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100 Inspiring Quotes About Men’s Style (And What To Learn From Them)

Timeless wisdom and style advice from some of the best-dressed gentlemen to ever walk the earth.

Words by: Davey Brett

Few things hit like a quote. That’s why there’s so many lists of them out there. A simple, timeless bit of wisdom from a respected source has the power to be unforgettable and inspire change. Granted, quotes alone are not going to radically transform your life, but it’s hard to not feel motivated reading them.

Everyone’s got a favourite quote when it comes to being a modern gentleman. Many are outdated; others date back centuries and still hold true. Below, we’ve pulled together an extensive list of our favourites covering fashion, style, grooming and smart thinking, as well as our take away from each one. Hey, they’re not going to change your life, but they’re a good place to start.

The best quotes on men’s style

Hardy Amies

The imitable Hardy Amies

1. “A well-tied tie is the first serious step in life.” – Oscar Wilde

Every man should know how to tie a tie. There’s no excuse. Get on Youtube and master a minimum two types: Prince Albert and Windsor.

2. “Being perfectly well-dressed gives one a tranquillity that no religion can bestow.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

Although there’s no such thing as being ‘perfectly well-dressed’ we’re more than happy to admit there is a place called sartorial nirvana. The only way to get there is to sharpen up.

3. “The difference between a man of sense and a fop is that the fop values himself upon his dress; and the man of sense laughs at it, at the same time he knows he must not neglect it.” – Lord Chesterfield

Not sure what a fop is? Think of it as styled to excess. The key here is caring about how you look but not obsessing to the point of taking yourself too seriously.

4. “One pretends to do something, or copy someone or some teacher, until it can be done confidently and easily in what becomes one’s own style.” – Cary Grant

Mimicry is the finest form of flattery. Take inspiration from others and use it to build your own style.

5. “The man who, as is often said, can get away with wearing a trench coat over his dinner jacket, or an old-school tie for a belt, is the one who in fact understands best the rules of proper dress and can bend them to suit his own personality and requirements.” – G. Bruce Boyer

Style rules are there to be broken. The best-dressed men carry off pieces in their own unique way with a healthy dose of sprezzatura.

6. “Real luxury is understanding quality, and having the time to enjoy it.” – G. Bruce Boyer

Invest in pieces and experiences that will make you happy and then take the time out to fully appreciate them. You can’t buy more time.

7. “Style is the answer to everything. A fresh way to approach a dull or dangerous thing. To do a dull thing with style is preferable to doing a dangerous thing without it. To do a dangerous thing with style is what I call art.” – Charles Bukowski

Hank always knew how to string a sentence together. Take risks and don’t settle for the mundane.

8. “It is both delusional and stupid to think that clothes don’t really matter and we should all wear whatever we want. Most people don’t take clothing seriously enough, but whether we should or not, clothes do talk to us and we make decisions based on people’s appearances.” – G. Bruce Boyer

Love it or loathe it, the suit you wear to that job interview matters as much as the shoes you wear on that date. It’s up to you how you’re going to make both outfits count.

9. “Style is the perfection of a point of view.” – Richard Eberhart

The clothes you wear are an extension of your personality and mind. Don’t forget it.

10. “To attain style in dress, you must look perfectly happy and relaxed in your clothes which must appear part of you rather than a wardrobe you have just donned.” – Hardy Amies

Granted, it sometimes hurts to look but it’s up to you to wear the clothes. Don’t let the clothes wear you.

11. “Precision in dress is the neurotic refuge of the perpetually insecure.” – G. Bruce Boyer

Details matter but don’t let them get in your head. Style shouldn’t be over thought.

12. “I can go all over the world with just three outfits: a blue blazer and gray flannel pants, a gray flannel suit, and black tie.” – Pierre Cardin

Pierre’s got a point. Building a capsule wardrobe is essential and you’ll be surprised how far it’ll take you.

13. “Some people think luxury is the opposite of poverty. It is not. It is the opposite of vulgarity.” – Coco Chanel

There’s nothing wrong with treating yourself to something fancy. Just be careful what it is.

14. “Trust not the heart of that man for whom old clothes are not venerable.” – Thomas Carlyle

Buying vintage is great. But nothing beat those items that have been passed down, or have been with you through it all. The items you’ve chosen to treasure and preserve.

