Drive In Style: How to Keep Things Classy Behind the Wheel

by Giles Kirkland  |  in Lifestyle

The following is a guest article from Giles Kirkland.


Does your car match your personality or style? It should. After all – this is the first tenant of an effortless gent: your appearance is a strong reflection of yourself.

Your vehicle is just as important. Before people see what you’re wearing, what you’re driving is already influencing their opinion of you.

Treat your car like your lean wardrobe. After all, few people have the luxury of multiple vehicles. Make sure your car is versatile enough for any situation.

The Type Of Car You Drive

The type of car you drive says a lot about you. There is a big difference in the impression you make when you pull up somewhere in a sports car, compared to a compact or estate car.

Personal opinions vary, but there are some strong views generally associated with certain cars:

  • A slick compact car, such as a Mini Cooper, offers a nice blend of practicality and timeless style.
  • A large SUV or Land Rover, when in a strictly urban environment, suggests you like to make a big impression.
  • Sedans/Saloons and other luxury 4 seater cars imply a business or intellectual style, yet also make you look like a family man.
  • A 2-door car clearly suggests you lead a bachelor lifestyle – with no need for family or space.
  • Station wagons/Estate cars say a lot about your practicality. While you do make certain style choices, everything still serves a purpose.

The modern man isn’t flashy – he’s practical. Many men are proud fathers and active family men, a decision that is often reflected by their more practical, yet sophisticated choice of car.

Drive In Style: How to Keep Things Classy Behind the Wheel


Simple Maintenance

Treat your car like a fine suit – it should always look ready to go and in prime condition. Every detail counts here.

The cleanliness of your car speaks volumes. What man proudly washes his shirts and jackets, but arrives in a dull, lackluster vehicle?

A quick polish once a week or two isn’t that big an effort. But it makes a huge difference in the way others perceive you. 

Maintenance is important too. Put it this way – you wouldn’t pair your clean, formal suit with dirty shoes, would you? So why get behind the wheel without making sure that:

  • The tires are full and clean
  • The fluids (oil, coolant, antifreeze) are all topped up
  • The brakes are in good condition and don’t squeak when applied
  • The body has no obvious dents or scratches

Don’t be afraid to have your car regularly inspected. Better to make a repair before it becomes a major issue.

For example: a faulty anti roll bar might not seem like much. But it’s influence on your car’s performance (especially around corners) is something that your passengers will readily notice, even if they don’t say anything.

The Way You Drive

How you drive also defines much of your character. You don’t go for a run in a suit – so don’t drive aggressively or otherwise show off in a sophisticated car. The ‘boy-racer’ style is definitely a thing of the past.

Drive In Style: How to Keep Things Classy Behind the Wheel


Many people are becoming environmentally conscious and appreciate conservative driving. This includes driving practically, carpooling, and taking advantage of other fuel-efficient options.

Want to impress a significant other, friend, or co-worker? Don’t talk about your top speed or 0-60 stats. Instead, mention your fuel-efficient driving or high miles per gallon.

Internal Comforts

The modern man loves his gadgets. Technology has made driving more practical and more comfortable.

Even an older car can be retrofitted with GPS and a digital, wireless music player.If you want to be really stylish, why not use an Android Auto kit? This combines many of the features you would find in a modern smart car.

These touches will bring any vehicle into the 21st century. When you’re giving other people lifts, this will also show that you are modern, able to move with the times.

Your passengers will be able to interact with the car too. Having wireless music sharing available always reflects well on the driver.

Car Maintenance Equipment

A gentleman should always be prepared. A driver that can’t handle some basic repairs does not look good (and neither will their car).

Don’t know how to change a tire? Put learning how on the to-do list.

In the meantime, it doesn’t take much to learn to check and adjust tire pressure.

As far as car essentials go, be sure to include:

  • Tire pressure pump
  • Tire pressure sensor
  • Car jack
  • Motoring tool kit, for unscrewing wheels
  • Legally required supplies: spare bulb set, first-aid kit, warning triangle, and fire extinguisher.

All of these can easily fit in the trunk if your vehicle doesn’t have specially designated areas for them. Hopefully you will never need them. But they’re still essentials.

Remember, a driver that knows their way around a car and isn’t afraid to change a tire makes a much more positive impression.

Drive In Style: How to Keep Things Classy Behind the Wheel


Don’t leave these items strewn about. Part of being prepared is keeping everything in its place. It’s the same reason suits have internal pockets – so that items can be securely and subtly acquired when needed.

Driving Clothes and Accessories

A key concept of the Lean Wardrobe pyramid is that a few accessories are vital, even if they only go with specific items. What if you considered your car to be part of your fashion?

Driving clothes have long been a tradition; there are a few key pieces that are still relevant today.

A good pair of driving gloves – something with traditional style, such as the Black and Tan Driving Gloves from Black – has never gone out of fashion. They pair well with the sophisticated suits, coats and jackets that a gentleman already has.

driving clothes


Storing a pair of subtle yet elegant driving sunglasses in the glove compartment- such as the sleek Tread by Foster Grant – adds to your distinguished image.

Customizing Your Car

Finally, many drivers consider customizing their car. While there is definitely room for personal taste, it often helps to treat this like customizing any outfit.

Subtle changes are fine. But too many changes will draw negative attention.

Remember, you don’t want to create the ‘boy-racer’ image. Low suspension, under-lighting, and obnoxious spoilers are deal-breakers.

Some people like changing the wheel size. Bigger wheel, bigger impression.

A small change can be beneficial but it needs to be subtle.

Larger hubs made from steel or aluminum stand out and complement the comparatively flat tone of car paint.

Stay Classy

Always remember your car’s practical purpose – getting to work, taking the kids to school, running errands, or just going for the occasional drive.

Customize and modify your car to make it more stylish. But be sure it’s still able to maintain its original purpose and quality.

What elements of your car’s style are most important to you? What custom upgrades do you want to make? Let us know in the comments.