The Foundations of Style


Clothes make the man.  All of us have heard this once or twice throughout our lives, and while none of us wants to admit its truthfulness, many of us spend significant amounts of disposable income on the off chance that it just might work in our favor.  Think of the times when, as a young man, you spent more than your parents or friends thought was wise, on that special jacket or cool pair of jeans.  Or maybe you saved for a while to buy a nice suit or an expensive pair of shoes, secretly hoping that someone would notice and applaud the suave sophisticaion of your choice.


Well, gentlemen, that is what the entire fashion industry is banking on.


The fashion industry and the designers that fuel it are constantly inventing new interpretations on existing pieces, adding details, adjusting lengths of hems and sleeves, adding more fabric here and taking some out from there, all in the interest of getting you to buy a new this or that.


But just because they make something new doesn’t mean we need to buy it.


And, believe it or not, the corollary to that is also true: just because something isn’t worn out yet doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t think about replacing it.


Over the next few posts, I am going to be addressing the elements of individual style.  There are only three of them, as I see it, though I am sure that designers may say that there are more.  Additionally, I think that they are fairly simple to understand and apply, contrary to what many of the more trendy magazines may want to suggest.


With just a little information and a little thought, there is no reason that every gentleman now reading this short little post can’t create for himself a reliable wardrobe of basics and accent pieces, accessories and well worn reliables that stand the test of time and give an individual style that is at once recognizable and comfortable.


I’m going to introduce the first of the factors, and we will save the other two for an upcoming post.  The first element that helps you in creating your own individual style is your body type.


There are websites and programs galore to give you insight into what your basic body type is, but most of us men know what our body type is without thinking much about it.  It breaks down into three basic types, all of which are basic geometric forms:  inverted triangle, rectangle, and diamond.  None of them is necessarily better than another, and all of them have clothing that is built to flatter each style.  It is also worth mentioning that each body type can be changed over time.  A man who is unhappy being a diamond (think baseball diamond) may work very hard to change to being a rectangle or even an inverted triangle, but that doesn’t mean that he can’t develop a style that stays with him throughout the change.  In fact, part of this post is to talk about elements of style that can stay with a man throughout all the changes that the body will go through during a lifetime.


Back to creating the style, by knowing your body type, you can make some choices that flater that type.  (By the way, skinny jeans don’t flatter anyone’s type.  If you aspire to be a man of style and substance,   NEVER wear skinny jeans)  If you are a rectangle or a diamond, wearing tight fitting shirts is not a great idea, while if you are an inverted triangle you may be better off investing in sport coats and slacks rather than suits.  It’s all about what flatters your body type, and generally you will know it the moment you try it on.


One word of advice when assessing body type in the conversation of style; it is only one piece of the puzzle.  When put with the other pieces, style becomes easier to select and maintain over time. Additionally, it is important to remember that there are designers who take into account every body type when they create their clothes.  If you find that one label doesn’t work so well when looking at suits, find one who does.  Don’t assume that your body type rlegates you to a type of clothing that doesn’t appeal to you.


Well, that’s enough for today.  Next post we will address the other two facets of slecting an individual style.


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