Making a place for yourself through your manner and individual style is the first step to embodying the quintessential gentleman. But where would you be if it weren’t for the men whose footsteps you follow?
Reminding yourself of the teachings of timeless icons, those who inspired male fashion to be what it is today, is crucial to your journey of becoming a style icon in your own right.
This article takes you through iconic quotes from figures in male fashion and popular culture. We also explore the personal history that got them to where they were or are today. This piece should be revisited not only as a teaching tool, but as motivational guidance on your path to finding your own fashion identity.
Wisdom, style tips and artistic reflection, this article has it all. Remember that fashion is not only the way you present yourself but will help you build your confidence. These quotes will be valuable to the seasoned fashionista, but also for any beginner looking to find their creative voice through their style.
“Every generation laughs at the old fashions, but religiously follows the new.”– Henry David Thoreau
Thoreau was a poet, essayist, and philosopher whose great scientific work, “Walden”, drew on the conflicts confronted by man living in a natural world. He was born on July 12, 1817, and was a Harvard graduate. Thoreau joins the likes of Vincent Van Gogh and Franz Kafka as figures in art and philosophy whose societal impact did not come to fruition in their lifetime. But Thoreau’s work went on to be recognized as an influence to Ernest Hemmingway, John Burroughs, and even Martin Luther King, who references him in his autobiography. We believe this quote brings light to light the power of looking to the past for inspiration.
“Elegance is not standing out, but being remembered.”– Giorgio Armani
Giorgio Armani is an Italian Fashion Designer, whose establishment of his brand as a household name is a testament to the success of his self-marketing. Armani founded his clothing line in 1975, originally marketed as a luxury retailer, but eventually expanded the company into sports, music and even hotelling. This quote embodies the timelessness that is characteristic of Armani as a brand, favoring simple cuts and statement dark tones. There’s no doubt that Giorgio has achieved the legacy he holds so dearly.
“I often take a brand new suit or hat and throw it up against the wall a few times to get that stiff, square newness out of it.”– Fred Astaire
Fred Astaire makes our list as a result of being recognized as the best male dancer in Hollywood history and his role as a leading man in his 76-year acting career. Astaire set the standard for other men in dancing, Jazz and on Broadway and this quote demonstrates how going against the grain can result in greatness. Being unconventional is how Astaire made his mark on the world. His encouragement of others to do the same is important for self-growth and self-presentation.
“Fashion is more about feel than science.”– Pharrell Williams
While our readers may be familiar with Pharrell’s music, his social impact is far greater than it appears at the surface level. Pharrell is the genius behind an accolade of chart-toppers as a songwriter and producer. His influence on the music industry throughout a 30-year career locates him as an icon in popular culture. Pharrell’s praise for self-expression in this quote is what we find fundamental to establishing your own style. Rather than precision, it’s better to be true to yourself and construct your style around what feels right for you.
“I don’t design clothes. I design dreams.”– Ralph Lauren
Ralph Lauren is another household name whose clothing brand provides luxury to the masses as his various labels range from mid to high price tags. Ralph’s brand started in 1967 and his billion-dollar net worth is testament to his innovation in making high-class fashion both stylish and affordable. Ralph shows in this quote that he understands the importance of perfect tailoring to the modern male. Dreams are manifested not only by how you feel, but how you look too.
“We must never confuse elegance with snobbery.”– Yves Saint Laurent
Yves Saint Laurent was a French designer whose brand has been spearheading male and female fashion, remaining a leader in luxury retail since the 1960s. Saint Laurent is not only iconic for the success of his brand, but his open homosexuality in a macho dominant culture makes him an inspiration for the LGBTQ community. This quote also challenges misconceptions in fashion that great style is exclusively for the elite.
“Looking good isn’t self-importance; it’s self-respect.”– Charles Hix
Charles Hix was a leading author in the 1980s, whose self-help books became bibles for men hoping to look good, feel good and fit in in an ever-changing social environment. Hix’s direct impact on the male fashion world is evident as he guided aspiring models through his nonfiction. This is what grants Hix a spot on this list. Hix, like so many of his male counterparts, differentiates style from arrogance to align a good fashion sense with self-worth.
“Anyone can be confident with a full head of hair. But a confident bald man – there’s your diamond in the rough.”– Larry David
Larry David is an American comedian, actor and producer and responsible for co-creating the hit television series Seinfeld, along with Jerry Seinfeld. He was a writer and executive producer on the show for seven seasons. His prominent dent on the world of pop culture makes Larry David a male idol and modern philosopher. Here, David importantly states that the way you carry and view yourself is the key to making a good first impression. This quote emanates that beauty is not just skin deep, but confidence comes from within.
“Good grooming is integral and impeccable style is a must. If you don’t look the part, no one will want to give you time or money.”– Daymond John
John is a businessman, CEO, and widely recognized for his role as a shark on ABC’s award-winning show, SharkTank. He is a model for the modern man, boasting career success and inspiring others. This quote states that a good fashion sense is more than just a nice suit, and implies that style is the key to a successful future. John deems your fashion sense is the first thing people will notice about you, so it is just as important as your ambition and drive. Handpicking America’s future CEOs and leaders of global empires, we would trust John’s opinions on how to present yourself.
“The joy of dressing is an art.”– John Galliano
John Galliano has been head designer at Givenchy, Christian Dior and his own label, demonstrating how his influence has made more than ripples across the fashion industry. Galliano is famed for his outlandish style and this is mirrored in this quote which finds fashion to be not just about what you wear, but how dressing yourself makes you feel. The pleasure one feels through a refined style is the essence of fashion. Galliano rightly compares fashion to art as he suggests that style is self-expression.
