Member Focus: Baltimoron

Styleforum member Baltimoron is a regular sight on the SW&D subforum, where he posts regular contributions in the form of WAYWT photos and KPop gifs. Here, he talks about walking the long road from deal-chaser to designer-clothing-collector and general well-dressed dude.

I got interested in clothes because of my brother. I remember walking past his computer once while home from college one summer and asking him why he was on a site called Put This On. After he explained he was reading about clothes, I laughed and then walked immediately to my own computer to start reading Put This On, because brothers can’t help but imitate each other sometimes. In the beginning, I made all the mistakes that people that get into clothing tend to make. I chased deal sites, ordered cheap button downs from Land’s End Canvas, and read more lists about what clothing items I needed than anyone ever should.

Looking back, I was someone who was just trying to change how he looked by checking things off a list and emulating what was around me. I grew up in Northern California wearing band tees and cargo shorts, but attended college on the East Coast surrounded by boat shoes and button downs. Changing how I dressed was a way for me to try to fit into the new culture in which I had found myself, but it wasn’t something that I enjoyed beyond chasing check marks on lists. At some point I ended up on Styleforum, though the exact path has slipped from my memory (I’d hazard a guess I was trying to decide if I should put shoe trees in my boat shoes…oh man, what a painful thing to write).

When I started here, I browsed the Classic Menswear side much more frequently than Streetwear and Denim. I can think of two major factors that caused me to slowly transition to spending more time in Streetwear and Denim; a user named Parker starting the Dries Van Noten thread and a user named El Bert posting a series of links to Yahoo Japan in the “Someone should buy this” thread. The Dries thread was one of the first designer threads that I ever followed, and it left quite an impression on me. Up until that point, I’d never seen clothes with the types of prints, colors, embroideries, and elegance like I was exposed to in that thread. I remember thinking that the clothes made people look as if they were almost gliding across space in their elegance.

One of the wonderful things about the thread was that other posters like Parker, sipang, the Shah, and others had faithfully compiled a virtual lexicon comprising of videos, interviews, and pictures of past collections. It was a daunting experience at first, but having that much information forced me to move slowly, so I read and absorbed as much as I could from those posts before I ever owned my first piece of Dries. Even today, I’ll still sometimes go back to the first page of that thread just to read interviews or look at different collections again (personal favorites include FW11, FW14, and SS15).

The second major moment for me, however, made my interest in owning clothes from Dries more attainable. He doesn’t do it quite so often anymore, but El Bert used to post these semi-frequent lists of all the cool things for sale that he found on Yahoo Japan and Rakuten for others to see. Of course, I was most interested in Dries, but many of the listings El Bert posted were for brands that I’d never heard of before. Everytime I’d see him post a brand, I’d go searching through old threads here to read about different seasons and the pieces that other users owned. It’s how I first learned about Helmut Lang, Undercover, and many other designers. El Bert was also kind enough to answer my private messages about how proxy buying worked and to help introduce me to lesser-known brands (he’s still the best at finding cool stuff). This opened a whole new world of clothes to me. It offered a second-hand market for me to explore my interest in Dries, but beyond that, I found that hunting for cool clothes was just an enjoyable activity for me. Some of my purchases have turned out great, others have not, but all the way through I’ve been able to pursue the things that I’m interested in and control my own experience.

These days, Dries is still one of my favorite designers, but my closet has expanded to include influences from all over. I’ve found that the more time I’ve been on the forum, the more willing I am to try different things. I certainly wouldn’t have thought about wearing more voluminous trousers before seeing them on people like Parker or the Shah, but now my Issey Miyake trousers are some of my most worn (and comfortable) clothes. In this community there are always people to learn and take inspiration from. Seeing posts from people like diniro, conceptual 4est, penanceroyaltea, ghostface (whose blurred out faces I emulated when first posting), frankcowperwood and so many others continues to encourage me to think about my own personal style and how I might incorporate elements that I enjoy from others. This forum is one of my favorite places to be, and I credit the people as much as the clothes for making that so.