Continuing in the vein of all my previous articles, I’m going to talk about yet another facet of men’s style: Individuality. This has been a very difficult subject to cover because by the very nature of individuality it’s hard to tell other people how to achieve it. I mean, how can you be individual following someone else’s advice?
However at the risk of making a fool of myself I’m going to attempt it anyway; so in this article I’m going to debate whether individuality in fashion is a good thing, or if it will lead to disaster. Then I’ll give you some looks that I think capture what I am talking about, and finally I’ll give you a general list of tips that I feel will help you find your own individual look.
The debate: Is individuality in matters of style a good thing?
Everyone likes a good debate, so I’m going to kick things off with something that I hope will promote a lot of constructive and interesting discussion. Remember to join in below in the comments section.
The case for being a stylish individual is a good one; no matter how we try to dress it up with polite conversation and manners, we as males are all in direct competition with each other – every man wants to be top dog and to get the lion’s share. In the past we would settle this by seeing who could hunt the most woolly mammoths and other such primal activities. Luckily things have moved on considerably and we’ve all left our loincloths in the proverbial loft of manhood.
In modern times it’s all about success; who is the most financially successful? Who is the most successful with women (or men)? And most importantly to this article, who is the most stylish? To be the alpha male, I think you have to do something that separates you from the crowd. You don’t want to look like everyone else, and being an individual, style-wise, makes you more noticeable to everyone. It also makes you seem more confident, a man who is truly comfortable with himself; if you look like a man who has mastered his style and himself, then you look like a man who has or can master every other problem that life might conjure up.
On the other hand, there is also a strong argument against individuality, and to see it you only have to walk down your local high street and look out for all the men who have refused to “conform”. These men have decided to have their hair cut into a blue mohawk, or decided that excessive facial piercing is the correct way to show their contempt for mainstream culture. I consider myself to be a stylish male – as I’m sure you all do too – and like me I imagine that you are equally horrified when you see (what are probably lovely) people dressed like that. It’s enough to make anyone run to their favourite local high street fashion store and dress like one of the window mannequins. Now of course this is an extreme example, and there are many more subtle ways to stand out and be an individual, but the conundrum is still the same; how much is too much without becoming “try-hard” instead?
Now to offer my two pence on the subject: I’m a great advocate of finding what Aristotle called the golden mean in life – in other words, to find the happy medium. In terms of individuality, I think it’s an essential quality all truly stylish men should have, but like so many things in the fashion world, it must be executed in exactly the right way. Too little individuality and you become a fashion victim and a slave to trends, too much individuality and you might be seen as a bit of an eccentric oddball.
The first and most important point about being a stylish individual is to do it subtlety; you want your clothes to look effortless, and if you pick the right combinations then they will speak for themselves without you having to make them shout. So here we go:
So as we are discussing individuality it is hard to provide you with a selection of current items that will be individual to you. You might already work coloured trousers or hats into your look, which means these items are just standard pieces to you. However, based on the general population and what I see men wearing everyday, key items which show individuality are usually things like; bold coloured pieces, jewellery, formal hats (think fedora/trilby/pork pie), bow ties, pocket squares and unconventional colour choices such as beige or khaki for your tailoring. You will all have your own ideas about how to achieve your desired look, but here are some current examples for you:
Here I want to include some lookbook photos that I feel show a bit of individuality. Now because everyone will have their own opinion on this, don’t take it as a literal example of individuality, what’s individual for one person is standard fare or another. At most I hope these pictures just give you some inspiration:
So there we have it guys, my article on individuality, As I’ve mentioned before it was a very difficult subject to write about, and I’m sure you will all have your own opinions on what individuality is and whether it’s a good thing in the style stakes. I hope the article gave you all some ideas and promotes some discussion in the comments section.
Until next time guys,
“Most people are other people. Their thoughts are someone else’s opinions, their lives a mimicry, their passions a quotation” – Oscar Wilde
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