Style Q&A: Achieving Effortless Style

Style is created, not born.

What's the key to having effortless style? Some guys I know just “have it” and always seem to pull together great looks with minimal effort, but I always feel contrived. It's frustrating especially because it weighs on my mind for the rest of the day and puts me in a funk. – John

Contrary to popular opinion seemingly effortless style is not achieved without effort.  At a minimum the well-suited gentlemen you speak of have at least given thought to their personal hygiene, the overall effect their presence has on society, and they have decided to show at least the base amount of respect any good citizen should afford those around him.  All of this takes thought and effort.  Unfortunately, some men neglect one or more of these basic elements from time to time.  Those men who seem to practice them routinely and practice them well are the ones who gain notoriety for somehow always looking better than you at any given point.

The effort of which we speak is not something unattainable by the common man.  Instead, it is something that can be learned, practiced and improved upon over time with the proper instruction and guidance, of course.  Believe it or not most men aren’t born style setters.  Yes, a man may have predestined ability to mix colors well and may be more inclined toward the aesthetic dressing, but even still these abilities and God-given traits must be groomed and then acted upon at some point.  Otherwise they may very well fall to the wayside.  Do not cheat yourself into thinking that style is something that only some men are privileged to while the other peasants are doomed to a life of rags and sandals.

The key to having effortless style you ask?  There isn’t one.  In our opinion you’re asking the wrong question.  Instead of asking what is the key?  You should be asking yourself who you are and who you want to be and how to express your inner self to others through the use of clothing.  There are several factors that go into presenting yourself to the world in a respectable manner.  Some of which you have no control over.  Your age, your gender, your male pattern baldness etc.  Others you have complete authority over and you should exercise that authority on a regular basis. Where you shop, how often you shop, what you read, who you associate with, what you listen to etc, all shape your lifestyle and subsequently project your personal style on the rest of the world.

Putting effort into your dress is a conscious decision.  You decide to buy better clothes and not more clothes.  You choose to purchase products made domestically rather than foreign.  You opt for custom items built to your specifications and made to last.  These are conscious decisions made at a certain point in a man’s life when he has matured through one phase of living and has advanced well into another.

The physical act of picking which tie goes with a shirt is the least of your concerns.  Mixing and matching colors, fabrics, and textures is a trifle compared to actually finding and becoming comfortable with your personal style.  The real destination is not how good you can look on any given day.  Instead, it’s how comfortable, confident and conscious you are with yourself and your place in the world and where you’d like to be in the future.

Effortless?  Not at all.

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Grant Harris

Grant Harris is Owner & Chief Style Consultant at Image Granted; a Washington, DC based Image Consulting Company dedicated to solving the complex image, style & fashion issues of today's professional man. He has a healthy obsession with socks. Follow him on Twitter & Facebook.