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.

Member Focus: Protagonist Style with WBaker

WBaker is a denizen of the Streetwear and Denim subforum, and mostly favors brands that make him look like a movie protagonist. Here, he tells the story of a moment that made him think about the way he dresses, and even the way he thinks about clothing.


“Your jackets’ on inside out”

‘Chayyim’ is the code word. Take a left out my front door and you’ll trip into the block’s corner bar, a busy basement where the going rate for a stool is half an hour on the curb. You say ‘Chayyim’ to the door guy. Chayyim is the owner, so he’s not to be confused with the toast ‘l’chaim’. Once you’ve ‘Chayyim’d’ yourself past the door guy someone will sherpa you down a flight of stairs that make you realize how bad stairs can be. The door at the bottom opens to a low-ceilinged, bowling-lane-sized bar. The stools are for people who waited on that sidewalk; you’ll stand on a perfectly empty two square foot plot of land at the edge of the bar. I see this as a plus, drinking to the point of oblivion on a bar stool comes without the buckling and bending alarm system thoughtfully provided by the legs.

One late night, drink in hand, I stood alone following protocol. Saying ‘Chayyim’ doesn’t guarantee a plus one. On this night, however, a friend of a friend’s roommate’s landlord – a random lady – decided she was my plus one.

I like my two by two at the bar because it looks like I got in trouble and people aren’t supposed to talk to me. Mind you this isn’t that ‘saucy bad boy’ type of don’t talk to me, rather its that ‘I might talk at you about Japanese Blade Runner Blaster model kits for three hours’ type of don’t talk to me. When I go to a bar alone I talk to my drink, and find most beverages to be well spoken.

“Your shoes are all ‘GQ’, how much did you spend on them?” she said, taking perhaps her first stab ever at talking to another person.

“Tomenosuke used way too light an amber tint in the resin for their blaster grips, considering how well they got the knurling…” I gurgled into my drink.

She called my cardigan ugly. Asked if it was on inside out. Suddenly I felt like I was on the receiving end of some negging pickup routine ala The Game: See How You Like It.

“I mean if they’re gonna get the underside of the Steyr .222 bolt action dead-on with a working receiver, why cop out on a spray gun paint job over vacuum metalizing…” I said, abiding by the cone of silence that is Chayyim’s 2×2.

She was setting up this point about, to quote her, how “A portrait is any painting in which there is something wrong with the mouth”, thereby meaning she liked my outfit because the cardigan was wrong. She spoke with this bullshit-meter-ticking ‘just thought of that’ tone. I’ll admit to listening to Radiolab and stealing its better talking points for casual conversation with friends, so maybe the devil met the devil that night.

wbaker styleforum member focus

She said she was an artist, and to prove it she gave me a business card that did in fact say “Artist” on it. I want to get business cards that only say “You just gave me a business card and I didn’t want you to feel left out”.

I’ll have to talk with Chayyim about upgrading to a three by three one day. Maybe Geller will make a “do not pet” vest I can don like a service dog.


Like a top 5 song, the portrait shtick bounced around my head for a week or two after. I’m hasty to mistrust others so I did some googling and it’s a quote from John Sargent, a new-to-me turn of the century American painter. Oh sweet nirvana! Not only did I learn something new, but my reflexive mistrust had been vindicated. There are only so many days in one’s life where you can both learn something new and be proven right. I’ve learned to hold dearly to those fleeting moments.

As I first got into dressing myself with gusto I made the error of becoming obsessed with the individual garment. I’d hunt for these epic-overdone-protagonist pieces because when they’re draped alone on a white plaster mannequin they seem like the solution to life’s problems. I got into garments that excited me from the hanger without even thinking about the outfits they’d be Frankenstein’d into.

I started posting outfits onto Styleforum around 2011 to mostly negative response, and rightly so. Once combined, my “über-cool” pieces were a muddled mess. Without strangers on the internet and even stranger ladies in bars I’d still dress like The Dude got hired by UPS:

wbaker styleforum member focus

Mr. Sargent’s words capture how visually satisfying it can be to defy a base reality. Hearing a trite line about portraits broke my habit of dressing in a way that was putting sprinkles on my sprinkles. I found my outfits more exciting when the effort I put into the crazy stuff was matched with the effort I put into my basics. Basic button downs, trousers, and T’s can make a better canvas for when I wanna wear that single button belted officer jacket and cream side-zips.

Member Focus: Chocsosa

Chocsosa has been a Styleforum member for a long, long time. Over the years, he’s had time to hone in on an impeccable – and classic – personal style – no small feat when you’re 6’8. Here, he talks about the early days of hiding his frame, as well as what encouraged him to start down the road to where he is today.


