“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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.