Monday, March 5, 2012

Questions From the Audience - Personal Style

I received the following question last week from a new reader, a college student looking to redefine his style. 

Do people ever make fun of the way you dress? Part of me wants to start going to that style, however, I'm getting a lot of negative feed back from close friends..... Should I just say f*** it and do what I want? What do you think?
There's never a better time to reinvent yourself than college. Being only a year removed, I'm just now able to reflect on how much not only my style has grown, but my personality as well. Style tends to reflect your personality, and as such, you shouldn't force yourself to wear anything which makes you feel very uncomfortable. If most of your friends have a different style, so what? Cliche as it may sound, your true friends will love you for who you are, not what you wear.

As I progressed through high school, I began to find my personal style. This happened for several reasons. I wanted girls to notice me, and I wanted to fit in with the "popular" guys. The pseudo-prep vibe at my high school included a North Face jacket, Ralph Lauren polo, khaki chinos, and either boat shoes, loafers or boots (depending on season). I started dressing that way and was never made fun of for it.

Entering college, my style devolved slightly as I wore American Eagle and Abercrombie (though never the logo-plastered stuff). While doing advertising (my major) research on companies like AE and A&F, I read up on the teen demographics they try to reach. I concluded that I shouldn't keep buying stuff made for an 18 year old because I'll look like a joke when I reach my mid-twenties. My studies in advertising and public relations, and a growing interest in my personal style, led me to research the history of men's style. Eventually, I began to understand and respect how my father dressed - rather traditionally. I started thrifting and things really turned around. I'd always liked Polo and Brooks Brothers but could rarely afford them. Thrifting gave me the opportunity to wear much nicer stuff for only a few bucks.

Cut to four years later and my style keeps evolving, keeps being refined. Thanks to thrift shops, eBay, and lots of Macy's clearance sales, I've built a wardrobe of which I'm quite proud. This wardrobe has grown and matured as I have. Whether friends or bloggers call it preppy, trad, ivy, WASP, or anything else doesn't matter to me. I dress the way I do not because my friends and family tell me to, certainly not because a Polo ad tells me to, but because I feel well when I'm dressed well (especially in comparison to the tools wearing Ed Hardy and Affliction tees).


  1. Such great advice. I especially like the last line about the "tools." haha. But I totally understand what you're getting at - I'm the same way. Dressing like a lady makes me feel so much better about myself, as opposed to wearing sweatpants from Victoria's Secret everywhere. I don't know if it's that way where you live, but all girls wear here are Victoria's Secret sweatpants and Hollister t-shirts. It irks me quite a lot.

    1. Thank you! Most of the girls I know have outgrown that phase, but I see it all the time when I'm out shopping. Oh, and let's not forget the Uggs that polish off the look. Blah.

  2. I really like this post. It's almost like it was answered just for