Fashion is different for everyone. Everyone partakes in it for different reasons and not everyone is at the same point along their journey. Some decide to stop altogether and be content with what they’ve achieved, and that’s ok. Some seek to go above and beyond the norm to a point where not everyone, even those within fashion, will understand it.
Intro #1 - Taste
The ﬁrst, most crucial step towards improving your looks is to pay attention. Not just to yourself or your friends, but to other people as well. To movies, to magazines, it doesn't really matter. Just start noticing how people look and what clothes do for them. Absorb as much knowledge as you possibly can and build a visual reference book in your head (or on your computer if you're that sort of person). Notice the shapes, lines, colors, proportions of what you see. Don't worry if you don't have the vocabulary and can't explain what you're looking at or even why you like it; that's secondary to the main goal of just paying attention to the details.
Now that you've paid attention, you can move into the next step: be honest. Firstly, about yourself: are you tall? Do you have broad hips? Do you have a short torso? Is your frame lean? Are your shoulders deﬁned? Then make the same honest appraisal of other people you see. Is he stocky? Are her legs really long? Does he have really built arms? Does she have a less curvy frame?
If you've thoroughly paid attention and then been honest, then you'll start to notice patterns. Tall people tend to wear a lot of "fashion" things (drop crotch pants or what have you) more easily. Some types of sleeves (cap sleeves, raglan sleeves) don't ﬂatter people with rounder shoulders. A deﬁned waist tends to make everyone look thinner. Fine woven wool garments tend to make outﬁts more dressy. And then you'll easily see how some of these patterns can apply to your body.
Now here's why I think people should think of this is in the abstract—this categorical analysis of dressing avoids any mention of rules, anything about spending money, anything about how "X" ought to ﬁt in such a "Y" way because "Z" is totally hipster/brah/ prep/ etc. I'm not saying you will necessarily have to read fashion magazines all the time or that you need to open up a card at Barneys; that's not the point. The goal isn't to conform to someone else's sense of style, but to develop your own. Whether you had never tried dressing yourself before or if you're some super brand conscious person, you are ultimately rewarded for all this work with complete autonomy and self—control over fashion. You stop wearing what you think you ought to wear and you begin wearing what you know you should be wearing.
Intro #2 - Style
ALL I WANT TO PROVIDE IS SOME CONTEXT AND INTRODUCTION TO THE FACT THAT FASHION IS MUCH MORE THAN JUST PUTTING OUTFITS TOGETHER AND LOOKING GOOD AND BRANDS AND BUYING THINGS
*People seem to forget that /fa/ is a board on 4CHAN. So take a step back from time to time and make your own decisions. You want advice but you don’t want to listen to everything that everyone tells you to do. This also applies to what I'm about to tell you. Read it and decide for yourself what you agree with and disagree with, I am just putting my thoughts out here so that more people have access to things that they aren't told when they first begin. You WILL make mistakes; don’t try to listen to everyone here all the time. If you like it and it seems like a good purchase at the time, then go for it. You learn the most from mistakes. This is about developing YOUR understanding of fashion.
Before jumping into the world of fashion, take a step back and honestly evaluate yourself. Are there certain features of yours that you can improve right now? Could you use a bit of exercise and lose some weight? Do you need to clean up your skin a bit? If you wear glasses, do you look better with or without them? Could you pick up some better looking frames? Is your hair unmanageable and / or awkward? Do you need to improve your social skills a bit?
After you’ve roughly evaluated yourself and your features, I personally would advise you to clean yourself up as much as you can afford to right now. I’m not saying everyone should buy a gym pass or go to the dermatologist and come back after a makeover or anything; the purpose of this is to identify areas that you haven’t really been putting much care into. Maybe you can start eating a bit healthier, going on some runs, do some push ups and sit ups at home, make an effort to establish a consistent skincare routine, and whatever else.
Why am I asking you to do these things? Think of it like this: When painting a beautiful picture, ideally you would want to paint on the cleanest, best quality canvas available. So by improving your weaknesses, you are building a more solid foundation to “paint” upon. Besides, it takes a while to learn and actually start developing taste, so why wouldn’t you improve yourself before and during the beginning of your journey? Little tweaks and fixes and whatnot can be made along the way as well.
Ok, so you’re content with your features now. Where do you start? I should go look at these guides and info graphs and ask other people what to buy right? Nope, sorry but you’re going to have to do a bit more self reflection. What do you want out of fashion right now? Do you want to just look presentable / average? Were you inspired by people in nice clothing (Movies, Advertisements, and Celebrities etc) and want to dress very well? Do you want fashion to be a part of your lifestyle and meet more people? None of these are bad or wrong, and will most likely change along the way but just ask yourself what you want it to be right here, right now at this point in your life. Something we all need to realise and constantly remind ourselves of is,
However you want to approach fashion, it is important to always keep an open mind. In my opinion, to be a truly fashionable person you not only have to look great but have a “fashionable” mentality. There will probably come a point where you think you’re getting the hang of things and start looking down on or judging the way others dress. If you find yourself doing this then remind yourself of the statement above. Again, I’m not telling you to be like Buddha and be accepting of everything and be neutral and at peace with everything. It’s just that personally I’ve found myself being biased a lot of the time, and reminding myself of that fact and then applying it to the context of what I’m thinking of leads to new ways of looking at things. Another important thing, you also have to be able to represent your image with confidence. Personally I’ve found that when dressing in a manner that is true to your background, beliefs, and taste, confidence naturally follows. This doesn’t mean that you won’t feel out of place or insecure when trying new things and wearing them outside, it just means that you will get used to it.
This is all the general fashion "philosophy"? Advice I have right now, feel free to edit grammar etc. Started writing a general "How to actually start buying stuff" section below but wasn't sure how to approach it in a broad manner so that I'm not telling people YOU NEED TO DO X Y AND Z AND A B AND C THEN U WILL B DRESS WELL LOL so yeah give it a read and suggest improvements plz:
Well now you need to put your basic knowledge to use and actually buy some clothes. If you are just an average guy who isn’t heavily influenced by styles stemming from subcultures, (Musical genres, hobbies and whatnot) chances are you will be drawn to traditional menswear or streetwear. Educate yourself on what the general “styles” look like (Note: While they are different and unique in their own ways, don’t segregate or just stick to one religiously, some people think fashion is some kind of RPG where you need to choose your race or some shit and dress either “menswear”, “streetwear”, or “avant garde” when it’s about building your own style based on what you like, drawing inspiration from many things like your personal experiences and influences.) and also look at brands through the brands and stores pages so you have an idea of what is accessible near you irl and what kind of stuff they sell.
When you have a general idea of what you want to look like, go out and try things on. Walk into a store and grab whatever you like and try them on. The way it fits is one of the most important factors. As you look at more and more pictures you will naturally be able to distinguish a good fit vs a bad fit. Some things to take into consideration when making a purchase is: 1. Can the piece can be well incorporated into the rest of your current wardrobe? 2. Do you truly like it and aren’t being heavily influenced by sales or marketing strategies?