The 5 Fundamentals of Style (and How to Perfect Them)

Feb 26, 2020

A fashionable man posing

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At its core, fashion encompasses five fundamentals of style. Once you perfect them, you’re able to build and expand your wardrobe with greater success.

Take a look at these principles and apply them as you move forward.

1. Fit

How your clothes fit is essential. Everyone has a different body type. Maybe you’re more rectangular than the average person. No matter what, you need to learn about your frame so that you can dress appropriately. Remember that fit is different from shape.

Sometimes, clothes are supposed to look a certain way. But in general, your jeans shouldn’t be too loose or too tight. They need to sit comfortably at your waist.

This point is relative to each person. One pair of jeans won’t fit different people the same way. That’s why it’s essential to take the time to identify what sizes and inseams work for you. Feel free to wear oversized tops and coats, so long as the rest of your outfit fits your body.

2. Color

For basic pieces, stick with neutral colors. You want to be able to mix and match a set of versatile items. Black, gray, beige and white go well together for a reason. But who doesn’t love the occasional bright red or light blue?

When it comes to more vibrant shades, less is more. Use neon and graphic prints sparingly. The goal here is to have a balance – so try not to overwhelm a single outfit with a ton of different colors.

Of course, this guideline is a suggestion. Neutrals are a terrific place to start, but you can play with as many hues as you like.

3. Texture

Textures are widely underrated. From corduroy to cotton, a selection of materials can make a significant impact on your outfit. Don’t be afraid to wear more than one at once.

Pair a camel wool coat with a sleek pair of denim jeans and leather boots. If you don’t have a lot of textured pieces in your closet, work with accessories instead. Have you ever considered your beard as a key part of your outfit? Well, you should.

Strive for materials that complement one another. Head-to-toe suede probably won’t look the best. Work with various textures to achieve an element that will elevate your style.

4. Silouhette

Like the fit of your clothes, the silhouette affects your look overall. It’s essential to recognize shape because if you overdo a specific element, it can ruin the outfit. Let’s say that you want to appear taller. Wear a pair of tapered trousers that stop at the ankle. This illusion will create height.

Like texture, you don’t want to go for one aspect all-around – a baggy sweater won’t do you any favors when matched with those slouchy joggers.

The point here is that each piece contributes to the silhouette of your outfit. Specific articles will do more for your build than others. Pay attention to how each shirt and jacket makes you look. You can then dress in a way that favors your body and style at the same time.

5. Function

Above all else, you need to consider the functionality of your wardrobe. We all live in different climates, so we must dress accordingly. For that daily commute in Seattle, you’ll need a variety of rain jackets. A trip to the grocery store in the winter in Minnesota requires a heavy coat.

Do your best to buy pieces that correspond with your environment. This sentiment goes for events as well. Wear clothes that are appropriate for each occasion you attend. Layers are great for those times when you need to change your outfit with little time to spare. Build a closet full of stylish basics that work for all aspects of life.

Use These Tips to Enhance Your Style

These five fundamentals should be the basis of your wardrobe. Choose pieces based on fit, color, texture, shape and function, then mix and match them as you like. In doing so, you can explore what fashion means to you.

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Jack Shaw is a senior writer at Modded. Jack is an avid enthusiast for keeping up with personal health and enjoying nature. He has over five years of experience writing in the men's lifestyle niche, and has written extensively on topics of fitness, exploring the outdoors and men's interests. His writings have been featured in SportsEd TV, Love Inc., and Offroad Xtreme among many more publications.