15. “Clothes and manners do not make the man; but when he is made, they greatly improve his appearance.” – Arthur Ashe

Gentle wisdom from triple grand slam tennis star Ashe. It’s about bringing together all the pieces of the puzzle.

16. “A gentleman never talks about his tailor.” – Nick Cave

Treat them as a confidant. Not a bragging right.

17. “I often take a brand new suit or hat and throw it up against the wall a few times to get that stiff, square newness out of it.” – Fred Astaire

Clothes are at their best when they look slightly lived in. Maybe not so much with box-fresh sneakers however.

18. “Style is when they’re running you out of town and you make it look like you’re leading the parade.” – William Battie

Even during the most challenging of times, the stylish ones always look like they’re in total control.

19. “To be noticed without striving to be noticed, this is what elegance is about.” – Luciano Barbera

You want your style to be comfortable and effortless, if you’re striving with your clothes you’re trying too hard.

20. “All dress is fancy dress, is it not, except our natural skins?” – George Bernard Shaw

Dress for the life you want.

21. “Do the clothes suit you? Do the clothes suit the occasion? Do the clothes suit each other?” – Richard Plourde

Three solid pointers for any outfit. Certainly questions to be asking yourself.

22. “It is totally impossible to be well-dressed in cheap shoes.” – Hardy Amies

Amies strikes again. You can spot a cheap pair of shoes a mile off. Invest in quality footwear and you’ll get your cost per wear.

23. “There’s no such thing as a designer of menswear – it’s only history. The suit around the world is based on the English suit, which began in about 1670.” – Hardy Amies

A handy reminder that fashion and style is cyclical. Certain elements are timeless for a reason.

24. “Clothes are inevitable. They are nothing less than the furniture of the mind made visible.” – James Laver

Furniture of the mind indeed. Just like IKEA flatpack, you have to build your outfits from the pieces in the box.

25. “‘Tis hell to a man of spirit to be contradicted by his tailor.” – Richard Garnett

Don’t be proud. Take the advice. Always take the advice.

26. “Putting on a beautifully designed suit elevates my spirit, extols my sense of self, and helps define me as a man to whom details matter.” – Gay Talese

What better man to extol the virtues of a suit? Don’t underestimate how wearing a two-piece makes you feel. It’s like your personal suit of armour.

27. “The boor covers himself, the rich man or the fool adorns himself, and the elegant man gets dressed.” – Honoré de Balzac

Oldie but a goodie. Dressing is more than just covering yourself with expensive pieces.

28. “Looking good and dressing well is a necessity. Having a purpose in life is not.” – Oscar Wilde

Trademark Wilde wit.

29. “A man must face the world with sprezzatura. It literally means detachment, but a better way to think of it is quiet confidence or low-key style. The most forceful statement is understatement.” – Luciano Barbera

Confidence in yourself and your clothes will make you stand out from the crowd, without needing to resort to ‘statement’ pieces.

30. “To adapt a phrase from Le Corbusier, the suit is a machine for living in, close-fitting but comfortable armour, constantly revised and reinvented to be, literally, well suited for modern daily life.” – Cally Blackman

Even in a world of remote working, the suit will never fall completely out of fashion. Dressed up or down it’s armour to wear into the battles of the everyday.

31. “To achieve the nonchalance which is absolutely necessary for a man, one article at least must not match.” – Hardy Amies

This is where twists and personality come in. Granted, there’s rules and convention but it’s up to you to inject personality.

32. “Looking good isn’t self-importance; it’s self-respect.” – Charles Hix

Sometimes we put so much weight into the ideas of dressing being an outward exercise. Dressing is as much for oneself as it is for others.

33. “A man should look as if he had bought his clothes with intelligence, put them on with care, and then forgotten all about them.” – Hardy Amies

One of the most timeless pieces of sartorial advice ever written. No further comment needed.

34. “You don’t find a style. A style finds you.” – Keith Richards

Trust ol’ Keith. Don’t stress it. You’ll get there.

35. “Shoes transform your body language and attitude. They lift you physically and emotionally.” – Christian Louboutin

If there’s one man who knows the transformational power of a shoe, it’s Christian.

