Member Focus: Leanderthal

This week, we feature another relative newcomer to Styleforum: Leanderthal, who can be found most often in the Classic Menswear WAYWT thread. In this installment, Leanderthal talks about inspiration, hobbies, and growing up – but more importantly, about why menswear is such an impactful part of his life.

I grew up in a small rural community in the central United States. I was raised in a log cabin, deep in the middle of the woods, and led a mostly simple and sheltered life. I first became enamored with men’s clothing after watching Fight Club for the first time. I became obsessed with Brad Pitt’s character, Tyler Durden, and I wanted whatever the look was that he possessed: his bad-ass attitude and his vintage red leather jacket. Mostly that jacket though. But other than hoarding GQ magazines, I mostly chalked my ambitions up to a pipe dream. It didn’t seem realistic to pursue them, largely due to my roots and my up-bringing. It didn’t fit into my life, and I had no idea how I would even get involved in something like that anyway.

So instead, when I was of age, I enlisted in the United States military and eventually forgot about whatever it was that I thought I wanted to do in menswear…until about two years ago. Fast forward a decade. I found myself still serving, and while I was proud of what I had achieved, I hated the work that I did. I had become addicted to alcohol, and it seemed like my life was falling apart all around me. I was swinging at air, trying to keep my head afloat. It finally dawned on me that I had to stop drinking, and that I had to get my life in order, so in 2015 I admitted myself to treatment. I got sober, and I’ve stayed sober thankfully. But I found myself yearning for something; something that I didn’t have, but I didn’t know what it was. I had devoted most of my previous time to drinking and work, and I realized that I had no hobbies, and very few friends. I needed to find something for myself. I needed something that made me feel like I had a purpose, to fill the void I had dug myself into.

Then, one day, I was rummaging through my closet trying to find something appropriate to wear to church. In all of my drunken stupor, my wardrobe had fallen by the wayside, and I really didn’t have much to choose from. I was complaining to myself because apart from a few boots and tennis shoes, I really didn’t have any footwear other than a pair of black, square-toed derbies, which I hated. I decided that I needed to go shoe shopping. So, like any wise person, I turned to the internet to begin my search! Almost immediately I was overwhelmed with endless amounts of brands, opinions, and options. I had no idea what to look for or where to start. So I just started to read everything. I read all day that day at work about everything shoe-related that I could find. And I enjoyed it. I loved it! All those little dreams and fantasies that I had when I was a young adolescent started to resurface, and for the first time since I could remember, I became excited.

I decided that I wouldn’t buy a new pair of shoes, but that I would instead begin to build a wardrobe. A wardrobe that I wanted. I discovered websites like and Styleforum. I started watching how guys were dressing, and noted what I liked. At first I thought that I should build a formidable wardrobe of modest staple items. Things like a charcoal suit and cap toed shoes. But before I could even make a purchase, I started to become bored with the idea. I really didn’t need a charcoal suit. I worked a uniformed job, and apart from an occasional wedding or funeral, I had nowhere to wear a suit to.

I wanted to dress like the guys I was seeing on threads and in magazines. I wanted to wear what I wanted to wear, how I imagined it. I wanted to dress how I was feeling. I wanted to wear colors, and textures, and unique pieces. So, that’s what I started to do. It took me awhile to come out of my shell. I was scared of what people on the internet would think if I posted a picture of something I was wearing and they didn’t like it. It meant putting myself out there. I really didn’t know what I was doing. I was just trying new things every time, things that I liked. And I still am. What has changed is my confidence.

I still consider myself just a novice menswear enthusiast. Every day I am trying something new and experimenting. If I see something I like or that inspires me, I try it. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. I get critiqued, and I get complimented. But it really doesn’t matter to me either way. I am doing something that I take great pleasure in and that makes me happy. And every day and every ensemble is new and fun. Even if I don’t get it right! It’s always an experience that I love. My confidence has sky-rocketed since I started dressing how I like and how I see myself dressing.

Working a uniformed job gives me the freedom to dress as I please when I am not at my place of work, something I find very unique and that I am grateful for. Menswear has also filled that void that I once had in my life – that void that I used to fill with alcohol and depression. It has kept me alive, in a sense. Because of everything that has happened in my life in two short years, I have decided that it is fitting for me to change my choice of career. At the end of this year I will be discharging from the service, at which point I will go on to finish my bachelors in Fashion Design and Merchandising and begin my MBA. This is a whole new world for me, and I am ecstatic to be stepping into it.

