4 Components of Individual Style

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“Style is the Perfection of a point of View” – Richard Eberhart

Many men go through life never developing a point of view; they dress as if it were a chore, instead of a way to non-verbally communicate and influence those around them.  I want to change this.

I believe people would care more about their appearance if they understood the power of visual stimuli and human relation.  Dress sharp and you feel sharp – feel sharp and you carry yourself with confidence which can inspire an entire office or company.

For the complete transcript of Four Components of a Man’s Individual Style – Click Here

 

 

In this article we break out the four components of personal style –

1) A man’s physical characteristics

2) his physical and professional environment

3) his financial and time resources

4) his personal style wants

When a man understands and incorporates each of these into his wardrobe, he’ll not only look sharp but he’ll feel great because he will be comfortable expressing himself in his unique, one-of-a-kind, individual style.

4 Components Individual Style

1. A Man’s Physical Characteristics

Style starts with what you were born with.  To try to fight this is an exercise in frustration.  If you look terrible in tight, hip-high jeans, wearing them isn’t going to make you stylish no matter how “in” they are this year.  You have to wear what’s right for your body type and complexion.

Now having said this, you might feel that we are limiting your choices.   Nothing could be further from the truth – rather by knowing what looks good on your frame you save time by only looking at options that properly suit.  A short and stout man, especially if he is employing the services of a custom clothier, will find that because he knows he should steer away from windowpane fabrics he now finds he is more open to striped garments and clothing that allows the eyes to seamlessly move up and down.  He doesn’t have less choice – he simply knows which direction to go.

Height and Weight are going to guide the fit you want for your clothes.  Heavyset men will do best with clothes that fit closely but don’t hug their shape, while skinnier men may want a looser fit that adds a bit of breadth to their frame.  Tall men can help look less looming by adding details like cuffs and pockets that break up their visual impression; shorter men can add a feeling of height by keeping everything streamlined and vertically-oriented.

Height and weight will affect how much tailoring a man’s clothing needs as well — some men can walk out of any store wearing something from the racks comfortably, while others can shop for an entire day without finding something that can be worn unadjusted.  Know which one you are, and don’t buy clothing that fits poorly!

Complexion determines a man’s color choices.  Men with light hair, skin, and eye colors should be careful of clothing with too many contrasting colors which can overwhelm their appearance.  Higher-contrast men with dark hair and light skin, or light hair and dark skin need contrast in their clothing to balance the starkness of their natural features.

Also certain color shades will not always complement particular skin colors; a man learns by experience (or a color wheel) what flatters him best.

mens blue jacket

This outfit would look good on most men, but will look great on a man with dark hair and medium skin tone. A light haired and light skinned man should opt for a lighter jacket if the situation allows.

2.  A Man’s Physical and Professional Environment

Different climates, different clothes — the best cut in the world won’t make a thick wool suit useful in Miami.  Social climate plays just as important a role in determining dress as well, with a man’s profession and leisure activities taking a hand in the shaping of his wardrobe.

Climate and Weather are unavoidable realities.  Heating and air conditioning only go so far — the Midwestern man still has to slog through snow to get to his car in the winter, and the Arizona desert-dweller can feel the sun even through glassed-in windows.  Changes in fabric are a man’s best ally for adapting to climate, with wools in thicker weaves counteracting cold and lightweight cottons offering breath-ability in heat.

A Man's Guide To Style

Lighter colors will also help keep the heat off, while layering of clothing and the use of cashmere’s insulating properties will keep a man warm in colder climates.  Men who work inside  eight hours a day will want to keep the typical building temperature in mind — if you have to walk in the snow but the office is kept furnace-hot, you’ll need to have layers you can remove or an appropriate change of clothes at work.

Social and Professional Expectations determine the “flavor” of a wardrobe.  A businessman in a formal office may need as many as five or ten suits, if the expectation is that he will wear one every day.  Since the jackets and trousers can be worn separately for more casual outfits he may have less need for sport coats or odd trousers as a man whose work expectations stop at a collared shirt.

Men in less formal settings who still want to appear well-dressed may own a number of spot jackets but very few neckties, preferring open collars or alternatives like turtlenecks and sweaters.  Most men find use for at least one suit, especially something simple and multipurpose like a basic charcoal gray.

mens brown hopsack

A bright lining such as this on a casual fabric is more suited to a creative field than a law office in Boston…..although the right lawyer could pull it off.

