The second instalment of the ‘real style icons’ series features a jovial face that many of you have probably seen, without actually knowing his name. Karl Edwin Guerre (pronounced ‘gear’), has taken photographs and been photographed, written articles and been written about, and yet he remains humble and grounded, keen to share his considered opinions on style and life.
His fashion credentials are as evident in his outfit selection as they are in his CV, with published photographs gracing the pages of GQ and Vogue, in addition to his own website at guerreisms.com – which he believes is an insight into his personal idea of style.
Mr Guerre considers himself to “walk the line between artistry and intellect”, where his attention to detail and keen exploration of the definition of style, goes hand in hand with his obvious eye for colour and texture. The breakdown of his style is one coined as ‘casual fly’, but as you will find out, his well thought out perception of style and being well dressed combines classic thinking and a fresh, urban approach.
I am positive almost all of us can agree that attitude takes precedence over clothes when it comes to style. Karl Edwin Guerre broadly agrees: “to me style is about attitude and the way a person lives – the marriage of the two. I think it takes time to define and settle into.” Guerre also refers to a recent topic of debate here at FashionBeans: whether style is intrinsic, or something one can gain as they evolve and mature.
The general consensus seems to be that style is innate for a lucky few, while others (the majority) have to work at it. This is very much what Guerre is driving at when he talks of people cultivating their personal style; developing it into something that relates to who they are, and who they have been.
This attitude is evident in Guerre’s style evolution. He says that his original sympathy for hip hop culture and baggy clothes changed drastically to a Wall Street look – where pin stripes, double-breasted coats and Ralph Lauren became wardrobe staples.
Guerre believes people sense, and thus respond to, confidence. Therefore, he finds it essential to leave his house in a positive state of mind, allowing his confidence to radiate and transmit to others.
This all ties into how style relates to personality, which is clear in the way you move, talk and present yourself. Guerre is someone who has true confidence in his dress, and it means that he doesn’t feel the need to change outfits throughout the day, despite visiting numerous locations.
Guerre draws inspiration for his outfits from life, from what he sees out of his window, and how he feels. Therefore, his attire is different every day of the year, and colour and texture combinations channel his emotions visually.
However, his style is always rooted in what he appreciates. He states that this is a classic approach to dressing, where there is always at least one tailored garment in his outfit. That being said, his smarter clothes and the rest of his ensemble are still all subject to his mood and the world around him, meaning colour and textures are always seasonally appropriate.
By his own admission, he does not partake in anything over the top, and certainly favours timeless style over any fleeting trends. The lookbook images above support this assessment of his style, but the odd photo showing him to be wearing something once in vogue, is a demonstration of the cyclical nature of fashion and his appreciation of styles of a bygone era.
So, this is how Guerre arrives at his coined description of ‘casual fly’. He explains that ‘casual’ refers to classic, with a modern edge, and ‘fly’ connotes the freedom his clothes give him to go anywhere, without having to dress up or down.
With all the above in mind, I have created two outfits that you can draw inspiration from, based on Guerre’s personal style.
Playful juxtaposition of colour is the hallmark of this outfit, and very much resembles Guerre’s favourite way of dressing up. The wonderful shade of red makes the jacket a subtle statement piece, which is normally the limit for any look. Simple cords in mid-blue complement the jacket, and are allowed to stand out as a result of the blank canvas that is a white Oxford shirt.
A sumptuous pair of shearling gloves add serious style points, but they are not too ostentatious for Guerre to feel as though they would detract from the jacket, or contrast harshly against the rest of the look. A navy scarf complements the outfit tonally, and some simple brown brogues finish off the outfit in mature, timeless fashion.
All components here are weather appropriate, and blend colours that work together. Simplicity at its best.
This second outfit replaces the blazer that Guerre views as the cornerstone of his personal style, providing a quirky twist on formal attire. A double-breasted navy cardigan is combined with slim wool trousers in the same hue, to create a sense of relaxed formality.
Vintage polo shirts are also a favourite of Guerre, with their colours and patterns giving them something extra in comparison to standard pique polos. Accessories, in this instance a belt and handkerchief, play off the base hues, whilst a further injection of colour in the footwear department makes this outfit particularly Guerre-esque.
Guerre is such a refreshing tonic to the spiky world of fashion, with his belief that “the message is always more important than the messenger” speaking volumes of his personality.
It may be his nine-to-five job at a Veteran’s Hospital to ensure a regular income that helps put things into perspective, but whatever it is, I for one hope that Karl Edwin Guerre remains the same humble, honest and respected gentleman for the rest of his years.
The fashion world is lucky to have him.