Style – some appear to have it, while others appear to have it in somewhat, um, limited quantities. Often illusive, nonetheless sought after, true style remains an enigma most of us continue to strive towards. We search the latest sources of stated fashion authority as a guide to ease the process, and numb the pain. So herewith, presented for your gracious consideration, the seven style rituals of the incredibly stylish gentleman.
#1 He Knows A Good Tailor
The stylish gentleman knows his sizing limitations. Models are sample size so only models can buy straight off the rack and walk out a men’s store feeling and looking like a million bucks. To overcome the problem of long legs on trousers and sleeves that cover your hands, see someone with the gift of scissors, needle and thread – an alterations specialist. Nowadays it’s super affordable (and a lot cheaper than having your own suit custom-made) and super easy; when you buy new work pants, take the trousers straight to your fix-it man.
Put on some weight? Get the trousers let out to avoid looking like a squashed sausage. No matter how much you spend or how beautiful the fabric, there’s no faking it when it comes to suit fit. Jackets that sag and baggy pants that slump look careless and serve as the ultimate antithesis to looking like the stylish gentleman you want to be.
#2 He Appreciates Well-Maintained Shoes
It’s all about the shoes. Shoes are the first thing to be noticed when you meet someone for the first time. Rocking up to work in the latest Hugo Boss mohair wool three-piece suit is killer. But wearing derby shoes that look like they have been chewed on and spat out is a crime against the beautiful suit itself.
Wipe your leather shoes with a damp cloth at the end of each day to remove dirt and dust and set aside an hour each Sunday to polish up your shoes ahead of the working week. A pair of beautifully made, expensive shoes will never stand their ground unpolished, torn, faded or dirty. Treat shoes like you do your oral hygiene.
#3 He Abides By A Well-Oiled Grooming Machine
Starting with the hair, book your appointments well in advance with a reputable barber. Even if it’s to trim the neck fluff or lose the impeding ball shape your hair is taking, four to six weeks is a good cycle to be on. Facial grooming now, the typical products – face wash, exfoliation and moisturiser – should be done daily, preferably in the morning so you don’t forget before bed.
For the shaven gentleman, keep the face super clean, hair-free and shave the regrowth daily. For those working the five-o’clock-shadow look, keep it neat with a razor trim every two to three days. Beard lovers, trim your growth weekly. The most important thing about having a grooming routine is setting it in advance and sticking to it.
#4 He Always Invests In Key Pieces
Splurging on timeless pieces for the wardrobe is essential. This means investing in key items that transcend what’s in trend for a season. The gentleman takes a more universal, simple approach. A slim pair of dark denim jeans, crisp white Oxford shirt, razor sharp casual blazer, camel trench, black wool trousers, leather carryall, plain white tee, leather derby shoes, aviator sunglasses – these are classic essentials and will get you started. And because these are ‘investments’, buy these in the best quality fabrics (cashmere, merino wool, organic cotton, calfskin leather) you can. You’ll be wearing any one of these pieces every day.
#5 He Knows His Wardrobe Well
Getting acquainted with your wardrobe takes the ‘strangeness’ out of dressing each morning. Have a few key looks memorised for play and for work (pastel blue shirt, navy suit and dark tan brogues make for a tonal, smart, alternative to a black and white business look). Trying key pieces on together in advance can do this, or simply visualise the textures and colours coming together in your head. Organising your clothes in the closet helps getting to know them better.
Buy wooden hangers and space your clothes out so they become their own. You can get an idea what works or what’s missing by seeing them all lined up together and they don’t get crushed in the process. For extra assertiveness the night before, lay out the following day’s outfit, including accessories. Then hang your pre-selected clothes in your wardrobe or if packing for travel, lie them straight into the suitcase.
#6 He Exudes An Air of Confidence
Stylish men carry themselves with confidence. There is nothing more unattractive than a guy who looks like he’s trying too hard while looking incredibly uncertain about himself. The confident man makes fashion, even the bold pieces, look like part of his basic anatomy. He owns his look, because it’s an authentic expression of his personality and who he is.
But the insecure man is shifty and unsettled (evident with his body language) and his appearance will be noticeably self-conscious – fiddling with things, playing with his buttons, and looking at himself in every mirror or reflective window he can find. The clothes are wearing him, and not the other way around. Before you step out the house ask yourself this: Am I happy with how I look today? There’s no point wearing something that isn’t you, just because it’s a trend. If yes, go face the world. From here, be authentic, take the occasional risk to challenge who you are and then, don’t give your outfit a second thought.
#7 He Always Keeps Himself In Check
With the time, effort and often serious money spent on clothes and looking the part, letting it all come undone during the day is not an option for the stylish gentleman. So keep yourself in check. By no means be that self-conscious guy in the previous point who can’t leave himself alone. It’s more about assertively making sure you aren’t letting things slip: flies zipped, shirt neatly re-tucked, and belt fasten properly and threaded through all waist loops after a visit to the gents.
Lop-sided ties and a knot that’s not sharp looks messy, too; while a big tomato sauce stain on a work suit after lunch is a deadly style sin. Keeping things simple: check yourself each time you use the bathroom, scanning (using a mirror is best) head to toe for any random cling-ons, hang-outs and open-things that may have ‘happened’ since you left the house. A quick manual ‘pat down’ of yourself is the final step for finding things a mirror may have missed.
So now you are equipped with the necessary style rituals. Venture forth in confident application and make 2016 the year to be remembered as the year you upped your style game. To quote Horace, or more recently Robin Williams in Dead Poets Society, Carpe Diem!
This article first appeared on D’Marge.