Style tips are a bit like opinions; everyone has them — for better or worse. (And, for the record, no you probably should not fasten that bottom button of your suit jacket.) But, which wardrobe words of wisdom are really worth heeding as you set out to refine your own dress code?
We checked in with a range of experts who have staked some serious — and seriously unique — sartorial ground in the fashion industry to discover just what has been the most impactful advice they’ve received. From adding personalized details to your ensemble to why a bit of imperfection is the key to a perfect outfit, take a note from these pros who know all about the journey to manifesting your best style.
1. Don’t be afraid to change up your style often
I had the honor of receiving advice from British fashion designer Simon Spurr a few years ago. He said something to me that I totally agree with. ‘I’ve always been more about style than fashion trend,’ he said. ‘What works for me, might not work for someone else. Identifying your own style is the key factor. Be known for something, be consistent, but make sure you tweak your style every 6 months or so.’ So, in short, dress for yourself, embrace your own style, and don’t be afraid of change.
Jace Lipstein, founder and designer of Grungy Gentleman
2. The smallest details can make the biggest difference
A piece of advice that I embraced early on was to always get dressed for yourself and stay true to your personal style. So, my wardrobe favors timeless classics with signature details. One of my sartorial staples is the classic white Italian dress shirt, impeccably tailored and finished with contrast navy stitching and a monogram. So, another tip that I follow on a daily basis is that it’s the smallest details, such as stitching or personalized initials, that can make the biggest impact.
Veeral Rathod, co-founder and president of J. Hilburn
3. Skip the desire for perfection
Good style advice makes you look better, but great style advice makes you feel better. I love working with accessories because the men who respond to them don’t mind standing out — a man in a bow tie is usually looking to make an impression. One great tip for gentlemen that I have received and implemented is to actually wear your bow tie slightly crooked. Perfection is overrated. Plus, you can always count on someone straightening it for you, thus providing the perfect opportunity for an introduction or conversation. The rest is up to you…
Daniel Perez, owner at Caviar Club Menswear
4. It’s better to be dressed well — no matter the occasion
I continue to be inspired by my grandfather, Fredrich Popken. ‘You can never be dressed too well,’ he always said. ‘Only the opposite of that can put you in an uncomfortable situation.’
Edo Popken, designer at Edo Popken of Switzerland
5. Keep it simple — and always have a good pair of sneakers
The best advice I have received is from my fiancée, Hannah. When I go to my closet and come back dressed for a special occasion, I usually hear the simple word ‘no’ from her. Then she chooses what would look better or best and gives me direction I wouldn’t otherwise have. However, from day to day, I have to follow my own advice, which is to keep it simple. I wear a T-shirt, Rag & Bone jeans, and a fresh pair of kicks. Sneakers can really make or break a look. The Nike Air Max 90 is my go-to pair right now, but I just purchased the Nike Free 5.0. And I wear snapback hats all the time. I just look for unique styles and designs that no one else has and rep them on a daily or weekly basis. If you couldn’t tell, I am building quite the shoe and hat collection as we speak.
Palmer Dean, founder and CEO of OutlineTheSky
6. Don’t let trends or seasons get in the way
The best style advice I’ve ever received is probably from my parents at a pretty young age, but they had no idea at the time how it would directly or indirectly affect me. It was more of an all-encompassing ‘be yourself, no matter what’ perspective. I applied that confident individuality to every aspect of my life: how I think, what I say and do, and of course, how I dress. I wear whatever I wear. I don’t let trends or seasons get in the way. I never have. Most days I like wearing T-shirts, jeans, and flat-bill snapbacks, and I like colors — lots and lots of colors. Of course I love a great pair of socks, especially the ones I’m wearing right now with robots on them. It’s all about creating an image that uniquely embraces your own personality. And it never hurts to have some fun, too.
Bryan DeLuca, co-founder and CEO of Foot Cardigan
7. Quality is key
The quality of a man’s shoes and watch are what set him apart. These are too often the most overlooked components of a man’s wardrobe. So, don’t forget to shine your shoes!
Kirby Allison, founder of The Hanger Project
8. Your style truth will set you free
The best advice to live by is to stay true to yourself. If you have more of a classic style, stay true to that. If you have more of a trendy style, stay true to that. Just be who you are and no one else. No compromises!
Patrick B. Ware, general manager of Traffic Los Angeles at The Joule