Armani's 21 rules for achieving Style

11:38 pm Contributed by JW

1 A cheap pair of shoes is a false economy. Never skimp on staples: this is the basis of your wardrobe.

2 The work/life balance is the key to happiness for every man. I have sacrificed my life to my work, and if I could start again I would do things differently.

3 Black and dark navy are the most slimming colours. You can afford to be more adventurous with form and texture if you stick to this colour palette.

4 Never try too hard with what you wear: the most stylish men are those who look as if they are making the least effort. Ultimately fashion is about personal expression, and I don’t think anything can be called a fashion disaster if the wearer is being true to himself.

5 If you play sports intensively you will develop muscles in unusual places. Then you may have to consider bespoke tailoring. I recently started dressing the Chelsea football players and those guys are well built.

6 People say that I look 20 years younger than I am and ask, what’s my secret? Partly it’s genetic. My mother died at 90 but seemed like a woman of 65 at the time. I hope to be the same. But it’s also down to self-discipline: don’t go to bed too late; don’t drink too much; don’t smoke. And really understand and manage your inner self.

7 You can’t always get what you want, as Mick Jagger sang. Yes, I wanted to be tall and to have an important nose. Accept the hand you have been dealt and make the best of it. Don’t waste your life trying to change things you cannot change, and don’t dwell on them.

8 To look sexy as a man is a matter of confidence. It is a state of mind as much as a state of body.

9 Up to the age of 50 I didn’t think about my physique, then a friend told me to look out. Now I do an hour’s gym a day. Exercise lifts your mood and keeps you sharp. It helps you to focus and to feel comfortable in your own skin.

10 Some male role models endure. For me, Cary Grant is still the man – he managed to look good in a suit even while running across a field being chased by a plane. My friend George Clooney has that quality, too – he looks effortlessly smart whatever he is wearing. I’m flattered that he chooses to wear my designs.

11 The jacket is the basis of the male wardrobe. Always make sure that it is well made, fits properly and is lightly constructed so that it makes you feel comfortable and confident. Once a good jacket is in place, the rest of the outfit follows.

12 Good clothes can help to make you feel confident and improve your performance. I had a call from a friend who had bought the rugby team that he supported as a child. They were doing badly. He asked me to dress them, and I agreed. That friend was Russell Crowe and now his Australian rugby league team, the Rabbitohs, are winning again.

13 A reputation can be like handcuffs. I’m supposed to be a minimalist, so people complain if I do anything else. It’s best to keep them guessing.

14 You know more than you think, and you can do more than you know. When my business partner died in 1985, some people thought that I’d close the firm. Instead I learnt how to do his job. Never underestimate your inner strength.

15 Hollywood black-tie is the ubiquitous uniform for any evening occasion: black suit, white shirt and black tie. It’s a cliché but it’s true: every man looks good in black-tie.

16 Choose fabrics that are neutral in colour and not too ostentatiously patterned – that way they will have a longer lifespan (from a fashion perspective).

17 Today it’s increasingly the accessories that make the man, so invest in good shoes, belts, bags, ties and the like, and you’ll be able to reinvent your outfits over and over again. Be aware of what colours you wear and buy accordingly, but always remember that you can wear either black or brown with grey. Your watch is one of the most important things you will buy; it says a lot about you as a man. I wear my own Borgo 21 watch, which I treasure.

18 A well-chosen fragrance can become a distinguishing characteristic. It is the first thing that people sense when you enter a room and the last thing as you leave.

19 You should have the courage of your convictions. When I first experimented with deconstructing tailoring, it went against the prevailing ideas and methods. But I simply wanted to make clothes that allowed you to look smart and be comfortable at the same time. In the end, my ideas caught on. Now men demand comfort from their tailored clothes.

20 I am happy to see that today there is a desire among men to be more elegant again. Grunge was not a good moment for me. Elegance is the key, I believe, to achieving a timeless look – something that does not date, and does not date you. I attribute my success to remaining true to this philosophy. To me, style is more important than transient trends.

21 No matter how hard I try, I will never persuade Sam Jackson to appear without a hat!

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