Pearls Of Wisdom

Each new year brings with it promises of change and a list of resolutions. However, in order to stand any chance of hitting your personal goals – whether style-oriented or otherwise – keeping your mind focused and motivated is essential.

When it comes to men’s fashion and style, there are many different methods and avenues you can go down to find the inspiration and motivation you need. It can be anything from picking up this month’s issue of GQ, Esquire or Details, to scrolling through your favourite online publications and tumblrs, to walking the streets of your home town and taking inspiration from others.

But what I find works best for me is listening to sage words of advice from people in the style community that I admire and respect. Even the shortest of utterances from someone such as Tom Ford or Nick Sullivan can help me instantly refocus on the goals that I set myself, regardless of how far I’ve strayed from them.

With this in mind, I’m going to share some of my favourite fashion and style quotes of all time, in the hope that they might just do the same for you. I like to keep these quotes in my head (read: iPhone Notes) and often refer to them whenever I’m out shopping or searching for outfit ideas, in order to remind myself of the key principles of successfully dressing as a modern day gentleman…

1. Michael Bastian

“Always have a pink Oxford shirt ready for days when you’re feeling run down.”

This one was a game changer for me. Not only does pink go with every neutral you already have in your wardrobe (grey, navy, white, black), but it flatters nearly every skin tone as well.

Even if you’re feeling rough from the night before, pull a pink Oxford shirt on with a pair of slim-fit selvedge jeans, brogue boots and a navy pea coat for the perfect hungover Sunday look that will help hide your fatigue.

Lookbook Inspiration

Men's Pink Shirt Outfit Inspiration Lookbook

matalan ss12massimo dutti june 2012tesco f&f ss13mj bale ss12Joe's Jeans Ss13Faconnable Pre-Winter 2012reiss summer 2012Hotel 1171 Ss13AG by Adriano Goldschmied Ss14
Key Pieces
  • Polo Ralph Lauren Plain Oxford Slim Fit ShirtPolo Ralph Lauren Plain Oxford Slim Fit Shirt
  • A.p.c. Button-down Collar Cotton Oxford ShirtA.p.c. Button-down Collar Cotton Oxford Shirt
  • Brooks Brothers Button-down Collar Cotton Oxford ShirtBrooks Brothers Button-down Collar Cotton Oxford Shirt
  • He By Mango Slim-fit Pocket Oxford ShirtHe By Mango Slim-fit Pocket Oxford Shirt
  • Uniqlo Men Easy Care Oxford Long Sleeve ShirtUniqlo Men Easy Care Oxford Long Sleeve Shirt
  • He By Mango Slim-fit Oxford ShirtHe By Mango Slim-fit Oxford Shirt
2. Sid Mashburn

“Guys don’t need a lot of choices, they need the right choice.”

Leaving aside the fact that Mr. Mashburn is the king of thoughtful, selective prep style, this is great advice for both beginners and seasoned pros in the menswear game.

Often it’s easy to get caught up in the whole idea of ‘fashion’ – which by its very nature is obsolete after one season – and feel like you have to constantly buy new pieces to stay ahead. In truth, most guys could easily survive on a streamlined, thirty-piece wardrobe, because some items will just never go out of style.

I’m talking white dress shirts, black Oxford dress shoes, indigo denim jeans, beige chinos, grey crew neck t-shirts, solid neck ties, neutral v-neck jumpers, navy pea coats… the list goes on.

If it’s classic, simple and versatile, the chances are it will be in your wardrobe for years to come. And, therefore, well worth investing in quality when purchasing it.

Lookbook Inspiration

Men's Classic/Timeless Outfits Lookbook

allsaints aw12zara man february 2013he by mango aw12joop 2011he by mango winter 2013zara editions 2013club monaco aw12Cacharel aw12he by mango aw11
Key Pieces
  • Farah Vintage Oxford Shirt In WhiteFarah Vintage Oxford Shirt In White
  • Nudie Leather Jacket Jonny BikerNudie Leather Jacket Jonny Biker
  • Asos T-shirt With Crew NeckAsos T-shirt With Crew Neck
  • He By Mango Unstructured Wool-blend BlazerHe By Mango Unstructured Wool-blend Blazer
  • A.p.c. Petit New Standard Slim-fit Dry Selvedge JeansA.p.c. Petit New Standard Slim-fit Dry Selvedge Jeans
  • Topman Mid Grey Slim Fit SuitTopman Mid Grey Slim Fit Suit
  • Uniqlo Men Supima Cotton V-neck SweaterUniqlo Men Supima Cotton V-neck Sweater
  • He By Mango Slim-fit 5 Pocket Cotton TrousersHe By Mango Slim-fit 5 Pocket Cotton Trousers
  • Common Projects Original Achilles Leather Low Top SneakersCommon Projects Original Achilles Leather Low Top Sneakers
  • Reiss Toronto Oxford Shoes BlackReiss Toronto Oxford Shoes Black
  • Reiss Cutler Knitted Silk Tie NavyReiss Cutler Knitted Silk Tie Navy
  • He By Mango Brogueing Leather BlucherHe By Mango Brogueing Leather Blucher
3. Nick Wooster