You can follow @Leanderthal on Instagram @ollisleander

Member Focus: Diplomatic Ties

Styleforum member Diplomatic Ties is, as you may expect, a fan of fine neckwear. However, he has more valuable insight to share than just how to pick your next tie. Here, he talks about growing up, finding your own style, and how to feel good in what you’re wearing.

I don’t come from a background where ties were common. In my family, no one had a job where you needed to wear a tie. Ties were just a very uncomfortable piece of clothing to be worn on big occasions: weddings, funerals, graduations. When I finished University and started out on what resembles a career, the tie was something I first struggled to get used to. Which ties to buy, which fabrics, how to match them, different knots, shirt collars. But I gradually became fascinated. How this seemingly redundant slice of fabric dangling over your belly became such an important social, cultural and, yes, even class (in every sense of the word) marker. As a man with an interest in fashion and color, the tie quickly became a part of my identity, a way of expression. Today I have quite a substantial collection and I am very protective of them.

I’m not going to pretend that it has any fundamental meaning for me or that there are it holds a number of hidden emotional layers. But clothes are often more significant than we want to admit. When I get dressed in the morning, I adjust my personality just a little bit to become the professional version of myself. In my teens I was involved in several sports, mainly basketball, and I still remember the feeling when you put on your team’s jersey. You suddenly represented something a little bit larger than yourself. Getting dressed for work is a bit like that.

The adjustment (transformation is too strong a word, I’m not “A Single Man”) from the leisure me to the professional me is strongly connected to the tie. Children often like to dot their i’s with something a little fancier than just an ordinary dot, like a heart or a smiley. When I put my tie on in the morning it is much like dotting the i, the final part of the puzzle, and I feel it should be done with a little flair. Without a great tie the flair is gone.

My interest in ties lead to me having a rather odd wardrobe for a while where my ties were usually much nicer than the rest of my clothes. It took years for me to find some sort of balance. That is also when the idea of the blog Diplomatic Ties started. My wife is a talented photographer and she agreed to take pictures because it showcased some of her skills too (I’m not sure that she would have signed up for it had she known how long it would go on…). I wouldn’t say that my family necessarily supports my hobby, but I’m tolerated as long as I don’t plunge us into financial ruin. But when you have children in their teens, ‘tolerated’ is pretty much the best a parent can hope for anyway.

When I started building a wardrobe, I was often insecure and followed whatever “rules” I could find. But I have learned to let that go. Being in your 40’s and at the same time having an interest in fashion can sometimes be tricky. In menswear you can always play safe and go classic but that can also be boring and restrictive. You can also find these restrictions in both ends of the fashion spectrum. You will realize that a relaxed surfer look might look sad and pathetic on a middle aged, slightly overweight man. But it can be equally pathetic to try and fail to pull off a Panama with a linen suit and suede loafers.

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I have no perfect remedies. I have certainly looked both pathetic and stupid many times in my life and I am sure that it will happen many times in the future as well. My love for streetwear, sneakers and bucket hats are probably the biggest risk factors. The question is: should one care about that? The simple answer is no. Just go for it. Clothes generally look good when they fit well and the person wearing them feels comfortable and confident. Then you can pull off almost anything. When you start dressing to please others or to conform to some perceived standard or norm, that’s usually when it goes horribly wrong. There will certainly be days when you look in the mirror and realize that your fashion sense let you down and you actually do look like a fool, but you need to take that in your stride, learn from it, embrace it and move on. Shame has no place in fashion.

You can find more Diplomatic Ties at

Member Focus: Beepbop

Beepbop may be new to Styleforum – or at least to posting here – but he’s already proven to know his way around some of Streetwear & Denim’s favorite designers. With a taste for patchwork and embroidery, he’s brought some welcome color and quirk to the What Are You Wearing? thread.

I got my start in fashion on /r/malefashionadvice on reddit. I had just started college, and I figured that I should probably move on from the oversized polos, and baggy Costco jeans that I had been accustomed to. I spent all of my time in class reading threads about the best Red Wing Iron Rangers alternative and the most timeless oxford cloth button downs. It is still a great community for people who are new to fashion, but I wanted more. I remember someone mentioning StyleForum on MFA, and I spent a year or two lurking without an account and accessing my favorite threads via a bookmarks folder.

