You’re at a department store and see two identical shirts. The same color, pattern, material and build. Everything about those pieces are the same; except the name and price on the tag. One is priced at $20 dollars and the other is at $80 dollars.

Seems illogical, right?

Brands Are an Expensive Fashion Statement

It’s at that moment that you realize that brands are, in itself, a fashion statement. Whether its a statement of social or economic stature, you’re really paying more (or less) for the name you wear. Real estate has its “location, location, location” motto that tells you that it’s not so much what’s on the land, but the land itself that’s worth the money. With fashion, it’s the name that you wear.

Of course this is a superficial subject to talk especially when buying those items that have the big brand logo stamped on in the most focal position possible. We’re talking about “ARMANI EXCHANGE” printed 10 times in the front of your shirt. With these items, it’s all about being seen with the brand. The “Hey look at me, I can afford $45 dollar T-shirts” message you’re conveying to everyone around you.

There is nothing wrong with wearing items having big logo stamps and the brands all over. To each their own (as long as you know what you’re doing). By this I mean that you’re aware of the message you’re portraying. Keep in mind that these items, if done very extravagantly, will make you seem obnoxious or self-centered. Instead, my recommendation is to be subtle.

Brands Do Not Define Personal Style

A designer brand will always make their outfits look great on models. They are so good at it that they make us believe it will also look good on us as well. The problem with this is that it may not be our style or the outfit arrangement won’t work with our body shape. While a slim person may rock those skinny jeans and look fantastic at it, it won’t have the same effect if you see it on a body builder.

Brands also hand select the models that work with their style. They look at facial structure, body shape, skin color, and even hair texture. And while we are able to change our outfits, there are certain things we cannot.


Style Development Is a Journey

Style isn’t something you buy from one day to the next. It’s a journey to discover what works best for you in terms of aesthetics, comfort, and detail. For example, today I know exactly what I want in my suits. I have my preference on the style, cut, length, shoulder, back, pant break, etc. Even, at this point I still feel like I can improve my detail a bit more. However, all of this has taken time, money and a lot of experimenting to get where I am now.

If I were to go back in time 5 years and gave my younger self one of my current suits, it will not be comfortable. Not taking into account the size and weight difference, my younger self will feel awkward and weird into a suit with so much detail. This is because he did not go through the journey on what to perfect.

The thing that happens to most of us that begin this journey is that we go over board at first. With some it’s the fedoras, for others it’s the oversize scarves. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with this because we’re just starting and somewhere along the line we begin to fine-tune those details. Perhaps scarves aren’t for you, but maybe bow-ties are. Maybe the bow-ties give you an independent and unique image you want. Perhaps with the bow-tie you want to pull off that preppy and professional look. So at this point we’ve just went on a journey from scarves to bow-tie.

Be Subtle with Brands

If at this point in your style journey you want to use name brand clothes with their logo or signature style visible, be subtle. You’re admitting that you want people to know how much money you spent on those pants and that’s OK. However, instead of being over extravagant and appear obnoxious with a huge logo stamped on your chest, try with a smaller logo. Tommy Hilfiger and Ralph Lauren do an amazing job at this with their polo and casual shirts. By being subtle with name brands, you’re humble bragging in a way that doesn’t offset your image too much.

In the end, you should never let a brand define your personal style. Don’t assume just because it looks great on others, that you’ll achieve the same result. Instead, focus on what works and feels best for you. Experiment if you have to so as long as you’re on a journey to self style discovery. If at the end of the tunnel you see that brand name clothing is for you, then you’ve jut figured it out.

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