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David Gandy 1

It’s probably clear by now that I have a special place in my artist heart for fashion that is edgy, quirky, avant-garde, or unconventional. Still, if there is one thing I value more than innovation, it’s versatility, and though I love to see crazy geometric shapes or odd combinations of materials in fashion, I’m also a sucker for an outfit that dazzles with its simplicity or its flawless execution of a classic aesthetic. Plus, with the coming of warm weather, being able to strip down with style is a huge asset. So I want to take a moment to talk about 5 ways to KISS – Keep It Simple and Stylish.

1. Seek Out Quality Materials

Whether you’re wearing jeans and a t-shirt or a tailored suit, high quality fabrics and materials can make the most straightforward outfit look like a million bucks. Saint Laurent exemplifies the power of premium threads and classic style.

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Quality fabrics not only look better to the eye but they also tend to last much longer and rest on the body in a more flattering way. Bottega Veneta’s Spring/Summer 2014 campaign prominently features this magic combination of quality and simplicity.

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Of course, higher quality usually means higher prices. Still, an investment in a few top quality pieces may be worth your while, particularly if they have the next key trait.

2. Value Versatility

Sleek, basic wardrobe often works with any number of looks and can be dressed up or down. Lanvin’s Pre-Fall Lookbook makes this explicit as it brings formal and casual sensibilities together.

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Look for the pieces that will look good with anything.

3. Focus on Line and Shape

Simplicity in line and shape can also make a classic look captivating. I am loving Tom Ford’s Fall/Winter 2014 line, which is both elegant and sexy because of its classic lines and timeless style.

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Classic pieces can complement the body without a lot of ostentation, emphasizing the fundamental beauty of the male form.

4. Exude Ease and Comfort

Simple style that seems (and hopefully is) really comfortable, creates a relaxed and effortless air that is also incredibly sexy. To be fair, this is not wholly dependent on the outfit itself. It has a lot to do with how it is carried as well. David Gandy is a master of simple and sexy.

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Anyone else wondering what he’s carrying around in all dem bags?

Also, whoever styles Mr. Gandy is well aware of the fact that henley shirts look hot on just about anyone.

5. Give it Edge 

Sometimes what really makes a simple outfit rock is one minor twist. Valentino’s last few campaigns take basic concepts and give them a bit of edge with thoughtful details.

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Jeans and a tee with one eccentric accessory. A sleek suit with a pair of fly sneaks. A plain top with a quirky bottom. Or striking colors paired with classic cuts, as in Tom Ford’s Spring/Summer 2014 line.

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A word on Tom Ford. It’s no coincidence that he has come up twice. It was actually my recollection of the gorgeous style of his film A Single Man that inspired this article. I was as blown away by the aesthetic of the film as I was by its story.

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Ford’s brilliant film is a testament to the fact that simple, classic style when thoughtfully executed can make a huge impression.