It was shocking just how many different styles were represented in both the CM and SW&D forums, and I was honestly feeling a little overwhelmed. Everyone looked really cool and comfortable in what they were wearing, but I had no idea how I could translate what I was seeing into what I was wearing. I had limited access to any of the “cool” brands, and I had a tough time buying clothing sight unseen. I actually ended up spending all of my money on shoes, and my outfits at the time were probably best described as JCrew, Uniqlo, and moderately priced shoes.

beepbop member focus beepbop styleforum

The jump from taking what I was seeing and actually wearing it didn’t really happen until I saw the Dries Van Noten FW16 show. The patterns were bright and bold, some of the cuts were slightly unconventional, but it all felt so wearable. To me, that collection was as much about the restraint shown in the design as it was about the embellishment. I was enamored with Dries’ masterful use of pattern and color, and it was abundantly clear that a ton of thought had gone into the design of each garment. I actually ended up buying quite a few pieces from that collection, and wearing it made all of the difference. The fabrics draped beautifully, the details were great, and it was so much fun wearing the clothing.

I work in a pretty casual environment, so that gives me a lot of flexibility with regards to my dress. I enjoy finding new brands, and trying to put them together in ways that are a little different from the norm. These days, I’ve mostly been playing with mixing pattern and embroidery using some pieces from By Walid and Dries Van Noten. It’s been a lot of fun experimenting, and I’m not sure if I will ever resign myself to a specific “genre” of clothing, since trying new things, failing, and then finally getting it right-ish is the most fun you can have with your clothes on.

Member Focus: Mr. Six

Mr. Six: impeccably dressed, impressively erudite, and friendly to boot. Although many of us might claim to be all three, it’s perhaps rarer than we’d like to admit. This week, a star of the Classic Menswear WAYWT thread shares a bit about his ongoing sartorial journey.

I have a theory – probably wrong – that most families have a “thing.” Members of the family know about the thing, and it’s a regular topic of conversation, even if they aren’t all experts and aren’t quite sure how they gained the knowledge. In my family the thing is art. My father has an MFA. When I was a kid, he painted and made pottery, when he wasn’t teaching middle school or running long distances. My mother loves East Asian arts and crafts and collects what she can: vintage kimono, netsuke, paper. She loves textiles. For a while when I was a kid, she hand-dyed different kinds of yarns and had a small team of old ladies knitting custom pieces for her to sell. Color, texture, materials, composition, art history—these are things I know a little and think about, even if I can’t draw a line.

When I was a teenager, that thing was (perhaps unexpectedly) partly what attracted me to punk. A multi-faceted subculture; the use of attire as a means of expression appealed to me, among other things it had to offer. It provided a means for me to say outwardly, without speaking a word, what I felt inside. I don’t mean to insert a level of depth to my teenage beliefs that probably wasn’t there. But I wanted to say something, and the punk style of the 80’s was a way for me to do it.

Between those two influences, an interest in mens clothing was possibly overdetermined. Nevertheless, I spent a long time in my 20s and 30s not really being able to figure out what I was comfortable wearing and what fit me well. During that period, I also went to law school and found myself with an obligation to dress professionally, for which I was only minimally prepared. I did the best I could and considered myself well-dressed compared to those around me, even if I had no formal rubric for judgment or comparison.

As I made my way across the internet, I somehow landed at Styleforum and started reading. At first I didn’t think much about all there was to learn about classical mens clothing. But I didn’t turn away, either. Eventually I found that I was beginning to understand something about the history of these clothes that I had to wear for work, how they were supposed to fit, what was good and bad, and all the options available. Then I began to be able to discern what I liked and didn’t like. The end of the beginning was reaching that place where so many forum members find themselves: I looked in my closet and didn’t like anything I saw there. So, I started to rebuild.

At first, I added pieces from various affiliates and sources discussed on the forum that I thought I’d like and also wouldn’t cost too much, since I knew I was in a period of transition. Those additions provided a basis to begin to refine a sense of what I liked, to understand better how to combine pieces, and what would fit me well. I began to evaluate MTM options, mostly so that I could select exactly the fabrics that I wanted. I was fortunate that a few things happened around that time. Steed began offering MTM and traveling to the San Francisco, Greg opened No Man Walks Alone, and previously difficult to access makers like Vass and Cappelli became reachable by the web or email.