“Clothes are never a frivolity: they always mean something.”– James Laver
Laver is a fashion historian and his informative texts have worked towards a collective theory of fashion and culture, teaching budding designers and consumers alike. Laver maintains that your clothing choices say more about you than just what the surface shows. As Laver tells us, the meaning of the way you dress is more important than how your style is perceived by others.
“Dress up your sportswear and dress down your formal wear.”– Luciano Barbera
Luciano Barbera is the successor of the luxury Italian brand of the same name. Founded in the small town of Biella in Northern Italy, the Barbera family has made grandeur out of grains. Barbera’s quote encompasses the timelessness of simplicity and the art of experimenting with how you choose to dress. Humble beginnings need not obstruct your journey to a unique style.
“People will stare. Make it worth their while.”– Harry Winston
Harry Winston founded the Harry Winston Jewellery Corporation in 1932, and was nicknamed “The King of Diamonds” by many for his impressive mark on the world of jewelry. Winston claims that people will judge and observe you no matter what you do, so making a name for yourself and doing it in style makes the pleasure of your own success all the more satisfying.
“A well-tied tie is the first serious step in life.”– Oscar Wilde
Oscar Wilde, born 16 October 1954, was an Irish poet and playwright who became popular in London in the 1890s. His reputation rests on his only novel, “The Picture of Dorian Gray” and his comedic plays such as “Lady Windermere’s Fan”. Wilde was known for flamboyance and the persecution he faced for his outward homosexuality. Wilde was unapologetically himself, but faced prison for his sexual orientation. For this he is an inspiration not only to the LGBTQ community but to any young men emerging into a macho-dominant social environment.
“Every man should have a magnifying mirror. If you look good magnified, then you are set to go” and “Dressing well is a form of good manners.” – Tom Ford
Thomas Carlyle Ford is not only a prominent American fashion designer and contemporary style icon, but also a successful filmmaker. Having launched his own label in 2006, Ford has also served as creative director at Gucci and Yves Saint Laurent. But Ford also notably wrote and directed the films, A Single Man and Nocturnal Animals, which both went on to win Academy Awards. For these reasons, it is only right to include two quotes from this commendable public figure who has made waves in more than one industry.
“Fashions are nothing but induced epidemics.”– George Bernard Shaw
Authors, like fashion icons, too have their own style and flair. George Bernard Shaw included the above line in his prominent play “the Doctor’s Dilemma”, first staged in 1906. This quote isn’t a critique of fashion but rather an acknowledgment of it. He highlights fashion trends as man-made phenomena. In doing so, Shaw proposes his originality as a playwright as an influence for those wanting to establish their own fashion sense.
“Style is the perfection of a point of view.”– Richard Eberhart
After graduating from Dartmouth, Eberhart served as a poet in residence for many years, later gaining another BA from Cambridge University. His impact as a scholar and poet was made more prominent by his romantic style and embodiment of 1930s sensibility. Always pictured in black tie and oozing in class, Eberhart has always retained a fashionable demeanor. This quote relates not only to his command of the written word, but also to the eccentricity of his fashion sense. Eberhart insinuates that through style, a person’s voice is heard.
“Dirt makes a man look masculine. Let your hair blow in the wind… All you have to do is look neat when you have to look neat.”– Hedy Lamarr
Hedy Lamarr was an Austrian actress who appeared in 30 films throughout the 1920s and 1930s. Although Hedy is a female icon, her sentiments are memorable and ahead of her time. Lamarr’s praise for rustic masculinity is relatable for the modern male who aims for self-presentation that is a little rough around the edges. We’re reminded that a fashion sense does not always mean formality, but often just nonconformity.
“I think there is beauty in everything. What ‘normal’ people would perceive as ugly, I can usually see something of beauty in it.”– Alexander McQueen
While later being assigned as chief designer for Givenchy, Lee Alexander McQueen founded his own label in 1992, out of his working-class family home in South London. McQueen’s punk-rock-meets-military menswear has been continually praised for its outlandish uniqueness. McQueen perfectly captures the beauty to be found in originality when establishing your own style in this quote. Normality in fashion is being equated to boring while being different is synonymous with style.
Frequently Asked Questions about Men’s fashion Quotes.
Do the men mentioned actually apply these quotes to themselves?
Not all the icons who make this list apply these style tips to themselves, having made waves in other industries besides fashion. But the value in their words is heard through the social impact that has been achieved by all these figures, in one way or another. Whether it be their global empires or timeless philosophies that still resonate with us today, these men demonstrate that style is not all about clothing but it is also the legacy you leave behind.
How does fashion help us today?
Fashion is how you will be perceived by others in whatever you do. Your style is your first impression at a job interview or your way of self-expression on a romantic date. These quotes encourage you to use your style for your own gain, helping you not only to communicate your originality to those around you, but also to find it for yourself.
Can having a fashion sense boost our self-esteem?
If you look good, you feel good, right? While confidence comes from the inside, how you choose to present your image reflects on how you value yourself and how you want the world to view you. Make the most of the opportunity that your style gives you, to both stand out and boost your confidence.
A Final Word From The Trending Man
These quotes serve as markers on your journey to self-growth and self-establishment in a society that tries to strip you of your uniqueness. This article also shows how your fashion sense can alter how you view yourself.
Your style is individual. But what is consistent about every man’s fashion sense, is the power that it can hold for your future, if you use it wisely and with imagination.