Jack Sparow

Three (and a half) reasons to avoid the full look

I often see people with looks that are both too pronounced (a single brand, or vibe that’s too strongly expressed: roots, rock, preppy…) and, all too often, poorly put together. And, well, I am convinced that these two things are two sides of the same problem that feed off each other. Let me give you the three main reasons…

Don’t ‘disguise yourself’

It might seem obvious, but a lot of people disguise themselves without realizing it. Cos someone who hasn’t got the basics in fashion…or hasn’t made the effort to ask himself deep questions about his personality (often the case for teens) finds himself (sooner or later) working a tribute style that:

  • Isn’t congruent with his personality
  • Is a kind of kit costume, or a stack of clichés…but can in no sense be termed a ‘look’
  • Is transitory: keeping the same look once you’ve turned 25 is asking for trouble (job seeking, social interactions in new areas)

The total preppy look

The total preppy look: a monument of ‘manliness’

Don’t rely on a tribute look

At Kinowear, we’re not closed to other cultures…let’s just say we’re only closed-minded when it comes to closed-minded people. So, to sum up, I advise you take the good parts of all tribute looks (goth, chic, preppy, high school, grunge….) but to completely avoid total looks. There isn’t a carnival every day, and you aren’t Jack Sparrow’s cousin.

If you follow Kinowear, you probably want to develop a style that you can really call your own and one that fits with your personality. In short, you’re not here to fit the mould. Cos, yes, the ‘like father, like son’ style is a mould, just like ‘reggae’ or ‘gothic’ styles are (I risk giving some of you a shock here).

Being completely honest, do you know anyone who is over 40 and are still a punk or Goth? Isn’t it a bit sad that they still haven’t found THEIR OWN style? Their style is about as good as a chocolate fireguard; they’ve preferred to accumulate clichés and to develop bad dressing habits…and have ended up still not knowing:

What use is it to spend the time between the ages of 15 and 25 dressing in a tribute look and then waking up one morning, aged 26, and not knowing how to dress any differently? (even if you can keep hold of little touches of your old style, like bracelets that are a bit roots, or Doc Martens).

Moms Minivan

Don’t stick to one single (or very few) brands

The logic is the same when it comes to brands: why put all your eggs in one basket?

A monobrand style is often a crappy style…and whatever it is, it is never YOUR OWN.

Brands are adapted for the crowd they’re sold to. Van’s for skaters, Ralph Lauren for the rich boys, etc…If you rely on one (or a few) brands…you join the club of the tribute looks.

Another thing concerning brands – they’re not guaranteed to be in the same good taste every season…(this is also true of their quality). So keep vigilant when it comes to the quality of the material and cut: the logo is for the ego.

Too much brand kills the style

Too much brand kills the style: this is far too precious (note the two watches: everything should be ‘subtle’)

One last (not so) little thing…

The most important thing is NOT your look. I’ve got a friend who travels a hell of a lot who loves to live the cool life for a few months at a time in Thailand: a kind of ‘roots’ girl but with her own real vision of the world.

And you know what? She hates ‘those dudes with the grimy dreads, always in linen shirts or a German military jacket with a joint in their mouths’. Because they try so hard to buy themselves a look, using all the kit of the perfect preppy/goth/skin/hipster/etc that anybody can see that they’ve tried to overcompensate for their lack of personality or self-confidence with a total tribute look. It’s normal not to feel brilliant all the time, but developing a solid sense of style is better than all these short cuts.
And in my own personal experience, the most interesting people I’ve met in my life were never style purists…but understood that there are good things to be found everywhere and can be taken and used together to fit who you are yourself.

To sum up, a completely polarized tribute look might link you to 1% of style extremists, but it will also distance you from 95% of people who are ‘just normal’, like you and I. Why would you want to cut yourself off from the most interesting people?

Note: in the Best Of, you’ll find some articles specifically for beginners to help you find your style.

In the comment section…

Preppy, Hip-Hop, Rock? What is the full look you used to wear and are now ashamed of?

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  • Preppy, Hip-Hop, Rock? What is the full look you used to wear and are now ashamed of?

  • GLR

    I’ll often wear my uniform in a uniform-optional school as do a tight-knit group of people. And I often hear freshmen diss the look before they even try it.

    I still have my personal style and haven’t “sold out” on my individuality in any way. But it gives us a different sense of unity and makes us indistinguishable to freshmen who usually can’t describe a guy beyond “he wore black”.

    Besides, it’s a great outfit option for when you don’t know what to wear and identifies you as a team player with school spirit. The outfit itself (pants, long coat, vest, shirt and tie for guys, skirt suit for girls) almost makes you act more professional and manly

    TL;DR – I wear a uniform and it projects a certain authority in younger fellas. What are your thoughts on this? Can we have a post on the authorative power certain clothing pieces give you?

  • Hi Gabi,
    That’s a great way to match your personnality and your clothes obviously. It’s good that you’re not he only doing it at school otherwise it’ll really sets you too much apart.

    Obviously, that’s the kind of outfit that’ll always help you feel confident as long as you feel good wearing it.

    I believe that comes both from the feeback you get.

    – You appreciate your look in the mirror and it helps you feel confident
    – People (in this case younger students) look up to you

    I’ll add this post idea to my list. I’d be happy to discuss this 🙂


  • thebreadbandit.

    The Punk-Skater look, complete with a spiked-bracelet, bandana and half-finger knit gloves. Wouldn’t say I’m ashamed of it though, it definitely serves it’s purpose as a stepping stone toward better style.

  • GLR

    Shoot me an e-mail if you have questions or anything, looking forward to it!

  • No reason to be ashamed indeed.

  • Chris

    I don’t think I specifically used to fit into any particular cliche’d style, but I don’t mean that as a point of pride – I cared very little about my appearance, and I generally looked like I wore clothing because clothing is required by society, not because I had any desire to express myself visually. I suppose just by the nature of not caring how I looked, I gave off a disheveled look (on bad days) and an effortless/rebellious look (on better days). I sometimes came across as preppy, but that was largely because relatives were giving me preppy clothing for holidays and birthdays. My school had a uniform so I didn’t have many options during school hours.

    If my outfits are any ‘full look’ now, it’s probably a rock star look. I wear more jewelry/accessories than most men, but at the same time my clothing is usually fairly dressy, so I think I avoid looking like an utter wannabe. It doesn’t help/hurt that even dressed completely without ornamentation, I get comparisons to Johnny Depp. Given that I already like his style, it’s hard to resist using him as inspiration sometimes.

    I definitely see people who look like they’re wearing a costume instead of showing their own style. Still, it’s hard to know for sure how others perceive me; ultimately I just go with what I like. I’ve been getting an unusual number of compliments lately, so I guess I’m on the right track.

  • Thanks 🙂

  • Hi Chris,
    Amazing, it seems like you’ve found your style 🙂
    Keep going !

  • tofu racer

    I see your point in developing you own style but for someone who hasn’t fully explored what they like isn’t there a danger in looking too common or sending confusing messages?

  • Hi Tofu Racer,
    Thanks for your comment.
    Well I guess that’s the risk you’ve got to take in order to finally find your style.
    You’re not going to discover if you only disguise yourself in very easy looks or full looks.
    But the truth to me is that you really won’t take a big risk. Being inapropriately dresses once in a while is not a big deal and you’ll actually learn a lot from this small akward experiences.

    Have a good day, Nicolas