I should mention that the Good Taste Thread, Vox’s Coherent Combinations (even if he now occasionally mocks it on Twitter), the Unfunded Liabilities thread, the threads about bespoke adventures in Italy and bespeaking generally, and older discussions of cloth selection, levels of formality, the function of fabrics, combining pattern and texture, and history were all incredibly helpful. Greg’s curation didn’t hurt either. Through that knowledge and a lot of careful consideration, I completely rebuilt my dress wardrobe with a combination of British-influenced and Italian tailoring and now continue to refine it. At some point I felt I was doing well enough that I could share some pictures with the community, which it seemed like was the right thing to do in light of how much others’ had helped me.

Since I mostly only post pictures of jacket and tie or suits, it might surprise people to know that I actually have maybe 2.5 wardrobes. I wear suits and appropriate accompaniments for formal-ish, client-facing work. I wear sport coats with ties for less formal meetings with clients and without ties for days in the office, where our dress code is pretty casual (recently changing to Silicon Valley casual). And when I’m not at work, I wear streetwear, which is comfortable and fits well but never seems interesting enough to anyone else to bother posting pictures. I’ve also gained a lot from reading the SW&D forum.

I’m still learning and still enjoying seeing what others post, here and on IG. I’ve made a number of StyleFriends (to steal a jcmeyers-ism), some of whom I’ve never met in person but enjoy chatting with, even about things non-sartorial. I continue to fill in gaps in my wardrobe and realize that there are new things that I want. As deliberate as I’ve been about this hobby, I’m sure I’ll be surprised about the next stage. And I did recently commission my first fully bespoke suit.

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Member Focus: Roycru

Styleforum, meet the legendary Roycru. He’s well-known in the Classic Menswear WAYWT thread for his classic American style that has remained largely unchanged since the 60’s, as well as for his photos of trains. Here, he talks about receiving compliments, and about his own enduring style.

We have all received compliments on what we are wearing from totally random people on the street. People often say things like “nice vintage clothes” to me. I always thank them and then mention the clothes I am wearing were new when I got them.

I am still wearing clothes I got at Brooks Brothers in the sixties and seventies. The only alterations that have been needed were shortening the trousers two inches as my discs degenerated and patching some holes in the linings and a few other places.

A good example is the brown herringbone tweed suit I got at the Brooks Brothers store on Post and Grant in San Francisco in the fall of 1965 when I was working for the Santa Fe Railway in San Francisco.

The first picture was taken in a photo booth in 1965 shortly after I got the suit. At that time, I usually wore the suit with a yellow OCBD shirt and a green challis tie as in this picture.

The second picture was taken on the train in February 1969 during one of the the two times I tried to grow a mustache. Both times it ended up the same way, getting partly shaved off while I was shaving on the train and the train hit a low rail joint at high speed so I had to shave the rest of it off.

The third picture was taken buying a Dundee Cake in December 2012 before I had the trousers shortened two inches. (Yes, I am wearing a Gryffindor tie). The fourth picture was taken getting on a train in December 2016.

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The picture above is a recent picture of the hat I wore with this suit the sixties. At the time I had two hats (both of which I still have). One was the Brooks Brothers University Shop grey hat in this picture I got in 1962. Stetson has recently made a very similar hat which they call “Ivy League.”

Below is the straw hat I got at Brooks Brothers in 1965. This picture was taken in August 2013. I am wearing a blue blazer I got at Brooks Brothers in that wonderful pre-“Official Preppy Handbook” era when no one imagined polyester was evil. The OPH ruined everything after 1980 because some people didn’t know it was a humor book and thought it was a fashion book, an error nearly as serious as not knowing “To Serve Man” was a cookbook.

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Finally, here is a page from a Brooks Brothers catalog showing this same blazer:

member focus roycru styleforum

The modern wonder of the internet (particularly groups like Styleforum) lets us see what people all over the world are wearing. I like seeing what other people are wearing and also seeing (in some people’s pictures) what it looks like in other places. The modern wonder of the internet also lets people easily share knowledge. I have found vast amounts of useful information on Styleforum.

The large number of people who post on Styleforum although English is not their first language is particularly impressive to me.

Styleforum is my favorite online men’s style group.

Member Focus: Stanley van Buren

One of the more (in)famous Styleforum posters, Stanley van Buren is perhaps best-known for his over-the-top photography and dedication to the true art of the Styleforum WAYWT photo. Inspirations for his pictures have ranged from film noir to B-Movie action flicks, and in all cases, he and his wife have made a strong argument for both the usefulness of WAYWT and for the plumbing of its artistic depths. We asked him to talk a little bit about himself – which he did, grudgingly.