3. A Man’s Financial and Time Resources

On the subject of unalterable realities, a man always has to keep his available resources in mind.  A custom-tailored suit is a great piece of clothing to have — and an expensive one.  Men on a limited budget need to pick and choose their clothes carefully.

Suits and jackets can be worn with different styles of shirt beneath them, making them a flexible option for a wardrobe.  And while unusually large or small men may need their clothing tailored from scratch, most men can find off-the-rack or even thrift store clothing that will fit with some small, affordable adjustments.

Keeping the wardrobe in good shape helps each piece last longer and lets a man save for new clothing.  Shoes should be kept well-shined, which looks professional as well as protecting them from water and dirt.

Suits and jackets can get by with only infrequent dry-cleaning (a process that shortens the fabric’s lifespan) if they are brushed and hung up on a shoulder-shaped hanger as soon as they are removed.  Shirts keep their collar shape when well-pressed, and with good ironing require little or no spray starch, another process that weakens the clothing’s fibers.

mens classic brown dress shoe

Well made classic design shoes are a solid long term investment in your wardrobe. Buy quality, cry once over the price, and enjoy twenty years or more of solid service. Picture is from Leffot.com

4. A Man’s Personal Style Wants

The final element for a man developing his individual style are his personal wants.  What message does he desire his clothing to send?  A man’s clothing can express his personal tastes and feelings.  A suit-wearing man who wants to avoid the uniform look can change the style of his lapels and shirt collars, add cufflinks, or simply choose a unique patterns to ensure that wearing a suit doesn’t turn him into one.

Little touches like an alma mater’s colors in the lining of a suit or a pair of well polished double monk strap dress shoes can turn any outfit into an expression.  Men who want to seem more relaxed can experiment with open collars, vests or sweaters in the place of suits, and even dark-wash jeans substituted for dress slacks.

A man who develops his own sense of style discovers he can say complicated things with simple clothing.  Time for you to learn the language.

RAW Transcript

Today I’m going to be going over the four components of individual style.

Now this reading is based off of one of my core articles over realmenrealstyle.com. And I highly advice you read through all of our foundation articles. These are the articles which I have written and my team. We’ve come together and we’ve decided that these are really where you need to start.

So let me go ahead and jump right into these, the four components of individual style.

Right off the four components are: one, a man’s physical characteristics, two, his physical and professional environment, three, his financial and time resources, and four, his personal style wants.

Okay. So I’m going to start off with I have a saying on top of the article, it’s, “Style is the perfection of a point of view.” And that’s by Richard Eberhart. I really do like that saying because to me it really gets down to what is – and I’m not talking about, you know, whimsical fashion here. I’m talking about style. And a man’s style it’s kind of – it’s how the world sees really who you are inside. And I talk a lot about outward appearances and dressing professionally.

But if you’ve read through and you’ve heard my writing or you’ve read about me, you’ll understand that when it comes down to it, to me it’s more important what is inside the person and who they are. And style having individual style is nothing more than an outward manifestation of that inner strength, that inner – the inner light that is a – what I considered to be a strong confident man who’s going to go out there and change the world, make the world his support and create a family. I mean that, to me, is what style is.

And so when you dress, you’re not dressing because you necessarily want to, you know, to attract women, to get people to open doors for you, for people to call you certain – really it’s a reflection of your pride in looking good and showing the world that you a man who pays attention to the details.

So getting into that I get off myself a box here, but I believe people will care more about their appearance if they understand the power that it has on other people because when you feel sharp, you carry yourself sharp. Or I’m sorry, if you dress sharp, you carry yourself with confidence. And that’s really powerful. A man that carries himself with confidence can instill confidence in others.

If you’ve ever been in the situation when you’re having to follow somebody, if they appear lost, if they are not confident in the direction they’re heading most people are kind of a little bit stand offish as to whether or not to follow them. I mean its okay to not always have the right answer. But you need to be confident that you’re going to be able to figure it out. All right, so I’m going to get into each of the components and the first one we’ll start off with is a man’s physical characteristics.

So style starts with what you are born with.

