Creating a Stylish & Personal Study

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When I think about the various elements of personal style, my thoughts do not stop at the wardrobe door.  As I have said many times before and will continue to say, style is not just about clothes.  Anyone can buy nice clothes and walk down the street.  That’s not necessarily style – it’s fashion.  Personal style encompasses your entire personality; what do you value, what interests you, where have you been and where do you want to go? One place where that all comes together is your study or library.

I have always wanted my own study.  Growing up in a large family, I didn’t really have much personal space.  So what I craved from a young age was my own room laid out the way I wanted; not a bedroom – a study.  I would have all my stuff in there – books, pictures, collections, etc.  It would be my personal place.

I think every man should have a study of some sort, be it a room to yourself or just an empty corner ready for a desk and bookcase.  Equally important is how you fit it out.  When we moved into our house several years ago, I claimed a spare bedroom as my study and slowly transformed it into the place I always wanted.  I have a wall of bookshelves, an antique desk, and a wall filled with family pictures and art ranging from classic hunt scenes to modern abstract.

If you have the space, I suggest you think about creating your own study.  One of the first tasks at hand is to gather all the things you have that are inspiring to you.  This is a great way to actually see all the books, magazines, pictures, collections, and ephemera that make you feel at home.

When all these special and personal items are in one place, a mere room begins to transform itself into a sanctuary.  Design the room so that it matches your personality; are you a modernist, clean and sparse, or anglophile, with lots of Persian rugs and mahogany?  Truth be told, if I had a big budget and enough room, my ideal study would look very much like a Rugby store.  I’m a sucker for classic Anglo/American style though, so that should come as no surprise.

In addition to your books, magazines, and newspapers, I think all studies should include a nice collection of pens, good writing paper (engraved with your monogram if you can afford it), Moleskine notebooks, and several lamps.  To me, indirect lighting makes a big difference when it comes to the general feel of a room; creates better atmosphere.  A nice leather lounge chair, or better yet an old leather sofa, provides a place to work or read.

If you are so inclined, a little table stocked with a good selection of scotches and bourbons is an indulgent touch.  Add a humidor and a bowl of match books collected from your travels and you, sir, are in heaven (or at least my version).


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Chris Hogan, an association executive based in Washington, D.C., blogs at OffTheCuffDC.com. A lifelong interest in style and clothing led to sales and management positions at several Ralph Lauren stores and an active wardrobe consulting practice