36. “Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.” – Leonardo da Vinci

Less is always more.

37. “Anyone can get dressed up and glamorous, but it is how people dress in their days off that are the most intriguing.” – Alexander Wang

There’s something in this. Dressing for work or a special occasion is different to dressing for yourself on a day off. Experiment. Make every day an occasion.

38. “Style is a way to say who you are without having to speak.” – Rachel Zoe

So much of how we come across is transmitted not by words, but how we present ourselves.

39. “Nobody wants to see an engagement photo with you in your ratty jeans and T-shirt. Go for layers, and you’re always going to look like you made more of an effort.” – Tan France

Crucial advice from the Queer Eye fashion expert. Layers add interest, colour and texture. Don’t be one dimensional.

40. “Almost every man looks more so in a belted trench coat.” – Sydney J. Harris

The trench will never go out of style. Burberry or not.

41. “Trendy is the last stage before tacky.” – Karl Lagerfeld

Brutal shade from Lagerfeld, but he’s got a point. That word should put shivers down your spine.

42. “A good trick as you get older is to get a thick pair of glasses that have a dark frame. Everything else can droop and slide but that pair of dark glasses stays sharp and crisp. Look at Cary Grant. Look at Vidal Sassoon.” – Tom Ford

Tom Ford referencing both Cary Grant and Vidal Sasson in a quote about glasses makes this timeless glasses wisdom indeed.

The best quotes on men’s fashion

G. Bruce Boyer has a lot of wisdom to share about men's fashion and style

A man who knows style, G. Bruce Boyer

43. “If people turn to look at you on the street, you are not well dressed, but either too stiff, too tight, or too fashionable.” – Beau Brummel

The key is being memorable whilst not making a scene of yourself. Just because people are looking at you, doesn’t mean you’ve got it right.

44. “Dress up your sportswear and dress down your formal wear.” – Luciano Barbera

Take it from the Italians. Athleisure isn’t a new idea.

45. “A fashion is nothing but an induced epidemic.” – George Bernard Shaw

Be careful chasing the latest trends.

46. “Every generation laughs at the old fashions, but follows religiously the new.” – Henry David Thoreau

There is hypocrisy in there. Fashion is cyclical and fluid. Don’t be perturbed.

47. “Fashion is what you adopt when you don’t know who you are.” – Quentin Crisp

And that’s OK. But the end goal is to develop your own sense of style.

48. “He who goes against the fashion is himself its slave.” – Logan Pearsall Smith

If you’re purposefully trying to move against fashion it’s just as bad as chasing it.

49. “What you wear is how you present yourself to the world, especially today, when human contacts are so quick. Fashion is instant language.” -Miuccia Prada

The world that we live in has never been more visual. We’re bombarded by imagery. Almost every moment is captured and archived for better or worse. Dressing the part is important.

50. “People always ask me what the latest fashion trends are, but I’m not a believer in trends. Individuality is more important to me, to stand out and have the confidence to wear something you’re comfortable in – it just happens. I’m comfortable wearing a suit.” – David Gandy

Be more Gandy. He’s one of the world’s most influential male models, after all. Have the confidence to trust your gut and go with what you want to wear.

51. “The difference between style and fashion is quality.” – Giorgio Armani

Avoid fast fashion at all costs.

52. “Anyone can get dressed up and glamorous, but it is how people dress in their days off that are the most intriguing.” – Alexander Wang

There’s something in this. Dressing for work or a special occasion is different to dressing for yourself on a day off. Experiment. Make every day an occasion.

53. “Fashion should be a form of escapism, and not a form of imprisonment.” – Alexander McQueen

Every now and again absolutely nothing beats throwing off the shackles and having fun with your look.

54. “If you’re not sure whether it looks good on you, it doesn’t.” – Scott Omelianuk

Deep down we all know what does and doesn’t work. You have to fall in love with everything you buy otherwise how can you expect others to appreciate it?

55. “I’ve never wanted to be in fashion. Because if you’re in fashion, you’re going to be out of fashion.” – Ralph Lauren

Take it from the man behind the definitive preppy brand.

56. “Buy less, choose well.” – Vivienne Westwood

Wise words in a time where disposable fashion is destroying the environment.

