Style For Beginners: 5 Tips I Wish I Knew When Starting Out

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by Arash Mazinani on November 24, 2012

Being an image consultant and blogger means I often get styled related questions thrown at me by friends. I don’t mind this and enjoy hearing about a new item they’ve spied but not quite sure how to wear. It’s also great to share tips with one another, as some of the more stylish ones tell me about their favourite clothes and brands. But I was recollecting recently about my own journey delving into the world of style and how much I’ve learnt over the last 7 years. So I wanted to share 5 tips that I wish I could have told myself when I was starting out, that may help anybody else that are just dipping their toes into men’s style.

1. It’s all about the fit

Any regular reader of the blog will probably be sick of me saying this by now. But it really is the most important style tip anyone can learn. There is a difference between knowing it and actually doing it, a lot of people know their clothes should fit properly but ignore it. Do NOT give into those endorphins rushing around your body when you see that amazing piece but the last size on the rack says a ‘L’ and you’re a ‘M’. Give it up!

 Also realise that our bodies change so things that maybe lingering in your wardrobe that fit 3 years ago, could now be too large or small.

2. Don’t worry about what people may think of you

When people, particularly work colleagues and close friends, see you trying to improve yourself they may try to put you down. Don’t ask me why this is the case. But occasionally people get jealous because they don’t have the drive to take action themselves. They want to bring you down, the easiest way for them to do that is to comment on what’s right in front of them; your clothes.

Maybe all your friends are really happy for you, but you have your own doubts in the back of your mind about trying new styles or clothes. You have to push your comfort zone and realise, sometimes you are your own worst enemy. You may really want to wear coloured chinos but unless you give yourself permission to buy them and actually wear them out, you’ll be stuck in the same gear.

3. You really can afford to spend more on your clothes

I think the best way to illustrate this tip is to give you an example. When I started out I used to shop exclusively on the high street at places like H&M and Topman. Then I’d get frustrated when the collar wouldn’t sit right on the shirt or the quality of the cotton was so low that the shirt was see through.

I shopped at these places because I thought I couldn’t afford to spend any more money on clothes. But what I realised is; I don’t have to shop designer to get better quality. I just had to be savvier when it came to shopping. So places like Reiss, that I thought were out of my budget, were shops I should have been checking out. Instead of paying £20 for a shirt that didn’t last long I’d be much better spending £50-£80 on one that was better quality, looked like I wanted it to and would last longer.

4. Don’t go shopping with girls

Okay, I may need to rephrase this one. Don’t go shopping with some girls. Why? I hear you ask. Well, for most guys that want to get started on the road to improving their wardrobe they instantly seek the advice and assistance of female friends. As a rule of thumb women are generally more clued up when it comes to clothes than guys. But from my own experience, shopping with them is a nightmare. They tend to drift off and end up shopping for themselves leaving you to fend for yourself. So make sure you pick your partner in crime wisely.

5. Don’t be afraid to get it wrong

We all look back on photos of ourselves in past outfits and cringe from time to time, no one is immune to it. I know I’ve looked back on pictures of myself and thought “those don’t fit right” or “what was I thinking wearing that”. It goes with the territory, fashion is fickle and trends come and go and come back again. Things that are really on trend at the minute we could be laughing at in a decade. So it’s important to experiment and try new things even if you don’t pull it off. Heck, I still try things out that as soon as I put on I know just doesn’t work. But if you never fail, you’ll never learn to succeed.

Well these have been my tips that I wish I knew when I started out trying to change my look.

What tips have I missed maybe? If you could go back and give yourself some fashion advice when would it be and what would you say?

I’d love to hear your thoughts.

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{ 16 comments… read them below or add one }

Becky | lifestyleflash.com November 24, 2012 at 7:18 pm

This is all such great advice! My biggest bug bear is seeing girls in jeans that are too tight – even slim girls are guilty of giving themselves a muffin top and it riles me because they are making themselves look bigger just because they’re too vain to buy the next size up! Who sees the label but the wearer anyways?!

