By Stephen J. Praetorius for GQ.
When done right, tank tops can be the ultimate summer flex. Just the right amount of casual for, say, a beer garden or the drive to and from the beach, they’re the next best thing to going J. R. Smith-style perma-shirtless, covering barely enough skin to be called clothing while still allowing the wearer to catch those few precious extra rays of sun. But be warned: Before you go ahead and forsake all sleeves for the next two months, certain steps must be followed to guarantee you look your best–and we’re not talking about simply upping your rep count at the gym. Here, the five vital grooming moves you need to complete before sporting a tank top this summer.
1. Rid Your Shoulders of Strays
In a perfect world, hair would be restricted to certain spots on our bodies. You know, the ones where it’s socially acceptable for follicles to be there. Unfortunately, we live in an imperfect world, and for whatever reason single hairs have a tendency to pop up in places they’re not wanted. Like your shoulders. Which is a problem, since they’re about to see the light of day for the first time in a while. So before you don your favorite tank, take a tweezer and rid your upper arm of each and every goddamn strand.
2. Tame Your Chest Hair
While chest-hair spill-over depends on the exact tank top, of course, most styles have some sort of a scoop neck, meaning that you’re going to show off a lot more chest than you’re used to. Needless to say, it’s important that you make sure your fur sweater is under control. Now, depending on your preferences, that could mean anything from giving your chest a trim to shaving the whole damn thing off. Not sure how close you want to cut it? Then do yourself a favor and get a clipper with blade attachments, like this one by Wahl. Start with the longest setting and work your way down until you hit a length that suits your fancy.
3. Beat Back the Bush in Your Pits
Chances are you don’t pay much attention to your pit hair. Which is A-okay, since you usually hide that stuff under fabric. However, now that you’re planning on wearing a tank, it’s time to rethink your policy, because the last thing you want is for those locks to take the spotlight. So grab some sort of grooming device–we prefer a sharp pair of scissors–and trim the weeds just enough so that they don’t poke out when your arms are at your sides. Don’t be too heavy-handed, though; you want it to look natural.
4. Tend to the Back of Your Head
We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: An unkempt neckline can make an otherwise impeccably groomed man look all sorts of messy, and not in a handsome way. That goes double when you’re wearing a tank top; there’s something about the combination of exposed skin and encroaching neck hair that somehow makes it all worse. Which is why, even if you’re between haircuts, you should stop by your barber to clean up the southernmost border of your ‘do before even thinking about going sleeveless. Trust us on this one.
5. Annihilate the Neckbeard
Honestly, this is just good life advice, regardless of what you’ve got draped across your torso.
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