Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Introduction to Style

Here’s the thing about style. You have to make it your own. There are rules and guides to follow, but ultimately it’s going to be about what makes you look good. You’ll need to consider your occupation and other regular activities, but you’ll also have to let the shape of your body, skin tone, and personality dictate the finer points. When it comes to colors and cuts, trends come and go. A tie made in the seventies, for instance, is unmistakable. It’s important not to get too caught up in trends, you’ll never be able to keep up over the long haul. Also, and this is my personal opinion, you're not going to find your style in just one store. Ralph Lauren knows his business, but he’s not designing a look for you in particular. You can outfit yourself in his wares, but I wouldn’t do it exclusively. In fact, I make it a point to mix up labels as much as possible.

Gentlemen come in all shapes and sizes. They also occupy numerous statuses and jobs. So there really can’t be a formal guideline for his attire. Establishing your style will take some careful consideration. First, consider your surroundings and duties. Have a good look at men in similar circumstances and pick out what you admire and what you don’t. Use that as a guide for dressing yourself. You’ll also have to familiarize yourself with the delicate science of matching articles of clothing and accessories. But first you’ll have to figure out what specific cuts and textures do for you. Basically, you want to use a little trial and error as well as opinion fishing to establish the type of shirt, sweater, pants, patterns, and such make you look your best. For instance: Do pleated pants work for you? Do you need a fuller cut? Should you favor vertical stripes? How about v-necks? Think about things like cuffs, collars, color pallets. Your clothes should speak for you. They should reflect your personality but most importantly make an all around good and proper impression.

An easy place to start is shirt collars. Seek out the help of a tailor or clerk at a fancier store. Try out several different collar and see which one works best for you. Most of your decision is going to be based on the shape of your face, chin and neck. But you’ll also be able to factor in your line of work as well as level of personal flair. Pictured left are a variety of collars from Brooks Brothers. There are many other more dramatic collar styles. Most of them fall well into the trend category and others I would consider unbecoming for a gentleman. But your style is not going to be the same as mine. I prefer the Londoner. It’s becoming for my shape and goes well with a substantial tie knot like a full or half windsor. Of course I’m no stranger to a soft button down. The occasion has a lot to do with the choice as well. Above all, own your look. Demonstrate that you know how to dress and that you do it with purpose and style.

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