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Arash Mazinani November 25, 2012 at 11:24 am

Thanks for commenting! Great point about jeans that are too tight. I think especially with cuts that are super skinny and jeggings becoming increasingly popular there are more people rocking the muffin top. Just getting a different size or even cut could put a stop to it, lol.

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Heather Fonseca November 25, 2012 at 1:30 am

Great advice! My only addition would be to go really wild with your clothing when you’re young. Because you can. Later on it doesn’t look so good, and you be as classic as you want after 30, so have a blast with fashion at 20. Other than that you are spot on! As for shopping with women I like shopping with certain girlfriends but I always end up with better things when I’m by myself, I’m more focused and more honest.

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Arash Mazinani November 25, 2012 at 11:24 am

Yeah great points about going all out in your 20s, it’s about finding yourself and your signature look. Then in your 30s it’s about refining it.

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THE-LOUDMOUTH November 25, 2012 at 6:14 am

Hahaha, tip #4 is so funny & true. I personally like to shop alone, because even when I shop with other girls, one of us is always waiting for the other. If I go to the mall with friends, it’s moreso to hang out or grab something specific, not any hardcore shopping sprees. And I love tip #2 :)
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Arash Mazinani November 25, 2012 at 11:25 am

Yeah, I’m sure not all women are bad to be with but from my own experience I always feel rushed or they have gone off and done their own thing. So would have been better just shopping by myself.

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fashnlvr November 25, 2012 at 6:06 pm

I have had several male friends and female friends ask me to help them shop because they admire my style. I always agree to go. When I’m out with them the shopping trip is about THEM. That means I’m completely focused on shopping for them. I agree it is important to choose wisely who you ask to help you but don’t discount us just because we are female. Make clear that you are requesting a service and maybe buy them a coffee or lunch for their time.
My style tip is “don’t be a cookie cutout”, be brave and follow your own fashion instincts.
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Arash Mazinani November 30, 2012 at 9:16 am

I did say not everyone would be a bad shopper, but from my own experience even when stating exactly what the intentions of the shopping trip were they did more shopping for themselves than helping me.

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CurvyCEO November 25, 2012 at 6:16 pm

Excellent tips – and not just for men! I think #2 is especially important. So often when people start out on their style journey, they get discouraged by others. It is sad, but often people are happy to see you looking all schlumpy and get threatened when you start to take your style to the next level. I think this is especially true among women. (Yep, more gender stereotyping going on!)
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Arash Mazinani November 30, 2012 at 9:17 am

Yeah its weird how people don’t like to see others better themselves and instead try and bring them down. When they have all the resources and tools available to do it themselves anyway…

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FASHION TALES November 26, 2012 at 7:02 am

Interesting. I actually prefer to shop alone, there are only a few people that I don’t mind shopping with for an extended period, because I am a swift shopper, I usually know what I want and want to dash out when finished … except with denim shopping that can take a longer time, lol. #2 is what I live by! :)
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Arash Mazinani November 30, 2012 at 9:18 am

Yeah I try to shop in the same way, I know what I want or roughly what I want then go in and get it. 90% of the time it’s a great way to shop, but I do occasionally stumble across ‘gems’ just from browsing or taking my time.

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Marissa November 27, 2012 at 5:43 pm

I know exactly what you mean by #4. My mom is really the only person I like to shop with (she has great style), but half the time I loose her in the clothing racks. The woman has a remarkable tendency towards distraction when shoes, clothing and handbags are involved! :)

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Arash Mazinani November 30, 2012 at 9:19 am

Ha ha yeah even the most disciplined of people can get persuaded by the allure of soft leather and 5 inch stilettos. If you add 50% off into the mix then it’s down hill from there.

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Tej February 9, 2013 at 2:58 pm

#5 becomes very clear the older you get :-) A recent pic of me on Facebook showing what I wore at art college was quite the eye opener. My finger hovered over ‘untag’ for a while but I decided ‘Hey that was me, it should stay’. Really the fear was for potential embarrassment and I figured I really should be able to take it with a sense of humour. Fear of failure shouldn’t stop anyone from experimenting… you might even start a trend!

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Arash Mazinani February 11, 2013 at 7:24 pm

Ha ha I know the picture you mean! It was the 80s though, so you probably looked on trend at the time!

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