You want to learn how to dress well, but you’re unsure how to emphasize your personal style.
You might wonder if you even have one. And that’s natural, many men doubt their own choices, claiming they merely “like what they like.” That’s the very crux of it, though — the clothes you favor define your fashion.
All it takes to change your look is an eye for detail and some knowledge of clothing options. Luckily, you can sharpen both with a bit of practice and some sage advice.
Learn how to craft your signature style and impress everyone you meet by applying a few tips and tricks. What are they?
Assess Your Preferences
Most people have a favorite color, clothing type or pattern. Assess what yours are before you buy a bunch of new clothes you think you should be wearing.
Though you define your style by dressing well, you should always prioritize your own preferences. That’s not to say you can’t take inspiration from other well-dressed men, however.
Look to people whose style you admire. Their outfits can help you pinpoint common trends you like.
You don’t have to follow their dressing habits to look good, but how do they combine colors, patterns and textures? Take cues from their fashion and adjust those outfits to fit your favorite colors and textures.
How do you want to look? And is there a specific way you want others to view you? Clothes make a powerful first impression, and they can convey a lot.
For example, patterned shorts and wide-brimmed hats can communicate a classic bohemian look, while neutral colors and pressed suits fit the modern-day businessman.
Dress for Your Body Type
Countless people make the mistake of not dressing for their proportions. You can spend thousands on an Armani suit, but the price tag is irrelevant if it hangs off your body.
In much the same way, you’re not getting your money’s worth if the suit’s too tight to breathe in. Choose your preferred patterns and colors, but ensure they’ll complement your figure.
Men with triangular body shapes — narrow shoulders and wide waists — benefit from vertical stripes and single-breasted suits.
Patterns like stripes or checks make the body look slimmer while simultaneously broadening the shoulders. Single-breasted suit jackets offer more room around the waist, especially when paired with straight-leg pants.
Rectangular, thin body shapes look best in narrow-waisted blazers, horizontal stripes and layered fits. These add the illusion of width to a small frame and emphasize the shoulders and waist. Pleated trousers make your frame look more masculine if you struggle to dress for slender legs.
Look up local tailors if you don’t already know one. It’s possible to fix ill-fitting clothing, but you probably won’t take on the task yourself if sewing isn’t your forte.
Repurpose Your Existing Wardrobe
Changing your style doesn’t mean you have to toss your current wardrobe. There’ll be pieces you keep for nostalgia or because they look still great. Even your old band T-shirts can keep their place in your life, so transform them into a brand-new shirt or a sunglass case.
In short, not everyone has the budget to overhaul their entire closet. Get creative with things you already own. Fixing up your old clothes will save you lots of money on buying new pieces.
As long as your clothes aren’t beyond repair, there’s hope for your favorite threads. An excellent tailor can resole old shoes, take in a pair of pants or let out a shirt that’s too small.
Above all, keeping your apparel in good condition starts from the moment you buy it. Always follow the laundry symbols to avoid ruining your clothes with incorrect washing techniques.
Store them in containers or garment bags to prevent moth damage, musty smells or yellow stains. Choose durable fabrics with quality seams — you won’t have to replace them as often.
Craft a Signature Style With Color
Some people avoid crafting a signature style because they’re afraid of color. Colorful outfits often take a certain finesse to put together and avoid looking chaotic.
You don’t need to hide all bright hues in the back of your closet, but take heed of your combinations. The color wheel is a helpful guide in most instances.
Analogous color schemes consist of two or three colors adjacent to each other on the wheel. Examples would be blue, blue-violet and blue-green or red and red-orange.
An analogous design is suitable for matching hues while avoiding color clashes, and you can explore different shades. Bright red might not be your thing, but a dark shade of maroon can add depth to a look.
Play around with colors that complement your skin tone. Bright hues like yellow and orange stand out on dark skin, but can look washed out on paler people. People with light skin generally look great wearing cool colors, as these shades avoid flushing out pink undertones.
Don’t be afraid to experiment with color, but keep your closet stocked with neutrals, too. Browns, blacks, tans and grays go well with each other and bright tones. When in doubt, you can always play it safe with a neutral look.
To learn more about color matching, be sure to check out our articles about color coordination:
Ashley Weston also has a great guide covering how to wear and match colors.
Always Dress for the Occasion
Knowing how to dress for the occasion is a vital aspect of creating an attractive outfit. The last thing you want to do is arrive at a fancy dinner date wearing jeans and a bomber jacket. And yet, many men do exactly that. Your outfit looks great to you, but it doesn’t fit the atmosphere or the event.
That’s the tricky thing about clothing for those who are new to curating fits. A nice-looking outfit that works for one event won’t always translate well to others. Keep in mind where you’re going before you pick your clothes. Would sandals and sweatpants work better for a museum trip or a late-night food run?
Formal, semi-formal and black-tie formal are markedly different, though they share similar names. The similarities might throw you for a loop at first, but learning the distinctions gets easier over time.
Crafting your signature style applies to every aspect of your life — formal, casual, gym attire and much more.
Keep Your Style Simple
You might be eager to throw on every trend at once, but this can quickly turn into a mismatched recipe. Many people know at least one person who tried designer fashion and went entirely overboard.
Ease yourself into it. Don’t pile on Versace, Gucci and Ralph Lauren in one outfit. Your style inspirations are there to help but try to avoid incorporating everything they wear.
Overhauling your clothing isn’t a one-time thing. Gradually incorporate new pieces into your tried-and-true outfits.
Swap a pair of jeans for dress pants, or wear a black blazer instead of a hoodie. Taking it slow will make you comfortable and give you room to experiment.
Dial back on the graphic print T-shirts and ripped jeans. These are standard high school and college looks, which isn’t a bad thing if you’re still a student.
However, you’re better off relegating these to once-in-a-blue-moon occasions if you’re ready to graduate to a more mature style.
The Science of Style
With this advice, you can craft your signature style and give yourself a look that’s all your own. Just remember that dressing well is an art form that takes practice and commitment.
If you put in the effort, you’ll see results. And soon enough, you’ll be your own personal masterpiece.
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Dylan Bartlett, aka, “The Regular Guide,” writes about a broad variety of topics on his blog.