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What sparked your style consciousness?

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 
Gentlemen, I've enjoyed reading your posts in this forum for some time,and have learned a great deal from you,about what to look for in fine men's clothing. I am one of those folks with "champagne taste on a beer budget," so knowing where to find the best quality,at the best value really comes in handy. I have a question for you: What first sparked your interest in developing your personal style? Was it someone in particular (e.g. Cary Grant,Frank Sinatra,James Bond,Julian from "American Gigolo," Gordon Gecko. A stylish father or grandfather) ? Or something else? I look forward to your responses.  
post #2 of 12
Basically, in my last year of "college" I got sick of looking like every other "well-dressed" guy on campus. So, I guess the "spark" was simply wanting to break out of that "mall store" (Banana/BCBG/J. Crew/etc.) conformity. Also, I knew by the middle of that year that I'd be moving to Europe, and that the Continental style bar is set a litte higher than the North Carolinian Research Triangle's. At the time the only decent things in my closet were one good suit, two good dinner jackets, and two good casual coats (a peacoat and a duffel coat), so I had the advantage of pretty much starting from stratch. Peace, JG
post #3 of 12
Archie Leash, aka Cary Grant, by a long shot. I love watching his movies on AMC just to admire his suits. Frank Sinatra was also stylish and the epitome of cool, but he was about more than just clothes. He was a man in a man's world of late night drinks and broads living larges. Bond is great, but almost a bit over the top, I mean, part of it is seeing yourself like that and few of us would parachute into some place, get in a knife fight, and show up wearing a perfect Brioni tux an hour later.
post #4 of 12
Good provocative question Stu.I can think of a number of sparks from my adolescence and young adulthood---------Sean Connery as James Bond in Goldfinger when he has a roll in the hay with Pussy Galore.--------Patrick MacNee as John Steed in The Avengers as he spied along with Diana Rigg-----The Great Gatsby movie in the 1970's .Not a good movie but what the hell.----Steve McQueen in the original Thomas Crown affair movie----------All those movie stars of the Thirties,Astaire,Robert Taylor,Franchot Tone,Cary Grant,Gable,etc etc Yes there's a theme here--------great variety and choice within the bounds of traditional menswear.
post #5 of 12
I really don't have a style icon to look up to. Rather, I am inspired by ordinary people who dress well. On the streets of NYC, Florence, Milan, and Rome I am a constant observer of the well-dressed. I pull of this together to come up with my own style. I'm inspired by everyone from a formally dressed senior citizen in Rome, to a punk rocker in NYC; each has his own definitive style that is inspirational and add to my own. If I had to name a person, it would be Patrick Bateman (most of you would concur), but only for business attire. I started being conscious of style when I first moved to NYC three years ago. Having hated the J. Crew/BR/Gap look in high school, I went straight from t-shirt and jeans to designers and labels; though at first it was RL and CK. Also, like many other guys here, I didn't want to end up looking like everyone else.
post #6 of 12
I'd have to say my family as a whole have inspired me. My father has a great classic taste in suits, ties and shoes. He taught me formal dressing. My mother and my twin sister like obscure designs and craftsmanship while having fuyn with style. They got me into my street edge and designers like Martin Margiella and Paul Smith. I needed help a few years ago when I started college and they slowly infused good basics on me (I absolutely hated shopping) and it has grown into a monster. I love fashion and design nowadays... Good topic. Pete
post #7 of 12
There was a combination of things for me. When I was a junior in high school I started going through a box of old pictures my grandfather had. There was pictures of him and his brothers and sisters, as well as my grandmother's family. They were all from the '40's and '50's, the era where men dressed well every day. My grandfather even looked stylish in his uniform in the shop. At the same time I discovered these I was discovering the music and style of Frank Sinatra and The Rat Pack, a passion I still have. Again, classic looks and something else, a whole attitude. The book, "The Way You Wear Your Hat: Frank Sinatra and The Lost Art Of Livin'" by Bill Zehme was and still is one of my "road maps." Since I wanted (and still do) to direct movies as a living I started watching a lot of them. And I've gotten inspiration from countless films, from the Bond films to Wall Street, both Ocean's 11s and any Hitchcock film(he always had a sense of style). Any Mob movie usually has some great, if not slightly flashy(which I kinda dig) style.Too many to list. So I guess you'd say my inspiration was the past, when men were men and dressed well every day. Great Topic. Hopefully it'll go on as long as the "what are you wearing right now" topic.
post #8 of 12
I agree w/ Mike C.--I'll go on a long walk in NYC or when I was spending the summer in europe and find inspiration in all types of people. From the outlandish club kid, to the "dandy" in Kiton.... I like real fashion more so than what I call window fashion. I think wearability, confidence and composure give an otherwise typical piece of clothing the right elements. I mean, how many of us have seen great clothes that just don't suit people because you can tell they're uncomfortable? Style is everywhere and inspires me in strange ways sometimes Cheers, Pete
post #9 of 12
For me, it was the infrequent trips to Italy, and Charles Boyer.
post #10 of 12
Great question -  If I had to credit one source for encouraging me to develop an interest in my personal style it would be a book that I found more than 20 years ago (when I was in 7th or 8th grade I believe) at a used book store. The book is titled - "Esquire's What Every Young Man Should Know - An Unconventional Guide for the Perceptive Young Man by the Editors of Esquire Magazine."  The book is a compilation of pieces and articles from Esquire Magazine dating from 1933 - 1962 which although somewhat dated, are more along the lines of classic style rather than trendy fashions.  With chapter titles such as "Your Image - Young Man of Parts" and articles such as "Five Marks of the American Gentleman" (1. He is a man, 2. He is a useful man, 3. He respects woman, 4, He respects men, 5. He is himself - and does not try to be a gentleman.) this book provided advice and a framework of style and chivalry that I maintain to this day.  I still have the book and from time to time it is still fun to go back and review various articles. Bradford
post #11 of 12
Pedestrians. While rushing through the streets they give a skilled observer a chance to dissect, analyze and scrutinize all that works and does not work in their individual wardrobes. Their ensembles, just as pieces of a 1000 piece ocean jigsaw all look like they fit adequately with the other pieces, but as most know they often don't. Occasionally one, perhaps overall poorly dressed, inconspicuous man, gets two of these pieces right, thus making a stunning revelation; one perhaps even he is blind towards. Those particular cufflinks with that particular tie, the particular wash of jeans with the little weathered blue stripe on otherwise ordinary shirt. Picking and choosing these perfect fits, or even peculiar mismatches drives my sense of style.
post #12 of 12
I don't know who sparked my style interest. I am a freshman in college right now, and I suppose I started to get interested in fashion and looking nice when I was about 16. I started to look at the issues of GQ in our school's library and got some basics of style sense from there. Luckily, I tend to have a good eye for style, the only problem I have is being able to afford nice clothes on a college-kid budget. I guess bond - both his look and his whole image of cool and suave was someone who inspired me.
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