Underdressed for the Occasion? How to Fix That in an Instant

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It’s happened to the best of us: You get invited to a party or an event that doesn’t specify the level of formality, and you arrive knowing right off the bat that maybe you should have thrown on a blazer and opted for dress pants instead of jeans. It’s not as though you look like a mess, in fact you look rather stylish and put together, but the cold, hard fact is that you’re underdressed for where you are. You can’t make a pit stop to the nearest men’s store, and going home to change is not an option. You’re stuck: What are you supposed to do?

Although it may not seem like there’s anything you can do to save yourself from the underdressed hell you’re in, there are a few ways you can make yourself look a little bit more presentable. Let’s start from the top and work our way down.

Fix your hair

If your outfit is off, then there’s a good chance your hair is as well. What’s a guy to do without any product at his disposal? Water is your only option, and since you don’t have a comb or spray bottle at your disposal to style it a little more expertly, your fingers will have to do. Get to the nearest men’s bathroom. Simply wet your hands and run them through your hair in the direction you would like it to flow. Use as much water as needed, but try not to drench your entire head.

Button up your shirt

GQ suggests that if you show up to a party or event undressed, and if you happen to be wearing a button-down shirt or a jacket that has the ability to be buttoned or zipped up, do it. It adds a little more formality to your look, and it’ll also cover up a T-shirt you mistakenly wore to the event. Not to mention it’s a pretty cool look to wear your jacket buttoned or zipped up.

If you’re carrying a bag, get rid of it stat

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If you’re carrying a bag, tote, or anything extra, you’re going to want to ditch it. Put it somewhere, or check your bag. It makes you look like you accidentally wandered into your event or party by accident, and it adds insult to injury. It doesn’t matter how slick your bag is, get it out of sight. It’s the quickest way to up the elegance of your look.

Accept it and be proud

If you can’t beat it, join it. Even though you can’t change your outfit, the plus side of it is that you stand out. Use it to your advantage, and act like you underdressed on purpose. It’s amazing what a little confidence can do to the way people perceive you, even if you happen to not be dressed for the occasion. To prove such, a recent study found that between two people of equal talent, over-confidence may in fact be a deciding factor in who will be more influential, even if the person in question is employing pure deception.

“These findings suggest that people don’t always reward the most accomplished individual but rather the most self-deceived,” says study author Dr. Vivek Nityananda, a research associate at Newcastle University. “We think this supports an evolutionary theory of self-deception.” What this all means is that even if you can fake confidence, and even if it’s self-deceptive, people will still perceive you in a better light.

Oh, and one more thing: Try to never show up underdressed again. At the very least, come prepared with options like a blazer or a change of pants.

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