One issue that seems to come up for a lot of guys when they first start improving their style is the amount of time and energy they need to spend in order to look good.
Most guys hate this because they feel that they shouldn’t have to fuss as much as a woman about their looks.
And I totally agree.
But the fact is that if you’ve spent years not really caring about your appearance then learning how to dress well will definitely require an initial investment of your time and energy.
The good news is that improving your style is not that different from developing any other worthwhile skill. Although it takes some time and energy to develop at first, once you do it becomes a whole lot easier.
It’s all about moving from conscious competence to unconscious competence.
Maybe an analogy might help clear things up.
Take for example a skill like driving. When you first start learning how to drive you have to exert a significant amount of mental effort in order to make sure you don’t cause an accident. This means constantly reminding yourself of the rules of the road and scrutinizing every little decision you make behind the wheel.
At this stage any skill or competency that you develop with driving is entirely based on conscious effort. In other words, you would have to really think about what you’re doing behind the wheel in order to be a safe and effective driver. Needless to say, this stage is neither fun nor easy.
However, as you’ll know from experience, the more time you spend practicing the skill of driving the easier it becomes. Pretty soon all of those manoeuvres and decisions behind the wheel become automatic – you don’t even have to think about them. This is the moment when your skill or competency level shifts from the conscious and deliberate towards the unconscious and automatic (i.e. unconscious competence).
And the same thing is true when you embark on the journey of improving your style.
Initially, you’ll be bombarded by various principles on how to dress well, including how to choose the right colours for your complexion and how to effectively mix different patterns together. You’ll also need to keep track of style blunders to avoid. Suffice it to say that when you first start learning how to dress will it’ll be like drinking water out of a fire hose. You will have to exert a significant amount of mental energy in order to not screw things up.
But just like with driving, the more you practice the skill of dressing well the easier it becomes. Pretty soon you won’t even have to really think much about it. You’ll just know if a particular outfit will look good on you, or if a certain colour will work with your complexion. It will become very instinctual.
Are there any shortcuts to developing your style?
No, not really.
But the biggest thing you can do to help yourself from the outset is to focus on building an interchangeable wardrobe.
What do I mean by that?
Well, an interchangeable wardrobe is one in which most of the pieces can be worn with one another (i.e. interchanged). For example, a pair of dark denim jeans is interchangeable because they can be worn with almost any type of shirt or sweater you own, not to mention with almost any type of shoe you have as well.
There are two main advantages to developing an interchangeable wardrobe:
- An interchangeable wardrobe means that you don’t need to buy as many clothes as most of the pieces can be worn with one another, giving you a nearly endless number of outfit combinations.
- An interchangeable wardrobe requires less overall thinking on your part because most of the pieces work well with one another. In other words, you can just grab several pieces from your closet and be fairly confident that you’ll end up with a great outfit.
Aside from focusing on building an interchangeable wardrobe, there really are no other “hacks” that can help you develop a good sense of style overnight. You’re going to have to put in the time.
Fortunately, as I’ve already mentioned, developing your style doesn’t take as much time as you think – at least not compared to things like learning how to speak a new language, or learning how to play a musical instrument.
In fact, just spending the weekend reading my archives and putting some of the advice to use will give you a huge advantage over the average guy.
And once you’ve gotten the ball rolling it’s just a matter of keeping the momentum. Even little improvements from week to week will slowly add up. Pretty soon dressing well will become second nature and you won’t have to put much thought into it. You’ll enter the territory of unconscious competence.
Learning how to dress well is like developing any other worthwhile skill – it requires a certain amount of time, effort, and patience.
Unfortunately, many men are reluctant to improve their style simply because they think that it takes too much mental effort in order to look good every day.
What these men don’t realize is that dressing well is like learning how to drive a car – it actually becomes easier over time.
It all has to do with taking the skill from the realm of conscious competence to unconscious competence, something that happens quite naturally after much practice. It’s the reason why learning how to drive a car seems difficult at first, only to become second nature over time.
It’s also the same reason why developing your style isn’t as time consuming as you think. Once you’ve learned the basic principles and put them to use it’s just a matter sticking to the process until it becomes automatic.
So if you have always thought about improving your style only to become discouraged at the thought of learning a new skill, start today. It will only become easier from here on out.
And if you’re someone who has already embarked on the journey of improving your style but still feel like it’s a lot of work to look good every day, stick to the process. Things will eventually click and your style will soon become effortless.
Here’s to looking sharp!