“If you’re going to play with colour, start with one. If you’re wearing yellow, everything else should be navy and grey.

Yes, I’ve been known to wear bright green and pink at the same time but I don’t do that often – the bulk of my closet is grey, navy, white, khaki, olive and a little black.”

I shouldn’t have to do any explaining here as ‘The Woost’ has done all the work for me.

Neutral hues, especially monochromatic ones, offer the perfect way to anchor any other colour you want to introduce into your look while allowing it to stand out and without clashing.

Whether it’s a pair of pink chinos with a navy polo or a mint green Oxford cloth with a pair of grey flannel trousers, this advice will never fail you.

Lookbook Inspiration

Men's Single Colour With Neutrals/Monochrome Outfit Inspiration Lookbook

ovadia & sons aw13ovadia & sons aw13j crew ss14h&m ss12digelhe by mango winter 2013reiss aw13faconnable pre aw13bal aw13
4. Leonardo da Vinci & Pierre Cardin

Da Vinci once said that “simplicity is the ultimate sophistication,” while Pierre Cardin stated that he could “go all over the world with just three outfits: a blue blazer and grey flannel pants, a grey flannel suit, and black tie.”

Yeah, I know, that’s two quotes but it’s my article and I’ll do what I want, damn it!

Again, this goes back to the idea of not overcomplicating your wardrobe and the amount of clothing that you buy. I feel very strongly about this as it really helped me not only progress my personal style but also reduce the amount of clutter I used to collect when first starting out.

By keeping your outfits simple, or at least grounded in simplicity, you get the added bonus of allowing your personality and confidence to shine through. The man should wear the clothes, not the other way around, remember.

Lookbook Inspiration

Men's Simple/Minimal Outfits Lookbook

River Island AW13Zara August 2012Zara Edition Spring 2013AllSaints SS13AllSaints AW12Reiss AW13Zara Edition AW13De Fursac AW13Cerruti 1881 AW13
Key Pieces
  • Paul Smith Loopback Cotton-jersey SweatshirtPaul Smith Loopback Cotton-jersey Sweatshirt
  • Allsaints Mitaka V-neck JumperAllsaints Mitaka V-neck Jumper
  • Topman Blue Single Breasted Zip Trench CoatTopman Blue Single Breasted Zip Trench Coat
  • A.p.c. Cotton And Wool-blend Bomber JacketA.p.c. Cotton And Wool-blend Bomber Jacket
  • Topman Blue Flecked Herringbone Suit TrousersTopman Blue Flecked Herringbone Suit Trousers
  • He By Mango Birds Eye Suit TrousersHe By Mango Birds Eye Suit Trousers
  • Reiss Moon Extra Fine Merino Roll Neck Soft GreyReiss Moon Extra Fine Merino Roll Neck Soft Grey
  • Asos Slim Fit Blazer In 100% WoolAsos Slim Fit Blazer In 100% Wool
  • Reiss Star Slim Fit Cotton Shirt WhiteReiss Star Slim Fit Cotton Shirt White
5. William Battie

“Style is when they’re running you out of town and you make it look like you’re leading the parade”

I personally think this is the greatest style quote ever, and something we could all learn from. Strive to develop a personal style that represents your personality fully, not a clone of somebody else. Be a leader and not a follower.

Awesome guy, awesome quote – what more could you want?

Final Word

So there you have it, five of my favourite style quotes and how you can apply them to your own wardrobe and personal style.

Honourable mentions should also go to:
Yves Saint Laurent: “Isn’t elegance forgetting what one is wearing?”
Oscar Wilde: “Looking good and dressing well is a necessity. Having a purpose in life is not.”
Orson Welles: “Style is knowing who you are, what you want to say, and not giving a damn.”

But as always, I want to hear what you guys think. What do you think of these pearls of wisdom – sage or stupid? What are your favourite fashion quotes? What other places do you derive style inspiration from?

Let me know in the comments section…

Matt Allinson