My style has definitely changed over the years. In my earlier days, it was more urban stuff – I was a product of the 90’s. So, for me it was gear like Karl Kani, Tommy Hilfiger, FUBU, polo sweaters, and oversized champion sweat shirts. It was easier then for me. Everything was bigger and baggier and that worked for my frame. I was 6’8 (still am) and probably a buck 85 soaking wet. I felt the oversized clothing helped hide my frame. So, for me it was interesting when I had to purchase my first suit. It was for prom and the salesman could not find anything long enough, inseam wise. I ended up getting a suit that was three times my size just to get the inseam right. It was barely tailored, but that worked for me because the goal was to be in and out of this “monkey suit” within a couple hours, so I didn’t sweat it. Lucky enough, there are no prom pictures out there, because I can only imagine how crazy I looked.

College was no different. It was the late 90’s and I still was comfortable in the baggy clothing that was still in style then. I was a poor college kid on academic scholarship without two pennies to rub together. So for the most part I was still rocking the gear from high school. I think the only thing I added at this point were some butters (Timberland’s), some Nike Air Force Ones (all white) and some old retro Jordans that were gifted to me from a brother of a friend who wore the same size shoes that I wore, worked the streets and had more shoes than he could handle. I had one white button down shirt and a wide striped tie that I wore to college functions when dressing up was required. The clothing was important because I did not have much but I was able to blend in (as much as I could) when I was in and out of college. I was a student athlete that was trying to make it through. Between all my honors classes my freshman year and the strenuous responsibilities of basketball, I did not have much time to dedicate to my wardrobe when there was no money available.

After college was when I started my sartorial journey to where I am today. At that point I had added some pea-coats, dress shirts and slacks but I still had no idea what I was doing. I needed to dress well for work as I was in a client facing role, so I was trying to look as put together as possible. I researched everywhere. I found some good beginner information from the GQs and the Esquires of the world, but it was not enough – even though they gave you an elementary education on how some stuff should fit there was still a lot of information lacking, I felt. It was on a tip from the Style Guy column from the late Glenn O’Brien (R.I.P) that I googled Styleforum and ended up on its doorstep. It was earth shattering to me because there was an answer to any sartorial question I ever had right at my finger tips. 10 years in and I’m still here, and I still find it a valuable resource and an inspiration almost every day.

My style now is more based on structure than pattern mixing. I like a clean garment with very little pulling, moderately structured shoulders, a nipped waist, open quarters (not aggressively so), higher rise (not aggressively so) and two inch cuffs (where I can find them). I am not a loud pattern guy, but I do like more subdued colors and palettes that mix well together. In my casual gear I wear a lot of outerwear and blazers that are cut slim with slim chinos or denim and boots or loafers. I find myself always coming back to those choices all the time and my wardrobe purchases reflect that.

 

Member Focus: KamoteJoe

You might be surprised to learn that Streetwear and Denim poster @KamoteJoe didn’t start his journey looking like a photo edit of impossibly cool Japanese brands. We all start somewhere, and Mr. KamoteJoe is no different. Follow along as he describes what brought him to his current, stand-out style, and what he learned along the way.


“Mixing similar shades of color in the same outfit?” was a question I posed to /r/malefashionadvice some 3+ years ago in the middle of my junior spring of college. My other open tabs most likely included TSBMen (now Articles of Style), Put This On, A Continuous Lean, and Fashionbeans. Though I had a penchant for rules and how-to’s, I asked this question because I often broke this “cardinal rule” of mixing blue and black together in my early WAYWT posts, much to the chagrin of others. My then go-to combo were these Black Heschung derbies purchased on ebay for $40 and a Diesel x Self Edge Iron Heart pair found in a Greenwich Village Goodwill for $10. I liked them for rather innocuous reasons: I got them for cheap and people online told me they were from quality brands.

My early interest in clothes originated from two sources: the Styleforum Thrift and Discount Bragging thread and my being in a northeast liberal arts college where oversized fisherman sweaters and vintage Reyn Spooner Hawaiian shirts dotted my peers like a Dunkin’ Donuts on the I-91. Back then, I barely knew what it meant to have a personal style. I was an international student starting a new life in the USA – and culture shock was the best way to describe my confusion with American customs and values. How could I communicate that I was beginning to understand these things? Through clothes of course! I made a habit of checking out the local Goodwill and frequenting ebay for cheaper clothing that allowed me to try All-Black, Vintage Americana, and the MFA uniform. I even started a photoblog with a dear friend as an excuse to skirt more pressing responsibilities. There was so much information out there that I never envisioned being able to narrow the endless possibilities into a concise vision of what I wanted for myself.

