliation and moisturizing aren't just for chicks--they'll help your skin glow. Man brands include Gillette I and Nivea for Men.
TAKE A POWDER: Use Gold Bond for your private areas--the powder cuts down on ugly red chafing. Just don't overuse or you'll puff clouds like a gymnast.
NOSE YOUR LIMITS: What's more embarrassing: plopping that nose-hair trimmer down at the checkout counter or having wheat grass protruding from your nostrils?
IT'S OK TO FLIP-FLOP: Fungus ain't fun. To avoid it, keep your bare feet from touching anything in the locker room. That means wearing flip-flops in the shower stall and standing on a towel while drying off.
MAP OUT YOUR HAIR BORDERS; When your neck hair starts to meet your back hair, it's called an "ape drape." Let your barber have at it, Kong.
GET ORGAN-IZED: Trim the hair "down there" to make it look bigger. Hey, it's far less painful and expensive than penis enlargement. Trust us.
WHO'S THE FLOSS? Think flossing once a week is OK? Try after every meal You'll keep your gums healthy and prevent receding. Bonus: free leftovers! Yum.
TELL THE TOOTH: Think about making your pearly whites even whiter. Bleached teeth brighten your whole face in a not-too-obvious, soap-actor kind of way.
ZAP YOUR ZITS: To tame acne outbreaks, use a cleanser with salicylic acid, such as Clearasil. Playing mirror hockey (squeezing them) seems like a solution, but it can leave permanent scars.
TRIM YOUR TALONS: Clip your fingernails as soon as you see the whites. Unless you're going for that '70s pimp--or worse yet, Nosferatu--look.
DON'T BE A MEISTER-BROW: One reason Sesame Street's Bert has been a bachelor for so many years may be that unibrow. All Ernie's pal needs is tweezers and as steamy bathroom, A separate bedroom wouldn't hurt either, by the way.
WAX OFF: Wanna show off your muscles and lose the Dr. Zaius look? Then don't shave your body--wax it. Shaved hair grows in at different cycles and looks uneven. Waxing keeps you stubble-free longer, which she'll appreciate.
UTILIZE PEDAL POWER: If it's feasible, commute on a bike. You'll get leg definition, cardio, and a healthy glow when you arrive at the office. We surest the iXi bike. It has a rubber drive belt (substituting for that greasy chain), an iPod compartment, and can fold down flat. ($1,28g @ ixibike.com)
CHART YOUR PROGRESS: Log your fitness advancements: At specific intervals, have photos taken (clothing optional) and get a trainer to tape*measure your muscles. "It shows the fruits of your labor," says former Mr. Universe Lee Labrada, founder of Labrada Nutrition, That gives you motivation to go back for more.
FOLLOW THROUGH WITH EVOLUTION: Don't get no respect? Get erect. A guy with good posture "stands taller and walks prouder," says trainer Craig Ballantyne. Practice on the seated-row machine: Use a wide overhand grip on a wide-grip handle. As you pull the bar back toward you, pinch your shoulder blades together while pushing your chest out.
GET PUMPED: Get a quick pump before a big date. No, we're not talking about cleaning out your pipes, pal. Repeating upper-body exercises like biceps curls causes fluid to temporarily increase the size of your veins and muscles, says Ballantyne. It lasts about an hour--just enough time for you to work your mojo.
BE EVEN-STEVEN: Pay attention to symmetry and proportion. If you're working lust your chest and biceps, you'll get top-heavy. "A balanced body is beautiful to the eye," says Labrada.
WATCH YOUR ASS: "Most guys ignore everything behind them, training-wise," says Alwyn Cosgrove, owner of Results Fitness in Santa Clarita, Calif., "especially what they can't see in the mirror." Cosgrove recommends stepups on a bench for booty-ful balance.
STICK IT UP: The transverse abdominis (the muscle you contract when you suck in your gut) can be trained merely by holding in your stomach--the first step to a six-pack, Tie a string tight around your belly, instructs Cosgrove, and pull in your tummy every time you feel tension from the string. You should see results in a week--even if you're already ab-ulous.
BECOME TAN-TASTIC: Bring out muscle definition with a fake (non-premature-aging, non-cancer-causing) tan (we like Clinique Skin Supplies for Men Bronzer). Darker skin brings out muscle definition better than a pasty casing. Just be sure to rub in the self-tanner carefully--streaks are for freaks.
GROW SHOULDER AND WISER: Atlas had a pretty good look, carrying the world on his shoulders and all. So take a page out of his book and work on your cannonball delts, says Cosgrove. "It makes your arms look better and your waist look thinner."
AVOID WET T-SHIRT CONTESTS: Change clothes after your workout, Your soaking-wet T-shirt and shorts not only smell bad, but the moisture also breeds fungus. Plus, sweat clogs pores and can lead to body zits, a.k.a. backne, chestne, and yes, the dreaded assne.
TEST NEGATIVE: Anabolic steroids cause greasy skin, acne, and premature balding. Unattractive Bonus: They make you as volatile as Tony Soprano.
EXPAND YOUR SOLE: If your shoes are tight around the toes, get them stretched. Narrow dress shoes can give you bunions, which is not another name for onion rolls but, rather, for nasty looking sores.
SLEEP IT OFF: Not getting enough sleep may contribute to obesity. While you're sleeping, your body peaks in producing hormone called leptin, which regulates fat stored in the body. Not sleeping throws your leptin production out of whack and disorients your fat monitors, leading your body to store fat instead of burning it.
STEER CLEAR OF THE SUN: Apply sunscreen--always. Even when you're skiing, the snow reflects the sun's rays and amplifies them up to 80%. And the higher the altitude, the greater the UV exposure. Look what happened to Robert Redford after years of his sun dance.