“Lookin like u jus smoked a blunt n ****** a **** up da **** while watchin Gone Wit Da Wind *** ****” –tcwalter07

Do you remember thumb comments? I remember thumb comments. The above quote was one that I received from the most well-known thumb commenter, tcwalter07, who may also be one of the best success stories of Styleforum’s streetwear & denim forum (though that came later). That quote was printed out and framed along with the photo it was referencing and the whole thing was given to me as a gift at Christmas in front of my family. There was some censoring of a couple letters here and there, and yet I’m pretty sure my parents were still able to work out what the words were. Hopefully it’s reproduced in all its glory here, since Jasper [Styleforum’s editor] specifically told me “No restrictions on content or anything,” words which I was intent on making him regret and so here we are.

If you don’t know what I’m talking about, a few years ago, Styleforum switched platforms and the new software had, for the first time, a ratings system for individual posts. One could give a post a “thumbs up” and then the post would show a count of the number of “thumbs” received. Similar to likes on any other social platform, but there was one wrinkle: before the “thumb” was submitted, there was a mandatory field that popped up asking for a comment to be added. There was a character limit, so the message had to be short, and it was possible to leave no comment at all but the option was always presented. For whatever reason, the members of the streetwear & denim forum were light years ahead in taking advantage of this feature. And, in particular, there was tcwalter07.

Around that time, I had a new girlfriend. She is now my wife. For a span of maybe 6 months to a year, we spent a considerable amount of effort to post photos almost entirely just to see what kind of comments we got in the thumbs section (and of course, in particular from tcwalter07). There was also Miran, but that’s another story. Yes, I was already into clothes. Yes, she was already into photography. But now we had found a way to combine the two interests and get some great entertainment out of the feedback from the forum. Shooting photos for styleforum was something we bonded over and had an absolute blast doing, and still do to this day.

It helped that I had already started to establish myself on the forums around that time. I had made the sensible decision, as any member of my generation would do when faced with a desire to gain some sense of style; I had subjected myself to trolls on the internet and let them ridicule me until by process of elimination I had arrived at a respectable wardrobe. I began the transition from a law student in baggy suits to some kind of respectable attorney, or at least, one whose clothes fit. So using that, and whatever else we could get our hands on, we told stories. Stories that involved plaid pants and vintage Fiats and explosions (I was specifically told to talk about the explosions). We took weekend trips out to Palm Springs or up the 395 and would always try to fit in a quick photo shoot if one of us had a good idea (which was and still usually is her).

At some point the “thumb comment” feature was turned off. There were several of us who were quite upset. Dozens, even. Then, everyone got used to being able to thumb a post in one click instead of two, so when, years later, the feature was brought back, most saw it as an inconvenient and unnecessary second click, and few took advantage of the option to leave a comment at that point. Few remembered how thumb comments had been used as an art form in the past. But my wife and me? We’re coming up on five years of marriage this December. We remember thumb comments.

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Member Focus: Mossrockss

Styleforum member @mossrockss is probably best-known for always looking good in a blazer in jeans. He exists in the very nonchalant space between East Coast Ivy and Neapolitan tailoring, and is as popular on Styleforum for being A Very Nice Guy as he is for his well-considered outfits. Here, he talks about the three pillars of his personal style, and what took him to where he is now.

The Three Pillars of My Style

The first pillar is advice I read in 2007 or 8 in Glenn O’Brien’s Style Guy column in GQ. A reader had asked whether he should wear his trench coat in his car—will it cause undue wear and tear? What does Glenn O’Brien do? Glenn memorably replied that he generally let his car’s highly engineered climate control do its job, but as to whether the reader should be concerned about wear and tear, he replied, “Don’t worry about your coat, it was made for the trenches.”

Wear your clothes. This is foundational to me because I can’t afford to buy and own things I don’t actually wear. I recently posted a picture of myself holding a baby sea turtle on the beach in Mexico, about to release it into the bay, wearing a white Eidos polo. Someone told me, “that shirt is much too nice to be wearing on the beach!”

Forget that. Clothes are meant to be worn. Wear them.

