Thursday, October 29, 2009

Personal Style Development

As unique as we are we tend to develop a herd mentality. The blogosphere doesn't really help especially with all the trad, sartorial, traditional style ones available. If your new to the sartorial arts aping looks is perfectly fine. Just beware of replication, instead seek duplication.

To fully grasp my point we must discuss the difference between replication and duplication. According to it is, "The process by which genetic material, a single-celled organism, or a virus reproduces or makes a cop of itself." Replication is an attempt at an exact copy. Duplication is a process of copying. In genes it occurs as an embryo is developing. It is not exact and leads to free mutation. This is called genetic recombination. An example of this would be the one really tall person in a family of short people.

Now let me return to the point of my post. As a new gentleman to the sartorial arts one should duplicate not replication. Duplication allows you to freely mutate, if you will, the look into something you would wear. Replication removes the very thing that makes you you; your personality. In addition to that, you've stolen another individuals personal style. I wont dwell on that very long understand that some aspects of personal style are, as the name suggests, personal. These things may have really deep meaning so, be mindful and respectful.

Personal style is the easiest to develop because you already have it. You have preferences on color, formality, and patterns. Simply use them in your duplication of the looks you see in magazines, books, and the many blogs, hopefully mine is on your list. Go ahead! You don't like blue but want to try the Atlanta College Boy look; try a pink shirt. Still not enough of you in it. How about a pink OCBD, oxford cloth button down, instead of a spread collar.

Let me make this as clear as possible. Duplicate the form but allow your personal style to shine through by integrating it in the choices you make for the look. My example of this is, I don't really like OCBDs very much so I wear spread collars. Even if the look I'm duplicating is using an OCBD, I still wont wear it.

I like to impart some practicality as well as examples. So, let us perform an exercise.
The following photo is from

This look is composed of a green blazer worn with khakis, OCBD, & a crew neck sweater.
My Take: I don't like green blazers, crew neck sweaters, or OCBDs. Also I prefer to wear ties. To make it mine I'd wear a blue blazer, a v-neck sweater, a soft collar shirt. The rest of the colors are fine with me.

Next we have a photo from Will's

Nicholas Antongiovanni is wearing a navy sport coat with a checked, country, button down shirt, and a yellow knit tie.
My Take: Button downs and yellow knit ties don't work with me so, I would forgo them. I would wear a spread collar with a red knit tie. Everything else is okay with me.

In the final Photo I have Mr. Sperelli taken from his blog,

Mr. Sperelli is the gentleman on the left wearing a black corduroy jacket in a medium whale worn with a purple, striped, contrast collar shirt. He also is wearing a tan waistcoat and a purple pocket square.
My Take: I would change the pocket square to a patterned version, I rarely wear solid ones anymore. I like red and navy worn with purple for pocket squares. I would change the tie to a solid in a maroon. The different colors are an homage to my culture. In Africa color clashing is an art. Though, in East Africa, maroon, purple, and navy are placed together quite commonly. You'll see it in patterns everywhere. So, aside from looking well put together, it makes an inside statement of pride to other East Africans.

In conclusion, we should seek to always display our own style. Duplication of looks is acceptable; replication is not. We all know what we intuitively like and should try to include that when we duplicate looks to expand our sartorial vocabulary. Let your personality shine through in your appearance. A favorite color, a bending of a rule, or an homage to ones club or ethnicity are ways to express personal style. Like all things; when you practice this it soon becomes simply a part of your style, the epitome of personal style.


The Eccentric Orange Gentleman said...

Expect another post on this soon.

Alan said...

Great post! I prefer the word "inspiration" for my style as I take a little from many things.

The Eccentric Orange Gentleman said...

Ah! Inspiration, was the word I was looking for when I was titling this post.

Alan, you may take little things but your interest in loafers and low vamp shoes is your 'signature'.