I remember growing up wearing thrift shop jackets, graphic t-shirts from Walmart of Dick’s, and bootcut jeans that were too long and too big.
Then, as I entered college as a freshman (I am a junior now), something in my fashion tastes and preferences changed. I no longer found graphic tees and sweatpants appealing; rather, I was starting to get interested in monochromatic white sneakers, double monk strap dress shoes, collared shirts, chinos, suits, and a myriad of “fashionable” apparel.
With this change in style came a change in whom I was as a person, too. I no longer shopped at stores like Walmart, Kohl’s, and American Eagle (no offense to those who shop there.) Instead, stores like H&M, Zara, Topman, and Nordstrom started catching my eye. This led to a long journey of trying to define my personal “style” – buying clothes, returning them, trying new styles and material… the whole process. Now, I am truly comfortable with my style, which is focused around minimalism and versatility. The below pictures are a few of my fashion inspirations, but definitely not all of them (Lukas Scepanik, Tim Bryan, & Perkins Bien Aime, respectively pictured below).
Now, this post is not about my style evolution, instead, it is about what it is like being a huge men’s fashion advocate. As an advocate, I have noticed people interact with me differently; my interest in men’s fashion companies/magazines have been at an all-time high; my plans for my future after college have changed; I am very picky with my clothing, and I am searching the internet a lot more for inspiration.
When I say people interact with me differently, I mean in a positive way, but there are also instances that people react negatively to my style. Mostly, people compliment me by saying I “look wonderful today” or “have great style.” In fact, someone I recently met admitted she thought I was a professor at our university because I “dressed so nice.” These, as I previously stated, are positive remarks that make me feel good about myself. Although, there are times that people make me feel like I dress too nicely for college. Specifically, the first day of classes at my university, some guy kept staring at my double monk strap dress shoes like he has never seen something so odd in his life. This roller coaster of confidence in my dress style is something I experience with being a men’s fashion advocate.
The second thing I experience as a men’s fashion advocate is my interests in companies that are focused around men’s fashion, e.g., Mr. Porter, Gentleman’s Quarterly, and Real Men Real Style. Mr. Porter is a clothing company that sells high-quality clothing and makes YouTube videos focused on men’s fashion. Gentleman’s Quarterly is a magazine focused on men’s fashion and fashion news. Finally, Real Men Real Style is an online company that gives style tips for men and business tips. I personally enjoy each of them equally and check their sites out every chance I get.
As I previously stated earlier, my future plans for after college have changed because of my interest in men’s style. I previously was interested in teaching high school English, but then I realized that this career choice did not match my interests. Instead, I knew that I wanted to enter a career in public relations or editing for a fashion magazine. Now, I am aware that I must move to a big city if I want this career to happen, and I do have those very intentions once I graduate college. But, alas, if this is my passion I will pursue it by all means.
Since I have a particular style – minimalistic and versatile – I shop at specific stores that sell my “type” of clothing, like H&M, Zara, Topman, Nordstrom, and Uniqlo. The problem with this is that none of these stores are within 70 miles of where I live, so I must shop online and hope they fit, or make a trip to a city. This can get rather pricey with driving or paying for all that shipping, so I usually buy two to three complete outfits whenever I do one or the other. Moreover, these stores are not cheap so I may be spending $40 on just a collared shirt or $55 on a pair of jeans. What’s more, I like my clothes to fit me perfectly, and I will not settle for pants too long or shirts too baggy. From this, I tend to get my clothing tailored if they do not look “right” on me. Let me be the first to tell you, if you have never had an article of clothing tailored, you are missing out. Tailored clothing feel as if they were made solely for you, and once you try it you will never settle for less. Sure I have to pay a little extra for tailoring, but $8 to have pants hemmed and $15 for a shirt to be tapered is worth it in the end.
Finally, as a fashion advocate I am always looking for new inspiration to incorporate into my own wardrobe, and what better place than the internet? Since my newfound love for men’s fashion, I created a Pinterest and have subscribed to multiple YouTube accounts focused around men’s fashion. They are great resources if one ever wants to up their style game. And to be completely honest, I am not ashamed of using them either, I rather enjoy finding new inspirations on Pinterest and the people who post the videos on YouTube.
To sum, this change was not a small one like I thought it would be. I just thought I would dress nicer and that would be the end, but as I have just explained, there is a lot more to it than that.