Style is your packaging. It’s what others get to see at a first glance and how they’ll remember you. It doesn’t have to define you, but it should give people a small insight into your personality and your interests.
Your style should never be fixed. It should evolve with you as you mature, change your views and pursue different goals. Your own style should be a reflection of how you characterise yourself.
Understanding archetypes and tribes
Tanner Guzy, talks a lot about archetypes and tribes. An archetype is just an extreme representation of a type of style and your tribe is the people that you associate with. To simplify that, instead of thinking about archetypes and tribes, we can think about the people that you associate with and what you want those people to think about you.
These are the two fundamental factors that will dictate the way that we should not only dress but also act and talk. For the most part, you can’t change how you were born and that genetic lottery can often play a big part in how others perceive us. However, you DO have control over what you wear and that’s why I’m so passionate about style and how you can use it to change your life.
Too often, men start with a top-down approach and look first for clothes without any idea of their end goal. This can often lead to a confused style. Instead, I’d suggest that you use a bottom-up approach and start with your desires.
How do you want others to perceive you? Surely, this is going to have a huge impact on what you decide to wear and therefore should be the first decision you make.
The impact of style
One mistake that I see many men with poor style making is thinking that they are just unattractive and that men with better style are naturally that way. Most often, the guys with the best style are also the ones putting in the most effort to find clothes that fit them, complete a grooming regime and take pride in their appearance.
That’s not to say that there aren’t genetically handsome men, it’s just that they aren’t anywhere near as common as you might think. In general, the more effort you put in, the better you’re going to look.
You don’t need to spend a lot of money either. Often the most basic items of clothing look the best. The first thing you should be prioritizing is the fit of your clothes. More than the color, design or brand of your clothing, the fit will dictate how your outfit looks. If in doubt, go to a tailor and ask them to fit your favorite shirts and jeans so that they have a better cut for you. Just doing this can instantly make a huge difference to the way you look.
In the above photo you can see two men with very similar style. Neither of them are wearing anything special that you couldn’t find in any regular mens clothing store for a reasonable price. This example quite nicely shows how you can dress up an outfit from casual to smart. Note, both of them are using plenty of accessories which is an excellent way to make your outfit more interesting and to separate your from the hoards of men! Particularly, a classic watch is a must and if it’s sunny out, sunglasses can add some mystery.
Check out the 5 Must Haves in Every Bachelor Wardrobe.
Clean up your grooming regime
The same is true of your haircut. What do you mean, a haircut that fits? Firstly, your haircut needs to fit your face and secondly, it needs to fit your style and environment. We all have different shaped faces and this will affect how a hairstyle looks on you, go with the shape of your face rather than trying to fight it.
Believe me, I’d love to have David Beckham’s hair too, but it wouldn’t look good on many of us because we don’t have his face shape. Secondly, choose a haircut that’s true to your style and environment. Just because a 80’s style Patrick Bateman slick back looks good on your face shape doesn’t mean you should rock it if you live in the woods and go hunting.
Pick a style that complements your face shape, fits your social groups and that you feel comfortable with. Another mistake that a lot of guys make is not getting their haircut until it’s too late, you should be getting your hair cut once per month unless you’re growing it out for a much longer style.
Make sure that you’re using some hair product. Even guys with more basic style can benefit from using a dime-sized amount of product to add texture to their hair. The best type of product for most guys is a matte clay. It has medium hold, no shine and washes out very easily.
I know that over the past few years beards have been popular. The honest truth is that most guys don’t suit facial hair and they would be much better shaving it off. Unless you can grow a full and thick beard that isn’t patchy, you should be shaving every day or every other day. If you want to have a beard, go to a specialist and learn the tricks about how to properly groom your beard.
If you are growing facial hair, don’t let it get wild! Trim the main beard every couple weeks and then shave the lines around the beard every week i.e. your cheeks and neckline, this helps to make it defined which will make your jawline appear more angular.
Don’t be afraid to dress well
How often do you see someone overdressed? Not that often. Being overdressed is quite hard to do, even if you wear a suit when everyone else is in jeans and shirts, it often has the effect of making others look underdressed and not the other way around. In general, it’s hard to be overdressed but very easy to be underdressed. I’d recommend that you always dress smarter than how you expect everyone else to dress.