And you need to understand that what looks great on Brad Pitt or one of these other male models figures that you see is not necessarily going to look good on you. Often times I get a client and he’ll send me a picture of what he wants to look like or a picture of Ralph Lauren tuxedo that he really likes. And I’ve immediately got to go back to him and say, “Hey, send me your measurements. Give me some more information about you. I want to know about your hair color, your skin color, your body build,” because all of that plays into what clothing styles, what cuts, what type, what clothing silhouette is going to best compliment your build because if you’re really tall and lanky, then we don’t want to put clothing on you that is going to make you look even taller and lankier. Instead of we want to make you look more proportioned, we want to in a sense cut you down to size.

Now if you are short and stout, your let’s say 5’3″, 200 pounds, we do not want to make you look any rounder or any, you know, I want to make you get – I can’t make you look like a basketball player.

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But what I can do is prevent your clothing from making me look any larger. And you can do this as well. I say, I can, but I know a lot of you aren’t going to ever call me up or probably speak with me in person, but that’s why we put this information out there so that if you understand your physical characteristics, you are honest with your self that you can find the clothing that best compliments you.

Now I don’t go into great detail here about the body types and what compliments them. I have that in other articles which you can find on the website. But you need to understand and specify that. And don’t feel that because you are a – that you’re going to pigeon hole yourself, that you’re going to cut off – actually I take that back. It’s not about thing to cut off some options because in men’s wear you’ll find that you have literally millions of options.

And so it’s not a bad thing to cut off a few million options because even if you only look at clothing that’s going to compliment, let’s say, let’s go back with the short and stout guy. He is going to want to go with solid colors or he could go with vertical stripes. He’s going to want to avoid checks. He’s going to want to avoid any horizontal line, so he’s not going to want to go with the jacket with ticket pockets. He’s not going to want to try to go with a navy blazer and chino or khaki trousers. And the reason being it cuts him in half. He’s going to want to instead go with more single colors with, I mean, maybe go with a dark gray, charcoal gray trouser and match that with a navy blazer. And that’s going to work for him better than going with the light color. So little things like that.

Yes, it does kind of cut away from certain styles and certain looks that maybe you’ve tried to pull off from the past. But instead it’s going to direct you towards combinations that work for you. And then within those combinations, you can find a wide variety of styles, of cuts that will – that will still compliment you.

All right, so I’ve talked a bit about height and weight that goes into a big part of it and that you also need to pay attention your complexion. So what color is your hair, what color is your skin, your eyes, all of this pay, you know, goes in to the equation. So if there’s a very stark contrast between your hair, let’s say, you have black hair and light colored skin, you’re going to want to mimic that in your clothing. And that’s going to give you a more powerful, a strong look.

However, if you’ve got red hair and very light skin and so there’s not much of a contrast there or if you’re going bald, you’re going to want – you’re not going to want to have a whole lot of contrast in your clothing as it is going to overpower you. The only time you want to wear black and white is if you’re dressing for a black tie affair. Other than that you want to go with colors which are a bit closer and you’re going to have not as much of a jump between them and that’s going to better compliment your natural complexion and not overpower you.

All right, let’s move on to part two, a man’s physical and professional environment.

Now this is probably one of the reasons that we actually go out and decide to purchase new clothing because we get a job that requires it. I get a lot of lawyers and doctors and other men who come in and they’ve reached the point in their career either they’ve just graduated to law school or they’re moving up in the realms of a hospital and they find that they’re dealing with the administration that they realize they need to start dressing sharp.

So your social and professional expectations have a lot to do with what type of clothing you’re going to wear. If you live in New York City versus living let’s say in a rural town like I do at Wittenberg, Wisconsin, your needs are going to be different. I can tell you even though I sell hand-made custom suites, I don’t wear a suite very often. I like to – actually I rock a sports jacket all the time, but – and I wear Levis 501s. I love jeans and a sports jacket. But a suite if I were to wear it around here, this is – this is Green Bay packer country and I can tell you that these guys, nobody wears a suites, not even in Green Bay which is only a 100,000 people by the way.

But if you’re in New York City, you’re in a totally different – or Chicago for that matter, you’re in a very different atmosphere. I’ve got a client over in L.A. and he always dresses sharp because when he goes out even on the weekends, I mean, just to take his kids to soccer practice, this is a guy that runs into potential clients.