The time came for me to pack my belongings and head home to the Bay Area for post-graduate life. Because a “real job” was not waiting for me, I continued this thrifty approach until my breakthrough moment in the fall of 2015. I purchased a Kapital denim ring coat off /r/rawdenim with barely any knowledge of the brand and its offerings. Upon its arrival, I remember spending an hour trying to figure out the button configuration and how the heck I was supposed to wear it. It was the first non-form-fitting jacket I had ever owned and I could have easily passed it on as another expensive mistake in my style journey. But I didn’t bend this time.

Slowly but surely, I began trading my white sneakers, slim button downs, and bombers out for unconventional and wider pieces from more niche labels. One thing led to another and, feeling empowered to build up my wardrobe, I continued to scour Grailed and local consignment stores for the brands I wanted. As my style started changing, the impulse to purchase something based solely due to its label had waned. That’s when I thought to myself So this is what it means to have a personal style. It was no longer a question of what to wear but what would I wear.

To this day, dressing up in the morning is one of the things I look forward to when I wake up. There’s a consistent sense of pleasure that I derive from knowing that I’m wearing some of the best-made clothes out there. If you went and told my 2014 self that “Made in Japan” would dominate the care tags of my clothes, that I only wear slimmer fitting pants on a night out, and that I do not even consider wearing any tailoring except for special occasions, then 2014 me would have probably closed all those clothing tabs and chosen another hobby. It’s been a journey rife with mistakes and mishaps, but my fashion identity would not be what it is without this learning experience.

You’ll notice that my wardrobe leans towards Japanese Americana: Kapital, Engineered Garments, and Nepenthes labels (Needles, South2West8) to name a few. These are clothes that may seem normal from afar but there’s always a detail or two about them that makes them very unique. Kapital’s mantra of wearing clothes that make you happy really resonated with me and it’s made this hobby less about impressing and more about wearing clothes that are an extension of my personality. Looking to the future, I might venture into more Junya and artisanal label territory but I wouldn’t want to make any sort of compromise on my lifestyle because I still buy clothes that are meant to be lived in. What’s a garment without the story that the owner passed onto it? You carry your stories, values, and experiences on the clothes you wear – might as well enjoy them! I am still on an inexplicable honeymoon with clothing that has led me to the most knowledgeable, kind, and genuine people inside and outside this community. I cannot thank the Styleforum community enough for helping me find a unique way of expressing myself.

My Signature (Winter) Look: Gerry Nelson

We can always count on Gerry Nelson for consistently great outfits and great insight to go along with them. This week, we figured that you, just like us, would be sick of the heat, so we turned to our friend from down under for a glimpse of cool-weather style, and what (hopefully) awaits those of us in the Northern Hemisphere 2-3 months from now.

We’re particularly impressed with his ability to choose garments that are both versatile and interesting – he does a great job of mixing and matching seemingly-complex textures or patterns that others might find daunting, and can always be counted on to put his own twist on otherwise simple outfits. Below, he details his signature look, and in the process gives us all some great inspiration to keep in mind when autumn collections begin to hit our favorite stores.


When it came to writing a piece about my signature winter look, one template stood out to me. A chunky, shawl-collared cardigan, a thick shirt (or thin turtleneck sweater), some warm trousers and textured shoes are all I need. What draws me to this outfit time and time again is how comfortable and adaptable it is. I have a few of these cardigans now and wear them when the weather gets cooler, but it’s important that they fit well. The baggier they are, the greater the chance you can end up looking fuddy-duddy.

For example, if I’m relaxing at home or it’s cool outside, the cardigan over a shirt is more than enough. If it’s a little colder, I add a scarf, and if it’s colder still, I can throw on a roomy coat. Sometimes, I even wear a vest underneath. What I like is that this feels completely comfortable to wear at home, at work or even when I’m out for the weekend.


Do yourself a favor and follow Gerry on Instagram

Style Inspiration from Diplomatic Ties

styleforum outfit inspiration diplomatic ties diplomaticties styleforum Inspiration from Diplomatic Ties

Inspiration from Diplomatic Ties

 

This week, we’re revisiting our friend Diplomatic Ties for some outfit inspiration. As you may remember from reading his member focus, he likes to get a little bit adventurous, and while this combination isn’t exactly wild, it’s a great way to break up the monotony of a blue jacket with grey trousers. In particular, I like that he’s chosen black shoes – anathema in the minds of many Stylefarmers – which in this case are a choice that grounds the outfit nicely (for the record, I think brown suede would have worked as well, and with a brown shoe I think the whole look would work very well tie-less).

