How to Find Your Own Sense of Style

(photo: jedroot)

Every man wants to feel confident that they’re looking their best, but most guys are frustrated and confused when it comes to their image.

Getting that new haircut, or trying on the latest fashionable shirt, feels like tiny baby steps towards understanding what really works for them. They don’t know what they want, or if they do, they’re not sure how to get there.

The question that I seem to get asked a lot is something like:

What’s the fastest and most effective way to find what works for me?”

And my answer is always the same:

Modeling after the best.

While this may soundcounter-intuitive to finding your own style, it’s one of the most effective ways to discover and build it.

We know that the best way to start learning something is to imitate those who are masters. For example, if you want to learn how to build your body, you would feel most confident learning from a trainer who has the type of body you desire — even better if he used to have a body like yours.

By carefully observing the way he does the exercises and imitating him, you can make sure you’re using the proper form for maximum results. Once you learn the principles of proper exercise, you can work out by yourself and still get the results you want.

The Kinowear “Lookbook” Series

Women have been modeling after the best for decades, and that’s why they are so far ahead of us with style. They are constantly modeling after pictures they see in magazines, their favorite celebrities, and even other women who catch their attention.

It’s just a matter of turning your focus towards the stylish. This is the reason why we have the “lookbook” series on the website to help you get a sense of how to model.

We take an attractive look, break it down to each piece, and then show you where to find similar pieces to replicate the look. From here you can take what you like, discard what you don’t, or make the changes you want until you’re satisfied. This is the easiest, most straight-forward way to build your style.

Building your style through your eyes

While one on one time with an expert is the best way to learn something, you can learn a lot from stylish people you see on the street.

Whenever you’re out and you see a stylish guy, always ask yourself:

“What about this guy’s image makes him attractive? Is it his hairstyle? The fit of his clothing? His nice shoes? The way he used color in his outfit? The way he put together a complete outfit?”

Reversely, if something looks “off” on someone or they simply look horrible, always ask yourself, “Okay, now what makes him look bad, and how can he improve?”

For example, you may conclude for yourself that dirty shoes can ruin an entire outfit, or notice how much color really attracts your eyes to the wearer.

Simply turning your attention to looking for these things, along with asking yourself these questions will improve your sense of style tremendously.

Then, use the Kinowear Bible to guide you the rest of the way.

Start a personal style inspiration binder

If you don’t have one already, I highly recommend getting a subscription to a men’s style magazine like GQ or Details, even if it’s just for the photos. I love how magazines come straight to your door, and you don’t have spend much time searching for fresh inspiration.

One of the best ways to shop for yourself is to tear out all the magazines pages that you like and collect them in a folder. Then you can make a list of all the things you want to buy before you go shopping to find them and try them on.

Here’s a picture of one of my style inspiration binders:

Personally, I save everything I like in plastic sheets that I can place in a big 3-ring binder, or in a folder on my computer. This way I have a whole resource of style inspiration that I can look at anytime I want.

The models in the advertisements are dressed by stylists, so if you look closely at the details of the way they are dressed, you’ll start to see patterns. You’ll build your sense for what goes well together, why it does, and also get lots of ideas for outfit combinations.

Ask yourself questions like:

“What’s the most attractive part of this outfit?”

“What noticeable details make a huge difference?’

For example, you may notice that a pocket square always gives a blazer that sartorial flair, classy and powerful. Or you may notice that a man’s grooming is just as important as what he’s wearing.

What about modeling after celebrities?

Not all celebrities are stylish, but there are plenty you can model off of.

The most stylish are actors like Jude Law, who embody an attitude and exude it through every part of their look. Their personality is written on their clothing, grooming, and swagger. They are masters of self-branding, or better, self-expression.

It’s also a good idea to model after people like this because you not only see the look, but know the man behind it through interviews, films, books, etc. This adds that second dimension of personality that is otherwise missing in pictures of random models.

Take your favorite celebrities and start by trying small aspects of their image for yourself. Or for a bolder approach, you can even try to recreate their entire look if you like everything about it.

Just remember that what may work for someone else may not work for you. Sometimes it depends on your body type, skin tone, face shape, etc. Sometimes personality plays a huge part. But you’ll never know unless you try…

Modeling never ends.

You’ll find endless amounts of inspiration out there. You’ll see people trying new things and expressing themselves in ways that you’ve never seen before. Make modeling not a one time thing, but a lifestyle.

The more you model, the more you’ll develop, re-invent, and continuously evolve your own sense of style. Then you’ll be setting your own trends. Soon people will start imitating you. 🙂

Where do you get your inspiration? Share in the comments!

  • Yavor says:

    Glad you have my man Will Smith right there. He is a major influence (not only style-wise).

    I get my inspirations from movies/TV and cool people on the street.

    For example I used to watch one of my fave shows – Fastlane – the guys there were always cool looking.

    So yeah, hip shows – take note of anything you like, try to analyze why you like it, then STEAL away that look. Shows like the OC for example…

    Used to have a folder on my desktop with pics of stuff I like…

  • Hanif says:

    I agree. I have personally modeled my style based on some of the best dressed men I have seen or known. As you suggested, maintaining a scrapbook is a terrific idea. I do the same by maintaining a ‘Style’ folder, full of looks I like, on my laptop. Anytime I need inspiration on a Friday evening, I just fire up the computer and Voila! tons of inspiration literally at my fingertips.


  • Sean says:

    It’s funny you’ve got that picture of David Beckham and that was an exact look I replicated recently. It was pretty bold for me and a bit of a preppier look for me. I was quite self conscious the first time out but got some great feedback from the hottest chick from my gym!

  • Norman says:

    Great article Jae..
    I’ve been keeping pics from magazines & from the internet too and it really helps alot as it works as an archive where i can look at style inspirations anytime.

  • Vegas says:

    This is an excellent post and I must say an issue I’ve had overcoming for years. Though I’d say “I’m getting there…” this helps keep thing in perspective! 🙂

  • Mikey says:

    I love how you brought up the point of modeling after inspiration. It’s a great way to develop your personal self image. I think a lot of guys think it’s set in stone that you have to wear every single piece of the previous lookbooks, however, I find that this is not the case you just simply use what your interested in, that’s the beauty.

    Thanks Jae

  • Thundersauce says:

    Good article, I think I just might subscribe to GQ this summer.

    One of the pictures in your book is of Chase Crawford (of Gossip Girl notoriety) – I think he has an awesome look going on. He has a few key quality pieces and keeps it simple.

    Don’t stop with the Lookbook updates!

  • evan says:

    One of the things that I’ve started to do is copy images from the web that I find to my iPhone. When I’m shopping I can look at the images for some inspiration. Great post.

  • Himmler says:

    I also like saving pictures of images that I come across while net surfing.

  • ace says:

    agree with himmler. i too save photos that attract my attention on the net. and if i ever need to get inspired i just go back to it. good article.cheers

  • kareem says:

    I just found out about this site Jae and I must say its great. The articles are appealing and I have found little niches to change my style. I take inspiration from what I see in the streets and take bits in pieces to come with my own combinations. The lookbooks are excellent!!!! You have a loyal follower

  • Jude Law is so damn handsome, every man wishes to be like him.~:”

  • Graham says:

    And what do you do if nothing out there appeals to you? It is not that I find all “styles” unappealing… it is just that nothing is any better than anything else (in my eyes.)

    What do you do then?

  • Jay Song says:


    Then you invent your own style.

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