Nobody likes a one-trick pony.
Unless, however, that one trick happens to be a kick-ass styling move that – no matter how many times you see it rolled out – never fails to impress.
When it comes to dressing well, some things just work. Always. So why not save yourself the tedium and embarrassment (cheers, Facebook Memories) and fast-track the development of your personal style with some lessons from the best?
Seven of the world’s best-dressed men. Seven invaluable style lessons. No trial and error necessary.
The Master: Ryan Gosling
The Lesson: Find Something That Suits You (And Stick To It)
Nobody could pull Ryan Gosling up on his style. His macabre folk music, well, that’s a very different story. (And yes, we hate it too.) But this man’s understanding of what works for him, and what doesn’t, is untouchable.
Mr. Eva Mendes’ sartorial calling card is a bomber jacket, and – as a quick Google proves – it looks like he’s got one in every shade imaginable, each slotting in seamlessly with his rotation of classic tees, jeans and boots. Then again, if you can lay claim to successfully rocking Drive’s quilted, embroidered scorpion white-gold satin bomber (a key trend this season, FYI), then you know you’re onto a winner.
As a wise man (or random Pinterest board) once said: “If the shoe fits, buy it in every colour.”
The Master: Nick Wooster
The Lesson: Learn To Love Layering
We always knew that age was no barrier to great style. But, until 55-year-old game-changer Nick Wooster started blowing up street style blogs and Tumblrs a few years ago, we didn’t understand just how accurate that statement is.
OK, so you may not be a menswear industry vet turned most-photographed-man-in-the-history-of-street-style, but that doesn’t mean you can’t learn a thing or two from The Woost’s love affair with layering.
Wooster’s best layered outfits may capitalise on his own unique brand of ‘that shouldn’t work, but it does’ styling wizardry, but you needn’t be so outré. It’s important to start with the basics when layering: focus on simple, lightweight garments and layer your look piece by piece, upping the weight of your fabrics as you go.
The great thing about savvy layering is it allows you to wear the hell out of what’s already in your wardrobe without raising eyebrows (or, you know, suspicions around your personal hygiene) – each layered look is a different combination from the next.
Just don’t overdo it – even The Woost himself couldn’t make some misguided style pairings happen.
The Master: Douglas Booth
The Lesson: Take Your Tailoring Downtown
A promising young actor like Douglas Booth probably has – with one foot in the new Brit Pack and the other in Hollywood studios – rails full of freshly steamed suits to choose from when popping out for the morning paper. But – and this is something that’s no mean feat at the tender age of 23 – he also knows exactly how to wear one without looking try-hard.
Take a leaf out of Booth’s book by retiring the traditional shirt and tie in favour of something more contemporary like a T-shirt, sweatshirt or polo shirt, slip into some sneakers and you’re done. All of the suit, none of the staid.
The Master: Johannes Huebl
The Lesson: Classic Never Gets Old
There are pros and cons to being one half of one of the world’s best-dressed couples. On the one hand, you can smile smug in the satisfaction you’ve got something that hands-down beats a Rolex or Patek on your arm; on the other, your style runs the constant risk of being outright upstaged.
Luckily, German model Johannes Huebl is more than a match for wife Olivia Palermo thanks to his subscription to the well-known ‘classic with a twist’ school of dressing.
Huebl’s old-world style for the modern man is vindication for guys who take their style cues from the good old days – when fashion wasn’t fast and wardrobe staples were based on actual seasons instead of industry cycles hell-bent on redefining the word ‘essential’.
The takeaway? You don’t always need newness. Instead, stock up on the cornerstones – tees, shirts, chinos, jeans, well-cut tailoring – to see you through every occasion.
The Master: Tinie Tempah
The Lesson: Tailoring Shouldn’t Be Cut From the Same Cloth
Kanye, we’re going to let you finish, but homegrown talent Tinie Tempah is the best-dressed rapper of all time.
So he may not have his own post-apocalyptic fashion label and he may have yet to ace Ye’s god-level knack for self-promotion, but Britain’s humbler answer to Yeezy makes switching between streetwear and suiting look effortless.
There’s a lot to be learnt from Tinie – who else can rock a velvet slipper and a velvet blazer without looking like his grandmother’s altar of chintz? – but far and away his most important sartorial teaching is lightening up. Your tailoring that is.
If the only time you’ve tried your hand at light-coloured tailoring was at a summer wedding, take note of Tinie’s flawless track record of all-white red carpet outings. Given the proper treatment (go for a darker cream colour if your skin tone is lighter, and opt for a pale grey or blue blazer if you don’t want to go the whole hog) suits and separates in lighter hues make headlines for the right reasons. Unlike Kanye.
The Master: David Gandy
The Lesson: You Don’t Have to Be a Beanpole To Wear Double-Breasted
No matter what he wears (or doesn’t wear, as is often the case), David Gandy’s style flex is invariably strong. Much like his cheddar-grating six-pack.
What’s more, despite constant debate about what does and doesn’t suit men with larger athletic builds, he manages to pull it all off – which we realise is kind of the point as he’s a model. More to the point, however, he’s a well-built man who nails double-breasted cuts.
We’re going to let you in on a little secret: the double-breasted blazer is a lot more democratic than it’s given credit for. Seriously.
Forget what you thought you knew about the DB being boxy and unforgiving, and instead acquaint yourself with modern, lightweight takes on this suiting stalwart.
And then take it to your tailor. Gandy’s good, but – as his suiting proves – he’s not too good for a nip and tuck.
The Master: Pharrell Williams
The Lesson: Get Your Head Game High
First they laugh, then they copy. It’s a phrase which most likely sprung up wrought in Comic Sans on some inspirational Instagram feed (shudder), but it’s sound advice nonetheless.
Nobody knows this better than Pharrell Williams – the man who donned that infamous Vivienne Westwood hat to first meet mockery, and then imitation.
Is there a man alive who hasn’t at some point questioned his ability to wear a hat? Doubtful. Despite this, we’ve been doing it in our droves for years, so there’s clearly a knack to getting it right.
Instead of roundly writing hats off, you’d do well to realise that it’s really not about one-size-fits-all. It’s about finding yours instead.
Feeling enlightened? Or are these teachers not worth the tuition fees? Perhaps you have your own advice to impart?
Teach us a lesson below.