For example; if you’re going to a bowling alley, most of your friends are going to wear jeans and a t-shirt, but if you turn up in jeans, a belt and a dress shirt you don’t look overdressed. You look smart, presentable and stylish. The key is to dress just a little smarter rather than going over the top. This has the effect of making you standout and look better than all the other guys in the room.
Even if you’re not the kind of guy who identifies with suits or shirts, you can make an effort with a quality pair of boots. Two excellent brands are Blundstone and Clarks. Clarks does a casual but sophisticated Desert Boot that will go well with a relaxed jean and a sweatshirt.
Suede boots are lovely, but if you live anywhere where it rains they’ll quickly get damaged. Spending a little extra on quality leather boots that will last is a great investment
Dressing for the perfect woman
Picture your ideal girl.
- What does she look like?
- What does she do?
- What kind of man would she be interested in?
The message that you send to others with your style will dictate the types of women that you attract.
But, if this message is your own personal decision then how can I say that your style sucks?
Well, most men don’t even know what message they are trying to send and without knowing how you want to be perceived it’s very unlikely that you’re sending the message that you want to with your style.
Instead, do as I’ve explained in this article and start from the bottom and work up. Decide how you want others to view you, what message you want to send to them and then dress so that your style matches your mission.
Strategy vs Tactics
So far, all we’ve looked at is the overall strategy that you should employ with your style. However, to accomplish that strategy you need tactics.
A strategy is an overall plan that you have, whereas tactics are the decisions that you make in pursuit of your goal. Simply, your strategy is how you execute on the tactics that you choose to use.
Let’s look at an example of how you can use a tactic as part of your overall strategy.
In this example, you’re a man between 20 and 30 who wishes to be taken seriously. You want to be respected and you want to feel powerful. Maybe, you started a new job and you’re trying to make an impression and get noticed by your bosses or your colleagues.
One part of your strategy might be to talk in a more mature manner, another could be to improve your posture and another would be to wear clothes that help you to achieve your goal.
Within the strategy of wearing more appropriate clothing, you will have tactics such as; wearing clothes that fit well instead of tight clothes that make you look younger, choosing plainer shirts and wearing cufflinks.
Hopefully, you can see that your goal will be accomplished by different style strategies and within each of those strategies you have tactics which you can use to take you closer to your goal.
Why I love James Bond so much
One of my all-time favorite style hero’s is James Bond. He’s able to combine a rugged look with a refined style that is extremely masculine but also quite sexy and mysterious.
In this photo of Daniel Craig you can see a whole range of tactics that he’s using to achieve his goal of standing out, being masculine and demanding respect.
Rather than wearing a flat colored suit he has chosen to wear one with an obvious pinstripe which instantly separates him from most men who would be wearing a plain color. If you look very closely then you’ll be able to see that his tie has a dot-pattern that breaks a lot of traditional style-rules by combining similar sized patterns but it looks great because they are almost the same color and only subtly different.
In this photo Craig is using so many subtle style tactics such as the dimple in his tie and the ultra-starched collar which set him apart from everybody else. These features add an extra formality to his outfit and show that he cares about his appearance.
Casual Bond – Looking great without the suit
Regardless of how great they look, most of us don’t want to be wearing suits everyday. Instead, let’s look at a casual Daniel Craig and see what we can see.
In this photo Daniel is wearing a a beige slack that’s mature and still more formal than the denim that most men would wear in this situation. Similarly, he’s not afraid to add layers which help to prevent this outfit from becoming boring.
Imagine the same photo without the black sweater, all of a sudden he’s just another guy wearing slacks and a t-shirt. However, he’s added a suave sweater that prevents the outfit from becoming too casual and allows him to reach his goal of looking refined even with his most casual outfits.
In almost every scene of the movie you’ll find that Craig is wearing a watch. Yes, I understand that you can tell the time on your phone, but a watch is a crucial piece that adds to your outfit! A good watch can help prevent any outfit from ever becoming overly-casual.
If you look closely at the collar on the t-shirt he’s wearing you’ll see that it’s a gentle v-neck rather than a rounded collar. This is just another small tactic that Craig uses to ensure that even his most casual outfits are more refined than your most formal outfits.
To conclude, your style is your opportunity to send a message to the world. People will make judgements about you as soon as they see you and those judgements will be based upon your style.
When we see men with square glasses, checked shirts and oversized trousers we think geeks. If you saw a guy with a mohawk and purple pants then you’ll presume he’s a punk. This is your opportunity to send women the message that you want to send. Decide on what that message is and then look for celebrities and movie characters who you can emulate