Introduction

Although here at FashionBeans we very much support timeless staples and curating a personal style that withstands any passing trend or fad, this is not to say we don’t see the importance in reinventing yourself.

Whether it’s through subtle wardrobe updates or a complete style overhaul, reinvention is a powerful tool both on a physical and psychological level. It is also something that helps us form our own identity, one that is both personalised and unique.

This idea is reinforced by a fantastic quote once said by musician and activist, Henry Rollins: “I believe that one defines oneself by reinvention. To not be like your parents. To not be like your friends. To be yourself. To cut yourself out of stone.”

I’d challenge any man to not feel liberated by these words.

The Master Of Remodelling

When talking about reinvention, it’s essential to look at the influence of one person in particular. A man who helped shape the world’s perception of identity transformation, simply through constantly transforming himself. We are, of course, talking about the musical legend that is David Bowie.

Having first caught the attention of the British public in 1969 with a song called Space Oddity and his slight hippy style, he re-emerged a few years later during the glam rock era as his now iconic, androgynous alter ego, Ziggy Stardust. Complete with pale skin, fire red hair, an almost skeletal frame and a lightning bolt painted across his face; the master of reinvention had well and truly arrived.

After ‘killing off’ this flamboyant character, Bowie continuously altered his image throughout his career. He went from a blonde-haired commercial superstar, to underground electronic-minimalist living in Berlin; as well as countless other transformations.

David Bowie - TransformationsThe master of reinvention, David Bowie has undergone some extreme transformations throughout his career

Most recently he surprised the world by releasing his first record in a decade, The Next Day, which he had been working on in secrecy. This coincided with the hugely successful David Bowie Is exhibition, which took place in London over the summer.

OK, we know what you’re thinking. That’s all very well for a successful music artist who has used his reinventions as part of his stage persona, but how does that relate to the average guy on the street? Well, it’s all about taking elements of this dramatic end-and-then-begin-again strategy to keep your own style fresh and exciting.

A Revolving Wardrobe

When it comes to your style, reinvention will help keep things interesting. Nobody wants to be pigeon-holed as a ‘one trick pony’, so why not inject some excitement into your new season wardrobe? There’s only one rule: try something new for you.

Are you a city slicker who sticks to monochrome? It may sound cliché, but adding a splash of colour to your working wardrobe will reignite your confidence in the boardroom and banish the boredom in getting dressed.

If you aren’t ready for a colour-block suit, dip your toes into this trend and opt for some fun and quirky socks for a subtle take on the look:

Men's Alternative Suit Colours & Bold Socks LookbookSomething as simple as a pair of bold socks or less traditional suit colour can help transform your work wear

network aw13suitsupply ss13ovadia sons ss13drykorn aw13sanahunt ss13gant rugger holiday 2012ted baker ss13James Marsden for GQ September 2011Paul Stuart Spring 2011

Jumped on the wacky print bandwagon? Strip your look back with some timeless basics. Not only will this clear the clutter from your wardrobe, but the clutter from your head too. A minimalist mindset comes hand in hand with a minimal look.

Swap your Hawaiian and Aztec prints for Oxford cloth and classic tailoring and take the stress out of dressing.

Men's Timeless Outfit ExamplesTake the effort out of getting dressed in the morning with timeless, classic pieces.

zara man aw12zara man ss11j crew fall 2013he by mango aw13he by mango september 2012h&m aw11house of fraser aw13reiss aw13allsaints ss13

Festival season is drawing to a close; use this as an opportunity to update your weekend look. Out with the distressed skinny jeans and country coats and in with a sophisticated 1920s-inspired look.

Consider wide-leg trousers and fitted ribbed knitwear for a modern take on the trend, and a modern take on you.

1920s-Inspired LookbookTake inspiration from menswear eras past by injecting your modern personal style with a touch of the 1920s.

tesco ss13h&m aw11h&m aw11ami aw13ami aw13Ralph Lauren purple labelunknownberluti aw12ben sherman aw12

Hopefully we’re beginning to win you over to the idea of reinvention. You can do no wrong with your revolving wardrobe, it’s all about using the art of change to keep things fresh and interesting.

Experimenting with your look shouldn’t just be for adolescent teens, make it a life-long challenge to constantly renew your image.

The Advantages Of Having One Look

Of course, the flipside to this argument is the notion of sticking to one look. We all have our staples we reach for season after season; we know how they work and they make dressing effortless – so why fix what isn’t broken?

