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Signature style: How to look your best no matter the occasion

You already know your Signature Style. Now here's how to bring it all together to look your best in every scenario

Whether you’re James Bond, Indiana Jones, or Don Draper, the ultimate goal of men’s fashion is to be the best version of yourself and deliver your unique personal image to the world. Sometimes, we believe that the best way to do that is to funnel ourselves into one uniform and strictly adhere to the style we see ourselves embodying.

The truth about men’s style is that most guys box themselves into a specific look and don’t allow themselves to grow or diversify. If that sounds like you, you can find yourself ready for any situation. Once you have experimented with the rest of the Signature Style archetypes, The Debonair Man is the highest level of style, the image we all should strive for.

Man in a formal suit
Refat / Shutterstock

Dress wardrobe

Sometimes you’ll be in a situation that forces you to dress up and look your best. Whether you wear a suit to the office every day or only wear it when attending the occasional wedding, funeral, or party, you need good suits.

Of course, dozens of suit options exist, but the Debonair Man begins with the four-legged stool and moves on from there. These four items are all you need when you’re ready to be the pinnacle of style, and these two tips will ensure your basic items bring out the best in you.

Invest in quality

Building a suit wardrobe can be overwhelming and prohibitively expensive if you don’t know what you’re doing. The first thing to remember is to avoid rushing to complete your collection by buying substandard products. Buy one piece at a time, and when you do, make sure that each one is the highest quality your budget will allow. You’ll thank us later when it fits better than any garment on the market and lasts for years.

Personalize your items

No, we don’t mean you have to go get monograms on your dress shirt. Sure, that can add a unique flare to them, but we suggest finding a tailor and getting to know them. Getting an expensive garment is pointless if you don’t have a tailor alter it to fit your every measurement. While they can make your suits fit like a glove, they can also work on all sorts of men’s apparel, including shirts, pants, and even jeans.

Man in a cardigan and eyeglasses
Maksim Ladouski / Shutterstock

Casual wardrobe

Your casual wardrobe is what most people will see you in; you’ll be wearing these clothes when you do most of your socializing. Unless you’re a businessman who wears a suit around most of your circle of friends and colleagues, your more casual outfits are what you will wear around the people who know you best.

There are all kinds of different looks to go with, from the adventurous man in leather and jeans who rides motorcycles to the comfortable man in luxury wearing sweaters and chinos. These same principles apply.

Keep it versatile

Versatility is key. Think about James Bond. He’s one of the best-dressed men in all of pop culture, but he never wears flashy patterns. He instead focuses on high-quality garments that are more basic than outlandish. The reason is that everything he wears can be used in multiple ways with various outfits. If you want to have a casual wardrobe that goes a long way, follow his lead and focus on versatility.

Embrace function

Your casual wardrobe is not about lounging around the house. It’s used for everything from running errands to exploring new cities and landscapes. Because of that, you need items that are good for function and comfort.

When you shop, pat attention to fit, but also focus on quality fabrics that breathe and move with your body. Your favorite pair of chinos should work just as well when going to a movie or taking pictures in front of the Eiffel Tower.

Man in glasses, a blazer, and a T-shirt
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Social wardrobe

Then there’s the in between, the times when you need something dressier than your chinos but not quite as formal as a suit and tie. This is what we call the social wardrobe, the items you wear when you go to the backyard bar-b-que or the Christmas party. In these moments, you need something more punchy and more fun.

Know the trends

Once you have your base wardrobe of tailored, formal, and casual garments, you can start to branch out and get more fun items. Those neat patterned shirts, pants, and elaborate jackets work perfectly for your social scenarios. They will make you the talk of the party and the center of attention.

It’s essential that you know and understand the trends. Stay current on what’s in, and be aware when it goes out of style. The number-one rule with your social wardrobe is to remain the most stylish man by being the one who is most informed of today’s trends.

Use your colors

First things first: We recommend getting a color analysis so that you know and understand what colors look great on you and which ones don’t complement your complexion. If you have pale skin, for example, brighter colors and pastels can wash you out and make you look paler.

Once you know what colors suit you best, use that information and start paying attention to the colors of the seasons. Every three months, the colors that are in style will change, with warm jewel tones coming into fashion for the fall and the cooler colors arriving in time for spring.

Man in a blue suit jacket holding a leather glove
Image used with permission by copyright holder

The Debonair Man combines all the other archetypes in the Venn diagram, but that doesn’t mean you can’t delve deeply into or lean harder toward others. You may enjoy dressing like James Bond as often as possible; you may also like to be The Dapper or The Socialite as often as possible.

The point isn’t for all of us men to be the same Debonair Man; the point is for all of us to know and understand how to dress for every possible scenario and have the wardrobe to support it.

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Mark McKee
Mark is a full-time freelance writer and men's coach. He spent time as a style consultant and bespoke suit salesman before…
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