Did the title get your attention? Good. I’ve been thinking about where people typically go wrong when it comes to cultivating their personal style and trying to whittle it down to a few key points. It’s not really about pointing the finger and highlighting ‘fashion failures’ but showcasing the common mistakes that I’ve come across when working with different people. So consider this a style ‘pick me up’ if you’ve been in a bit of a rut with your wardrobe or really don’t know where you might be going wrong.
I apologise that I neglected the blog last weekend but I attended a house warming party at the house of my girlfriend’s parents. This meant travelling all weekend and left me with no time for blogging. I did try and secure someone to write a guest post, but it didn’t really come through. However, I am back so all is restored this week. I do tend to go away at weekends every few weeks so if any readers would like to write a guest post to be featured just drop me a message. This week’s post is all about taste and style, I got the inspiration from a number of places this week but mainly a new Channel 4 documentary I had been watching.
The documentary featured artist; Grayson Perry exploring what taste meant to the different classes in British society. He explored taste in the working, middle and upper classes then drew his own interpretations from his findings and produced big tapestries of them. The rather strange looking figure in the thumbnail of this post is Grayson Perry himself, dressed up as ‘one of the girls’ ready for a night out in Sunderland. This was from the first episode where he looked at the working class, which featured girls getting ‘glommed up’ ready for a night out.
I actually found the middle classes to be the most interesting. The reason? They were separated in two camps, you had those that wanted everything new and branded, their cars were BMWs or Bentleys and their brands were definitely designer. The other side to the middle classes featured people that went out of their way to find vintage, ‘thrifted’ things for their homes as well as clothes. These people made an effort to try and be different, but in doing so ended up just looking like everyone else in their area.
The programme looked at everything from the person’s home to cars, brands and clothes. One’s taste obviously impacts the clothes that they wear. But interestingly, what Grayson Perry concluded was that there was no good or bad taste, it all depended on the world you live in.
This was quite an interesting concept for me, especially considering the judgements we often make about other people’s decisions on the clothes that they wear. It highlight’s that if you want to be considered as having good taste then you have to think about the world you’re communicating to. Taste differs depending on the tribe you’re in or want to be in. Think about the Internet for a second, and let’s reel it in closer to home; style bloggers. The traditional style blogger posts pictures of their outfits for the world to see, naturally those that are in their own ‘tribe’ will gravitate to their blog and follow it. But the Internet is open to all and you often will find some style bloggers have fallen victim to comments that criticise their taste. This, it would seem, is because they’re from a different tribe with different views on what they consider tasteful.
This, I think, was highlighted perfectly over the last few weeks by the NBA Playoffs. I’m a bit of a Basketball fan and have been following the results. If you’ve been following then you know Oklahoma Thunder got into the finals (I was rooting for them to win). On twitter I kept on seeing people banging on about how Russell Westbrook needs a personal stylist. It seems a similar syndrome to what happens to the style bloggers, his taste obviously doesn’t match up to those that have been making the jibes on twitter. I personally loved some of his outfits, yeah they’re a bit of a throwback to the 90’s and quirky, but I still find them cool. Others didn’t share the same opinion.
I know it’s made me think a little more before passing judgement on another person’s clothes, there are obviously times when it is required to make sure you’re communicating the right messages to a tribe outside of your own. Most notably a job interview. But sometimes we are all quick to make judgements on another person’s taste without really knowing what IS tasteful in their world.
I hope you enjoyed the post and I hope it’s not too long of a read, as always I enjoy receiving and reading your comments so this post is no different. If you want to write a guest post for the blog just drop me an email or comment and I’ll get back to you.
One of the biggest things I noticed when I started my own journey to improve my style, was how often people questioned or even got confused over my sexuality. For any guy starting out on the road to any sort of self improvement, getting knocks like this can be quite deflating. Particularly when it comes to a thorny issue such as sexuality. For me I did question whether to stop trying to improve my style, as at the time, it kind of felt counter intuitive. Girls are meant to like well dressed guys yet when I tried to dress well everyone assumed I was gay.
I decided to use it to my own advantage, flying under the radar came in handy when I was chasing girls and the funny thing was it was the females that used to pass the most judgement. I remember whenever I’d get the “oh really?I thought you were gay” line I would always ask why? The usual answer was because I was “so well dressed”. You don’t have to be ‘red carpet well dressed’ to get this, you just have to be better dressed than the other guys in the immediate vinicity or locale.
I have wondered why it is that people tend to assume you’re not heterosexual if you are well dressed. Rather than attempt to answer the question myself, I pose it to my readers ? Why do you think that it is the case?
For anyone who has just started out on their own journey to improve their style, don’t be discouraged. You will inevitably receive knock backs and come across times where you feel uncomfortable. This goes hand in hand with any sort of self development. If you really want to change yourself for the better you won’t allow the naysayers and uncomfortable situations to knock you off your path.
In order to write this post I had to cast my mind back 10 years. Just writing that makes me feel old. Anyway I digress, the concept for the post came from a friend who contacted me on twitter. He wanted me to write a post that would help someone transition from a man child to a man in the style stakes. I wanted to do another video post, something I’ve only ever dabbled with on one occasion, but I didn’t really have time so thought I’d do an introduction to a man child to man makeover. Some guys tend to carry their style from their teens into their early early twenties.. then into their mid twenties never really changing it nor realising that fashion changes. What’s cool when you’re a teen may be a faux paux when you’re in your twenties.
