Some people seem to have all the style. You’ve seen who I’m talking about. Someone who moves through the world dressed in a way that’s effortlessly cool. They exude character, and they always make me feel both admiration and a little twinge of jealousy at the same time. How can they make it look so easy to look so great?
We all have our own style. Just like your personality, seemingly baked in from birth but decorated by all your life’s experiences, your style is a complex blend of everything you’ve done and everyone you’ve known. In that way we are byproducts of our circumstances. Yet we are also in full possession of our own will to take those experiences and project them into the world however we want; to express our appearance in whatever way feels best.
Do those extra-stylish people have a better base to build from—like the extra-cool kids in school who simply seem to have better personalities? Do they know some secret that we don’t? Are they just more at ease with themselves than the rest of us? Or heck, do they just have more money to buy nicer stuff?
Thankfully, good style is not limited by any of that. It is about more than just the pieces one buys and wears. Good style is independent of price. There is no particular secret to it, and while some might innately allow themselves to dress more freely than others, I believe each of us can be stylish. Even if it takes a little bit of work.
If you want to discover your style and develop it into something great, a nice place to start is a good local menswear shop. About a decade ago the term “haberdashery” made a brief reappearance before flying too close to the sun and melting into the pavement. But the picture that word paints is a pretty good one: a men’s shop that sells the full range of clothes you are likely to need, from undergarments to outerwear; shoes to hair care products; jeans to suiting.
These days, access to outstanding brands from around the globe is easier than ever, so a local store can carry world-class makers right alongside the domestic ones you’d expect. My favorite local shop in Nashville, Haymakers & Co., has a superb curation of brands, selling everything from American raw denim to entirely handmade shirts out of India.
Whatever your local shop, having a place like that to go is a major boon to discovering and developing your style. You can be introduced to silhouettes and brands you may not have considered otherwise. Many shops take great pride in creating an atmosphere that’s welcoming and in which you can be comfortable spending some time in. And the more you go, you can start to build relationships with the sales associates who will guide you on your journey.
I’ve learned and developed my own style over the past decade or so. It took some early experimentation, then some trial and error in how I liked things to fit and what silhouettes I felt the best in. I had to reconcile the way I wanted to dress with the job I had, and figure out whether the clothes I wanted to wear made sense for my daily circumstances. I also experimented with different accessories to answer that most pressing of questions: Am I a multi-layered bracelet guy? (No.)
Speaking of accessories—or my everyday carry, you might say—I’m not interested in bulging pockets or carrying so much stuff around with me that I need a whole bag for it. Let me stop here and advocate for wearing a blazer or sportcoat, if only for the numerous pockets you can stash things away in and still look great.
When I leave the house, my EDC is straightforward. I always have my iPhone with Apple’s Leather MagSafe Case in Golden Brown. For a wallet, I use a slim card case by the brand No Man Walks Alone in vegetable tanned leather. When going on a one of these shopping expeditions, be sure to sport comfortable, yet stylish shoes that can go with anything. My go-to is a pair of chukkas by Meermin in Snuff Suede, a material that pairs well with several different looks. And the final piece of my personal everyday carry kit is my watch. Always a watch.
I will never even get out the door without a watch on. It is the critical accessory. Decades have ingrained the habit of checking the time on my wrist. It keeps me on time. It grounds me throughout the day. And it’s a rich source of style all its own.
I swung by Haymakers recently to see what’s new and what’s on sale, try on some stuff and enjoy a snifter of reposado tequila (Southern hospitality is a real thing). I wore a variation of my de facto uniform: A navy blazer, a pale blue shirt with a large, Italian cutaway collar, off-white slim-straight denim and snuff suede chukkas. The blazer is pretty special to me: it’s made from raw silk, so it has a wonderful texture up close, while from a distance it looks like a normal navy fabric, albeit one that plays ever so subtly with the light. It was made by my all-time favorite but sadly now defunct brand, Eidos Napoli. I bought right here in this store on my first ever visit seven years ago, before I even lived in Nashville.
On my wrist: the Junghans Form C with a white dial, model number 41/4771.00. It’s an elegant watch with a timeless, considered design. The entire Junghans Form line is all about simplicity, without forsaking character, and above all serving its functional purpose. Of course that purpose is primarily keeping accurate time and displaying it legibly. The Form C is also a chronograph, counting up to 12 hours on one sub-dial, with 30-minute intervals on the other.
Once strapped on, it’s a chameleon that complemented everything I tried on. The overall design, with its subtle three-dimensional imprinted square minute track, clean Arabic numerals, narrow bezel, and straight lugs, exudes class. At 10.5mm thick and 40mm wide, it’s extremely wearable under a button-up shirt sleeve cuff. Yet as a chronograph made from stainless steel, it has the DNA of a sports watch you can easily throw on with a casual outfit just as well. Every time I looked at it, I was delighted.
There’s a confidence you gain when you’re wearing something that you know you look good in, that makes you feel cool, and that expresses your style. Honing in on those attributes will take some effort, it will require getting dependable outside perspective, and it most definitely will take a little personal reflection. But if you put in that time, who knows, you may inspire someone else to take a second look and think, “now there’s someone with style.”
And it never hurts to have a simple, yet beautiful watch on your wrist, too.