Fuck #menswear on tumblr. It was fun at first; getting a glimpse into the various styles people rock across the world; now it’s just gone too far. We have boys and young men trying to emulate these ‘street style’ heroes. Every time GQ presents one of their stupid Style 101 pieces; they’re destroying any hope that young men will learn how to dress themselves. Remember: the point of the menswear movement is to empower ourselves by learning about clothing, discovering our personal style, and sharing it confidently with the world. Yet all we’ve done is go from listening to advertising agencies to tumblr style icons on how to dress ourselves. Here are 4 rules to start dressing yourself better as man.
1. Don’t look like a Mannequin
Who wouldn’t want to look like the guy in the ad for Barbour’s new fall collection? Seriously. Look at this collection, it’s amazing. Now, you could buy all of their clothes from top to bottom and you would be the most fashionable guy in the room. But here’s the thing, you’ll also be the biggest tool too. Whenever you buy into a brand’s lifestyle, or try to mimic someone else’s style you are effectively saying, “Hey Look at me! I have no personality!” You should have clothing that looks like it belongs on you. You don’t want the compliment “I like your jacket/scarf/jeans/shirt”. No, you want people to say “That outfit is definitely you./That looks like something you’d wear.”
2. Don’t read menswear magazines or look at the #menswear on tumblr
Reading any of that crap is a great way to make yourself feel either ugly or poor, which will then turn into you buying their shit to feel less ugly and less poor. Don’t do that. There’s a difference between teaching people how to dress and telling them what to wear. GQ says the brown suit is a ‘must have’ this fall? Who cares? Maybe you don’t like brown. Maybe you live in warmer climate where the brown suit wouldn’t make any sense. There’s no such thing as a ‘must have’ or a ‘must wear’. Wear clothing that enhances, but doesn’t define, your personality. This will be difficult for young men who haven’t ‘found themselves’ yet.
Here’s a list of shit you should stop reading and/or evangelizing:
- Gear Patrol
- A Continuous Lean
3. Who the fuck are you?
That’s a really cool navy-style bracelet you have, are you a sailor? No? Why the fuck are you wearing that.
Hey buddy, that’s a nice shooting jacket, does it help with the recoil when you go skeet shooting? Wait, you’ve never fired a gun?
Seriously, who are you? Don’t just tell me who are you, show me. Stop playing dress up and grow up. If you’re a simple guy at heart and only want to rock a t-shirt and jeans, do it. Rock the hell out of it. If you’re an extravagant man, don’t follow that BS rule that you should only “wear one interesting piece in an outfit”. Go crazy and make everything you wear interesting. Figure out who you are first, and buy clothes that fit your personality second.
Side rant: I want to punch every faux-lumberjack walking around Brooklyn in their stupidly cliché beards. Having an artisanal urban garden does not make you an outdoorsman.
4. Get a unique skill
Some people say hit the gym if you want to look better in clothes. Some people are fucking idiots too. Anyone can hit the gym. There’s nothing unique about exercising. If you want to look good in clothes then, as Liam Neeson would say, you need to “acquire a very particular set of skills”. Get a hobby and immerse yourself until you’ve mastered it. Even if it’s only a few hours a week, train yourself to be the best at something. When you start becoming extremely proficient at something in life, it will seep into your style.
For me it was boxing and hunting. I slaved away until I became really damn good at both. When I looked in the mirror one day I realized that everything I wore and bought borrowed from this unique skillset. When I wear suits, they’re always minimal and I don’t sport a tie. Nothing I wear impedes my movement or prevents me from throwing a jab. My blazers are waxed because it prevents rain and could easily withstand the outdoors. All of my gloves are fingerless because I prefer not wearing gloves while hunting with my compound bow.
I’m not you, and you’re not me. I’m not saying to become a hunter or a boxer. If you’re a chess master, I’d fucking lose my shit (in a good way) if you sported a pair of rook cuff links. If young men focus on improving themselves every day, bit by bit. If they focus on not only becoming better human beings, but treating – everyone- around them with respect and dignity, style will follow. Your style is a reflection of character. You can take shortcuts to great style, but never to great character.