When we are in college , one of the basic priorities is to blend in with our peers and look cool. Big fashion houses or celebrities set a trend, following those trendy fashions become synonymous to being cool. Unfortunately when those fashion trends become obsolete and a new trend becomes “hot”, we tend to make drastic changes in our wardrobes to maintain our cool status. This cycle can cost a lot of money and not very financially convenient.
Fortunately there are other ways to look good that are relatively cheaper. Let’s explore those alternative routes.
Why we should not blindly follow fashion:
Style and fashion,though mutually not exclusive, yet are NOT same thing. Fashion is something that designers and brands want us to wear. On the other hand, style is a way of expression of oneself through dressing and grooming. Here is quote which is very relevant in this context.
‘Fashion is what you’re offered four times a year by designers .And style is what you choose.”-Lauren Hutton.’
Any genre of style (classy, rugged, rebel, artistic etc) always has some fundamental rules.
Clothes should help one to achieve inverted triangle body shape( broad shoulder, narrow waist, visual perception of height etc.)
Every pieces of clothing should work together to hide not so flattering body features.
Clothes should be congruent and amplify the image(rebel, sexual, playful, powerful, laidback etc), one want to project.
In other words, style is more personal. Expression of style could be different for each person while ground rules of style are universal .
On the other hand, fashion is a trend which is set by big clothing brands. The main flaw with fashion trends is that every single individual is encouraged to wear same thing like a mindless zombie uniform. But problem is what looks great on a “Greek god body”, can look disgusting on a chubby person — hope my point is clear.
Let’s have a look in this Picture. Do you think any of them looks great despite having great body and good looking face?
Another downside of “fashion trends” is that trendy clothes can burn a hole in our pocket and after one or two seasons they are out of trend. As a result, the only good news for us that our name will be there in list of “Men who own prettiest trendy trash”.
How to look Stylish without spending money and time:
Often big clothing business houses use powerful marketing technique to influence customers and pure desire of belong to in group is a strong motivator. But they decide follow these simple principals, I am sure they can be the next smart college style guys. Here is the list
Versatile pieces only: Some pieces are just too versatile. Those can look good with a number of other items and play a crucial role to create new cool outfits. Dark Slim fit washed jeans is a perfect example of a versatile piece. It can be paired with a white slim fit shirt, black slim fit polo/Henley/shirt, denim shirt etc. For a classy look, we can wear it with a blazer . Leather jacket and combat boot and jeans make a excellent edgy rebel look. Literally, thousands of looks can be created with dark washed jeans. A trendy pastel color chinos can never be versatile (colorful chinos are also great but not as versatile as a dark washed jeans. You can make 2-3 outfits but those numbers are nowhere near compare to those jeans ). How should we determine the versatility of a cloth? Here is a rule of thumb, while picking up a cloth we should consider how many great combinations that piece will construct if paired with other pieces of our existing wardrobe. My personal limit is three which implies I will buy that cool jeans or shirt if I can create at least three cool outfits . Any less than three and I won’t buy.
2.Understanding of personal genre of Style: Style can vary from person to person. Versatile pieces can vary depending on genre of style. For example, I am personally into edgy and rugged style. Combat boots, Slightly ripped jeans , brown leather jackets, skin tight shirts/t-shirts are very much versatile for me. Boat shoes or loafers are not my type so I don’t buy them. But loafer shoes are very much versatile pieces for different kind of styles like preppy or laid back and tons of great look can be constructed with them. On the other hand , If a man love to dress conservatively (yes,they can look great ) ripped jeans won’t be a great choice for him.
3.Clothes that obey the first two rules of style: It’s just a fancy equivalent of infamous “fit” and little more than that. Fit is the ultimate key, any cloth irrespective of price ,look or feel is useless if it does not fit well. I will not discuss about fit here, there are plenty of guides for that. These are just useful tips which I’d like to recommend instead.
Those who have longer legs and shorter body ,should wear low rise trousers.
Vertical patterns widens visually.
Large patterns could prove to be overwhelming for smaller men.
Men with warm skin tone will look better in warm colors, vice versa for their cool toned counter part.
Low contrast men should go for low contrast outfit and high contrast men should opt for high contrast outfits.
Men with great body and facial features should stick to simpler outfits. Etc
Style is all about hiding less than average features and highlighting great features of our body, so we should stick to this basic rules.
4. Accessories and Creativity
Accessories can make or break a outfit. If we pick the right accessories and versatile pieces, great outfits can be made which will help us to stand out . Belts and watches are most common accessories and most of us good idea how to wear them so I will not discuss about them here. Let’s talk about other accessories.
Leather necklace & bracelets are severely underrated yet excellent items. Here is a example how to wear leather necklace and bracelets and look great.
Scarves also can make a rather bland and common outfit , a very interesting one. For example, classic white shirt and blue denim is a classic and very popular combo and every guy is wearing them. If we just throw a light red linen scarf with that classic outfit, there's a huge style upgrade Here is an another example of how to wear scarf.
(Picture courtesy : Pinterest.com)
Art of Layering:
Proper understanding of Layering is a invaluable knowledge. Literally tonnes of outfits can be made of few well-picked versatile pieces.
(Image courtesy: pinterest.com)
Let’s have a look in this image too . Interesting , right? If we minus jacket and cardigan, just plaid brown shirt and jeans will look nice too. But overall, proper execution of layering fundamentals created a great look and none of those pieces are not going to out of trend , ever.
Fashion is way of self expression. Before buying any fashionable trendy item , we must consider if it is versatile enough, it’s compatibility with our style and how much it would compliment our physical features. These little steps will save us from buying not so great pieces and save a lot of money.
Written by: Subrata Dhar from the Expand Yourself Blog