THE BLOG

Why We Wear What We Wear

06/28/2010 12:09 pm ET | Updated Nov 17, 2011

Ever since I was a wee lad clothes have been an integral part of my life. When I was about five years old my parents bought me an exquisite military-style camel-hair overcoat. They made sure that it was matched perfectly with an over-sized Tam O' Shanter-styled cap. In addition, my shoes, haircut, scarf and socks were all carefully thought out for me. We lived in the heart of London's East End, so the locals, who were more used to admiring the attire of the Pearly Kings and Queens, must have thought me a sight for sore eyes as I promenaded like a very young Beau Brummell.

Those early days were to inform my life-long relationship with clothes, style, and image. I wasn't old enough to understand how all these seemingly small details, from socks to haircut, choice of fabrics, to the hue of a color, had been embedded within my subconscious. So choosing clothes for my wife, a client, or me became as much a science as it did an art. In my vast retail experience, I found that many businessmen would shy away from spending quality time on their appearance, specifically, their clothes. That kind of chap was my favorite type of customer. I knew how he felt. For a lot of men and women, their less-than-happy relationship with their appearance is often a symptom of conditioning, poor self-image or thinking they just don't have any taste.

We all have taste; it's an innate part of who we are. Often, it only emerges when we're helping somebody else choose a clothing item, or when we're selecting a decorative piece for our home. It's as if our "Style Gene" only kicks in when it's not about us personally. To develop taste and a "good eye" for what suits you, begin by focusing on the details. Start with the three F's as your guide: Feel. Fit. Flatter. You will be clearer about what to select and what to reject when it comes to choosing any form of apparel. Be super aware of purchasing clothing items that focus solely on fashion. "Fashion fades, only style remains the same" - Coco Chanel

By discovering your Personal Style, who you are on the inside will begin to reveal itself on the outside. There's a kind of completeness we experience when we feel good about the way we look. It's a great self esteem booster and a way of signaling to others that we have a healthy self-confidence and like who we are. Your Personal Style is a visual representation of your Inner and Outer Brands. It's something that will remain with you for a very long time. I think this quote says it all, "Style, neurologically, is the deepest part of one's being, and may be preserved almost to the last, even in dementia." - Oliver Saks

Here are a few pointers on how to develop your Personal Style:

- You're Unique -- don't try to be a copy of someone else

- Trust your instincts when it comes to making choices about where/how to shop, but do some research in advance

- Spend quality time developing your Personal Style -- this is mission You. So ensure you have the time and mental space to shop properly

- You have 10-seconds to make a positive impression -- make sure you look the part

- Choose colors that complement your personality, hair color, skin tone and existing wardrobe. A good way to do that is to have a wardrobe clear out, so you can see what you actually do wear, not what you have

- Someone who's able to convey great Personal Style does so with subtlety and grace

- Ensure all the details of how you attire yourself are in line with the three F's: Feel. Fit. Flatter

- Give your Personal Style the kind of attention you would give to someone you love and is asking for your help