That having been said, and with clichéd New Year’s resolutions as well as the distracting four-season contemporary barrage of flash-in-the-pan trends to contend with notwithstanding (ie. hit the gym, ask for that promotion, invest in dungarees, et al.), what many have come to symbolically revere any given New Year as is an occasion marked by the newfangled pursuit of either subtle characteristic refinement or full-on evolutionary transformation — it is a time to reassess, reboot, retool, and too resolve to grow as individuals in one manner or another as it were.
Howbeit, pledging to henceforth dressing better, living a more fulfilling life, and too further buoying one's sartorial credentials are amongst the most wholly commendable resolutions (or perennial gentlemanly pursuits) in existence; Fully attainable feats, it must be said, that have residual effects aplenty ranging from bolstering one's career prospects and social standing through that of helping us live with more purpose, passion and respect for all others (including oneself).
Be that as it may, what should every gentleman of style and substance know about mastering the ancient arts of style, getting dressed, grooming and continually cutting a tastefully rakish dash for seasons to come?
Or, and to be frank, the quintessential styling intelligence and social wherewithal that will ensure you are always properly equipped to look your best no matter the season, occasion or era at hand.
On that note, let us all forgo any naive assertion that matters of personal style and comportment are of no immediate consequence nor importance in life; That one's highly cultivated state of personal dress, grooming, demeanour and civility are inconsequential, dated precepts devoid of any tangible contemporary merit — this is pure tomfoolery.
Contrarily, let us rather pledge to better understanding why and just how powerful and influential the way we present and carry ourselves is, and that the way we dress warrants constant reflection inasmuch as our style is indeed rhow we are continually perceived, treated and adjudged by all those we associate and work with on a daily basis.
To wit, and whether subtle and precise or exploratory and open-ended, herewith is some of the most practical, self-fulfilling, genuinely pleasing and historically revered sartorial wisdom that every modern gentleman of style and substance would do well in apprising himself of should he desire, demand or simply resolve to always looking his finest, smartly stretching his hard-earned dollar, and ultimately achieving success and triumph in all he pursues.
Never purchase anything on sale lest you otherwise be willing to pay full price for it (i.e. shop smarter/invest wisely). To wit, and before commissioning any bespoke tailoring/accoutrement or off-the-peg article of clothing, do be sure it either fills a pressing (vocational) need, can be deployed in a variety of guises alongside the staples already present in your wardrobe, and that you know precisely why it is you want it as well as where and when you could/should actually sport it (i.e. the office, at home, on weekend, during evening out etc).
The Takeaway: Treat every style purchase as a long-term investment that you foresee paying dividends for many years to come.
. II .
A rakish pair of Albert house slippers, a plush velvet smoking jacket, and a fine dinner suit (i.e. tuxedo) are timeless evening wear vestiges turned sartorial prerogatives for a gentleman whether or not he attends galas, has a smoking room, or owns a country manor. They are, as such, the marks of a well-mannered (and rounded) gentleman of style, substance and leisure who understands the true value of safeguarding tradition and a genteel sensibility.
The Takeaway: Upgrade your evening and sleepwear essentials post haste
. III .
The best investment you can make would arguably be that of a pair of Goodyear welted shoes (think oxfords, Chelsea boots, derby’s). Why? Because shoes often last a lifetime (if cared for properly) and are capable of being worn with most anything at your disposal whilst rewarding proper maintenance with a characteristic patina that only gets better with age. Ditto for timeless outerwear forms and fine cashmere/merino knitwear.
. IV .
Take to heart these three enduring sartorial truisms:
(1) Clothing is at once practical, symbolic and about social identity; (2) Being properly dressed can deliver a peace of mind unlike any other that is otherwise unattainable elsewhere; and; ((3) Invest now to save later: Quality (think classic heritage wears/ revered craftsmanship) always trumps quantity (fast-fashion/cheap trends) as do natural fibres over that of synthetic blends
. V .
Vow to never (again?) live vicariously (nor with envy) through that of the often rose-tinted (and dishonest) feeds of so-called tastemaker and social media influencers (ie. Instagrammers/Youtubers) nor fall prey to the (often questionable) authoritative word of popular fashion publication/magazines of past or present…but do by all means take inspiration from those who mean well, albeit in a consistent manner that sees you carving your own unique path by acting out upon your own sartorial impulses or fanciful desires rather than that of others.