The second pillar is a feeling I had shortly after starting to wear tailored clothes, around 2012 or 2013. I thought something along the lines of “I just want a blazer I can wear dressed down, with jeans and stuff.” I wanted to dress well, in tailored jackets because they make me look better, but without coming across as fussy. The reason I felt like my jackets looked out of place – too “dressed up,” too “put on,” that they were “trying too hard” – was shoulder padding. I had bought a Brooks Brothers navy blazer in the “Regent” cut and tried to dress it down, but I always felt self-conscious wearing it casually. It was those shoulder pads! I saw pic after pic of the knocked-down, natural, pad-free (but not necessarily wadding-free!) Neapolitan style from @whnay, @voxsartoria, @maomao, and others, and I knew that’s what I wanted.

This is why every sportcoat in my wardrobe is now Eidos—soft-shouldered, slightly casual, Neapolitan in heritage, at a price point I can swallow – in textured, unique, fantastic fabrics. And of course it is paramount that the fit on me is perfect like lamb and tuna fish (what, you prefer “spaghetti and meatball?”). I was lucky to get on the Eidos train before it became more about Indian pajamas or whatever, but the key here is the fit and fabric, not the brand (and thankfully, Antonio – @NickPollica – still throws us tailoring fans a bone).

The third pillar is the very simple economics 101 principle of opportunity cost, which was somehow baked into my DNA from birth: When I was a kid and my family would go out to eat somewhere nice, I’d ask my parents if I could choose something on the menu, but get McDonald’s dollar menu food instead, and then they could give me the cost difference in cash (to save up and buy Metal Gear Solid or Tomb Raider II or whatever).

When I first got into clothing, I was a college student on the cusp of graduating and getting married within 4 months. Then I was a poor married guy with no full-time job for about a year. Then I got a modest-paying job while she pursued her dream of running a photography business where all the profits were reinvested in the business. Today I’m in the same modest-paying job, but with a house and its attendant costs. In other words, I’ve never been in a position to drop loads of money on clothing.

My style journey has been the opposite of so many a Styleforum newbie, who discovers he loves clothing, then goes on a ridiculous buying spree dropping thousands before realizing two-thirds to three-quarters of what he’s bought doesn’t fit him, doesn’t suit him, doesn’t work in his life’s circumstances, looks ridiculous on him, and was ultimately a waste of his money. Yes, I have made dumb buys, but thankfully every ill-considered purchase I’ve made has been a second-hand eBay (or B&S) purchase.

Given these three pillars, and since I love tailored clothing but am not a suit guy (don’t need to wear one that often), my wardrobe looks like this:

  • three fall/winter sportcoats (one in dark emerald green, one in brown donegal tweed, one in navy small-herringbone faux-donegal)
  • two spring/summer sportcoats with a third coming soon (one in navy, one in dark chocolate brown with matching suit pants, one in tan)
  • one navy suit in a year-round standard suit fabric that I’ll upgrade at some point.

My shirts and pants collection is a hodgepodge of brands, mostly inexpensive, because opportunity cost (a nice, say, G. Inglese shirt is $300; I’ve gotten some of my Eidos jackets for just over double that. Explain that to me). And shoe-wise, I rotate between four pairs of shoes (snuff suede penny loafers, snuff suede chukkas, tan suede jodhpurs and brown calf double-monks; I’m looking to add some light brown suede tassel loafers to the mix) when I’m not wearing my beat-to-death Sperry canoe mocs.

So, when people tell me “You do the sportcoat and jeans look so well, how do you do it?!,” hopefully this will give you some clues. I’ve spent nearly a decade ruthlessly pursuing my style, figuring out what I feel comfortable in, what makes sense for my life’s circumstances and that I like the way I look in, then trimming away everything that doesn’t get me there. Here’s where I am now:

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Member Focus: Frank Cowperwood

This week, we’re pleased to introduce you to @FrankCowperwood, a man who has become, over the last year or two, a standby in the Streetwear WAYWT, in addition to sharing his wisdom throughout the rest of Styleforum. He’s known for his fine taste in shoes, his embrace of color, and his individual style. Here, he shares what brought him to Styleforum – and where he thinks he’ll be in the future.

There’s no good reason to be awake. The sky is Phillip Guston’s colors, livid. The wind is blowing down out of the mountains. The jays are fractious, worrying the dusty cotoneaster in the garden court. Their shrieks punctuate the slow music of the traffic. How did we get here?

Well, for me, it started with Alden. Search for anything Alden, and you’ll as likely as not end up on Styleforum. I did. I wanted to know what color shoe polish to use, and for that matter what was the color of these shoes I’d bought anyway? Whiskey? Cigar? There are answers to these questions, of course.