 

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He’s in the entertainment industry and he talks with people on and off. And he finds that a lot of the parents of his son’s friend’s parents are in similar industries and he has made connections. And so he is always – let’s just say, he’s always selling. So for him it’s always business is almost 24/7. Probably the only time he takes off is when he I guess takes a dip on the pool, climate and weather.

So let’s go back to my client out in L.A. He really only has one season out there in Southern California. They really don’t have a winter. They really don’t have a summer. It’s pretty much the same temperature all the time, sunny and beautiful 70 degrees out there in Southern Cal. My clients over in New York City, completely different share. They’ve got all four seasons and their wardrobe needs to reflect that. So they make use of heavier fabrics. They make use of colors which compliment the seasons. And so they’ve got to have a bit more clothing.

My client out in California actually he goes through clothing a bit faster because he wears it out because he’s constantly wearing it. Although he does like to because he travels to have an overcoat and a few other things he can go to whenever he travels out to the East Coast.

All right, let’s move on to the third component, a man’s financial and time resources.

Now, both of these are important because usually if you have one, you don’t have the other. Very few men have all the money and time that they would like to have. So most of the start off in the position of having a lot of time, but not having a lot of money and if this is your case, then what you need to look to do if you’re going to build your wardrobe is to look to thrift. And this is where you’re going to the Salvation Army, you’re going to Good Will, you’re going to second-hand stores and you are finding what – and this isn’t clothing that has just always been thrown out. This is clothing often that comes from a state sales. And so – excuse me – you are very likely to find something that is of very high quality. And the person that market probably didn’t even know that it was worth what it was worth.

I’ve heard of men going in and picking up Burberry trench coat. I mean literally this is a trench coat that would sell from $1,500 to $2,000 and finding them in for $5 on the rack and it fits them. So go out there and look. First you need to know what you’re looking for. So spend the time to educate yourself so that you don’t pass over a great deal.

Second you need to know what can be adjusted and what can be altered so if you find a jacket that’s pretty close, you know, can you get it perfect. Is this something that can be altered? So have an idea of what alterations can be done. And third, you need to realize that not all second-hand stores are created the same and to look around if you’re in an area like San Francisco, it’s probably going to be a lot harder to find something because you’ve got a lot more people coming over the racks.

Consider taking a trip out to a smaller town, through the stores in Iowa are gold mines because you’ve got people who – actually the more that you see the [0:13:27] [Inaudible] those are the cities in which men actually do or there was a time when they cared about how they dress. There’s a few that are hold outs and still do. But a lot of the clothing that you’ll find over there that’s vintage is actually very good quality.

So if you’re in a small mid-western town, you may find just a lot of great clothing at your local second-hand store.

Now let’s step back. You got a great job. You’re now making quite a bit of money, but you do not have any time. Now you have to look at, “Okay, my financial resources afford me the ability to go to somebody like a custom clothier.” All right, here it is, my friend Lisa Bruckner runs the company Hendricks Park. And she works with men one-on-one to help basically to dress you. And they do it virtually and they will look at what’s in your wardrobe. They’ll help choose clothing for you. In fact they will do the shopping for you. And they’ll have it delivered to your door. If that’s not your cup of tea, you know, there are men like Grant Harris over at Image Granted and he works with you one-on-one. He’s usually in the D.C. area and he can go also do some personal shopping for you or just give you a consultation in which he’ll provide you enough information so that you can go do this on your own.

But usually is you’re going to be using these services, you’re at a point in which you can afford this and time for you is more valuable than the dollars you’re parting with.

[0:14:56]

All right, so that is talking about that third component. So let’s move over to the fourth component, a man’s personal style wants.

Okay, this is the final – this is the final element for a man who’s developing his personal style. And this really – for many men, this is where they start with, but it’s actually where it’s the last point you should focus on, what are your personal wants? What is it you like? Because if you’ve paid attention to the other three components, this actually helps you make the final decision because it works with your physical characteristics, it works with your professional and physical environment and it works within your financial resources.

So once you’ve got all of this knocked out, then you have the clothing in front of you that everything here would look great on you. Now it’s easy. Now you simply choose what you like.

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