They say travel broadens the mind. And those of you who’ve spent several hours standing in a mile-long queue waiting for a delayed Ryanair flight to board will grasp fully the truly mind-altering effects seeing the world can have. Perhaps less obvious, though, is that going abroad can also help jump-start your style. Comical stereotypes aside (we’ll take a rain check on the Frenchman’s black beret and garlic garland), exploring some of the world’s most stylish cities can help equip you with some killer wardrobe moves you wouldn’t have learned if you’d just stayed home. Alas, with just a few weeks’ holiday a year (and business trips spent staring at conference room walls), there’s only so much ground you can cover.
Master Minimalism (Like The Men Of Stockholm)
You say boring, Stockholm’s denizens say tasteful, classic and timeless. Known for their stripped-back approach to style, the Swedish capital’s modestly dressed men make it Scandinavia’s standard-bearer for fashion – much to the chagrin of its Nordic neighbours. Not convinced? Try a quick Google search. There’s a whole (borderline obsessive) Pinterest sub-genre dedicated to this chilly city’s love of pared-back, monochromatic interiors. And there’s an equally fervent appreciation of the natives’ wardrobes, with Tumblrs bursting at the seams full of shots of the population’s unofficial uniform of clean lines in black and white. Don’t write off the starkly-dressed Swedes as unadventurous though; if anything, they’re sartorially sensible – when was the last time you saw someone in monochrome basics looking a mess? Take your cue from Stockholm’s most stylish by stripping back your palette and sharpening your silhouette – it’s the quickest route to Scandi cool. (Related: 7 fail-safe ways to wear monochrome)
Look Effortless (Like The Men Of Paris)
They don’t just lay claim to producing the finest cheese and wine, the French are pretty darned proud of their style too. And none of them more so than the Parisians. Sophisticated, elegantly masculine and with no shortage of that zero-f**ks-given nonchalance so specific to French style (yes, that je ne sais quoi), the men of Paris are infuriatingly good at making not trying too hard look easy. Like most things the French excel at, the success of Parisian men’s style lies in the fact that it shows a clear appreciation of good taste. Whether it’s a perfectly cut trouser or a glove-fit Breton shirt, Parisians pride themselves on their ability to start with the basics, adding in bits for flair (those lightweight scarves) as they go. Follow the best-dressed Frenchmen by nailing the cornerstones of your wardrobe first, and then individualise with a few eye-catching pieces. You’ll appear stylish without looking like you’ve gone to pains to get there. (Related: Style lessons we’ve learned from the French)
Embrace Everything (Like The Men Of London)
We’ve lost count of the number of times we’ve heard the word ‘eclectic’ used to describe London menswear. Then again, there’s no smoke without fire: the British capital’s many menswear straits mean it’s difficult to pin down a definitive aesthetic. It’s little surprise, really – this is the city that birthed both Savile Row and Vivienne Westwood’s Seditionaries after all. London’s best-dressed men know that taking a little inspiration from here and a little from there offers a route to style that feels fresh. In their looks, sharp tailoring meets relaxed sportswear and monochrome colour palettes meet punchy prints – all of which are layered masterfully in readiness for inevitable sheets of rain. It’s an inventive approach to mixing clothing which often sees Londoners marked out as some of the world’s most stylish men. Adopt this unpredictability and you’re onto a wardrobe winner.
Pay Attention To The Details (Like The Men Of Florence)
Not familiar with the Pitti peacock? Then get acquainted. These are the guys who – at each of Florence’s biannual menswear showcases – make it their business to mix and match tailoring like it’s child’s play. The maestros of playful personal expression, Florentine men make a point of mixing bold colours, textures and accessories, all the while paying close attention to how they best slot together. For them, the whole outfit – from shirt collars, cuts and patterns to ties, pocket squares and cufflinks – is far greater than the sum of its parts. Aim for their level of accessories expertise and you’ll take your suit separates to the next level. Don’t just take our word for it though, Google ‘Pitti style’ for instant incentive. (Related: 6 lessons we learned at Pitti Uomo 89)
Push The Boundaries (Like The Men Of Tokyo)
Tokyo has a reputation for being a melting pot of style where – by, admittedly fairly restrictive, Western standards – anything goes. But then, considering it’s one of the world’s most densely populated cities, how else would the Japanese capital’s men stand out from the competition? Yes, there are pitfalls to pushing the boat out with your style (as those Polaroids of you plastered in eyeliner and safety-pinned jackets will testify) but the satisfaction you’ll get from nailing an out-there ensemble is sizeable, too. Look east by mixing boundary-pushing design (oversized and dramatic silhouettes, traffic-stopping prints) with fresh takes on all-American classics. It’s a wardrobe made up of pieces that are equal parts iconic and innovative, ideal for building outfits that’ll get you noticed. (Related: 10 Japanese menswear brands you need to know)
Master Versatility (Like The Men Of New York)
Any New Yorker worth their salt beef bagel knows the bulk of their wardrobe needs to work (not unlike them) year-round. Living in a truly four-season city, the men of NYC are nothing without a rotation that can take them from office to bar, summer to winter. The New Yorker’s is a more classic approach to style, rooted in smart-casual staples that don’t date easily and are versatile enough to work for a wide array of occasions. That’s not to say it’s not contemporary, though – you can thank your stateside brethren and their unrelenting work/gym/drinks lifestyles for spawning sports luxe about three years ago. Follow their cue – stocking up on Oxford shirts, chinos and easily layered outerwear in neutral colours – and you’ll never be stuck for something to wear. (Related: The right way to layer this season)
Have we covered the world’s best-dressed bases, or are there more stylish cities you’d rather see repped? Which of these cities’ style moves will you be swiping? Cast your vote below.