Having one look can be simple, easy to maintain and effortlessly stylish. It can show how a man has experimented enough with his image to now be in a place where he is comfortable (and confident) in his skin.

If you prefer to be consistent and stick to one strong look season after season, you’ll want to stock up on basics and create a timeless capsule wardrobe that will see you move stylishly from one season to the next:

  • Allsaints Salute V-neck T-shirtAllsaints Salute V-neck T-shirt
  • Reiss Lyon Short Sleeve Jersey Polo With Pocket GreyReiss Lyon Short Sleeve Jersey Polo With Pocket Grey
  • He By Mango Slim-fit End-on-end ShirtHe By Mango Slim-fit End-on-end Shirt
  • Asos Slim Fit Suit In Grey BirdseyeAsos Slim Fit Suit In Grey Birdseye
  • Slowear Zanone Wool-blend CardiganSlowear Zanone Wool-blend Cardigan
  • Asos Smart Shirt In Long SleeveAsos Smart Shirt In Long Sleeve
  • Reiss Simmerson Peak Lapel Micro Texture Suit NavyReiss Simmerson Peak Lapel Micro Texture Suit Navy
  • Topman Premium Grey Herringbone Suit JacketTopman Premium Grey Herringbone Suit Jacket
  • He By Mango Straight-fit Dark Robert JeansHe By Mango Straight-fit Dark Robert Jeans
  • Reiss Bell Moleskin-style Trousers FawnReiss Bell Moleskin-style Trousers Fawn
  • He By Mango Garment-dyed Cotton Trench CoatHe By Mango Garment-dyed Cotton Trench Coat
  • Reiss Emperor Wool Blend Pea Coat NavyReiss Emperor Wool Blend Pea Coat Navy
  • Allsaints Cabot BootAllsaints Cabot Boot
  • Loake Oxford ShoesLoake Oxford Shoes
  • He By Mango Brogueing Leather BlucherHe By Mango Brogueing Leather Blucher

For further reading around the capsule wardrobe concept, see our article on the Ultimate Streamlined Capsule Wardrobe.

Subtle Ways To Reinvent

If you do prefer to stick to one signature look, why not try simple and subtle ways of updating your style without having to give your wardrobe a complete overhaul?

The best way to do this is through the use of accessories. If you’ve been carrying the same old holdall around with you for years, try swapping it with an of-the-moment rucksack. Tired of your signature aviators you always reach for when the sun comes out? Go for a style that you’ve never considered before, like circular frames or chunky wayfarers.

Other easy ways to update your signature look could simply involve adding new textures or cuts to your wardrobe:

  • Royal Rebuliq Leather Track BackpackRoyal Rebuliq Leather Track Backpack
  • Tateossian Scoubido Double-wrap Leather BraceletTateossian Scoubido Double-wrap Leather Bracelet
  • Topman Charcoal Checked Flat CapTopman Charcoal Checked Flat Cap
  • Oliver Peoples Sheldrake Round-frame Acetate SunglassesOliver Peoples Sheldrake Round-frame Acetate Sunglasses
  • River Island Multicoloured Brights Socks PackRiver Island Multicoloured Brights Socks Pack
  • Bottega Veneta Woven Leather Wallet With ChainBottega Veneta Woven Leather Wallet With Chain
  • Lot78 Wool-blend Tweed Bomber JacketLot78 Wool-blend Tweed Bomber Jacket
  • A.p.c. Petit Standard Corduroy TrousersA.p.c. Petit Standard Corduroy Trousers
  • Austin Reed Navy Twill Moleskin JacketAustin Reed Navy Twill Moleskin Jacket
  • U Clothing Mens Wide Neck Oversized T-shirtU Clothing Mens Wide Neck Oversized T-shirt
  • Topman Navy Double Breasted Suit JacketTopman Navy Double Breasted Suit Jacket
  • Topman Navy Leather Look Trim Ultra Skinny TrousersTopman Navy Leather Look Trim Ultra Skinny Trousers
Final Word

When it comes down to it, reinventing your style is really all about reinventing your mindset. Life is constantly moving and we are continuously changing to adapt to this.

We change our style because of the experiences we go through, both good and bad, either to make us feel better and more confident about ourselves or as a reflection of how great we are feeling.

Whatever your reason, just remember to enjoy each reinvention and embrace the experiences you have along the way. It’s better to look back and cringe at that printed sweater or spontaneous new hairstyle, than look back regretting not taking any risks at all.

Please feel free to share the reinventions and evolution your personal style has undergone, whether subtle or dramatic, in the comments section below…