Dear Mr. Manners,
Each year I see all of the new fashion trends and struggle with what to buy. I want to make sure that I am following current fashion trends, but it can all be so overwhelming. Can you help me figure it out?
It is a truth universally known, yet rarely acknowledged, that just because something is in style doesn’t mean it looks good on you.
Sorry, but it’s better that you know.
I’ve spent a lot of time watching the men’s fashion industry evolve (or rather, recycle), and every year I see guys fail with ill-advised trends in the hopes of appearing “stylish.” Gentleman, we are better than that.
Style isn’t something that can be bought or borrowed. Just like a great physique starts with your DNA and is then fine-tuned over time, style is something you develop. Part of being a gentleman is developing one’s own sense of style and then adhering to it. I will always argue that there is a time and place for everything, but that does not mean that we sacrifice our integrity for the sake of a fleeting fashion trend. Hopefully, if you were to be burned at the stake, your last words would be something beyond “Balenciaga!”
The success I have with my personal wardrobe comes from building from a few basic items to create a great look. To break it down, I believe the basics to be: A classic black suit, white dress shirt, dark tie, dark jeans, socks that are not white, casual white V-neck shirts, and a classic sweater. From these pieces you can mix and match to create a more casual or professional look. Avoid the crazy trends and just try to keep it classic and timeless. Fashion always tries to create “the new black,” but the color black is a constant not needing to be changed.
You have to find what works for you, and then be honest to it. It was once told to be me that what we choose to wear is an outward manifestation of our inner self. Not everyone will find success in a bohemian look or high top sneakers, but once you have solicited who you are and how you want to be perceived it’s all about the fit. Because at the end of the day, it’s just like iconic menswear designer John Varvatos said, “You don’t need a lot of clothes — you just need good fitting clothes.”
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