Style definition

Style definition

Style is a very commonly used word in #menswear part of the internet. We often use it to describe looks we see on the pictures are stylish or that certain men have good style. Do we actually know what it means? What is the actual definition of the style? Is there only one accurate definition or can people have different versions of it? Is stylish being used properly? Why do we call one stylish while others not so much?

I wanted to find answers to all those and probably many more questions. In order to do that, I thought I would ask some of my friends, those I call stylish and ask them, what they think. What is their definition? Have a read below. Hope you enjoy it and find informative.

Olof Nithenius

Freelance fashion editor for Manolo and Plaza Uomo Magazine

Olof Bernhardsson

Olof Nithenius (photo credit: Ted Olsson, wearing donegal tweed jacket, navy grenadine tie and mid grey flannel trousers.

1. What does ‘style’ actually mean?

Well style is something deeper than fashion. Fashion is something very short-term for me. Its what other people tell you to wear. Style is long-term and comes from the inside to reflect and define who you are as a person. Style shouldn’t change that much for a person over time.
Style is and should be personal. And a stylish person is also always true to himself.

2. How can you say someone is ‘stylish’ or not? What qualities they have?

Because of this, its hard to say that a person is not stylish. I dislike to say that a person has no style or lack of style. I don’t like to focus on the negative and prefer to focus on positive things. In this case people that inspire me because of their style.
And from my point of view you can never be stylish, no matter how good you look in the sharpest of bespoke suits, if you are not a kind person. Bullies or person with too much attitude can never be stylish if you ask me. And its has nothing to do with money. Even if you have a very small budget to spend on your looks you can still be very stylish.
But if you ask me, a person who only buys the latest fashion and follow other peoples rules has a long way to go before I would call them stylish.

3. Is there even a distinction between stylish and not-stylish? Maybe not-stylish is simply not to our liking?

It’s hard for me to say that a person is stylish without knowing them.
Therefore I prefer to refer to a person look as sharp, well-dressed, elegant or inspiring.
But style goes much further for me and its a reflection of ones being and hard to tell from a photo.

Jamie Ferguson

Freelance photographer, ex-Drake’s

Jamie Ferguson

Jamie Ferguson wearing POW check blazer, grey sleeveless cardigan, light blue shirt and denim.

1. What does ‘style’ actually mean?

Such a tricky question! Tricky because there are so many facets to consider as well as the issue that at the end of the day ‘style’ is subjective. I think the definition of what ‘style’ is is always going to be personal and there will never be a definitive definition.

What I personally find ‘stylish’ would be gentlemen who have an understanding of fit, especially for their body shape, those who have an understanding of the history of menswear and express this through a modern interpretation and guys who mix together different genres/categories of menswear seamlessly.

2. How can you say someone is ‘stylish’ or not? What qualities they have?

This is completely down to who you happen to be asking at the time. Personally, I feel that ‘style’ can always be seen in someone who is comfortable not only in their clothes but in their own skin. The subject could be wearing workwear, classical tailoring, streetwear, athletic gear etc etc but if they’re not confident in themselves and at ease in their clothes it shows and if this happened to be the case, I feel that it would be unlikely they would be perceived as ‘stylish’.

3. Is there even a distinction between stylish and not-stylish? Maybe not-stylish is simply not to our liking?

Yes. I think a lot of it is down to personal taste and each individual would have things that they find stylish and not-stylish. From my experience in menswear so far though, I’ll always try to keep an open mind. As we grow up, mature, change jobs, where we live our personal style changes and evolves alongside. Very rarely would someone look at a picture of their 15 year old self and think they had ‘nailed it’, myself included! A willingness to try new things is one of the joys of menswear and discovering your own personal style.

Fernando Nafria

Partner at Norman Vilalta Shoemakers

Fernando Fria of Norman Vilalta (photo credit: Charles-Edouard Woisselin

Fernando Nafria of Norman Vilalta (photo credit: Charles-Edouard Woisselin wearing brown cashmere overcoat with turtleneck and light grey trousers, chukka boots.

1. What does ‘style’ actually mean?

In my opinion, style has little to be with clothes. It´s a matter of attitude. Similar to charisma (not the same). Indeed, I would say that without proper clothes someone stylish may remain stylish and someone without style wouldn´t look stylish even fully bespoke.

Notwithstanding the aforementioned, in my opinion people with a certain attitude or with charisma tend to dress well, it doesn´t matter if with suit or with jeans.

2. How can you say someone is ‘stylish’ or not? What qualities people you call stylish have?

Again, is a matter of attitude. The stylish person would look confident and comfortable independently of the situation and clothes.

3. Is there even a distinction between stylish and not-stylish? Maybe not-stylish is simply not to our liking?

It is absolutely subjective. Obviously taste is subjective but, coming back to my idea of attitude-style, I would say everyone that looks charismatic or “with attitude” for a certain group of people, wouldn´t look for others.

Few people is stylish for everyone. However, I think that, like, for instance, food, the most educated in a certain aspect (i.e.clothes) the most evolved one gets into his/her idea of style.

Some final ideas that come to my mind on this topic:

– For me it seems pretty difficult to find somebody stylish if he/she isn´t aesthetically conscious. I mean that stylish people, with charisma or attitude, tends to take care of his/her appearance.
– Internet is plenty of people who dress well. Even very well. For me, it does not imply that they have style. It just means that they have good taste. Appreciating beauty does not mean being beauty.
– It is difficult for me to find somebody stylish when I find that he/she is the whole time concerned about appearance. Indeed, for me is the opposite. They choose carefully, dress and forget about the clothes.
– As in everything in life but love, books and money, less is more.

Chad Park

Owner of B&Tailor bespoke tailors

chad park b&tailor

Changwoo Park of B&Tailor (photo credit: Changjin Park) wearing check blazer, burgundy cardigan, denim shirt and mid grey trousers.

1. What does ‘style’ actually mean?

I think style is one of own expression through clothes and accessory.

2. How can you say someone is ‘stylish’ or not? What qualities people you call stylish have?

Style is not made of only one element. I would say “stylish” is a general harmony from hair to shoes (it means all things in balance).

3. Is there even a distinction between stylish and not-stylish? 

I think simple is definitely not “not-stylish”. If there is a cut and balance and it has good fit in simple outfit, it is absolutely stylish then.


Certainly, those answers won’t solve issues we have with using the word style or who we call stylish but they offer some useful guidance. Here are three guys sharing their definition and showing us that they are slightly different yet still have a lot in common.

Taste seem to be, or should be I think, used to describe well-dressed man. Tasteful is simple, yet interesting. Whether it is achieved by pattern matching, colour or texture it has to be done with taste and simplicity. Style has more to do with attitude and charisma. Style inspiration status surely cannot be achieved without you being comfortable in your clothes and true to yourself.

Play with classic elegance or workwear or whatever suits you best, know the rules, break them wisely and express yourself through clothes. Be kind too! 😉

Thanks for reading.

Featured image credit: B&Tailor

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