57. “Care for your clothes like the good friends they are.” – Joan Crawford

Invest in quality wooden hangers, a clothes steamer, a proper iron and ironing board. Pack away clothes according to season. Use a brush not a lint roller. Shine your shoes and use shoe trees. The list goes on.

The best quotes on men’s grooming

One of the world’s best-groomed men, George Clooney

58. “Anyone can be confident with a full head of hair. But a confident bald man – there’s your diamond in the rough.” – Larry David

Stanley Tucci. That’s it. That’s the tweet.

59. “Good grooming is integral and impeccable style is a must. If you don’t look the part, no one will want to give you time or money.” – Daymond John

It’s not just about style. Grooming is essential too. A Saville Row suit isn’t going to stop you looking and smelling like Chewbacca. Keep yourself in check.

60. “Hair is the first thing. And teeth the second. Hair and teeth. A man got those two things he’s got it all.” – James Brown

Floss and trim. Floss and trim.

61. “Life is more beautiful when you meet the right hairdresser.” – Peter Coppola

Pete’s got a point. Find your ideal barber and treasure them. Tell them your secrets and tip them well. A barber is for life.

62. “For me, the working of hair is architecture with a human element.” – Vidal Sassoon

Think about your hair as if it were a building. Don’t think of your hair as if it were The Shard.

63. “Grooming is the secret of real elegance. The best clothes, the most wonderful jewels, the most glamorous beauty don’t count without good grooming.” – Christian Dior

Underestimate grooming at your peril.

64. “I think grooming is definitely undervalued by men. We all expect women to be fully groomed, which they do. But I also think it’s just as important for a man to look fresh and clean.” – Lewis Hamilton

Wise words from Sir Lewis. True of what we expect from others too. Gent, the least we can do is put a bit of moisturiser on and smell good. It’s the bare minimum.

65. “If you don’t smell nice before the game, it’s going to be pretty bad during and after.” – DeAndre Jordan

If DeAndre Jordan is making himself smell nice to play basketball the least you can do is invest in a quality scent and wear it accordingly.

66. “Cut your morning devotions into your personal grooming. You would not go out to work with a dirty face. Why start the day with the face of your soul unwashed?” – Robert A. Cook

Wash your face. Simple.

67. “I’m not that involved in personal grooming. But I try not to be offensive to people.” – Viggo Mortensen

You don’t need every lotion and potion under the sun. Just take pride in your hygiene and appearance.

68. “For attractive lips, speak words of kindness. For lovely eyes, seek out the good in people. For a slim figure, share your food with the hungry. For beautiful hair, let a child run his fingers through it once a day. For poise, walk with the knowledge you’ll never walk alone …” – Sam Levenson

It’s not always about what you wear.

69. “First, I’m going to start dyeing my eyebrows, just to see how it works. And then I’ll go to the hair. Start slowly.” – George Clooney

If you’re ever unsure, ease into it like Clooney. Baby steps.

70. “I really try to spend as little time as possible on grooming. I think if you have a good moisturiser and a solid razor to clean up the beard, you’re golden.” – Chris Evans

It’s better to do a bit than nothing at all. Grooming can be simple and easy but it makes a massive difference.

71. “The best things you can do for your skin are not smoke, always use sunscreen and drink a lot of water.” – Sela Ward

Smoking is not the one. Water is unequivocally the one. SPF moisturiser should be used all year round.

72. “Every man should have a magnifying mirror. If you look good magnified, you are set to go.” – Tom Ford

Listen to Tom. Tom knows best. Think about the amount of straggly hairs you’re missing without zooming in.

73. “Good grooming and hygiene are essential. It’s never too early to start being concerned about your appearance – first impressions are everything.” – Robert Parish

Never too early. We repeat: Never. Too. Early.

74. So often, grooming is meant to make you feel better about yourself, and a lot of times, we use it to make ourselves feel worse.” – Jonathan Van Ness

Great point from JVN. Don’t beat yourself up if you miss a day.

75. “Your signature scent should be nothing too overpowering; something that suits the occasion.” – David Beckham

Spot on from Becks and don’t forget, a little goes a long way.

76. “Going to an actual barbershop, the whole hot towel old-school experience. You sit there and get your hands massaged while getting a shave? Nothing wrong with that.” – Justin Timberlake

Enjoy the process as much as the end product. Treat yourself.

