“ All you have to do is ‘become who you are,’ or at least dress for who you are.”
Original Column by Craig Arthur von Schroeder of CMMP for Paradigm Magazine
Become, And Dress, Who You Are
German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche famously provided advice to mankind on God and morality. He was also quoted as saying “Du sollst werden, der du bist,” translated as “You must become who you are.” Nietzsche’s imperative was a call to embrace oneself.
Ever since reading that line in college that phrase has haunted me. When I finally embraced the directive and pursued my dream of playing professional soccer, my life changed for the better. When I returned to what I thought others wanted of me and delved into the practice of law, the light of my life dimmed. After the leaving law a few years ago for the clothing industry, it brightened once again. Doing what I wanted with my life has made all the difference.
Nietzsche’s command to become who you are can be applied to dressing oneself. Indeed, you should “dress for who you are.” What does that mean in practical terms? It means dressing intelligently using a few simple methods.
“Personal color strategy” (see Alan Flusser’s “Dressing The Man” for more information) is an art that most men know nothing about. Years ago magazines like Esquire used to provide seasonal color stories that would then be matched to general categories of men based upon their hair, skin and eye colors.
Such useful advice is largely gone from today’s “fashion” writing.
Color and pattern in one’s clothes, and how it all fits together, is important in how one is viewed. The result of choosing the right garments to wear will lead onlookers’ attention to one’s face. The face is the focal point for all men. Clothing is merely the frame. The right colors and patterns for one’s complexion will indeed provide the most flattering frame for one’s face.
There are two general strategies for choosing the right colors:
1. Contrast vs. Muted Complexion;
2. Enhancement of one’s natural pigments.
Contrast vs. Muted Complexion
In this first strategy men can be broken down into two categories. The first, “contrasted,” is when a man’s hair is heavily contrasted to his skin, e.g., black hair and light skin. The contrasted man should pick color schemes that mimic his contrasted skin/hair:
(e.g., see Pacino here with white and black shirt)
The muted man should pick color schemes that follow his muted complexion.. The second, “muted,” is when a man’s hair is similar to his skin tone. (e.g., see Gosling)
Enhancement of one’s natural pigments.
With this strategy, one should take colors from one’s eyes or skin and mirror them in one’s clothes. (E.g., see McConaughey playing up eye color with a blue shirt color or my friend and business partner, Andrew pictured below)
or Redford pairing his brown/redish coat to his hair, not that I’m sanctioning chest hair as an accessory or our associate, Alex pictured below)
So where do you fall in these two camps? Assess yourself. Write it down. Knowing and recognizing these two strategies to assist in choosing your clothing will simply make you a more effective dresser. A more intelligent dresser. Of course, dressing better will lead to success, a long life and an abundance of riches. All you have to do is “become who you are,” or at least dress for who you are.