How To Find Your Own Evergreen Style Staples
“Style is the perfection of a point of view,” said the late American poet Richard Eberhart. Therefore, in order to achieve great style, we must have a starting point.
Go back a few years. Rewind a decade ago, maybe two – what are the style choices that have been with you throughout this time? Let’s collate this information and call it your point of view, shall we?
To the outside world, before our personality shines through, we are nothing but graphic elements coming together. This mix of natural features (some of them circumstantial, like weight), clothing, accessories and grooming creates the ‘you’ the world sees. In order to stand out and be unforgettable, you must make sure your style choices are consistent, coherent and extremely personal.
This guide should open your eyes to things that might be – or have the potential to become – one of your trademarks. We strongly encourage you to at least consider them and develop your style from there…
Framing Your Face
“I think people fetishize glasses in general. You could put glasses on a rotting pumpkin and people would think it was sexy,” said actress, comedian, writer and producer Tina Fey.
Well, if it works for rotting pumpkins, it should work for you. Sexy, mysterious, funny, vulnerable, strong… eyewear is the most prominent accessory you can wear when it comes to sending out a direct message to the world. How would you like people to interpret you? As soon as you answer this question, you can go out and search for spectacles or sunglasses that help you communicate it.
Try to stick with a signature frame shape or style (Clubmasters, Wayfarers, round frames?) and update them slightly as the years go by via colours, finishes and details of the moment, or renew them every time you feel like reinventing yourself.
Going slightly retro is the best way to make sure your specs won’t date – anything that has already stood the test of time, maybe worn by someone famous, or even channelling someone you met in the past. Work your memories and references into your choice of eyewear.
Whatever you do, don’t just pick the first pair that looks ‘OK’. Is this how you wish to frame your face to the world?
2. Style Yourself With Flair And Purpose
“Looking good and dressing well is a necessity. Having a purpose in life is not,” was Oscar Wilde’s advice.
OK, maybe having a purpose in life won’t harm you. But – whatever you do – do it in your own style. Don’t fear being the only one dressed in jeans within a sea of chinos, or to lose the tie as soon as the opportunity allows. If you want to play on formality, stick with blazers and trousers at the weekend, but make sure your Sunday tailoring is markedly different to your office wear.
Do you know what your style quirks are? Make a list of them, then choose two or three you feel should be taken to the extreme and begin to shop in a new way.
For example, I’m a jeans guy. I own eight identical pairs of jeans. The difference is that they were bought raw, in different periods of my life. I also wash them differently to make sure they have unique characteristics. From ripped to brand new, you’ll recognise me by my jeans anytime.
What’s your wardrobe trademark?
Jeans Man? Make them a signature piece and work them into all your looks, from day to evening, casual to formal.
3. The Importance Of Watches
Basketball star Kobe Bryant feels strongly about timepieces: “Everyone looks at your watch… it represents who you are, your values and your personal style.”
This might come across as a bit too frivolous, but the importance given to watches by the world is still remarkably high. Have you never commented on how flashy, smart or unusual someone’s timepiece is? And did it influence how you saw this person?
Whether it’s a one-off treat or you collect watches, look for styles that represent you at your best. Formal? Sporty? What kind of strap? How subtle (or how bold)? Discover the history behind the model and brand and see if it resonates with you personally.
If your heart changes its pace when you see a specific style, that’s your watch. Don’t forget to look into vintage or pre-owned options – there’s something about a timepiece that isn’t easily found in stores that should be taken into consideration.
Finally, don’t ever splurge on a watch just to look like everyone else.
Image: Skagen Watch
Image: Triwa Watch
Image: Shore Projects Watch
Image: Uniform Wares Watch
4. Step Up In Your Best Shoes
Marilyn Monroe said: “Give a girl the right shoes, and she can conquer the world.”
We believe this applies to both genders. A great pair of shoes certainly makes all the difference to us men as well.
We’re not here to advise you to go for any specific style, colour or brand. We will, however, invite you to discover what your signature silhouette is, and then encourage you to work it whenever possible into your wardrobe.
For instance, if you’re a loafer man, find out which is the best/most original/rarest penny loafer available, or opt for classic Gucci horsebit models in different colours/materials.
Brogue kind of man? Invest in Goodyear-welted styles from traditional Northamptonshire shoemakers, then pair your rich tan brogues with dark trousers to draw attention to the lighter-coloured footwear – after all, that’s your thing, isn’t it?
Don’t be afraid to buy the same design in multiple colour ways. Make them one of your trademarks by working the same silhouette into all of your signature looks.
Love Brogues? Make them your signature silhouette – invest in multiple colours, models and materials and use them all year round.
5. Be Ready To Pay The Price
“Real luxury is understanding quality, and having the time to enjoy it,” said the inimitable G. Bruce Boyer.
In order for an item to play a lifetime role in your wardrobe, it has to be of high quality – and that doesn’t come cheap. Yet your style investment will endure years longer than your debt.
After all, great design has obligatorily passed the test of time but, at a glance, could date from the past (or future) fifty years, showing utter contemporaneity.
Below are a few all-time favourites and their creation dates, for reference:
- Trench Coat (Aquascutum) – 1850s
- Cartier Tank Watch – 1917
- Leather Biker Jacket (Schott Perfecto) – 1928
- Ray-Ban Aviator Sunglasses – 1936
So whether it’s a Baracuta Harrington, pair of Grenson brogue boots, Mulberry leather holdall, Harris Tweed blazer, Sunspel t-shirt or John Smedley merino wool jumper, never feel guilty for splurging on a timeless classic – you’ll get your cost per wear.
- Sunspel Crew Neck Cotton T-shirt
- Schott Perfecto Oiled Leather Motorcycle Jacket
- Burberry London Cotton-gabardine Trench Coat
- John Smedley Bobby V-neck Merino Wool Sweater
- Grenson Fred Triple-welt Pebble-grain Leather Brogue Boots
- A.p.c. Petit New Standard Slim-fit Dry Selvedge Jeans
- Baracuta G9 Original
- Dark Green Check Harris Tweed Classic Fit Jacket
- Mulberry Clipper Holdall
- Ray-ban Aviator Sunglasses
- Rolex Datejust Watch 2014
- Montblanc Meisterstuck Classique Platinum-plated Ballpoint Pen
So there you have it, some non-dictatorial advice that encourages you to become an improved version of yourself, emulate only what you find inspiration in, and build your own, unapologetic style. This never dates.
We will end with a quote from Cary Grant: “One pretends to do something, or copy someone or some teacher, until it can be done confidently and easily in what becomes one’s own style.”
Why not share your all-time style quirks and trademarks in the comments section below? We’d love to hear about them…