Esquire’s March 2010 issue featured a pictorial titled American Tribes: A Fashion Story, which outlined twelve distinct American styles. The piece is filled with great descriptions and imagery, which is especially helpful for a man attempting to identify his own personal style. Flipping through these pages had me wondering where I fit in, and which tribe’s style I related to most, assuming I had to choose one.
I loved the luxe suits donned by The Powerhouse, but cannot see this defining my primary style, given my profession (web designer) and age (not even 30). I don’t do monotone utilitarian (The Workman) or technical sportswear (The Sportsman) very well. However, I do like the slimmed-down silhouettes of The Professional, the predictability of The Minimalist’s uniform, and the Italiano’s sprezzatura. On days leading up to the weekend, my style mimics that of The Rocker… and when I finally move to San Diego, I’m sure I’ll be dressing a lot like The Roller.
So what does it all mean, and what’s the point in saying all of this?
Style isn’t rigid, it’s fluid and completely dependent on your mood. Don’t feel restricted by certain style archetypes. Don’t copy each look piece by piece. Invest in the basics. Grab a great leather jacket, a tweed sport coat, and a well-cut navy suit. Buy a pair of standard black lace-ups, some walnut wing tips, some tan brogue boots. Find a ton of handmade bracelets and silk pocket squares, discover your favorite pair of sunglasses, try on a pair of go-to-hell pants. Experiment with fabrics and fits, colors and patterns. Steal inspiration from each of these guys and come up with a look that’s all your own.
Most importantly, have fun.
All images courtesy of Esquire Magazine.