How to develop your style (part 1/3): finding a style that (really) suits you

Each to his own!

You must have heard this saying a few times in the context of men’s fashion, perhaps accompanied by:

There’s no accounting for taste.

For a while, you believed the message… but, one day, you realised that these phrases were only being used to cover up a lack of style. In fact, they were aimed precisely at those who lacked it the most.

Damn… so they were lying to me?

But then, one day, you started coming across websites that tried to convince you of the opposite. You discovered that, if there was a subject that lent itself to numerous discussions and heated debates, it was fashion.

Some people believed that the difference between attractive and ugly, classy and immature was as profound as the difference between yin and yang… while others encouraged you to wear what you liked, regardless of what people made of your choices. And, in the middle of this debate? YOU.

ying-yang Are you more yin or yang?

A bit lost, like a child looking for a break of light in the dark, you reasoned in the following way:

Is there only one, universal truth in terms of style?

The question deserved to be asked and, in the same way that you always say hello to a lady, you probably replied (without even thinking):

Yes, there is! There is only one way to dress well!

However, Pandora’s box had been opened, inciting many other metaphysical investigations:

Then who holds this truth? How do I find it? How can I be sure that I’ve got it right? Who fixes the price of clothes? Who should I listen to? Who should I burn for blasphemy?

But you’ve been going about the investigation in the wrong way. Because there isn’t just one truth, but many truths. And in this constellation of truths, there’s only one that interests you (and us): yours.

Well, in a sense, there’s still a universal truth in terms of fashion, and it’s about finding what suits you (which is what men’s makeovers set out to demonstrate in depth).

Possessing style ultimately just means having worked out what suits you.

bad-guyz

If you tell them that “what suits me is living sweatpants”, they’re not going to be pleased…

(Re)discovering your style

Whether you already buy nice clothes but don’t know how to put them together, or you’re starting completely from zero, let’s examine precisely how to begin your journey in search of lost style.

Warning: every adventure requires some preparation. Be ready to encounter a lot of bumps and potholes on this quest. Your open-mindedness, sensitivity and judgement are also going to be put through the mill.

Bruce Lee came up with jeet kune do, which means “the way of the fist that intercepts”. You need “the way of the style that intercepts”: a style that is adapts to your needs like water adapts to the shape of any object it meets. But, as with martial arts, developing your style takes time, a lot of time. We’ll consider this aspect in more detail later.

rack

Even when everything’s perfectly arranged, finding your style is a complex affair…

Setting yourself a goal

Before you set off in one particular direction, you need to think about where you want to go. As we’ve just established, there isn’t just one style, but many styles. Some of you might have discovered style and seduction presented in the same package (I’m thinking here of all the dating advice for men that’s around on the internet). Or maybe you’ve come across looks on blogs dedicated to men’s fashion.

face-to-face

Put your different “yous” in a room together and set things straight.
(Credits: Melinda Gloss F/W ‘11; Nom De Guerre S/S ‘10.)

First of all, have an idea of what kind of look(s) you want to achieve: casual, classy, laid-back, clean, sobre, young, emo, skater, punk, grunge…

It may be obvious, but a good style is one that suits the personality of the person in question (and shows them in their best light). It might play on that person’s adventurous side, or, the total opposite, highlight their classy refinement. You’ll find that fashion is not lacking in means of bringing out a particular character trait. That’s part of what makes it such a rich form of expression.

So, for the moment, determine simply what kind of style(s) you’re after. Make sure you give yourself some room for maneuver – your tastes will evolve over time, and your needs will change depending on the context and situation. In fact, like a magician who always has another trick up his sleeve, we advise you to have more than one style.

So far, what kind of looks have you been through ? Where do you aim at ? Please engage in the comments…

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