The Takeaway: Step to your own beat whilst dressing to please your innate sensibilities and tastes
. VI .
Educate yourself on the finer points of how to best dress appropriately for any weather, season or occasion that presents itself. Why? Because while clothing may not cure cancer it is nevertheless important. Important in that it is not only practical but also communicates respect, delivers joy, and is essential to helping us navigate (in style) social circles with confidence, comfort and refined comportment — it is a an endearing badge of civility (politeness) and decorum.
. VII .
Prioritize a proper fit above all else by investing in timeless heritage wears and fine tailoring of the highest order (that you can afford) in lieu of the presupposed affordability of trendy or ready-to-wear garments that lack merit in regards to either being built to last or truly flatter. In that vein, it is in form and effect, or rather the elements of proportion, wherein we can truly play to the unique strengths of our physiques so as to continually cut a rakish dash
The Takeaway: Style is synonymous with mastering fit & often the adopting of classic menswear staples.
Do consider taking up a new sport in the preppy racquet, equestrian, or nautical/sailing vein and subsequently incorporate its accompanying wardrobe into your summer sartorial fold — think Breton-stripe jumpers, white out Tretorn trainers and pique polos — so as to further bolster your style credentials and (perhaps) finally carry through on the often vowed (but rarely carried out) fitness resolution that many routinely make (and break) come January
The Takeaway: Traditionally genteel sports are a gold mine of tastefully sportive summer wears
. XIII .
Put that handsome fountain pen to proper use by taking to traditional letter handwriting (idealistically transcribed upon monogrammed stationary with classic letterpress) so as to safeguard this most genteel and virtuous of traditions whilst turning back the clock to a simpler, slower and more refined age
The Takeaway: Style is gleaned from not just what you wear but how you carry and conduct yourself on the daily
. XIV .
Accessories are where a gentleman takes best to rakishly experimenting with so as to differentiate himself from the fashionable masses — from umbrellas and headwear through watches and socks. Be that as it may, my advice would be to take to tastefully accessorizing with aplomb, caution and creative subtlety in mind seeing as good style does not shout but is rather quietly sophisticated in its cultivated nuance and discerning restraint. To that end, Mr. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle put it best when stating that accessories are of peculiar importance given they serve no paramount function beyond that of being symbols of status, taste and expression.
. XV .
Take care of your clothing: Re-wax/condition your outerwear, weather-proof and resole your shoes (+ invest in cedar shoes trees), turn clothing inside out before washing to conserve colour, avoid washing denim wears, invest in a hand-steamer (rather then iron), store off-season clothing properly, brush your knitwear, dry-clean your formalwear only when absolutely necessary, hand-wash cashmere in cold water (+ air dry it), and restock your favourite wardrobe stalwarts (i.e. buy in multiples when you find a piece that fits perfectly) as needs arise…you get the gist of it
. XVI .
Organize your wardrobe/closet by either colour, season, form (i.e. blazers, trousers, etc.) or presupposed occasional utility (ie. work, fitness, leisure) however you best see fit as this will make allow you to take quick stock of what you have and make getting dressed easier on days when you are feeling creatively stifled (TIP: if in doubt, tonal ensembles are alway sophisticated, safe bets)
. XVII .
Don’t be put off by colour and pledge to (on occasion) exploring outside of the classically revered trident of black, greys, blues so as to not become too comfortable nor disenchanted by what you are wearing on a daily basis
The Takeaway: Having a signature uniform is ideal…but that needn't mean you cannot endeavour to switching gears/adding panache to it
. XVIII .
In a lifelong bid to bolster your sartorial intelligence and/or further cultivate upon your styling sensibilities, schedule regular time to read, comb-over and enjoy any one of of these gilded style tomes (one per month should suffice) as they will capably equip you with the knowledge, fortitude and know-how to slowly become a master of your own classically nuanced signature style
Donate — or perhaps resell — anything in your closet that is un(der)used, dated, or that was bought by impulse and subsequently never worn to any in need, be it friends, family or even local clothing drives/thrift shops
. XX .
