Feature image from Breathless (1960)
Growing up, I never paid much attention to being fashionable or really to what I wore. That’s because for a majority of my young life, I was forced to wear a uniform. Well, I say “forced” because it seems corollary to the word “uniform,” but I must admit that in all reality, I rather liked it. In fact, so much so, that in the many years past my uniform days, I find myself wearing a self-imposed one.
I was always told that I was an “immaculate dresser,” whatever that means. I think it’s code for “looking clean and well groomed.” Anyway, as a grown man now, I think this also means having developed and a personal uniform that works for me. Take a look at your wardrobe. What do you see? If you are like me, you are looking at a pile of clothing that suspiciously looks the same. What’s the point of this? The point is I have acknowledged that there is a certain look that works for me, and I run with it. You should do the same. For me, that means a Western, cowboyish flair, because it simply works best.
How do you do that? First, take a moment to notice the dress patterns of the most successful people that you know, you will notice that they have a thought-out wardrobe, they know what works for them and they go with it. Let’s take three examples:
1. Steve Jobs When you visualize him, what comes to mind? Black turtleneck, jeans and clunky gym shoes. On any other person this would look dorky, but because he was who he was, it worked.
2. Warren Buffet Dark suit and round glasses. Classic CEO.
3. Abraham Velazquez Tello Black T-shirt, jeans and black shoes. Minimal and functional, just like Abe.
Three successful men with three distinct personal uniforms. Are they successful because they have a uniform? No. However, having a personal uniform says many things about a man. To me, the most distinct point is that this person knows themselves well enough to know what look works for them, and a person this confident in themselves is less likely to second-guess a decision, be bold enough to present themselves to the world, and bold enough to show the world their vision, and be self confident enough to be comfortable in their own skin.
Confidence in yourself doesn’t happen overnight. But when you are well-dressed, it becomes a lot easier. I have been accused of arrogance or cockiness by many a stranger—due to them being strangers, I can only assume that their reactions to me are based solely on my Personal Uniform.