Let’s face it, when it comes to dressing up and going out, almost everyone appreciates being noticed (in a good kind of way). When the compliments flow, or simply trickle in, our confidence gets the sort of boost that helps us enjoy a gathering even more. What few people realise, especially when it comes to masculine attire, is being noticed isn’t so much about the ‘dramatic’ as the ‘subtle.’ Sure, the bright shirt will always secure attention, but it will only spell ‘class’ if it’s teamed with a tie of the right width. In the same way, a quality pocket square will generate admiring interest, but only when worn at the sort of gathering it best suits.
Fashion also has its place when dressing to impress, but even then, it’s personal ‘style’ rather than ‘trend’ that lies at the heart of the matter. And there’s a huge difference. Fashionable clothing and accessories are there to be enjoyed, and it’s fun to be connected with year-to-year changes. But fashion pieces should also reflect who you are as a person. Select garments and accessories because they are an expression of your own personality and values, rather than because of what’s trending. If ‘green’ or ‘v-neck’ are this season’s looks,’ and neither is ‘you,’ pass on to something else. And remember, you can always opt for ‘classic’ instead of ‘trend.’
However you achieve your own style, be sure to begin with an understanding of how to tweak expectation in subtle ways so an element of surprise is delivered. It may be with the stitching detail on a lapel, the pattern and colour of a jacket lining, the layering of garments (such as a vest under a suit jacket), or a pocket square folded in an interesting manner. It can be in the texture, rather than the pattern of a tie, or in its width or length; the knot used to tie it, or the collar it’s worn with.
Personal style can also be achieved with accessories – the tie bar says something about your personality, the lapel pin is completely random and worn simply because you enjoy it or because it reminds you of a memorable evening out, while travelling. However you do it, personal style starts off with the expected, but turns a corner (and not a very sharp one) along the way.
If adding the occasional quirky detail to your attire feels too risky, never be afraid to fall back on unadorned, monochromatic style – charcoal chinos and jacket, and black merino tee. Or for something more formal, black suit but with a knitted rather than a flat black bow tie. But perhaps the most important thing you can do, when you are starting on your own journey toward personal style, is to read all you can on how others have done it before you. Pick up a glossy mens’ fashion magazine, Google how gentlemen of taste are dressing, and really look hard at what you see. What are the models in the photos wearing and how are they wearing it? And on what sort of occasions are they wearing it to? Don’t be afraid to check out websites to provide you with detailed advice on what collar goes with which jacket, or what kind of knot suits your physique. You can find some great info on OTAA.
Many of us tend to think style comes naturally, but if it does, it’s to only a few. Although they’re unlikely to admit to it, those who know how to dress their best are inevitably studying the looks others achieve, and are taking advice from those in the know. Why not join them – after all, it’s 2023, and we’re allowed to learn how we can look, and feel, great!