Adopt (fickle seasonal) trends at your own peril and in moderation by incorporating any that catch your eye into your personal uniform one at a time or rather in small, understated increments; Moreover, accessories are your safest bet in this regard
The Takeaway: Trends are, while often unmerited and baseless, where the creative key to living a sartorially resplendent life that toes the fine line between being too gracefully discerning in ones dress and that of being simply a slave to fashion rests
. XXI .
Be that as it may, do attempt to avoid (at all costs) coopting trends that you are immediately put off by no matter how much marketing or presupposed “merit” is bestowed upon them by style influencers…
. XXII .
On that note, I believe that caring about the way we dress, with consideration of the people and events around us, is no less than necessary for an appreciation of life. And great style, ultimately and unlike fashion, requires both an endearing sense of substance and a lived-in feel — what is often best is old, comfortable and reassuring
. XXIII .
All that having been said, pledge to (finally?) take inventory of, fill in the gaps present, and cleanse your closet/wardrobe (as aforementioned above) with a minimalist’s approach to pared-back essentialism in mind (i.e. you won’t miss that third navy blazer)
. XXIV .
Always bear in mind that having healthy skin and a proper grooming regimen are as important as a properly fitted suit in matters pertaining to obtaining good style. So, do be sure to use an SPF-laden facial moisturizer daily as well as to revel in both an occasional traditional wet shave (with a safety razor) and in learning how to properly maintain your skin through each of the four seasons as your future self will be eternally grateful for these small (but critical) efforts on your part
The Takeaway: Think prevention not (future) cure
In moments of doubt (or dress code confusion), simply inquire for guidance from the host or err towards overdressing for the occasion as there is nothing neither more embarrassing (for the stye-conscious amongst us that is) nor staining to one's character/persona then being carelessly underdressed
The Takeaway: Be the man who always rises to the occasion, he who sets the sartorial standard and in doing so makes others recognize that there are still those who believe in keeping a sense of occasion alive and well.
. XXX .
Remember that any culturally imposed status quo or enduring (sartorial) tradition is only worth preserving if it continues to have occasional merit, serves a purpose, or has come to embody societies best qualities. To that end, you could say that keeping a sense of occasion about yourself in the way you dress has become somewhat of a dying art, something that you should not ascribe to becoming a part of
The Takeaway: Do not become part of the modern crop of men who have no sense of occasion about them; those one sneer at dress codes and denounce dressing up as a hobby for only the pretentious sets
. XXXI .
Do not be put off by wearing white trousers — especially denim — year round (here's 16 ways how) as contrary to any popular/ prevailing belief (i.e. no white after Labour Day) it is indeed a colour that is rakishly fit for year round utilization
. XXXII .
Take to heart the notion that a handsome bag further enriches a mans style and is (nearly) as important as a good pair of shoes (i.e. you should not discount it transcendent capabilities). Also thrift, vintage or antique shop as often as possible as you never know what sort of diamond in the rough may be awaiting…
. XXXIII .
Dress to highlight your strengths (and too circumvent your weaknesses) while taking into account your height, weight, and lifestyle (i.e. stick to what works & what best flatters your unique physical attributes).
Here's how for example…
Tall/Slim Gents: Invest in double-breasted suits/outerwear as well as tonal looks
Short/Portly Gents: Avoid horizontal stripes (which broaden your stature) & tonal looks (lack of division will make you appear shorter);
Athletic/Muscular Gents: Opt for deconstructed/unpadded/unlined formalwear and casual essentials with an impetus on henley's and t-shirts
All Physiques/Forms: Single-breasted tailoring is universally flattering as are grey flannel trousers, chinos and turtlenecks (amongst others)
. XXXIV .
If you are looking to adopt a newfangled minimalist styling doctrine in regards to your wardrobe, I'd recommend considering the Japanese KonMari method and its principle of prioritizing (and keeping) only those items in which spark immediate joy or that continually serve a critical daily role — the simple pleasures/essentials of life as it were
. XXXV .
