Several months ago I wrote an article How To Identify Your Style And See If It’s The Best Option For You where I described six main style archetypes:
- Smart – Casual
- Elegant – Edgy
- Rugged – Masculine
Even though those are not your only options, you can essentially put any outfit combination, any image in one those categories (or a combination of those categories). Today, I would like to share an article that will go in more depth on one of those style archetypes – Sharp – and will give you some tips and strategies on how to you can re-create this image for yourself.
Do you want to know what’s the coolest part about this article? I didn’t write it!
Instead, its been written by one of our long terms readers and member of SSfJ Team, Will, who truly embodies the sharp image. He’s also one of the most style-savvy people I had a pleasure to meet (though we’re yet to grab a beer in person 🙂 ) and I’m very excited to share his tips for sharp image with you.
And now, let’s give the mic to Will!
The Sharp Style Archetype – How To Be The Best Dressed Man In The Room
As discussed in Darius’ articles there are many style archetypes, the way you dress can be down to your situation, environment or an extension of your personality.
Today we talk about the Sharp archetype and provide a small play by play of the common pieces associated with the Sharp and what makes particularly pieces sexy in this class type.
Dressing in a sharper, more refined style requires some conscious effort; at first it will be uncomfortable. You may even be slightly teased or questioned about your new change from the old you (definitely in my case) but trust me, laugh and brush it off.
Quite nicely though there is a resurgence of classic men’s tailoring especially during 2015 (and 2016). If you stick with it, this will easily make you a cut above the rest.
Suits, blazers, flannel trousers, chinos, shirts are the foundations of the Sharp.
Is there reason to throw hundreds or thousands to recreate the look? Not necessarily, stick with darker, neutral colours like grey and navy, prioritize the fit; the average person is none the wiser. Only if you decide to make this style your main repertoire would I recommend increasing your funds. Fit is number one but higher quality fabrics make all the difference when all things are equal.
Combine the foundations with more casual items for a more dressed down approach such as a crisp white tee to add a little of that Mediterranean flare for a casual but sophisticated outfit.
Playing with colours and patterns is what’s needed to stand out from the crowd of boring business types. That said I would start out with the standard business colour palette, elements of risk can easily be added with ties and pocket squares. Bold colour choices will not be covered in this brief breakdown.
A poor colour choice will lead to a jacket not being able to be used in over combinations, so be mindful in your choice of jacket.
In this example a mauve jacket makes for an instant hit but requires more thought in what to pair. So again, be mindful of your colour choices.
One of the pieces I would not personally compromise on; if in doubt purchase the highest quality you can afford. A high quality shoe can elevate any outfit; on the other hand poor footwear can dramatically bring the overall look down.
A great foundation piece is the chocolate brogues, versatile for casual and most formal occasions. If you’re not fully committed then this is a nice addition to add when pairing with dark washed jeans.
Feeling daring? Go for a pair of monk strap shoes.
So we’ve briefly broken down what the Sharp is and the staples, now you’re wondering where the fun is? The fun is in the accessories such as watches but more importantly bracelets and bold patterned pocket squares or ties add that much needed element of risk.
It’s much easier to go bold with ties and pocket squares to add those much needed elements of interest to the conservative colour palette. This is definitely the area for you to add your own personal touches, a word of warning do not go overboard with the number of accessories.
Expressive, go with a rich floral pocket square. If you are the no nonsense type, go for rich burgundy tie with complementary pocket square.
A word of warning, never pair the same solid colour tie with the same solid colour pocket square. This produces a cheap look that is to be avoided. To avoid this poor style choice pair with the same colour however vary the shades or include accent colours like the example above.
This case was put together for one of the monthly challenges. (Note from Darius: we have monthly style inspiration challenges in our SSfJ FB group, where we pick a topic and everyone can submit their outfit. You can find some of the previous style inspiration challenge winners here)
Notice how the use of accessories such as the patterned tie creates an instant and much needed point of interest in a fairly muted and neutral colour palette.
The cream patterned pocket square creates a secondary point due to the high contrast with the navy pinstriped suit.
Further elements such as the bracelet give the outfit an element of edge leading to a feeling of rakishness.
If you’re willing to step up your style game this is one to try. To the victor go the spoils.
Stay sexy. Stay sharp,
The SSFJ Team
The Sharp Image Cheat Sheet
And to make sure you never forget to stay sharp we also prepared you a special infographic to go with this article. If you hover with your mouse on the image a “Pin It” button will appear and you’ll be able to save it for the future on your Pinterest account.