The goal of personal style, in my opinion, is to create an image that accurately represents who you are and what you are about, but also provides a hint about who you aspire to be.
With that said, my personal style is shaped by my life experiences, the people or things that have influenced me along the way, and my continually evolving aspirations.
In a recent article for the Huffington Post, I broke-down my top 10 style influences I hope this helps explain the nature of my personal aesthetic, as well as help our readers develop their own style.
1. My mom
My mother and her 13 siblings were raised in a small two bedroom house. When she moved out on her own in search of a better life, she taught herself how to sew out of necessity and made her own business wardrobe from thrifted fabrics. Watching her be creative on a budget taught me the building blocks of developing personal style, from scratch.
2. Farm Life
Menswear is all about functionality and durability, something I’m reminded of whenever I visit home. Many of today’s menswear “classics” began as workwear garments (jeans, boots, flannel shirts, etc) which are more natural and attractive with some authentic beat-up character.
The most important thing about personal style is confidence. It’s the most convincing element of a good outfit. Team sports, specifically basketball, taught me how to stand out in a crowd while fitting into the context of a team. This can be compared to dressing for business, where guys often balance expressing themselves with fitting into the office culture.
4. New York City
There is no place like NYC. Every neighborhood has it’s own style. From the casual-rich Upper West Side to the trendy and gritty Lower East Side, it’s a place where you can express yourself and be exactly who you want to be.
5. Columbia & the Ivy League
The Ivy League has it’s own point of view on style, mainly traditional Americana with a collegiate nonchalance. Combine that with New York City and you have a healthy mix of prep and urban inspirations, which define my style fairly well.
6. Bespoke Tailoring
I love tailored garments and the traditional culture they represent. It’s a skill and tradition I’ve been studying meticulously for years. Ultimately you need to know the rules before you can effectively bend or break them.
7. Nature’s Color Palettes
Color is a foundation of personal style and can make or break an outfit. Many guys struggle with putting colors together. My advice, take cues from nature to find combinations that are pleasing to the eye. We recently published an article on this here.
8. Kanye West
It’s important to have icons and observe how they present themselves through varying contexts. For all of his faults, Kanye has great taste in clothing in a way that pushes the boundaries but always stays true to himself. He was one of the pioneer influencers who brought street cred to high-fashion.
9. 1920s Gangsters
I sometimes fantasize about living in an era before the stigma of men being “over dressed”. When guys took pride in looking thoughtfully put-together, and the better they dressed, the tougher and more powerful they looked. I think we’re slowly getting back to this, as seen by the rise in popularity of period shows like Boardwalk Empire.
10. My Girlfriend Karyn
Like it or not, your significant other has a big impact on the way you present yourself. I value Karyn’s opinion because she has great taste, understands my point of view, and her advice always comes back to authenticity and refinement. She’s often reminding me that “less is more”.
Thanks for reading and Merry Christmas,
Dan & TSB