As writers on one of, if not THE top men’s fashion websites, we sit here on the other side of the inter-web and wax lyrical about all things fashionable and stylish. From duffle coats to colourful socks, brogues to bags, shopping techniques to fashion debates, we cover pretty much everything the aspiring gentleman might need to dress well and understand his own look.
But as with everything done through a wire and backlit screen, physical and visual contact is almost non-existent (unless some of you dirty buggers have been conversing over chat-roulette). On the Internet, it is very easy to be an ‘expert’ on almost anything. I could very well be a slovenly oaf with a face like a troll and absolutely no style credentials whatsoever, but I have still spent the last two plus years writing articles that profess otherwise.
As regular readers of this site, I assume there is a certain level of trust between us that allows you to follow our advice and suggestions without really having to worry that we’re sending you down the wrong path.
With this in mind, I believe it’s important to take a leaf out of the conservative party spin doctor’s note book and follow their beleaguered, out of touch and incompetent leader in a bit of community connection. I want to prove that I’m not just some posh boy from Eton – no, sorry, that’s Dave.
I want to share with you some of my own personal New Year’s style resolutions for 2013. Because, short of revealing my hideous troll face to you all in some ghastly pictures, this is probably the easiest way of proving that I’m not completely incapable when it comes to fashion.
Sadly, many of my resolutions require money. And unfortunately, shops don’t accept the cobwebs and dust that are currently taking up space in my bank account. However, I have got an entire year to work my way through these resolutions and after graduating I will have a proper job that pays me slightly more than minimum wage.
First on my list is a good pair of Chelsea boots, and I can picture the perfect pair in my mind: mid-brown, slightly thicker leather sole and black inserts. I’ll wear them with indigo jeans, any number of Oxford or plaid shirts and polos, some good knitwear and my navy peacoat.
I haven’t found them yet, but I will.
We have covered the Chelsea boot a lot recently so I won’t go into detail but suffice to say they are a fantastic, versatile boot. Not quite as formal as a brogue and not as casual as a desert boot, they feature clean lines, simple features and a masculine edge. They are a great addition to any man’s wardrobe.
As much as I’m aware that these are not everyone’s cup of tea, I just can’t get them out of my head. Perhaps it is because I live in one of Britain’s hipster capitals but I always find myself drawn to them; they catch my eye from miles away and I must confess I briefly followed a chap the other day whilst trying to decipher what shoes he was wearing – don’t worry, it didn’t take me away from my destination, he was walking in the same direction. I’m not that weird.
As with the Chelsea boot, I am yet to find the perfect pair and I shall not be parting with my hard earned cobwebs and dust until I do, but so far the search has thrown up some interesting contenders.
The most important thing with trainers is to ensure you aren’t trying to make them something they clearly are not – they should be seen as a statement, an item used in a casual outfit to give it that extra shot of individuality. Whether that is because they just work so well within a look or because they flash some colour is entirely up to you, but it should be a very deliberate choice.
I’ll be wearing them with my skinny jeans, varsity jacket or plaid overshirt and tees. Nothing crazy, nothing difficult, just comfortable and casual and a touch more fashionable than usual.
So far it would appear that all my New Year’s resolutions are to spend more money. I’m not entirely sure just how successful this will all be. Still, it’s good to have goals (or dreams), so I shall press on.
I’m a firm believer in the idea that your first leather jacket should be a proper investment piece. It’s the kind of thing that will stay with you for years and years and only get better with age, eventually becoming totally unique to you.
Unless you are particularly lucky, it will probably take you a very long time to find your perfect jacket. It’s definitely worth shopping around, but don’t just look at the high street – investigate independent leather merchants, vintage shops and eBay – there are some real gems to be had if you look hard enough and you might just find a jacket with a little something extra.
When I finally discover my soul mate I’ll be wearing it with jeans, plain tees and desert boots, or maybe even my Chelsea boots (if I’ve found them by then).
Starting to plan exactly what I needed and wanted to buy was one of the best changes I have made regarding my shopping habits. I’ve saved myself a lot of money, a lot of time and a great deal of stress simply by having a clear idea of what I’m looking for.
I’m not averse to having a browse around the shops but I find the act of sifting through the mountains of unsuitable clothes that pervade most stores to be quite tiresome. Sadly, a shop that caters for specifically my style hasn’t yet been created. I don’t imagine it will be too long now though.
If I’ve already had a look online, I can get a good idea of what each brand has to offer me and roughly how much I’m going to spend. Then I can go into a store, find what I want, have a quick look around at alternatives and then get out before the masses become too unbearable.
This method of shopping also requires you to have a definitive idea of what your style is and how it needs to progress – I don’t buy things that simply catch my eye, because I don’t want anything that I can only wear with a couple of other things in my wardrobe. I don’t want any new purchase sitting around not being worn; it’s just a waste of money.
This one is closely linked to the last resolution and it is equally important in the creation of my look and getting the maximum out of my wardrobe.
As you may have gathered, I cannot afford to go splashing my money around all the time, so I need to make the very most of the clothes that I already own.
Thankfully, my wardrobe has a reasonable selection of basic items that I can mix and match to create my looks. This means it doesn’t take a lot of forward thinking to produce a look that works, suits my current style and that doesn’t look exactly the same as the outfit I wore the day before.
Working in this way means I’m less inclined to spend my money and it tests my styling abilities. The only way you get better at putting together outfits is to try new combinations and see what works. This is something I want to do more and more as time goes on. I’ve started to wear new outfits but I’ve still got some way to go – I think my current wardrobe has a lot more to give.
At this particularly festive time of year, with bellies full, livers pickled and the very dregs of society seemingly reverting to animalistic aggression and violence in shopping centres up and down the country, it is always worth taking some time out to reflect, not just on your style but on your life as a whole.
The above resolutions are simply my individual take but yours could be something completely different. I’m sure I could extend my list a lot further but for the purposes of this article, I think I’ve done enough.
Just remember, a resolution is for the whole year, don’t give up on it after two weeks – you never know how things might turn out.
But now let’s hear what you’ve got to say. Have you got any New Year’s resolutions?
Let me know in the comments section below…