I appreciated the photos people were posting, too, and so I figured I’d be a good citizen and post some of my own. And once I was on SF, I started having a look around. WAYWT was too advanced for me, but I found an affiliate vendor whose clothes I liked and dove in there. After a bit, I realized that I liked seeing people’s photos of full fits, and decided that, to be a good citizen, I’d contribute some of my own. A little easier said than done.

I upgraded my camera, found a place to put it and came to terms with the self portrait as a traditional exercise of art, only recently debased by banal selfies and their haphazard funhouse angles.

From there I’ve wandered into other affiliate vendors’ threads and found interesting stuff. And I worked up the courage to post in the WAYWT threads. There are, I think, various dynamics at play in the thumbs farmed in these threads, and really the worst that happens is that, if you’re polite, you realize that perhaps the outfit you shared wasn’t so interesting really. Don’t worry, you’ll live without the affirmation.

I’ll be the first to admit that I can wander around a little bit in my style. Sometimes the trousers are slimmer, and sometimes they’re wider. There’s been more denim recently. And a lot of popovers – though I’m not sure that’s obvious. Many of my fits gravitate toward some intersection of workwear and dadcore, I think, with a more-than-lingering fondness for patchwork and loafers that goes back to my younger days. Throw some wannabe cowboy and dirtbag in there too. And then there’s what seems to be a growing tendency to Google things I like and find out that they are big in Japan. That may be walnut-overdyed denim, or boots with triple leather soles and two kinds of leather.

Oh, and back to my my shoes. They are often the wrong color, or too many of them are anyway. I did just finally acquire a pair in black.

Living where there are seasons (albeit including one that can best be described as ‘generally grey,’ in a way that’s reminiscent of Dickens’ description of London at the open of Bleak House, but without the mud so much because of paving) means I get to wear long coats and shearling collars and alpaca lining (these are warm!) and boots and sweaters and leather jackets, but also linen and indigo-dyed tees and, maybe a bit more now, washed denim. I’ll skip the shorts, and for some reason I never end up with sneakers.

I have a vision of my style reaching a point of elegant deshabille, though good old American acquisitiveness has made this hard to realize. That’s my fault, of course. Not the clothing’s. Don’t blame the clothing. I’m getting there with a few things, but looking back through my SF photos I also realize I own, ahem, a few garments I haven’t worn in a while.

So now you know how we got here. And maybe a little about where it all may be going. But don’t put too much down on the black, you play it and the red comes up. In the end, you may just find me rolling off a freight and down an embankment in sight of the Panamints, dusty and ecstatic, the undyed leather on my jacket and boots gone orange and red like the sun behind me reflecting on the peaks. In silence, but not by the sea. And on the other side, it won’t be the heat that gets me. It will be the humidity.

Member Focus: Man of Kent

For a long time, Man of Kent has been featured on the banner for Streetwear & Denim, which should give you a sense of how diverse that particular subforum can be. While these days he mostly wears a blend of workwear pieces from different parts of the globe, he had his beginnings in Classic Menswear, and hasn’t forgotten where he came from. 

man of kent styleforum

I joined Styleforum in my mid 30’s and almost a decade on I’m still here. Initially, I was exclusively on the Classic Menswear side of the forum (or Men’s Clothing, as it was called) and picked up some good advice and interesting viewpoints from other members. Over the years, I probably raised my game when it came to dressing for work and it was interesting seeing regional differences in what was considered ‘conservative dress’. I still spend some time lurking on that side of the forum even though I only post there with great infrequency.

Then somehow, I wandered across the rather artificial divide to Streetwear & Denim. I confess my preconceptions were baseball caps and heavily logo’d sportswear worn with oversize trainers. Much to my surprise, I loved the diversity of looks I found there.

My first steps were fairly safe. I’m a middle-aged Brit who lives in a semi-rural part of the UK; market-town rather than big city dweller. I was comfortable in a Barbour with jeans; I didn’t stand out from the crowd. However, there comes a time when you realise that dressing safely isn’t really fun. I moved onto designers who were producing British Heritage based pieces: Nigel Cabourn, Oliver Spencer, the short-lived Heritage Research, the supposedly re-launching Cro-Jack, and so forth. I still wear much of what I bought from that period, but my head was being increasingly turned by slightly bolder takes on workwear, and I fell in love with Engineered Garments. From Engineered Garments, it is only a small step to Needles then other Japanese brands. Kapital quickly beckoned, along with the odd Blue Blue and Post Overalls piece, getting bolder and bolder in my choices. Some of the appeal of the Japanese designers is their age inclusivity; a browse through any Kapital catalogue (somehow I’ve accumulated a few) shows older guys wearing the same pieces as younger guys. European fashion seems much more focused on specific age groups.