BANG A GONG: Get laid. A lot. A Scottish researcher found that sex helps slow the aging process by reducing stress, increasing contentment, and bettering sleep. Which means, get some at least three times a week, and you'll look better longer. (Yeah, it's our favorite study, too.)
THE SALINE SOLUTION: Keep your salt intake low, especially late at night. Too much puffs up the circles under your eyes. And retaining water not only sounds feminine, it gets in the way of looking ripped.
IGNORANCE IS BLISTERS: If you're prone to blisters, invest in some double-layer socks. And once the painful little suckers pop, apply antibiotic ointment like Bacitracin for your sake. Then cover the mess with a bandage for everyone else's.
UNCOVER THE MOLE: Frequently check your body for new freckles and moles (or have your woman do it). Larger or raised, ones should be monitored to make sure they're not risk factors for melanoma, Unattractive Bonus: Find a third nipple and become a documentary subject.
GRAPE ADVICE: Take grape-seed extract, which significantly speeds up wound recovery for bruises or cuts by allowing tissue to repair itself more quickly.
DRY UP: Take fewer, faster showers. Water--especially hot water--robs your skin of natural oils, which help keep you looking natural and young.
DOG YOURSELF OUT: You'll never be as cute as Desmond, your dachshund. But owning him makes you that much more attractive. A study conducted by the U.K.'s University of Warwick found that women are much more likely to talk to a man walking his dog than one walking himself.
STIFF DIET: Eating the right foods contributes to a healthy sex life. A diet rich in fruits, veggies, legumes, and grains keeps your arteries clear, increasing blood flow to you-know-where. And you don't have to be Ozzy to know that an Iron Man is more impressive than Mr. Softy.
WASH AND WEAR: Look shampoo-commercial fabulous by loading up on B vitamins, especially one called biotin. (Make sure your multivitamin includes it.) Your 'do will shine like the top of the Chrysler Building.
COMBAT FREE RADICALS: Sounds like a call to arms against anarchists, no? But those nasty free radicals actually kill cells and age you. Fight them by ingesting antioxidants, such as lycopene, which you can find by juicing a grapefruit or a tomato. Hey, who wants lycopene-a-coladas?
TASTE THE RAINBOW: The more colorful your grub, the more packed it is with essential vitamins and nutrients. So load up on orange peppers, blueberries, and red snapper (just kidding about the fish). But careful on the preparation: Cook the hell out of them and you lose some important ingredients. The best advice? Steam veggies to maximize their powers.
STAY REGULAR: We're not advocating a daily bowl of Colon Blow, the Saturday Night Live cereal that clears your innards and more. But do have a daily dose of fiber. Familiar with the Michelin Man? Never had a gram of fiber.
DON'T DO THE DEW: A study found that canned sodas and teas--even diet versions--damage tooth enamel. If you must go that route, root beer--with the fewest additives--does the least harm.
BONE UP: Unless you're chugging milk or crunching sardine bones, you may not be getting enough calcium. This raises your risk for osteoporosis, which will wreck your posture and make you shorter. (Ed. Note: Men's Fitness does not recommend ingesting milk and sardines simultaneously, if only for the awful breath consequences.)
REEL-A-MEAL: Eat more fish--especially salmon and tuna. They're high in omega-3 fatty acids, which improve blood flow, giving you better color. Omega-3s also boost your mood, which will make you smile more. (Fish can't smile, can they?)
Five things you could do ...
1. Stop hogging the remote.
2. Lose that ugly posse of yours.
3. Figure out why you've lost interest in giving me oral sex.
4. Buy me something expensive.
5. Shut up. Seriously.
POLL SOME CHICKS: Ask your girlfriend, wife, or coolest gal pal for five suggestions on how to look better. They'll give you the most honest, up-to-date advice. (But don't call Mom. She means well, but she thinks Dad's suspenders look "neat.")
HAVE BALD AMBITION: If your hair's thinning, take a tip from Air Jordan, Vin Diesel, and Mr. Clean--shave that chrome dome. Unless you have a head like Freddy Krueger, you'll come off cool, confident, and bad ass. And a sweet 'stache never hurt nobody nohow, Geraldo.
GO NATIVE: Planning a trip abroad? Leave the baseball caps and ironic T-shirts at home--unless you want to be easily identified as an SUV-driving, Toby Keith-listening tourist from the Land of the Great Satan.
GET INTO THE GROOVE: Find gear that inspires you to work out longer. The Nike MP3Run by Philips plays music and also wirelessly tracks your time, distance, and pace. You'll know when you're done running--and when you've earned the right to play "We Are the Champions." ($299 @ nike-philips.com)
LAY OFF THE CANCER STICKS:
Seriously, dude don't smoke. Lung damage aside, it causes premature wrinkles and yellow teeth, making you look like those old ladies who play the slots in Atlantic City. Ditto for chewing tobacco, which may appear enticing when baseball players chomp on it, but seems less cool when your gums are rotting. Unattractive Bonus: Nothing in the world a woman loves less than spittle juice on your chin!
ACID TEST: Lack of linoleic acid can give you lizard skin. Scrap the scales by munching on nuts and seeds or drizzling some safflower oil on your chow.
SAY YES TO JOE: This ain't no java jive. A recent study says coffee's high antioxidant content (four times that in green tea!) makes it one of the best sources for fighting wrinkle-producing free radicals. Drink too much, though, and you'll never get off the pot.
New York Daily News fashion editor Amy Diluna always looks great.
COPYRIGHT 2004 Weider Publications
COPYRIGHT 2004 Gale Group