Having style is a form of intelligence just as rigorous, thorough preparation is key to success in any arena — personal style or otherwise. Inasmuch, it is critical one both understands and becomes a skilled tactician in addressing the differences between the hallmarks of quality (in suits, fabrics, etc.) and shabbiness/frivolity as well as fashion and style
The Takeaway: Knowing why your style is so powerful is essential as is the knowledge that simple and classic accoutrements will always be in vogue whereas the same cannot be said of so-called visionary, overzealous or kitschy flash in the pan seasonal trends
Successful sartorial reinvention (or refinement) bottles down to asking better questions about yourself, your direction, your lifestyle, and your (career/private life) objectives
. XXXVII .
There forevermore remains a sense of unspoken language in dress that is at once understood, disarming and unique to the discerning eye — style communicates on an intimate and visceral level that tends to both include and exclude (i.e. uniforms)
. XXXVIII .
Luxury is a feeling — rather then a price-tag — that is reflected in intimately loving what you wear; it is a mindset and confidence in demeanour that arrives as a result of finding attire that makes you feel most natural and instantly capable in your own skin. Or, and to put it in other words, luxury is not about what you wear (or how much it is worth) but rather about how you wear it, what it means to you, and how it emboldens you to (elegantly) carrying yourself with more confidence/conviction
The Takeaway: While you can certainly spend as much as you want on your clothing you simply cannot buy true luxury or style given the latter two can only be emotionally attained through wear (i.e. style/luxury manifest themselves through personal trial and error)
. XXXVIX .
In that vein, the modern scope of menswear is often too vast and limitless to wholly comprehend or navigate, which is why classics such as navy blazers, single-breasted topcoats and black oxfords will always be considered sound investments for good reason: they are quietly charismatic, reassuringly infallible, (near) universally flattering, elegantly poised, and handsomely posited.
. XL .
Invest wisely in quality and you will only need to buy once. For example, buy and never rent a dinner jacket (ie. tuxedo), spend $400 on a good pair of dress shoes rather than $100 ten times over, and due consider pursuing adding a vintage timepiece to your horological collection that can become a beloved heirloom keepsake — the latter being a fleeting gentlemanly rite of passage that should be preserved by those with the means and desire
. XLI .
Now In regards to suits, the (near) timeless ideal jacket form for most would be fully-canvassed and devoid of any structural fusing with accompanying trousers that are half-lined with side adjusters rather than belt loops. Moreover, the key to being able to move seamlessly in said suit lay in higher armholes which better facilitate movement, perhaps a softer rather then padded shoulder (the former being the mark of Italian tailoring, albeit a touch more informal) that grants more comfort in wear, and a two-button, single-breasted silhouette that is universally revered in the professional realm.
. XLII .
It has been proven time-and-again that in life it is easier to achieve success if one is dressed appropriately to do so. However, it also warrants a associative note that sartorial seriousness/propriety certainly has it limits, and every man should know them…
The (honestly quite) comical notions of a one size fits all garment, or of a distinctive mode of dress that suits every sort of gentleman, are together perhaps the most epically proportioned of all sartorial marketing farces
. XLVIII .
While I certainly understand the draw/need/desire to be fashionable at all times, I also do not believe that's what formality is about. Contrarily, formality is about deferring to your individuality erstwhile also observing traditional form. Inasmuch, if you are not traditional, you are not formal.
The Takeaway: Formal occasions are, above all else, events for the enlightened to savour in traditional standards of dress/decorum
. XLIX .
Perfect fit is an evolving concept whose appropriateness/ideal differs from one individual to the next. Howbeit, it is often said that skilled tailors who truly understand their craft cut (garments) for effect rather then a universally desired fit — effect in this instance being proportion so as to best accentuate your figure rather then reproducing that of anothers.
. L .
The best dressers in life look as though they truly live in their clothes and make minimal effort in doing so…and so should you.
The Takeaway: The old (nearly always) trumps the new + wear your favourite pieces over-and-over — without restraint nor abandon
. LI .
Change in fashion (whether snail paced of ferocious) is inevitable…which means one need not consent to any such fanciful alterations for the sake of change nor pay heed to what are some questionably fleeting frivolities (i.e. trends) should he prefer not to do so.
The Takeaway: Fashion goes back and forth between extremes which means you needn’t be a slave to the ebbs-and-flows of trendy wears at all
. LII .
