Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Personal Style

(Photos the property of Getty Images/The Associated Press/Reuters Pictures etc.)

Personal style is what keeps things exciting. Those little details that set us apart. Wearing pieces that anyone else might wear, but doing it in a unique way that reflects our personalities and tells everyone a little bit about us. Personal style is what you're noticing on a person when you can't figure out exactly what's so eye-catching, but damn, it works. Things like a favorite item or brand, color, thoughtful accessories, distinct fit, even an attitude or swagger - all play into personal style. I've had people ask me, "In a sea of golfers all wearing similar things, how can I have personal style?" Or, "How can I set myself apart from the khaki'd hordes?" Well, I can give advice and fashion tips until I'm blue in the face, but pictures and examples are always much more effective. 

Some of you will recall my particular fondness for the sleeve length on Jamie Lovemark's Nike polo shirts last weekend. Lovemark, to me, has a tremendous amount of personal style. Before turning pro he looked particularly stylish in a super trim Polo golf shirt, light blue trousers and a white belt. (Above.) For me, the fit of the items and the southern California attitude he exudes are what sets him apart. He hasn't lost that swagger, but has elevated his look to that of professional golfer. In his Nike duds, Lovemark mixes in a distinctive riveted belt and striped socks - sartorial statements you rarely see on Tour. This photo can also be found in the "Weekend Inspirations" post last Friday. 

Drew Weaver is another young player that oozes personal style. Drew is a bit of an old soul and it comes out in his dress. How many college golfers do you see so polished and put-together? He wowed at this year's US Open with his maturity on the course and off, but you can be sure that no one missed what he was wearing... You can also bet that 100 people called Ralph Lauren on Monday to find out where they could get that yellow and blue vest. Personal style makes these guys attractive to apparel manufacturers and Weaver is now outfitted by Polo. Rickie Fowler's signing with Puma has a lot to do with his serious talent, but probably more to do with his look, his attitude...hell, his hair...

Ian Poulter, for all the sh*t he takes, is a personal style poster-boy. No one does it like him. We may not all want to dress exactly like him, but he makes us think. "Would this work? Could I get away with that?" He inspires creativity. No one does it like Phil Mickelson: "I'm a bigger guy, but if Phil can get away with a trimmer shirt, ya know what, so could I..." 

Ryuji Imada. Camilo Villegas. Luke Donald. A million similarly-built young golfers can wear the exact same shirt and trousers as these guys, but what sets them apart are their own touches. Their uniqueness. 

As a junior golfer, I was always inspired by older teaching professionals. Their perfectly creased slacks, the beautiful shirts, the suntan, the wrinkles around the eyes. (See: Bob Ford, top.) I wanted to be just like them. They just had it. It is personal style and that is what keeps us smiling at the KC.  



Anonymous said...

The worst thing a club golfer can do is look like a tour pro. Leave the big logos alone, especially on headwear. After all, your not getting paid to look like a walking billboard. A trilby or flat cap can bring a little style to the most simple outfit. Think Bond in Gold Finger. finally take as much time and care dressing for golf as you would a date. With improved confidence comes increased performance. If not, like 007 you may just land the girl!

Dano said...

well stated KC. i love the fact that golf is a sport where the athlete can express himself beyond just his game and playing style. you have picked up on a wonderful common denominator in golf and life...be yourself.

The Khaki Crusader said...

*snap,* *snap,* anonymous...good words

Anonymous said...

It's interesting how the size and cut chosen can contribute to personal style. Anthony Kim looked a million dollars in Spain last week in his Nike apparel. Although inexpensive, he chose his pieces well. He carries it off in a way Tiger Woods can only dream of. Talking of which. . Where does the talented Mr Woods find those trousers? On second thoughts I'd rather not know!

Anonymous said...

I know the big logo's sometimes look like a wannabe tour player but with reference to the RL polo shirt in the last picture, that is a quality garment! The big horse stands out so people know what brand it is and the '3' gives it a little variation which makes it perfect to wear out on a night on the tiles or out for a meal! I find that if I am going to buy brand clothing, I want people to know what it is I have bought otherwise it seems like a waste of money sometimes!

Anonymous said...

Nice Goldfinger reference!!!! Also would be nice to see guys pull of the fedora look, like Connery, without looking like a hipster.

Along with that, you just can't get any better than being inspired by the classics. A well cut, well put together outfit, with good color combinations, will never, never go out of style. My rule of thumb for suits and golf attire. Not to say you don't want to stray from it from time to time for the fun of it, if you have the stones. Maybe just avoid getting photographed in those outfits.

Side Note: What's up with the fit of those pants and that shirt on Rickie Fowler?

Anonymous said...

Oh, and....

Bond: You play a Slazinger 1, don't you?
Goldfinger: Yes, why?
Bond: This is a Slazinger 7. Here's my Penfold Hearts. You must have played the wrong ball somewhere on the 18th fairway... We are playing strict rules, so I'm afraid you lose the hole and the match.
[Goldfinger throws the golf ball to the ground in disgust]

Only thing I like as much as a good round of golf... is a good Bond movie!