It’s easy to admire someone.
You might see a picture…
or someone who “has it all” in your subjective opinion…
and think “how can I become them?”.
The short answer?
DON’T. Become yourself.
When you create a personal style, you will be the one who stands out.
If you try to become someone else – you’ll be labeled unoriginal.
Every single style icon, from Steve McQueen to David Beckham has a signature style.
A way of dressing that emphasizes their aesthetic ideals and expresses their public persona.
Developing a signature style is the pinnacle of a man’s personal image.
Why do you need to develop a signature style?
- It signifies a considerable amount of self-knowledge.
- It shows that you know what your message is to the world.
- It reveals that you are comfortable with who you are.
This confidence enhances what you are trying to express through your wardrobe choices and makes your appearance all the more powerful.
No two signature styles are exactly the same. There may be components that are similar, but as a whole, it is unlikely that two people will have the exact same signature style.
This article is meant to give you a foundation to develop your signature style.
#1 Dress For Your Body Type
Knowing your body type and using clothing to highlight your best features is something that is learned over time. Certain styles look better for your shape than others do. Don’t convince yourself that you should be able to wear everything.
Figure out what pieces look best on your body. You can read about how to dress for your body type here
Here are a few examples for you to consider when shopping for clothes to suit your body type:
- Opt for pleated trousers with a sharp taper if you have heavy calves.
- Have your jackets fitted closely with a shorter hem that ends at your hips if you are a shorter man.
- Go with a deconstructed jacket if you have broad shoulders.
- If you are tall and lean, wear a double breasted jacket to add bulk to your frame.
#2 Dress For Your Lifestyle
You act rugged. You look rugged. You enjoy rugged clothing and cars with big dirt-covered wheels.
A suit-and-tie wardrobe is irrelevant to you. If you live the lifestyle of a cowboy, a jeans and boots outfit is more fitting for you.
Keep your job in mind. No matter how much fun you want to have with your style, remember the job you have.
A high school teacher in a large midwestern city needs to look professional but dressing in suits is going too far.Paying attention to the requirements of his job, he can wear sports jackets paired with jeans and check shirts. A tie would make him appear too stuffy.
A banker in a large city, on the other hand, has a job that requires a suit and tie every day. Despite the conservative mood in a bank, a unique sense of style can be displayed through flashes of color in the choice of ties, pocket squares, socks and subtle patterns in the suit.
#3 Dress For Your Environment
Weather plays a key role in the development of your signature style.
Let’s say you live in the Northwest and the “environment” is a bigger factor than most of my other readers. Rain is an everyday concern for you.
In of my favorite classic movies, Le Samourai, the main character is an impeccably dressed hitman stalking the rainy streets of Paris. Played by Alain Delon, the two elements that kept the character looking stylish throughout the film are a perfectly fitting trench coat and a quality hat. A great example of looking incredibly stylish despite the wet weather.
Cotton fabrics are suited for warm weather. Heavier wools are required for colder climates. Choose your clothes depending on the climate conditions you are exposed to the most.
#4 Find A Style Icon
Get style-inspired. Is there an actor, a public figure or a model who inspires you? Pick style cues from the way they dress and try to find common denominators in their lives and yours.
Are they of similar build? Then adopt the cut of their clothes. Are they politically minded? Adopt the colors they wear.
Don’t go overboard and start blindly copying someone else. Find elements of style that inspire you and incorporate them into your outfits.
Experiment with pieces that inspire you and identify what’s working.
If you find a great look that made you feel wonderful, write it down, or better yet, photograph it.
What are the handful of go-to pieces in your wardrobe that you instinctively reach for? It could be a pair of oxblood double monks or your favorite white sneakers combined with dark denim trousers and a button-down shirt.
Imagine you had a rack full of these go-to pieces. Figure out what makes your favorite items of clothing your preferred choice.
Your personal style needs to be timeless, classic, and transcend the formality of events and your age.
- Warm Complexion: If you tan easily and have soft brown or dark blonde hair, yellow undertone shades such as brown, tan, red, and green.
- Cool Complexion: If you have dark or gray/white hair, dark eyes, and an olive or pale complexion, blue undertones will look good on you.
Find clothing and accessories that compliment your aesthetic taste while enhancing your build. Once you’ve found your go-to color and fit, incorporate these elements into your wardrobe whenever you can.
#6 Know Your Message & Dress For It
A signature style requires you to know who you are so that you can express your values through your clothes.
Cultivate a signature style that feels genuine to who you are.
You might have a have a working class or military background and call Alaska home. Your signature style should incorporate aspects of your past. Use social cues in the way you dress to reflect what is important to your life.
An antique pocket watch to remind you of your late grandfather. A coat of arms stitched on to a blazer to remind you of a family allegiance. Working boots to remind you of your Texas roots. Whatever your choice, remember that personalized style can sometimes break accepted norms of style.
Let your clothes be a reflection of your age.
Don’t try to dress like a 13-year-old kid at 32. There are certain expectations and social beliefs when it comes to how a man over 30 should dress.
Alternatively, if you are in your early 20’s and not working in a job where a suit is required, you may like the idea of wearing suits, but they are not a practical choice for a college student.
#7 Shop With A Plan
Before you open your wallet and splurge on your next shopping trip, consider the clothing items that are on your go-to list at home.
Make a mental note of your wardrobe likes, dislikes and what you need before making a purchase. This simple act prevents buyer’s remorse.
Ask yourself the following questions when you need to make a clothing or accessory purchse:
- Does this item reflect my values and personality?
- Is it suitable for the environment I am exposed to daily?
- Does it inspire me?
- Will it work with your lifestyle?
- Where will I wear it and how often?
- Does it coordinate with at least 3-4 other pieces in my wardrobe?
- Can it be worn year-round?
Make your purchase if the cost of the item is justified after considering these questions.
Creating a signature look is an important step in your sartorial journey.
Even if you have no intention of becoming a style icon it helps to refine your own unique style and to build a more functional wardrobe. Don’t worry if you are not 100% or even 50% sure about what your unique style needs to look like.
Simply being aware of your go-to pieces and starting the process of developing what suits you best will catapult your style miles forward.