While Styleforum’s diverse cast of members can be counted on to both discover and argue over the merits of countless brands, both casual and tailored, there are a few names which, year after year, occupy the top slot in the interest of our internet tribe. This summer, we’re featuring another selection of Styleforum’s most popular brands.
The Dream: Tokyo at night. You crouch in a shadowed alleyway, hiding from The Corporation, while your corneal implant tracks the agents sent to follow you. They want you – not because of the state-toppling secret you carry on the drive hidden on your person, but because you’re special, destined to overthrow the shadow-government, score a sweet babe, and ride a motorcycle in the movie adaptation.
The Reality: You spent way too much money on pants you found third-hand on the internet. People call you “Naruto,” and it’s not a compliment.
The Dream: You’re a cowboy. An Italian cowboy. You look, always, as though you may have just gotten off a motorcycle after a trip to a vineyard. And when you wear sneakers, you make sure they’re more than just sneakers. Like your motorcycle boots, they’re made in a family-owned factory in Italy, out of fantastic materials and in fantastic make-ups. They’re sneakers for real men, sneakers you can wear without feeling self-conscious, sneakers worthy of a rad Italian cowboy who rides a motorycle.
The Reality: You wear your sneakers on casual Friday, and you are neither Italian nor a cowboy.
The Dream: You call your wardrobe your “Collection.” Everyone you know thinks you’re fantastically well-dressed, but can’t figure out why, and when they ask how you got interested in fashion you say: “I don’t care about fashion. I appreciate fine objects.” Your home, like your closet, is stocked only with the finest examples of the last 150 years of design.
The Reality: You can’t bring yourself to wear your reproduction military gear outside the house because you’re afraid of looking like a poser.
The Dream: You support the best of the new menswear movement: your clothing is small-batch, artisanal, and 100% free range. You’re a new breed of consumer, one who cares as much about provenance as style, and if there’s one thing that excites you, it’s quality.
The Reality: You own over 50 nearly-identical button-down shirts.
The Dream: Your liquor cabinet is full of aged scotch and fine cigars, and when you arrive at home you change into a dressing gown worth more as much as a small car. People tell you that you look half your age, and that they wish more men remembered how to dress well.
The Reality: Your friends really wish you’d stop putting your feet on their furniture.
The Dream: “It’s custom,” you say to the numerous people who ask you where you got your clothes. Your entire wardrobe is built to your exact specifications; you know, to the tenth of an inch, how much space is between the cuff buttons on every one of your painstakingly-designed jackets. When you see an interesting garment on one of your global travels, you take note of it, and plan to have it turned into yet another hit piece.
The Reality: You’ve never ordered from Luxire, because you can’t figure out how and you’re too embarrassed to ask.
The Dream: You’re a historian of life’s finest pleasures, and that extends to your wardrobe. Every item is a beautiful re-imagining of a fine vintage garment, executed to the finest standard. Sometimes, you look inside your closet, and you let out a deep sigh of self-satisfaction, because the stories behind the clothes you own are as varied and moving as the story of your life.
The Reality: 50% of people assume you really like steam engines, 100% assume you really like the sound of your own voice.
The Dream: Your evenings are a combination of cocktail hours and black tie affairs, your weekends spent at Instagram-worthy vacation locales. People ask you for wine recommendations, and laugh delightedly at your stories. You are a cultural icon and global influencer; a single one of your posts on social media is worth tens of thousands of dollars.
The Reality: Greg Lellouche, proprietor of No Man Walks Alone and champion of Sartoria Formosa, is swimming in a pool of your money like a French Scrooge McDuck while his minions toss confetti made of fabric swatches into the air.
The Dream: Your life is modern but accessible. You don’t care about fashion – not at all! – you just like to live well. Your house is never messy, your car is always clean, and you’re always happy to go see your friend’s new art show downtown. Your closet is a zen garden, perfectly organized and immaculately laid out by color and tone.
The Reality: You only wear your Stephan Schneider trousers with a company polo, because you’re terrified of standing out.
The Dream: Every month, you’re featured on the cover of a new men’s interest magazine. You know all the best people, and they all know you. This year you’ve planned several trips to sample bespoke tailoring offerings from around the globe, and your trusty photographer is even more excited than you are.
The Reality: You can’t stop. You’ve tried, but your collection of pocket squares now requires its own room. Every time you think you’ve got it under control, a new fabric or a new pattern is released, and before twenty-four hours are up you’ve crawled, shaking, back to the computer. Just one more, you think, as the world narrows to the image on your screen; you don’t own this exact shade of cream, and once you do, your wardrobe will be complete, and you will finally be free.