Guest post by Debbie Anderson.
Seems like everyone and everything is telling you what to wear: from the television to the Internet to your wife/girlfriend/partner/mom. We live in a society where we are constantly bombarded with marketing messages that can confuse our fashion sense. Are sandals really OK to wear with suits (as this season's fashion runways suggested)? Should you mix patterns? Cuff your pants? Wear a bow tie?
It's hard to know exactly what to do when it comes to style, but there really is one simple answer: know yourself.
Easier said than done, we get it. So, how do you go about developing your own personal style?
We have a few suggestions.
Assess what you already wear.
You may love those khakis, but do they love you? How's the fit? Does it suit you? Really look at yourself in those pants (this is where a three-way mirror is key). If you're serious about developing your unique style, it's important to be brutal. Just because you wear those khakis all the time, doesn't mean they're right for you. Check out the condition, look, and color of everything in your wardrobe. Now's the time to weed out the too-loose-in-the-crotch pants, the peach button-down that washes you out, the natty sweaters. Trust us: it's much better to have two or three things that flatter you than 100 pieces that don't.
While you're assessing, pay attention to the pieces that speak to you. What is it you like about them? If you gravitate toward bright colors and comfort, this may suggest you're laid back and creative. Find out what you like and why. This is important information that will form the foundation of your style. Too many times, we don't notice the “whys” of the styles we like best. But it's the answers to the “whys” that are the basis of our unique style and tell us what we need to know to move forward to creating our own personal look.
Assess your body.
If you're very tall, you'll want to choose pieces that don't make you look overly lanky. If you're on the shorter side, stay away from cuffed pants that cut you off at the ankle. Make a list of your height, weight, skin tone, and body type. This sounds elementary, but too many men dress according to the clothes they want, and not how the clothes look on them. Don't wear a trend just because everyone else is, unless of course, neon looks good with your skin tone. Once you see your physical characteristics in black and white, you'll have another starting point for the types of items you should buy. If you're muscular and wide-shouldered for instance, vertical stripes will balance your frame or you might choose a two-button jacket that doesn't pull against your chest.
Buy for your body type and you're well on your way to defining your style.
Assess your environment.
Where do you live, work, and play? If you're a white-collar worker, you'll probably opt to stay away from colored denim or beanies, at least from 9 to 5. Whatever you choose to wear, it must reflect who you are and who you aspire to be, because that's what makes the man: knowing who you are and where you're going. Your style speaks volumes about how you feel about yourself and how you want to be perceived. Align all that with wearing what suits your body and taking into account the pieces that reflect your personality and you're almost there.
Assess where you're headed.
What do you want and need? Do you want the corner office? Do you want to quit the day job and play guitar? Let those desires inform your style. If you're on the creative side and fancy a career as a musician, choose accessories or pieces that show your personality and who you hope to be. If you are climbing the corporate ladder and want to broadcast to others that you're going places, stick to simple but strong silhouettes to portray an authoritative look.
Once you do the above, you'll know yourself much better and be able to form the basis of a wardrobe that reflects you, and not the trends. Now, you're not just going into the store and buying whatever draws your attention, you're picking the pieces that combine all the factors we mentioned here. Once you've integrated your personal characteristics, needs, and aspirations into the process, you've got a style that's unique to you.
It really is that simple.