What is a Sartorialist and How to be One

What is a Sartorialist and How to be One

Ever heard of Sartorialism? Don't worry if you haven't. With this how to guide, we'll let you know everything you need to know, and have you dressing like one in no time.

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Men's appreciation for well tailored, sleek clothing has increased over the years, with casual, street style looks taken over with clean shapes, elegant finishes and an effortless mix of styles. The days of tailored wears being confined to formal affairs is over. Modern men all over the world have embraced elegant, well fitted pieces and easily incorporated them into their wardrobe, creating inspiring looks that we're loving.

With influential bloggers helping to spread the awareness for tailored looks, we're now bombarded with images of well dressed men strutting down city streets and looking annoyingly stylish. But what's the hype? How can you achieve the look and what exactly is the definition of a sartorialist? Read on and we'll explain everything. 

What Does Sartorial Mean?

According to the internet, which we know is always right, the word sartorial means;

Of or relating to a tailor or tailored clothes

-Merriam-Webster Dictionary

This doesn't give us a tonne of information, but it's fairly self explanatory. If you're rocking an outfit that consists of well cut, well fitted pieces that are perfectly tailored to your body, then you're style probably matches in with the definition of sartorial.

Sartorialist style men
PHOTO CREDIT: Garancedore

What Is a Sartorialist?

So we know what satorial means, but what's a sartorialist? The definition of a Sartorialist is someone who is interested in, or practices sartorialism. If you type it into a word doc it tells you it's not even a word, so is is just a pretentious creation used to describe some well dressed men, or is it something that's so modern and new that people just haven't caught up with the trend yet? Maybe by the end of this article you'll have your own answer.

Scott Schuman - Sartorialist Style Icon

Scott Schuman is a street style photographer who coined the term Sartorialist, and began using it for his blog, (The Sartorialist) which features everyday people in his photographs, who he perceives to have sartorial style. He began his blog in 2005, adding new posts to it each day. In time, Schuman's pictures and blog became massively popular, getting up to 14 million views per month. As a result, he began being called 'The Sartorialist' himself.

Schuman has always had a fascination with how people's clothes can help them to explore and exude who they are, or want to be. In his photos he captures people from all kinds of backgrounds, but it's the 'grace' of character and style that strings all of them together. Each person draws you in and makes you wonder about their story.

sartorialist boy suit africa

He continues to take pictures of people on the streets, capturing that little bit of magic that breaks through the throng of everyday life.

Schuman's blog inspires millions of people to dress better; to open their eyes to the possibility that they too, can easily look as good as the people in his photos. This inspiration also spreads out further to the fashion industry, and in a rather satisfying way, bleeds into what fashion designers create; bringing the fashion world full circle.

Becoming a Sartorialist

When creating the sartorialist style, all you need is to make a few tweaks to your wardrobe and styling choices. This can be as simple as getting that suit that's slightly too big for you properly tailored, playing around with some different textures and patterns, or rearranging your look to make different outfits. Even small changes can create a strong and stylish look.

Style over Fashion

Sartorialist style, according to Schuman, is about noticing what looks good in the long run, no matter what is trending right now. Fashion moves in waves of what's hot and what's not, but style is timeless. A Sartorialist knows what looks good on them, and isn't swayed by what anyone else thinks. Classic, well fitted suits will always be in style, so dressing one up in a few different looks is a sure way to create a timeless outfit that will always look stylish.

sartorialist style suit
SHOP: Suits | Shirts | Trousers

What Is the Difference Between Street Style and Sartorialism?

The difference between normal street style and Schuman's work is that he doesn't actively seek out the absurd and stand out outfits. Instead of simply looking for the clothes that pack a punch, he finds looks that exude a certain amount of charm, style and classic vibe. In his own words, he is looking to 'fall in love' with the world each day. With each shot, he captures a unique look that can easily be recreated with what we all have in our own wardrobes, if we just take the time to look.

Finding Your Own Sartorialist Style

Capturing the style of sartorialism means capturing a certain quality about your attitude through your clothes, making you stand out from the crowd. It's about finding your own look while taking inspiration from classic cuts and traditional looks. It might seem tricky at first, but once you decide what aspects you want to take from classic wear, and what parts you want to experiment with, putting together an outfit in the morning will become a lot more interesting.

