I have long been interested in the subject of sartorial expression, although I’ve never thought of myself as a “fashion guy.” That has never really been my world. But, ever since my adolescent years, when I began to explore and carve out my own identity as an artist and a creative, I’ve cultivated my own point of view where fashion is concerned. I feel I was fortunate to not attend schools that required uniforms, because I believe my style experimentation was an important part of my journey — the hits, the misses, and all the shade I caught because of it were valuable. This process, for me, was never about trying to identify with a group. Instead, I was discovering who I was and what unique place I alone could occupy in the world.
“I have absolutely nothing against piccolos, but I am in no way interested in an orchestra composed entirely of piccolo players. That is a very boring concert. I have similar feelings about fashion.”
Actually finding clothes that fit me and my personal style has always been a challenge, however. Nothing about me, it seems, is average. Physically, I occupy a gray area between the top of normal size ranges and the bottom of Big & Tall offerings — a place where fashion is all but nonexistent. Of larger-than-average, Northern European, viking lineage, I have large feet for which tastemakers rarely make shoes. I have large hands and thick wrists that are near impossible to accessorize. I have a large head with a mass of thick hair that will not accommodate any kind of normal hat. Most long sleeves do not cover my arms and must always be rolled so as to not look thoroughly ridiculous, and a well-fitting pair of pants has proven to be something of a pipe dream for someone of my stature over the years. “One size fits all” almost always means “not for me.” And, let’s face facts here, not everything can be custom ordered — certainly not always at an affordable price. And, sure, options exist in this day and age to keep a guy like me from having to leave the house completely naked, but is it so unreasonable to ask for something a little more than this? Well, take this sizable (no pun intended) challenge, and add to it my off-the-beaten-path, personal taste; now we have a real challenge on our hands!
Look, I can appreciate some freshly pressed broadcloth, chinos, a blazer, and a pair of oxfords as much as the next bloke, but not all of us are button-the-top-button kinds of dudes — certainly not on the daily. In the word cloud of current men’s fashion chatter, terms that might float to the top of the conversation, it seems to me, would be things like TAILORED, and GINGHAM, and LAPELS, and FRENCH CUFFS, and POLO SHIRT, and WINDSOR KNOT, and other laced-up, high-gloss, hair-gelled fiffery. While there’s absolutely nothing wrong with all of that stuff, it seems grossly disproportionate, to me personally, to how much of my actual lifestyle all of that stuff occupies.
“Who is speaking out for the risk-takers, the rebels, and the renegades?”
I have to say, also, I take issue with how homogenized the current men’s ready-to-wear (RTW) fashion landscape is right now. Where are the fresh, unique points of view. Where are the outliers and the divergents? Where are the voices who have something interesting and different to say? Who is speaking out for the risk-takers, the rebels, and the renegades? These perspectives are not being well represented. I’m not saying they don’t exist at all, but we must do better. We must do better at breaking down the narrow silos of identity we’ve built within our culture to corral, categorize, divide, and identify. We need to broaden our appreciation and acceptance of the nuance and diversity within the human spectrum.
Now, I can tell you, I have absolutely nothing against piccolos, but I am in no way interested in an orchestra composed entirely of piccolo players. That is a very boring concert. I have similar feelings about fashion. I have scoured the web for men’s fashion bloggers, experts, and content leaders that might reflect some of my own taste and style, but, honestly, I’ve come up pretty dry. Mostly, I find a lot of people making narrow, blanket statements about what I should and should not wear, clearly not knowing the first thing about what works for my body or my personality. Don’t get me wrong, I think there are individuals out there doing great things with street style and whatnot in their space, and I am in full support of that. But, essentially, I’m seeing a gap in the men’s fashion blogosphere — a gap in which I find myself squarely residing.
“We must do better at breaking down the narrow silos of identity we’ve built within our culture to corral, categorize, divide, and identify.”
After returning recently from a bi-coastal shopping trip from Southern California to New York where I would have thought my clothing-for-purchase options would be much better than what I can find tucked away in my small, little corner of the globe, I found myself underwhelmed and overtaken by profound disappointment in the men’s clothing retail offerings of this country. Almost nothing was built for my body type, and nearly everything looked exactly the same, store after store, floor after floor. From what I saw, the tastemakers of today are making a poor, unimpressive showing. It made me feel strongly that I needed to raise my voice and let the industry know that there is demand for something different!
So I don’t know if anyone else is feeling like I am — perhaps I am an anomaly, and that would be fine — but, if any part of this resonates with you and you like anything you see, stick around. I make no claim to being on the cutting edge or forefront of fashion, but I will be sharing my thoughts, opinions, discoveries, and recommendations as they materialize throughout my personal style journey. Maybe some of this will prove to be of some value to some of you.
“There is demand for something different!”
I will be weighing in on trends I find interesting and worthwhile; promoting brands and designers that are offering value, diversity, and inclusivity; highlighting fashion pioneers, icons, and trendsetters who are doing positive things; and just throwing out random tips, ideas, and inspiration for you on your individual style journey. And if you have anything constructive to contribute to this conversation, by all means, I welcome your comments, suggestions, and interesting finds.