Mark twain once said “the clothes make the man”, and while the great writer certainly had a point, I would take the more controversial view of “the man makes the clothes”. But hang on? Does this mean I can dress like a tramp and make it work for me? Alas, no, being stylish is the ultimate paradox, you must take great care to put yourself together and then completely forget you’re wearing clothes at all – it’s a hard line to tread and many a man gets it wrong. The majority of this article will look into the attitude behind the clothes; what is cool, men who got it right, clothes that capture the attitude and why the rewards a life of effortless cool brings is achievable for every man to grasp if he wants, regardless of whether he lives in Paris or Scunthorpe.
The essence of “cool” is an elusive thing. Nobody quite knows what it is, it has no single agreed upon definition, and yet it is phenomena that transcends both generations and cultures – it is timeless. People certainly know it when they see it, as we’ve all seen someone in a bar, at work or even on the bus that just seemed to ooze this thing we call cool from every pore. That being said, this intrepid article writer is going to attempt to define “cool”, at least in relation to fashion; I think cool is a supreme self assurance, not arrogance or cockiness, but an inner confidence, one that makes you firmly believe what you’re wearing looks good, that you look good, so good in fact that you don’t even need to acknowledge you look good, it’s just the way it is. Effortless.
Below are some examples of men I personally think achieved this elusive attitude, it is no way comprehensive and there are numerous others. Clockwise from top left: Mr. James Dean, Mr. Frank Sinatra, Mr. Steve McQueen, Mr. Paul Newman, Mr. Marlon Brando and Mr. Johnny Depp. Who would your choices be past or present? Let us know in the comments below:
Back to Mark Twain again, while the man and the attitude behind the clothes are important, the man better have some stylish clothes otherwise he is only half the style icon he wishes to be. Whilst there is no strict look that encapsulates the attitude; there are a few guidance rules and essential products.
A few essential items:
So there you have it, a quick guide to cool. Of course there are no absolutes and it comes down to personal preference, but I believe that it’s an achievable state of mind and style for everyone. It takes a lot of guts, a lot of smarts and a hell of a lot of charisma, but get the clothes right, then the attitude will follow. Once the attitude is there, then all the clothes you wear are set off in what can only be described as a stylish symphony of ultimate cool.
“Cool is a knowledge, a way of life.” - Lewis MacAdams
So what do you think about the subject? Let us know your view in the comments below:
As this article is over a year old, the comments are now closed.
If you have a specific question about one of the points raised in the article, why not join our free fashion & style forum and start a thread? The FashionBeans community will always do their best to help you out, and our writers also frequent the forums regularly.
Alternatively, you can get in touch with us on our contact us page.