French-Canadian menswear enthusiast, consultant and blogger Guillaume Bo (who operates under the sadly all-too-true moniker Men Need More Style) grew up steeped in hip-hop culture, and brings an André Benjamin-eque swagger to sartorial dressing. He cites music as a key aesthetic touchpoint: “The last century brought us so many different musical genres — thus, so many different styles. I like to take influences from all over and add them to the classics,” he says.
Droppin’ mad science, with nods to jazzy beats, Belgian comics, old-school commercial illustration, multiculturalism, rusticism, Gallic silver screen icons and Greek Stoic philosophy, these are Guillaume’s ten central stylistic precepts.
10. “True style has nothing to do with money. I’ve met so many gentlemen who were ‘simple people’ — farmers, for example — with a fabulous sense of style and a true elegance. As a matter of fact, logos, big cars or big watches are a good way to display your social status nowadays but also often betray a cruel lack of taste.”
9. “Build your library. Read, be curious. Learn, listen, admire. Take note of the season, the hour, the space. Inspiration can be found everywhere. And often where you’ve never imagined. My biggest inspiration when I was a kid, a teenager, was this comic book called Blake & Mortimer, and now I love the drawings of JC Leyendecker.”
Influential illustrations from adventure comic series Blake et Mortimer (top) and US commercial artist JC Leyendecker.
8. “I used to jokingly describe my style by saying ‘I’m a French Britalian gentleman farmer with an American twist’. What I meant was that I’m not stuck into one school, one style, one vision. I just try to pick and choose the best of all those worlds, depending on the weather, the meeting, business or not, casual or not and so on. I want to treat myself when I dress. It must be a true pleasure.”
7. “A very nice scarf, a lovely pocket square or an umbrella... Nice and original accessories can be bought everywhere, at low prices, even in women’s stores, and can change everything about your business outfits or your weekend combinations. Try and take time to open your eyes when you go downtown, when you visit a new town, a new country.”
5. “If you want to look like an undertaker or a security guard in one those famous so-called ‘luxurious’ shops, please do wear black. If you don’t, do not.”
Alain Delon in seminal 1967 French gangster flick, Le Samourai.
4. “I don’t really have personal style icons, except maybe Miles Davis and Alain Delon, especially back in the ’50s, ’60s and early ’70s. And it’s not only about their clothes, it’s about their aura, their talent, their beauty. Really difficult to compete with those two.”
3. “If ‘fragrance is the voice of inanimate things’, I love to think that we can choose the right one to animate our own little world.”
2. “Try not to follow the trends. For example, lately, large button-down collars have been everywhere. They can be very nice. But if your neck is short or your head small, it looks terrible. As a wise man once said, ‘Know, first, who you are; and then adorn yourself accordingly.’”
Smokin' shot by pakbae.tumblr.com
1. “It’s okay to make mistakes. At least you tried. I’ve always preferred men who dare to boring ones. Our goal is to find the right balance. It takes time. And time is not a en vogue notion these days.”