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.


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.


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.


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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  • Max Batres

    Sorry for my poor english, it’s not my native language. Well moving on, finding a style I believe is more than finding a fashion, or getting ourselves adept to it. Is just not about clothing, hairdos, accesories or in women’s case make up. Having a style is finding yourself in a way that you can iluminate all the positives sides of you and highlight the your better grounds. It’s expressing yourself with total security and comfort because you’re sure who you are and most of all you’re comfortable in your own skin. Not only people will like you better for that but you will too. And yes, some people will feel threaten by your style, presence or whatever… but in the end they are only projecting their own fear of being who they really are. Knowing who you are, accepting it and then flash it to the world takes courage. Finding a style is growing. Having style is all about perfect timing, taste and charisma. Tons of people look average, some look good, a few try really hard, but only the brave ones, the chosen ones look their best.

  • If you want to stick to the term “Man with Style”, you have to pay attention to the following rules.

  • Brian

    I’m a sporty person who does I.T, what kinds of style would be good for me?

  • Hi Brian,

    If you’re asking how to dress accordingly to your body, have a look there:

    About working in I.T. I guess you shouldn’t be to dressed up. Therefore you should focus on the fit to improve. Read this:


  • Hi Kocefashion, not really sure what you mean… but thanks for reading.

  • Hi Max Batres,
    thanks for your words of wisdom and don’t forget to ejoy the process of discovering your style
    Best, Nicolas

  • This article from Barron at Effortless Gent focuses on athletic body type:

  • Trendiii

    soooooooo much nice really
    & nice post

  • Voice

    I read the book Image Matters for Men, however I don’t recommend you to do so it is the fine example of the ‘dress with colors school’; colors which you wont find in any store anyways. As cynical as I am, I recommend you to at least look on ‘The most helpful critical review’ on Amazon:

    However, the book offered 6 basic styles (with examples):
    – Creative (Bob Geldof)
    – Dramatic (David Beckham)
    – Romantic (Prince)
    – Classic (Bill Clinton)
    – Natural (Jude Law)
    – International (Pierce Brosnan)
    for what is’t worth.

    I could identify from those mostly with ‘International’ which is a little bit of a mix of all of the others. But to have a second style as well, maybe I could identify with the nice $5,000 leather jackets from Dior Homme and Saint Laurent.

    However, a leather jacket is sure not the most practical piece of clothing for International travel (at, least if you do not travel like Bruno in the film, with his whole wardrobe). The inherent contradictions in style/fashion! And who in their right minds would spend $5,000 on a leather jacket anyways?

  • Hi Voice,

    Thanks for your review of the book. I didn’t know about this one.
    As one of the critics higlighted, the fit is king. It’s no use to learn all about the colors if you’re not going to improve on the fit of the clothes you are wearing.

    I’m currently re-reading “Dressing the Man” from Allan Flusser which is an amazing book that focuses not only on colors but cut too. Actually 2nd chapter (of 13) is dedicated to color and the 3rd to proportions.

    You can probably grab a second-hand copy for cheap on eBay.

    Answer : no one.


  • Voice

    Thank for recommending this book! It will be a useful addition.

  • My pleasure.

  • Thanks Trendiii