Clothing is, as is the notion of style, an evolving and relative social construct whose immediate and prolonged affectations are contingent upon the individualistic ideals, tastes and experiences of not only oneself but all those who observe it
The Takeaway: What each of us use as criteria for adjudging what we actively perceive as being truly stylish attire is more often then not defined by our unique individualistic sartorial sensibilities intermingling with that of a socially driven sartorial ethos that helps us take measure of any given looks presupposed symbolism, emotional weight, and cultivated level of historical reverence and contemporary taste — to each his/her own in other words
. LIII .
There are many modes of dressing as well as artful rules of sartorial engagement which can make choosing any one specific aesthetic or avenue to pursue that suits all your needs, tastes, habits or lifestyle a most trying task. On that note, its important to bear in mind that correctness in dressage is always contingent upon appropriateness to purpose, audience and occasion…
Understand the rules of dressing but don’t get caught up in the myths or politics of them whilst draping yourself in wears namely because they serve a purpose (whatever it may be) or bring joy rather than because you were otherwise instructed/told to (with certain dress codes being the exception mind you)
. LII .
To that end, you could say that well-dressed men are considered as such not because they ascribe to every seemingly preordained rule about clothing laid before them but rather because they have good taste, confidence, individuality, saviour faire and a sense of both occasion and history — they have explored pattern, culture, texture and colouring so as to best accentuate their physique and promote a profound sense of characteristic ease erstwhile being mindful of tradition and well-merited doctrines set forth by our sartorial forebears
. LIII .
At once freeing, expressive and empowering, at the end of the day your style should be an honest and (utterly) unique extension of your very being that instantly cobeys something about you, the world you inhabit, and the life you aspire towards erstwhile looking graceful, making you feel good and playing to your strengths in a comfortable yet rakish manner — it should not only change the way people think about you but how you feel about yourself in a positive and highly constructive manner
. LIX .
While you needn’t always be overly formal in your general state of dress, you should nevertheless be comfortable in dressing up seeing as there are indeed occasions, whether you like it or not, that call for heightened formality wherein you need to communicate an elevated sense of decorum, celebration or gravity in your attire.
The Takeaway: Just because you don't wear a suit a lot doesn't mean you should not be the proud owner of a fine specimen that you can call upon at a moments notice for a variety of occasions.
. LX .
And, last but certainly not least, remember that the finest fashion statement a gentleman can make rests in a sophisticated gesture of sartorial restraint rather then that of a deliberately overzealous act of ostentation given the reality that PERCEPTION (tends to) DRIVES REALITY
The Final Takeaway: Be mindful of the reality that how you act, treat others, and what you choose to wear are all viewed by prying eyes as direct representations of yourself, your family, and your personal brand
And lest you forget…
That having been said, I’d certainly be remiss should I did not address the belief that resolving to dress better (i.e. living with more self-respect and civility) should not be a resolution explicitly pursued as mere consequence of a new calendar year rearing its head but rather a lifelong pursuit driven by an innate desire to continually seek refinement and personal growth at all times irrespective of whether or not the prevailing cultural mores demand or expect it — be it January, July or December.
Inasmuch, you could say that in what I like to do professionally is champion the notion that we can indeed accomplish/conquer anything we set our minds to granted we first endeavour to maximizing our sartorial efforts by means of learning the nuanced art of getting dressed and both laying down a personal styling doctrine as well as sound wardrobe foundation that are each respectively impeachable — to dressing for, and investing in, lifelong success.
To wit, and at the end of the day, what I've ultimately come to understand best over the years is that the finest style doctrines (and endearing dressing habits as it were) are those deeply rooted in history, marked by their enduring social virtues, elevated by their timeless elegance in revered form, and beloved for their transitional utility and symbolism — classically-inspired habiliments and formal aesthetics, in other words, that have withstood the trials of time by continually proffering what makes for an intoxicating balance between form and function, fit and comfort, and of casual, sportive, leisurely and formal wears.
Make of that what you will and proceed accordingly gentlemen (and ladies)…and do be sure to peruse my personal 2018 "Want List" below for what I feel will help you make a tastefully rakish splash this year and beyond.
Share your own ad libs, maxims, thoughts and style resolutions below…
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