Saying ‘Timeless Style’ is a bit redundant, because true style is timeless, but I wanted to continue the alliteration. Without further ado, here, in no particular order, are my top 10 tips to greatly improving your personal style.
1. Wear Clothing That Fits
This is the most important piece of advice I can give. Clothing that fits you properly looks far better than clothing that is too large or too tight. Look at this compelling before and after image:
The gentleman on the left looks like a shady used car salesman, one the right he looks like a CEO of a profitable corporation. The principle doesn’t just apply to suits, it applies to every piece of clothing that you own.
2. Keep it Simple
Everything in moderation. A bit of jewellery or a splash of colour can add a bit of interest to your otherwise standard outfit ; just be careful not to overdo it.
3. It’s Better to Overdress Than Underdress
When I say ‘Overdressed’ I don’t mean wearing a tux to a weekend barbeque; I mean wearing a jacket when everyone else is wearing a wearing just a shirt and trousers; or a polo shirt when everyone else is wearing a t-shirt. Dressing just that bit better than others makes people think that maybe you are better, and that’s a good thing; so long as you don’t start thinking it.
4. A Gentleman is Only Well Dressed in a Good Pair of Shoes
They say that the first thing a woman notices about you is your shoes; I can’t say that is true for certain, but I can tell you that it one of the first things that I look at, and it is something that people are judging you on. You don’t have to spend $500 on a pair of shoes (although if you can afford to, go ahead), but your shoes should fit you properly, be reasonable well made for the price, be clean, and, if they are leather, polished. Avoid square-toed and pointed shoes at all cost.
5. Minimise the Logos
If you were to ever purchase a high-end bespoke suit, you will find a tiny label tucked away in a pocket somewhere, not a massive logo on display for the world to see. I was once told that the mark of a true gentleman is subtlety, and this should be reflected in your clothing. When you can’t avoid clothing with logos (I’m a fan of the lacoste crocodile) , they should be subtle. It should go without saying that I would never recommend clothing like that made be Ed Hardy or similar.
6. Keep Good Grooming Habits
Grooming is essential. The most expensive, well cared for clothing is meaningless if you look like a hobo underneath. Hair and beard styles are something that I will cover eventually, but both should be neat and well-groomed. If you use hair product, be careful not to overdo it. You should be using a facial cleanser twice daily (Morning and Night), and moisturizer. You should always be using some form of shaving cream (preferably not from a can), and using some form of aftershave moisturiser. The brand and type you use are up to you, I like an almond shaving cream by Taylor of Old Bond Street, an unscented moisturiser, and my old spice aftershave. Always use some form of moisturiser, as an alcohol based aftershave will dry out and damage your skin.
Deodorant is not a substitute for a shower, just as a shower alone will not solve the problem of body odor. You should shower, and use an antiperspirant; the antiperspirant can also be a deodorant, but it can be unscented if you are going to be wearing a cologne.
Grooming is an in-depth topic, but the key thing to remember is to just stay clean and tidy.
7. Forget Fashion Trends
Yves Saint Laurent, a famous designer, is often quoted as having said “Fashions fade, style is eternal”. There has never been a statement that I agree with more. Fashion trends change as often as the seasons, and is often quite ridiculous; style is what you do with the building blocks, the things that look good on you, and will always look good on you. A suit that is perfectly tailored to you will look good now, and in 50 years (assuming your body doesn’t change at all). You could wear that suit 50 years in the past, and it would still look good.
Find clothing that looks good on you regardless of whether it is ‘in fashion’, because clothing that looks good on you is always ‘in style’.
8. Don’t Buy The Brand Name
I have no real problem with big name brands; what I do have a problem with is people buying an item simply because of that name. Often the exorbitant price tag on brand name products is simply because of that name, and not indicative of the item quality. The reverse is also true; a low-priced item is not necessarily a sign of poor quality. My advice is to shop for quality, not brand name.
If you find a brand that you like, one that makes good quality items, then by all means, buy as much as you like from them.
9. Care for Your Clothes
This is pretty simple; look after your clothing. Get your suits dry cleaned when they need it (usually 4 times per year at most), and make sure they are pressed before you wear them. The same goes for your shirts; make sure they are clean and ironed. Clean and shine your shoes before you wear them, and make sure you are storing your clothing properly. You will look better, and your clothing will last you longer if you take care of it properly.
10. Keep Working On It
It is an indisputable fact of life that people change; your tastes change, and you learn new things. You may wake up one day and realise that your clothes look completely ridiculous on you; and that’s ok, because it means that you are evolving. Style is the way you represent yourself to the world, and it will change as you do. Yes, once you know what you want your style to be the core elements will stay the same, but everything else is changeable. You should always strive to be better that you are.
11. Super Secret Tip
Yes, this list of top 10 ideas goes all the way up to 11.
The best and truest piece of advice I can give you that will help you to improve your style is this: Know who you are and what you want; and know that whatever those things are, you are completely unique, and that makes you awesome.
But seriously, follow the first ten tips.