Hard Style: Creating An Edgier and More Masculine Image
Fashion is naturally feminine. Much like writing poetry or painting, developing good style means you have to focus on aesthetics and beautiful expression using clothing.
Men often set aside fashion as something women should be concerned with and as a general waste of time. But, the truth is that cultivating good style can have many positive benefits for your life.
After learning about the basics of good style, you might be interested in developing a more masculine image and showing a harder, more aggressive side of your personality.
Who Do You Want To Be?
The first thing you want to figure out when trying to make your image “harder” is what kind of result you want to have:
- Are you trying to express a specific side of your personality? If so, which side is that?
- What kind of image do you want to show? Bad boy? Aggressive and confident business man?
- Are you trying to match specific types of girls who have harder style? If so, what kinds of things does that type wear? What kinds of hobbies does she have? Where does she hang out? Try to visualize all of that stuff.
It’s important to remember that fashion is just visual communication. When people give speeches or introduce themselves socially, they’re trying to communicate some sort of idea. The same is true of fashion, the difference is that you communicate it non-verbally rather than rhetorically.
Think about the kinds of people you want to attract, going back to that second bullet-point above, think about what images the girls you like are incorporating into their dress. For girls with good aesthetic sense, this is often a very good insight into their personalities.
Now, how are you able to communicate things without talking? You use common symbols that people understand. So, figure out what kinds of symbols are associated with the image you’re trying to put across and work them into your outfits.
For example: one of the easiest ways to make your image harder is to just accessorize more with pieces that communicate rockstar or rebel aspects of your personality (ex. Wearing chains, dyed hair, leather, etc.)
The G-Dragon picture above is very punk-leaning: he’s borrowing a lot of aesthetics from 80s punk fashion, including his “Anarchy in the UK” shirt which is an obvious tribute to that style of dress.
The important thing to notice is how he’s symbolically communicating rebellion. The outfit above makes very blatant use of punk style to do that, but you can also be very subtle and still communicate the same thing. G-Dragon isn’t a punk, he’s a POP STAR. But he’s able to appeal to a certain demographic because of his visual communication.
Choosing Harder Pieces
A different way to communicate similar ideas is by wearing pieces that are a bit unkempt or messy. Ripped jeans or asymmetrical pieces are classic examples.
The above photo, for example, would just look like normal, casual Korean style if the model didn’t have ripped jeans or the neck tattoo. He would just look really stylish and well-put-together. But all of these things in combination suggest that he’s a bit harder and more rebellious than the average guy:
- Ripped jeans
- Bracelets, rings, necklaces (these aren’t things you would usually wear into an office).
- Neck tattoo (made clearly visible by his low cut shirt).
The more obvious your symbols are, the more blatant the communication will be. This is why visible tattoos are such powerful symbols: they’re permanent and (especially in Asia) automatically communicate that you’re not trying to fit in (this has its pros and cons depending on what your goals with your style).
An even more subtle and quieter way to make your style harder is to just dress in monotone colors, or keep your outfits primarily black.
Black and monotone outfits when done well can give your image a very solemn tone. You can blend in effortlessly while also setting yourself apart (most people have much more color balance in their outfits, so keeping things monotone are a way to distance yourself from the majority).
The Gentleman Look
Masculine style doesn’t always need to be dark, rebellious or flashy. Sometimes, showing masculinity is as simple as keeping a conservative, traditional men’s wardrobe while combining that with good posture and verbal wit. Fictional characters like James Bond, Thomas Crown and, more recently, Christian Grey are all excellent examples of bold masculinity displayed through clean and formal outfits.
Watching Sean Connery or Daniel Craig as James Bond can be a great character study for developing a masculine image. Pay attention to the way they combine clean and subtle formalwear with great body language and a good sense of humor along with a touch of sexuality. Remember that masculinity isn’t just about the visuals, it’s also about how you carry your body and express yourself.
Don’t feel shy to wear a suit or get dressed up, even just for a casual outing. Owning a full suit is an essential part of a good male wardrobe and a great way to show confidence and great sartorial sense. Remember: you can never overdressed or overeducated.
Be Bold and Non-Conformist
On the opposite end of the spectrum, you have much louder and in-your-face styles like Visual Kei bands from Japan (hosts in Japan basically owe their entire image from visual kei style).
This sort of style is extremely flashy and blatantly communicates non-conformity on many levels. In general, visual kei image can be condensed as follows: lots of accessories, died, hair, lots of shiny pieces, lots of peacocking. Slight femininity in the face and hair, offset by hard masculine accessories to give the outfits more balance.
In summary, I think the easiest way to begin making your style more aggressive or harder is to start simple: try to accessorize more and with pieces that symbolically communicate the aspects of your personality you want to highlight.
From there, you can choose a general framework for the kind of harder style you’d like (do you want to be more subtle, or do you want to stand out and be super flashy?)
If you don’t want to be so bold and aggressive, you can opt for a more conservative look like James Bond or Thomas Crown. Pair that classic image with good posture for the best effect.
You can also go for a more subtle approach in the daytime and a more aggressive at night for bars or clubs. Remember not to box yourself into one single style. It’s important to experiment and try many different things before settling on the perfect combination for you.