I’m really enjoying the look of burgundies and purples as an alternative to navy and brown jackets, especially in subdued tones that keep the look from feeling costume-y. Diplomatic Ties’ choice features a subtle pattern and a peak lapel, but I think a solid option, such as this linen Formosa model from No Man Walks Alone, would look equally nice. Combined with a more familiar grey trouser, it’s just enough outside the norm to be interesting, but you’re unlikely to feel uncomfortably loud. Again, you could easily wear this same combination with a brown shoe or a loafer and look equally well put-together.

All credit to DT for some welcome experimentation with color – if you’re not already, be sure to share your outfits in the WAYWT thread.

Styleforum Member Focus: ChetB

Styleforum, meet ChetB. He flits between CM and SW&D so easily you’d think he was an Internet ghost, but like many of us, he just has a lot of interests. This week, he tells about the lows and highs of online menswear hobby-chasing, and how he ended up where is today.


Luxury Sweatpants (Or: What I Wore While Wasting My Life)

I saw the the best minds of my generation dressed by the internet, starving for 15% off codes, dragging themselves through the Mr. Porter sale section looking for an angry fix (preferably something blue from Japan).

Like other millennial dudes who grew up in the age of the internet, I too have suffered for #fashion. Questing for sick fadez, I sat in a bathtub with jeans on, the cold blue water swirling around me, as clouded as my judgment. I bought suede jackets from Belgian designers too expensive and delicate to wear in the kind of weather you need a jacket for. I wrote eBay listings with phrases like “pit to pit” and “plenty of life left.” I learned to tell forward pleats from reverse pleats and barely wince when I hear “shirting” or “trousers” or “pop of color.” I collected quote-unquote wardrobe essentials the way 80s kid–me collected baseball cards. At my lowest, I searched for cool walls to stand in front of while my wife took pictures of my outfits, which I then posted to the internet in order to farm thumbs from people named “Jet” and “Mr. Moo,” blurring my face to hide the shame.

I used the words “luxury” and “sweatpants” in the same sentence, in consecutive order. I sized down two. I sized up one. I wore shirts made from seven other shirts.

How did I get here? How did we get here?

Slip-Sliding the Slippery Slope

The answer, for me, is a question: “How should my suit fit?”

That’s what I asked Google a decade ago. I was starting my first job out of college and didn’t know how to dress for it. I landed on a site called Styleforum, a place where, among other banalities, grown men fight about how best to fold small pieces of silk. Years later, I’m still down the rabbit hole, exploring all the nooks and hidden passages, emerging only occasionally in chunky baller knits and/or drop crotch pants.

For as far as things have come, they started out slow. I spent a lot of time at first scouring dusty thrift shops, scooping up Paul Stuart ties, vintage Oxxford suits, and L.L. Bean boots. At that point clothing wasn’t so much a hobby to enjoy as it was a problem to solve. As if once you collected all the essential ingredients your closet was “complete.” Like beating a video game or something.

Things changed in a dingy thrift shop in rural Utah, when I happened upon a black Maison Margiela suit. It was like that scene in 2001: A Space Odyssey, when early man encounters the mysterious black monoliths. What’s with all the numbers on the tag? Why the exposed white stitches on the back, and the weird cut? Though I didn’t know what to make of it all, for $10, I took it home.

My tastes didn’t change overnight. But now I wondered: what else is out there? Soon my wardrobe of “sensible basics” started looking like a sea of boring, the blue Brooks Brothers collars rolling in like tiny waves. I was ready to start having more fun.

Dreeze Van What?

I never get the chance to talk about fashion IRL. (Except for once, at Costco, when a guy asked me if my Blue Blue Japan jacket was Engineered Garments, and if I knew where the taquitos were). Which is fine with me. I’d probably flub the pronunciation of my favorite designers’ names anyway.

But I’m happy that there’s a community online where it’s not weird to talk about how pants should “break” or why epaulets are lame. A place where people understand my excitement at finding a Hunstman of Savile Row shepherds check tie at Goodwill for a dollar (which, incidentally, I wore at my wedding a year ago) or a vintage shop coat or a Brioni jacket.

As time goes by, I find myself becoming less and less prescriptivist and narrow-focused and instead learning to enjoy all the vast possibilities. It feels sometimes like you’re supposed to pick a team: “I’m a Neapolitan tailoring guy,” or “I’m a workwear guy,” or “I’m a 90s sportswear guy” or “techwear is my thing.” But things are more interesting when you don’t pick a side.

Have fun. Experiment. Don’t be uptight about it. It’s just clothing.


You can follow ChetB on Instagram

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.

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 http://diplomaticties.se/

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.