Readers’ mail – Is my style really improving ?
Is your style really improving ?
You may wonder. A lot of our readers do.
How would you know ?
That’s the question our friend Hugo asked us…
In this article you’re going to learn what you should be focusing on when you’ve mastered the basics of your wardrobe.
Hi Kinowear team,
I’ve been a devoted reader of your blog for nearly a year now and I must congratulate you. The content is always quality stuff and the articles are very clear. I’ve been interested in fashion for a while now and I’m trying to reach a point where my style is really ‘me’.
But it’s just that there’s a question that’s been bugging me for ages and I think it could really make or break things. How do you know if you’re improving? How do you quantify you style progress? Style is something really abstract and for that reason it’s hard to explain. However, I read and apply the advice you share. But how do I know if I’m applying it well? That I’m on the right track and what level I’m at?
Please help me out with this question that I find to be essential. And whatever you do, keep bringing such quality articles and advice!
Hugo, a passionate reader of a quality blog.
First of all, thanks for all the compliments. We like to pretend we’re modest but you should know that your feedback is essential for the quality of our articles that we write, first and foremost, for you and that, at the same time, allow us to develop an even greater passion for the subject.
Your question is very interesting because it shows that you’re starting to see your clothes not just as a ‘fashion necessary’ but as something normal, as a part of your daily life. You are on the right track.
How to have a ‘style’?
To answer your question, if I asked you what your fave piece of music is, you’d probably need less than 3 seconds in order to reply because you’d already have a rough idea in mind about the quality of the piece you’re going to say.
You’ve been working on this ‘quality’ for a while, by checking out everything by or about the artist, comparing him with others before eventually reaching your own conclusions and judgments. If you had to listen to one piece of music that was ‘commercial’ and another ‘classic’, you’d be able to say which one was more legit than the other and explain this to someone who was a complete dumbass when it comes to the subject.
It’s pretty much the same thing when it comes to clothes. It’s just that there’s a bit less theory and much more focus on who you are yourself.
Let me explain by example: when I started making progress in my style by reading all sorts of articles on fashion, my weekend clothes were still limited to a pair of Levi’s faded cowboy jeans, a Diesel T-shirt with a sharp, blue V-neck collar, a black Swatch watch that had been scratched over time and a bunch of disordered clothes that were lying around in my wardrobe. Not good, but not catastrophic, either. Just a bit too ‘common’ and difficult to make progress with.
After a bit of thought, I bought my first pair of Naked & Famous after a casual bit of advice from Benoît. Nevertheless, I was really worried about making a bad financial choice (not surprising given the price tag). Most of my jeans had cost around 80 dollars so it was hard to convince myself to pay almost double that (140$). But I took the risk cos I knew that they were good value and that I wasn’t just paying for the label.
It’s hard to go wrong with an item of this style
Around 7 months later:
- I was buying fewer and better jeans
- In total in my wardrobe, I had about 4 decent pairs of jeans (A.P.C, Naked & Famous, Rick Owens, Nudie) that I alternated with ease, unlike the ten pairs I sold on ebay
- I must have saved at least 250-350 dollars in the sales
- There’s nothing magic about what I’m writing. This progress can be seen in the fact that: I’d stopped making mistakes and I knew where to look on a pair of jeans before buying them
- I kept in mind that I should buy something similar to my Naked & Famous jeans, which had now become a model for me
- Now that I was used to wearing the clothes that fitted me right, as soon as something fitted me exactly, I ‘felt’ it was perfect
- The other items in my wardrobe had to be of a similar standard to the Naked & Famous jeans; if now, the outfit clashed – that helped me to avoid a fair few bad buys in terms of quality
So, I had a kind of pre-established set of rules in mind that stopped me making silly mistakes…and therefore from taking steps backwards in terms of style (going back to baggy jeans for example)
Find your style: the quick sum up
The best answer I can give you at this stage is a question: what is the best item you own? What kind of standards do you have regarding jeans/shirts/ jacket and T-shirt/shoes?
To sum up, I think that in order to progress in the choice and quality of your clothes, you need to:
- Have concrete standards (link) for different items in your wardrobe (explained in this article)
- Identify a designer or someone who dresses well that you like and understand why. Adopt what’s already been done well and make it your own
- Then find your own clothing style by adding coherence and adapting things to suit your own morphology and personal taste.