I’ve dabbled with some of the European designers. I’ve dabbled in lots of directions; a bit of Marni here, a little Dries Van Noten there, a few bits from Maison Martin Margiela. I’ve played with French workwear, Scandinavian simplicity, and gone back to England with Margaret Howell. I own a few bits of Yohji Yamamoto, and if finances permitted, could easily be persuaded to further explore that direction.

I’ve ended up with a veritable dress-up box of different styles and designers. Maybe I should have been more selective about directions taken, but for me that would take the fun out of clothing. I want to be able to dress to different moods. I like experimentation. I dress for myself rather than other people. Yes, at work, I’m pretty conservative, generally in suit and tie or at least a sports coat and flannels. Of a weekend I can wear what I feel like wearing. Do I worry what other people think? Not really, I get the odd comment, mainly positive and occasionally negative, but I think if you wear clothes with confidence most people don’t really notice what you’re wearing, and even fewer care what other people wear.

I don’t know where I’m going in the future. I’m might be inspired by one of the many great posters on Styleforum to try a new direction. The wardrobe is large enough that I don’t really need more clothes. I’ve started dabbling with denim more, and to my great surprise recently found I liked some sportswear – not a direction I’d ever have considered a few years back. I’m buying less clothes than I was as other interests divert funds: photography, fountain pens, gardening and whatever piques my interest next, but I’ll continue acting like a big kid with a dress-up box.

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Member Focus: Cotton Dockers

Another across-the-board Styleforum participant, @Cotton Dockers regularly shares outfits that run the spectrum from CM to SW&D and everything in between. His style is relaxed but put together, and he’s come up with a look that’s both consistent and all his own.

Having a longtime interest in clothing never stopped me from consistently buying garbage. I remember a velvet blazer was heavily involved. A lot of “going out” shirts.  I did buy Iverson’s first iteration of “The Question,” and I stand behind that.

When I got to Styleforum, I spent most of my time in the thrifting thread. That place is chock full of knowledge and all the dudes on there are incredibly helpful. Thrifting is a great way to work toward finding your personal style. It doesn’t mean you won’t waste money on making terrible mistakes, it’s just that they won’t be quite as costly.

After noticing some fellow SFers on Tumblr, I decided I wanted to try and move beyond #menswear so I mustered up the courage to post on the HOF: WAYWRN board. I don’t remember my first post, but I cannot imagine many thumbs were farmed.

I’m a pretty simple guy when it comes to CM wear: blue blazers, knit ties, suede shoes, etc. but even that was really too much for my office. Working in-house for an entertainment company, I wanted to find something that worked more for my day-to-day needs, something without grenadine ties but without resorting to the blue gingham shirt (TM).

With the help of @KenP and others, and sites like PutThisOn, I started to get into Engineered Garments, along with sister brands like TS(S), Needles and Orslow. I began to take pieces I liked from their collections and integrate them into my business wardrobe, posting the results on the WAYWRN: CM Casual thread.

That thread gets a lot of shit, but the quality in the last few years has increased immensely. Posters like EFV, Gerry Nelson and Urban Composition are excellent examples of ways to dress for a business casual environment without looking like a typical office drone or try-hard peacock.  My standard uniform these days is an OCBD, rumpled EG fatigues, a pair of chunky shoes and some type of casual jacket (so not far from this).

A few years back, after PMing with recent SWD convert InStitches, I began to check out the other side of the forum. I loved that some of the best SWD outfits were like pieces of art, I didn’t always understand them, but I appreciated them for what they were. I looked to posters like Shoreman, Prurient and ManofKent for inspiration. I liked that they took pretty classic styles, but updated them with unique cuts, patterns and textures.

These days I try and take styles I like (and what I think I can actually pull off), and meld it with what I do each day and my environment. Living in a beach community where anything more than a t-shirt and slappers is considered dressed up, I wear a lot of flowy pants, lightweight cotton jackets (a ripstop EG bedford is my go-to) and, of course, Vans. Although I try and experiment (I’ve been wearing a lot more black than I ever did in my CM days), and I learn more each day, I’ve found a style that works for me and my lifestyle.