Roll Up Your Pants
Look down at your feet. Do your pants bunch at the top of your shoes? That’s a super casual look, says Barron Cuadro, men’s style expert and founder of the website EffortlessGent.
To instantly class up your look, roll up your pant legs into tight, 2-inch cuffs. You’ll create a cleaner line from your belt to your shoes, explains Cuadro.
Roll Down Your Sleeves
After you’ve rolled up your pants, roll down your shirtsleeves. This small tweak—along with buttoning up your shirt (to just below the top button), tucking it in, and buttoning your cuffs—make you look less laid-back and more formal, Cuadro says.
Related: 55 Style Rules to Live By
Work Your Mouth
Despite your best efforts, you’re still going to look underdressed. So you’ll draw some attention from other attendees.
Ignore them and head straight to the event’s host, says body language expert Patti Wood, author of SNAP: Making the Most of First Impressions.
Shake your host’s hand and simply say, “Please forgive me for being underdressed,” Wood advises.
Admitting you messed up shows confidence and assertiveness, says Wood. You’ll also feel like a weight has been lifted, she says.
Then mingle. You stand out when you’re standing alone, Wood says. Join a conversation and you’ll feel more comfortable.
Just don’t mention your clothing. You’ve already apologized to the person that matters; ragging on your attire to anyone else signals insecurity, says Wood.
Keep your head up and shoulders back to show you’re relaxed, she advises. If you act like your goof isn’t a big deal, everyone else will lose interest, too.