How Being a Sartorialist Can Revolutionise Your Wardrobe

Schuman believes that fashion can affect your station in life. Showing you mean business before you've even said a word can be a strong message to lead with at work, and in your personal life. With this in mind, why not dress to impress for that all important business meeting or for that promotion you've always had your eye on? Certain accessories like pocket squares, a modern tie and or simply a eccentric twist on a traditional shoe design can really help propel your outfit into the spotlight, while still maintaining a classic look.

sartorialist style accessories
PHOTO CREDIT: Mr Porter | SHOP: Formal Shoes

The sartorial approach to style also helps out the everyman, because it means you don't need to break the bank in order to have a killer outfit. Instead of buying new pieces, you can review wardrobe staples and try mixing them up in combinations. Investing in one or two new accessories can bring to life any outfits that you're bored of. Even making a trip to the tailors can save money and completely change an outfit you already own.

Sartorialist Style- Get the Look

If you're looking for more inspiration, here's some street style gents demonstrating how you can try out your own sartorial look.

Look 1

For the first look we're keeping things simple with a well fitted striped T-shirt, white chinos and a tailored denim jacket. One of the reasons this outfit steps away from the typical T-shirt and jacket look is because of the way the jacket fits the body perfectly, adding a formal element to an otherwise simple look.

sartorialist style striped top
PHOTO CREDIT: The Sartorialist | SHOP: Jackets | T-shirts | Chinos

Style Notes

  • If you're going for patterns, don't go too bold. A subtle print, like the striped T-shirt, will give your outfit a subtle boost of interest.
  • This is a great outfit, but make sure you're wearing it for the right occasions. While perfect for a casual stroll during lunch hours, you might want to wear a jacket and possibly throw on a tie, for a more formal occasion.
  • As always, make sure your pieces fit perfectly. It doesn't if you're dealing with something as simple as a T-shirt - if it doesn't fit, the outfit just won't work as well.

Look 2

So many Sartorialist styles are really simple to put together, but there are just a few things that set them apart from the norm, and help give them that edge. Take this guy, nothing special about his clothes especially - just some high waisted trousers, a roll neck top and an overcoat, but it's the details, the colours and the fit that really makes everything work together.

sartorialist style formal look
PHOTO CREDIT: The Sartorialist | SHOP: Coats | Jumpers | Chinos

Style Notes

  • First off, make sure that your coat fits properly and that your clothes compliment your body shape.
  • Keep colours monochrome and avoid any loud accessories or items. (Sticking with the basics of black, brown, teal or navy will serve you well.)
  • Using block colours is always a safe bet, and works really well for an understated look like this.
  • To add to the look, add small, subtle accessories that finish it off.

Look 3

Depending upon where our street photographers are shooting, looks change. In Milan you will often find beautiful tailored suits like this, with the simplicity of them helping to accentuate the clean cuts and shape of the piece.

sartorialist style suits
PHOTO CREDIT: The Sartorialist | SHOP: Suits | Shirts | Trousers

Style Notes

  • If you can, go to a tailor and get your suit fitted properly. Your suit fitting properly can make or break this outfit.
  • Wear an open collar and no tie if it's a warm day.
  • Throw in a floral patterned scarf for a splash of colour if you want to change it up a little.
  • Accessories such as a tie-pin, a good-looking watch or even sunglasses can add an extra sleek feel to this ensemble.
  • Keep all patterns subtle, as the elegance and simplicity of this look says it all.

Your Quick Guide on Sartorialist Style

  • Have fun with your own individual style and don't be afraid to think outside of the box.
  • Wear something that reflects how you are feeling.
  • Make sure your clothes fit well and colours co-ordinate.
  • Experiment with your wardrobe and go to a tailor to spruce up old suits.
  • If you like a style from a certain era, try it out.
  • Put a little thought into what you're wearing and don't mix together random items that don't work well together.
  • Own your outfit. Some clothes only work in these photos because the people wearing them believe they should be. If you don't feel comfortable, you're probably best changing before you leave the house.
  • Nothing says sartorial style like being comfortable in your own skin and proudly showing your idiosyncrasies, whether you be a shy, outgoing, or quirky personality, let it show through your own style choices.

And on That Note...

So, whether you aspire to be a street photographer, and capture this look on film, or you simply want to look as good as Scott Schuman's pictures, hopefully this guide will have you on your way to being a bonifide Sartorialist yourself.

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