Goodbye Baggy Pants
Baggy pants tend to be one symptom of a man child. I know, I used to have the baggy pants look on lock down. Common associates of baggy pants are baggy tees and baggy hoodies. If you’ve read any of my style posts before you’ll know that I’m always stressing that getting the right fit is one of the biggest factors in transforming your style. So if you’re still rocking the man child look your first step is to invest in some clothes that actually fit your body shape properly.
Another tell tale sign of a man child is their love of labels. I mean don’t get me wrong I’m a lover of some big designer labels, but the key difference between man and man child is overly branded clothes. See you buy into a label because of the quality and design not to tell the world what you’re wearing. So clothes that have logos all over them are best left on the shelf you want a clean sleek look, you don’t want to look like a Forumla 1 racing car.
Potentially controversial I know. But I think this is a big difference between a man and man child. When I think back to my younger days I lived in trainers. The only time I wore shoes were during my part time job. It’s almost like your school years tarnish the reputation of shoes. So as soon as you leave school and you can wear what you want you jump into trainers. Then they stick and guys wear them to death with every outfit. While I still do wear trainers on the occasion (a fresh pair of all white converse) I think shoes are the footwear of choice for any man.
Classic is an overused word, no doubt about it. However, the man child doesn’t appreciate nor comprehend the word classic. When you’re younger or still have that mentality you buy things because they’re ‘cool’ not because they’ll last or are sound investments. This is the way you need to start thinking to start dressing more stylish. Rather than buying something because it’s cool, is it going to last? Is it an investment in your wardrobe? The amount of fads I bought into when I was younger that were a waste of money… which leads onto…
Rather than buying pieces as individual items start to think of your wardrobe as a collection. It all needs to work together so you can mix and match pieces and create outfits from them. Invest in pieces that enhance your collection rather than ones that don’t work and flow with the overall vibe of your clothes
As always let me know what you think by leaving a comment below.
I was recently reading an article about how to improve your style on another blog. It had some really great tips not just on improving on your style but on improving your life. However, one thing that concerned me was the emphasis on purchasing new items and shopping. While being a savvy shopper is certainly beneficial to improving your style, going out and spending money is not necessarily the answer to it either. The article in question focused on making commitments however small they maybe an example used was going out and buying one piece a week which would equate to 52 new pieces for the year.
But do you really need to buy a new item every week in order to improve your style?
Yes that is one way to go about it but I’d rather encourage you to work with what you already have and maybe updating your wardrobe with 1 or 2 key pieces. Especially considering most people are looking to cut back on their spending habits at the moment. If you have the money to burn and fancy an entire new wardrobe then sure go ahead and shop until you drop. But working with what you already have will force you to become more inventive with the outfits you put together.
I’ve occasionally seen outfit bloggers go on shopping bans to make themselves more creative rather than relying on a constant stream of new clothes.
You can spend time creating look books and browsing the web for inspiration. This will help you build your eye for good style. You can look into altering the clothes you already have to make sure what you already own fits you well. A wardrobe full of well fitted garments will instantly improve your overall look. Think outside the box a little as well, look to see if there is anything you have around the house or borrow pieces from relatives to accessorise your outfits. I used to raid my mum’s accessories and look for items that weren’t too feminine that I could use to jazz up an outfit. Whenever I did this I used to get lots of female compliments, so just think a little, get creative and have fun… improving your style doesn’t have to cost you at all.
Let me know what you think by commenting below
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My usual schedule of posting as been effected by the passing of my grand mother on thursday evening. It’s weird how a death to someone close to you can impact your perspective on life. Fashion can often be quite a fickle, materialistic affair where you can get caught up in the wants and need of items that in the scheme of things don’t really matter. That is not to say I still don’t love fashion, it’s more that life can sometimes give you a wake up call. I apologise for my non sensical ramblings if you have managed to stick with me this far I applaud you.
So what is the point of this post?
“Style is the Perfection of a point of view” Richard Eberhart
It’s a nice quote and echoes back to the post I did a while ago exploring ‘What is Style?’. Essentially I’m drawing from that post and my current experiences this week and taking a break from the more fashion related topics. Style is about the way you communicate to the world. What I want to communicate to the world is that I mean business, I’m a driven motivated person that cares about the details. When I’m confronted with tragedy or sadness my knee jerk reaction is to succeed. It stokes that drive and passion inside of me, issuing a wake up call from the slumber of mediocrity that I may have slipped in to.
I hope what you want to communicate to the world is that you won’t allow yourself to be anything less than the best person you can be. And you communicate that through everything you do, from the way you walk down to the little details on your clothes. For me this is one’s style and as soon as you let up and stop giving 100% in whatever you’re doing you start to compromise that.
The thing is it is easy to let up, it’s easy to stop caring and go with the flow. But in my opinion that’s not stylish. Why wouldn’t you want to harness that potential of awesomeness that you have inside you and apply to everything you do? So the next time you do anything no matter how small ask yourself this question. Am I being stylish?
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