Our latest installment of style advice for Essential Style for Men (ESM).  This month we cover how to find your personal style in a few simple steps.

For this installment of Image Granted, ESM’s resident style expert explores his ideas about how someone can go about finding his (or her) personal style in 3 easy steps.

1. Know the style you have

Knowing who and what you are is the first step in assessing your style today and what will it become tomorrow.

All of us go through changes in life. Career moves, climbing the social ladder, and puberty—albeit some later than others. Maybe you spend your days hiking and your nights around campfires. Or you may spend your days in an office and attending Broadway shows at night.

Every man’s path is different.

However, we all start in the same place–looking in the mirror everyday when we wake up.

All men fit into one of several style categories whether he knows it or not. Today one may fit one of these categories. The next he may fit another.

Over time most men will gravitate toward one or the other on a consistent basis.

Classic – This is a man who dresses in a traditional and classic way and has the air of a gentleman. Celebrities with this style include George Clooney, Peter Jennings, and Tony Blair.

Dramatic – This is a man who is confident, independent, and likes to get noticed. A peacock of a man. Celebrities with this style include Boy George, Dennis Rodman, and Mick Jagger.

Elegant – This is a man of grace, mystery, and extremely fine taste – a man of discrimination and distinction. Celebrities with this style include James Bond and NBC news anchor Brian Williams.

Natural – This is a man who is at ease in many situations. He feels like a good friend, very genuine and sincere.  Celebrities with this style include Chef Emeril Lagasse, Apple CEO Steve Jobs, and Al Roker.

Romantic/Alluring - This is a man with sex appeal.  Celebrities with this style include Fabio, John Travolta, and Leonardo DeCaprio.

Sporty/Rustic – This is a man close to the earth, who likes the outdoors and enjoys sports and nature. Famous personalities that reflect this style include crocodile hunter Steve Irwin, the MarlboroMan, and Indiana Jones.

2. Know the style you want to have

Knowing your current style is is half the battle.

The rest is knowing—or at least having guess—at what your style will evolve into in the future. As a young man you may start out as sporty/rustic, but as your taste in culture, food, women, etc. change you may evolve into a romantic.

As you go through life you will come across men whom you admire or think to yourself “I think I could pull that off one day”.

Don’t ignore that thought. Instead, use it as a guide to build your style over time.

The most stylish men in the world didn’t start out that way. They learned, they matured, they made mistakes and eventually found what they think is the best style for them. That may not be the same style they had several years ago.

So, no matter what yours style is now, rest assured it could and should change in the future.

3. Know how to get there

The final piece of the puzzle is to know where, when, and how to acquire the necessary wares for improving your style.

Don’t have a tailor now? Find one. Don’t know where to shop? Ask around. Don’t own a shoe shine kit? Get one.

Many men think that becoming and/or being stylish costs a lot of money. Well, it can—but it doesn’t have to.

Some of the best dressed men I know shop at thrift stores, wear second hand clothing, and rarely spend over $100 on a purchase.

Could they be better dressed? Probably. Could they be more stylish? Not if they are comfortable with whom they are.

Style isn’t about the cost. It’s about the effort.

Read, listen, and watch men—and women—who have the knowledge and resources for style.

Knowledge is free—most of it anyway—and it’s the best way to gain access to the proper resources which may end up saving you money over time.