The best quotes on being a modern gentleman

Sir Paul Smith

77. “Maybe that’s what I’ve based my career on: getting up earlier than everyone else so I get an extra couple of hours.” – Sir Paul Smith

The early bird gets the worm. If you’re one for routines, Sir Paul starts every day with a swim.

78. “Don’t raise your voice. Improve your argument.” – Desmond Tutu

We live in a world of loud men who too quick to speak. You should care more about what you’re saying.

79. “Education begins the gentleman, but reading, good company and reflection must finish him.” – John Locke

John Locke there, giving serious millennial wellness retreat vibes. Always read and learn, build healthy relationships and take a minute for yourself. Meditation and gratitude go a long way.

80. “Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.” – Ian Maclaren

Despite what may be visible on the surface, you don’t know what people are going through.

81. “Have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow know what you truly want to become.” – Steve Jobs

Trust yourself.

82. “Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible.” – Dalai Lama

Kindness goes a long way.

83. “I live my life through fear. If I’m afraid of it I’ll do it just so I’m not afraid of it anymore.” – Jeremy Renner

Get yourself out of your comfort zone and you’ll be shocked by what you’re capable of.

84. “Being male is a matter of birth. Being a man is a matter of age. But being a gentleman is a matter of choice.” – Vin Diesel

Being a modern gentleman is not a predisposition, it’s a choice.

85. “I think you should take you job seriously, but not yourself. That is the best combination.” – Dame Judi Dench

Take it from M. There’s a balance.

86. “It’s attention to detail that makes the difference between average and stunning.” – Francis Atterbury

This goes for everything in life. People appreciate the small details. Make them count.

87. “It’s fine to celebrate success, but it is more important to heed the lessons of failure.” – Bill Gates

We all fail. It’s harder to come back from failure than it is to go forward on success.

88. “Never confuse the size of your paycheck with the size of your talent.” – Marlon Brando

If only more people followed this one. There’s a lot of talented people out there working hard for very little. Likewise, because you’re making paper, don’t let it go to your head.

89. “One of the most sincere forms of respect is actually listening to what another has to say.” – Bryant H. McGill

You’ve got two ears and one mouth. Get the balance right.

89. “Work hard in silence, let success be your noise.” – Frank Ocean

Poetic brilliance from Frank. You don’t need to brag.

90. “Waste no more time arguing what a good man should be. Be one.” – Marcus Aurelius

Ancient wisdom is the best kind of wisdom. True to this day. Stop talking about it. Do it.

91. “Know first who you are, and then adorn yourself accordingly.” – Epictetus

Timeless advice from the ancients. You’ve got to know who you are and what you want and take it from there.

92. “Love is a special word, and I use it only when I mean it. You say the word too much and it becomes cheap.” – Ray Charles

Strong words from a man who knows hard times. Don’t use the L word flippantly, or as a tool to get your own way. You need to mean it.

93. “A man should be able to hear, and to bear, the worst that could be said of him.” – Saul Bellow

A thick skin is important. Take criticism on the chin. Learn from what other people say and don’t let the haters get you down.

94. “As usual, there is a great woman behind every idiot.” – John Lennon

It’s certainly a common feature of the men we look up to. Treat everyone with respect and don’t take those supporting you for granted.

95. “There is nothing noble in being superior to your fellow man; true nobility is being superior to your former self.” – Ernest Hemingway

It’s not about being better than others. It’s about improving yourself.

96. “Judge a man by his questions rather than by his answers.” – Voltaire

Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Granted, don’t be a contrarian for the sake of it but always try and learn more.

97. “The heart of man is very much like the sea; it has its storms, it has its tides, and in its depths, it has its pearls too.” – Vincent Van Gogh

We all go through highs and lows but ultimately, that’s what makes the whole thing worth it.

98. “We must let go of the life we have planned, so as to accept the one that is waiting for us.” – Joseph Campbell

Life is out of your hands. You’ve just got to live it.

99. “In order to write about life first you must live it.” – Ernest Hemingway

Get out there and experience life so you have something worth telling when you look back on it.

100. “Life is so damn short. For fuck’s sake, just do what makes you happy.” – Bill Murray

Bill knows the deal.