You may remember Styleforum member @eddiemczee from a recent post on white denim, but as usual, there’s more to his story. Today, this CM member tells us how he first decided to upgrade his wardrobe, describes the pitfalls he experienced along the way, and reveals his secret to developing personal style.
My descent down the menswear rabbit hole begins with an umbrella.
In 2009, I received my first-ever Christmas bonus. It was also raining a ton and I needed a new umbrella. So instead of saving the money for a figurative rainy day, I decided to go all out on an actual one. I Googled “best umbrella” and after reading a few articles, settled on a Brigg. I knew nothing about the brand other that they had been around for a long time, so I hoped for the best.
When I received it, I discovered that “best” was an understatement. This umbrella became the nicest thing I owned. Made from a continuous piece of maple wood, the umbrella was both stylish and durable. Most important, it felt good to hold.
After that umbrella, the rest of my wardrobe paled in comparison. My closet consisted of cheap dress shirts, ill fitting pants, and squared toe shoes. I wanted to upgrade all my clothes.
I started to follow a lot of menswear blogs where I learned more about fit and construction. I discovered new brands and stores that I had never known about. Soon after, I found Styleforum.
My first Styleforum experience wasn’t on the forum. It was the 10th anniversary party in San Francisco. At the event, I met Fok and a lot of the affiliate vendors like Epaulet and The Hanger Project. I also made quite a few friends. Afterwards, I made an account and kicked off my forum career with this brilliant thread:
For a long time, I only posted in the Epaulet affiliate thread. I loved the brand and would get excited to see what Mike and Adele were up to next. It also helped that everyone who posted there was super friendly.
As I developed my style, I made some great decisions, but plenty of terrible ones too. My biggest mistake was not focusing on the fundamentals first. I tended to buy things that I thought looked interesting and were on sale. I had a small collection of loud, plaid sport coats but no navy blazer. Without a solid foundation, I created an incohesive closet that made it hard to get dressed.
After spending way too much on clothes, I stopped buying things for a while and looked through my closet. Out of all the many, scattered purchases, there were quite a few gems. Items that evoked the same feeling of excitement I had felt when I first bought my Brigg umbrella.
I started to sell a ton of things. As I went through my closet, I used my umbrella as my litmus test. Did this item feel as good as my umbrella did? I was performing the Konmari method before there was a Konmari method. (On a side note: it looks like I missed an opportunity to write a book on this).
By 2015, my closet was shrinking more that it was growing. Getting rid of clothes actually helped me hone my style more than any thread I could read. I was able to distill my unwieldy collection of clothes into curated wardrobe of items I loved. Things like a loden tweed sports coat, pebble grain dress boots, and of course, my Brigg umbrella.
The interesting thing was that all these pieces that I kept looked great when worn together. Turns out that I had figured out my personal style – I only had to get rid of the noise that was obscuring it. On the weekdays, I like to wear tailored clothing with sports coats to work. I spend my weekends in workwear and leather jackets. Sometimes I’ll even wear jeans with a sport coat!
I still browse online stores and read menswear blogs. When I buy clothes now though, I try to only buy things that fill in gaps or upgrade something I already have. I’m much more excited to wear what I already have and develop beautiful patinas.
Styleforum is a great place for a person in any stage of their menswear journey to come and hang out. I’ve since ventured out of my favorite affiliate threads and have even posted some WAYWT pics. I’ve made some good friends through the board and even in real life. A big shout out to Gus for planning all the San Francisco meetups.
Currently, I’ve been taking a ton of inspiration from posters in the WAYWT threads. My current favorite posters include Mossrocks, FrankCowperwood, StanleyVanBuren, and Gerry Nelson. Not only do they all have great style, but also their posts aren’t an endless parade of new items they bought. Instead, I’ll see them all re-wear their favorite garments over and over as we all should.
It’s fun (and expensive) to buy new clothes. But for me, I’m trying to enjoy what I have now versus what I want to get next.
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