A model-turned-stylist-turned-product developer, V76 founder and men’s grooming expert Vaughn Acord has been at the forefront of the fashion and beauty industries for decades. His list of celebrity clientele includes Bruce Springsteen, Daniel Day Lewis, Bill Clinton, Ashton Kutcher and Al Pacino so he knows a thing or two about style and grooming. Here, Acord shares his take on personal style and how it’s about more than the latest trends—it’s an attitude, a way of life and a form of self-expression.

V76 is all about the well-groomed man. What does being well-groomed mean to you?
A well-groomed man is someone who has thought about the details. He dots the i’s and crosses the t’s. He notices the little things. He knows what his complexion is, what his nails look like. He knows that the definition of ‘groomed’ goes beyond physical appearance.

How do you define style?
Style comes from the inside as well as the outside. A man of style is someone who can change things up. He can look good in the country or in the city. A big part of the V76 brand is the yin and the yang—being able to play both the casual and the dressed-up side. The way you look is the key to confidence. That confidence is what a man of style is all about.

Any tips on how a guy can improve his sense of style?
Men want to look like they own it, like they did it without too much effort. To get there, sometimes guys need advice, a professional to set them up and give an objective point of view. It’s important to know what your hair looks like without any product—what’s the shape, the balance of it versus your body weight and structure.

What is your approach to grooming?
My approach is to address who’s sitting in my chair. What’s the vibe I get from this person? Talk to him—what does he do, what does he want to look like? Then attack and deal with what’s necessary. It could be little things—adjusting a sideburn, getting rid of a beard or letting hair grow out a bit.

What are the style and grooming essentials every guy should have?
All guys should have a nail clipper, a nail brush, toothbrush, floss and a good deodorant. It really helps to have a magnifying mirror to have the ability to look close—[to see] a detail around your sideburns, around your ears. A facial moisturizer is important in the evening before you go to bed and almost all men need some kind of product in their hair. Also, a couple of belts—something about a cool belt is strong—and shoes that are well taken care of.

What are some current trends for men?
Short back and sides are continuing to trend with variety on the top. Usually it’s the crown or the top part of hair that can be long, short, spiky or parted. That’s where the personality happens. Hair has been moving forward a little, as opposed to getting slicked back, and getting longer.

What are some classic looks for men, looks that never go out of style?
Steve McQueen’s cropped cut or Elvis’ pompadour are classic looks that will never go out of style. Well-cut short Afros will also never go out of style.

How has modern masculinity changed since you first started in the business? Is it more acceptable for men to care about their appearances now?
More than ever before and it’s exciting to me. There are still parts of America where guys refrain from pampering themselves but to have lived through and seen all of this change where people want to look their best—and it’s acceptable—is a beautiful thing. Today, people want to look great and it’s wonderful.