Written by Devuni Goonewardene
18 Oct, 2018 | 7:28 pm
Once you’ve spent a couple of years deeply immersed in the world of men’s fashion and style, you start coming to a few conclusions.
Firstly, there is a huge difference between fashion and style, with the ways they can be incorporated into the real world varying significantly. Secondly, no matter how much you want it to happen or how hard you try, you will never be able to resurrect Reebok Classics from the grave.
I know, sad times.
Thirdly, having a go-to uniform isn’t necessarily the big ‘no no’ you used to think it was. Due to years of being forced into dull, dry, scratchy and starchy school uniforms when we were kids, it seems the idea of a uniform can often conjure negative feelings amongst men.
Not only that, with the amount of clothing options available to guys these days, I can completely understand the urge to dip your toe in every sartorial pool you can find. But there are a lot of positive things to be said for having a uniform.
A more accurate name for a uniform in the world of style would be ‘signature look’ – an outfit that once people see you in it, they immediately identify it as ‘you’.
Personally, I find the major benefit of having a signature look is that it gives you more time to think about the parts of style that you enjoy most, such as textures, colours, patterns and shoes. What many of us don’t enjoy so much is spending ages trying to figure out what to wear in the morning. By investing in pieces that you know fit into your signature look (chinos/seasonal fabrics trousers, shirt and waistcoat/jacket).
For others it could be that it means you remain stylish but understated or that you always show up as the best dressed.
However, one of the key aspects to developing a signature look is experience. If you’re new to this game, you should go crazy. It’s pretty much the only time you’ll get to, especially if you’re in your twenties or younger (controversial I know). Spending time experimenting with new styles means that you get to understand what suits not just your body shape, but also your skin colour, hair colour and lifestyle.
I’d like to point out that I’m not suggesting you wear a strict uniform EVERY day. Develop a signature look that you wear one day a week or perhaps a couple of signature looks that you wear to the office every other day.
I’ve found that by wearing variations of my uniform to work most days, when it comes to the weekend I really do put some thought into what I wear and make the most out of what’s in my wardrobe, in a way that I never used to.
Having a signature look allows you to do something that I’ve always been a big proponent of: wearing what you put on all day. Once you know what suits you and what works, it’s a lot easier to wear your clothes from the moment you step out the door to when you hit the sack in the evening.
Sure, you may have to lose a few pieces or add a layer as the temperature drops, but you’ll be confident and comfortable throughout because you won’t be thinking “I can’t wait to change out of this when I get home”.
Which brings me to my final point: a signature look doesn’t mean you’re boring, it means you understand what you like, what your lifestyle is and how to dress your body.
It comes from learning from your mistakes and gaining experience in an area that only a small minority of men really understand. In turn, this gives you the opportunity to pick and choose the trends that you like, rather than being a slave to them.
If you’re a guy who tends to stick to jeans, t-shirts and chunky cardigans – why not branch out and pick up an unstructured navy blazer for those occasions you need to step it up a notch? Or perhaps invest in a printed shirt that can really add a point of difference to your everyday jeans. Don’t even get me started on the world of penny/tassel loafers with selvedge denim.
On the other hand, if you tend to dress up regularly, why not try and incorporate more worker wear-inspired pieces such as flannel/chambray shirts, raw selvedge denim or even washed cotton t-shirts? The greatest benefit of having a signature look is that it only takes a few key pieces each season to breathe new life into it.
And in an age of limited resources isn’t that what we’re all after?
29 Sep, 2018 | 05:52 PM
13 Nov, 2015 | 08:01 AM
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