How to make your style move forwards?
When it comes to knowing what level you’re at, there are no adequate answers to this question. Your style is defined by your experience, sensitivity, and particularly by the place where you live (being well dressed doesn’t mean the same thing everywhere). There is no such thing as ‘style’ because your tastes evolve as your discover new labels and as your plans change (travel, reading and culture).
And especially your ability to bend the rules. We often say that a guy has ‘style’ cos he is able to wear clothes he likes and that express his vision, unlike others who are happy to be a walking advertisement. The guy who hasn’t shaved for three days will wear a white shirt differently to a guy who is well groomed.
The same thing wouldn’t have the same effect on Mike Sorentino!
To ‘evolve’ in the sense of developing your own style, you also need to get some solid foundations regarding the theory (knowing brands, sizes, cuts) as well as personal stuff (catwalks, personal culture, photos, sensitivity to art in general).
Too much theory and you’ll end up being the sheep that follows all the trends like most people follow the weather forecast. Too much focus on yourself and you’ll become eccentric rather than original.
To give you an idea, here are the phases that someone who’s passionate about fashion goes through:
1. You don’t know much so you buy brands with confidence
You start off by taking an interest in the superficial aspects of clothes by buying a label, or a look cos you don’t know too much about men’s fashion and you’re looking for a safety blanket (which is often offered by a price tag)…that’s where the following thought comes from: if it’s expensive or the brand is well-known, I can’t go wrong.
So you buy in complete confidence, cos these brands also get the attention of your mates. You like fashion, even really like it. And you check out at least 10 fashion blogs as well as spending the whole day on twitter or facebook.
You should know that this outfit comes to a total of around 3500 dollars…expensive per meter!
2. You got your (possibly high-end) basics and our outfits are simple but efficient
Once you’ve got to grips with the world of men’s fashion, you start buying better items and recognizing quality in an item. You like A.P.C, Common Projects on your feet and you tell yourself every day that ‘less is more’ should be tattooed on your forearm. You despair at not being able to find more items that are basic but quality in shops that often just sell flashy stuff. Your wardrobe is starting to fill up with more solid items that don’t necessarily come from the same place but work well when mixed up. In your own way, you copy a designer or a photo you liked. Even if your items aren’t exactly the same.
Rather than trying to complicate things, your outfits are often simple and get straight to the point. But you feel that you’re still missing that ‘little something’, a personal touch that stops you feeling like you’re seeing the same outfits on fashion blogs that are a bit too ‘clean’.
Clean, simple and well-executed
3. You own your closet! Your clothes fits your personality
You have a more precise idea of what you like. You’re not bothered about the label anymore. Without thinking, you slip on your jeans with a chambray shirt that’s a bit worn. The idea of knowing what is ‘beautiful’ or not doesn’t interest you now. Same goes for the label. You choose by following your instinct and experience which leads you to the final outfit.
You know you’re not going to go wrong in terms of taste. The essential is something else, your way of putting your clothes together and the personal satisfaction of being at ease in your clothes (which will bring out the best of you).
Your clothes perfectly suit your personality and say exactly what you want them to. Paradoxically, this is also the point at which you sacrifice the minimum amount of free time for this passion.
How are you going to reach this level of expertise?
Learn from the past : Do you really think being dressed averagely helped you that much so far ?
Set vivid, detailed goals for the future : Who can you look up to ? Who is incredibly stylish in your eyes ? How will you start to use this influence to dress sharply ?
You can take action in the only moment of time over which you have any control: now.
Don’t worry, we’ve got everything set to get you there.
This Sunday, we’ll be revealing a unique offer to help all our readers make a fresh start this year. There will be bonuses and 100% exclusive content, but not for everyone.
- Access to all the photos in the book in HD. Photos of real life, outfits we wear every day, ideas for outfits that are easy to replicate.
- Mindmaps, for all you need to know about shirts, jackets and jeans at a glance. Answers to all your questions: Care, cut, material, why, how to choose, the finishes… They will only be available to the first movers.
What we’ ve prepared around the Kinowear Bible will leave you gobsmacked. Rendez-vous Sunday.
In order not to miss out, join our ‘Style Letter’ by filling in your details below .