The words engineer and sartorialist are rarely used in the same sentence. They’re so far apart that neither of them are used to describe the other. Except when you’re talking about Ian Anderson of From Squalor to Baller. Ian’s blog takes the “Buy less Buy Better” approach that is ever so popular in the online menswear community, but he also follows it up with “Buy within your means”.
It’s a pleasure to feature Ian this week, we appreciate that he took the time to answer some questions.
WTW: Name and Occupation
FSTB: Ian Anderson, Structural Engineer.
WTW: How does the city influence your personal style?
FSTB: San Francisco, while not as formal as other large cities, has a distinct sense of style and hosts a huge variety of looks, from the bankers in FiDi to the twentysomething techies in SOMA and the Peninsula. I enjoy watching how men combine casual and formal elements to appear put-together but not too dressed up. Moreover, San Francisco is the birthplace of denim, and I don’t think any city in the USA does it better.
WTW: Who is your favorite artist? (e.g. painter, sculptor )
FSTB: Andy Goldsworthy.
WTW: Favorite book?
FSTB: The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand.
WTW: Favorite museum?
FSTB: The Oregon Museum of Science and Industry in Portland.
WTW: Favorite non-alcoholic drink? Alcoholic drink?
FSTB: I don’t think I could ever pick a favorite. There’s just too much good stuff out there.
WTW:What are some of your hobbies?
FSTB: When I’m not working or blogging, I love to play music. I play a lot of jazz piano (although I’m not gigging as much as I used to), and when I’m not doing that I’m usually leading singalongs with my guitar. Outside of that, I like to take walks around San Francisco and explore what the city has to offer to the average pedestrian.
WTW: Favorite store; clothing or otherwise??
FSTB: There are lots of great spots nearby, so I can’t really pick a favorite. I do love Britex, the fabric store downtown. It’s full of amazing fabric, buttons, and more – I love the unending rows of raw materials and the potential that they represent.
WTW: What are the places someone must visit if they only have three days in your city?
FSTB: I think San Francisco is best explored by foot, and the journey should be complemented by many food stops. Burritos in the Mission, Italian food in North Beach, Thai in the Sunset, and so on. Outside of that, San Francisco’s hills offer lots of amazing views to those willing to hike up them; climb up Twin Peaks, Dolores Park, Alamo Square, and the Marin Headlands to see what the city really looks like.
WTW: California has never been known for their well-dressed men. However, the bay area is now known as one of the better dressed areas of the country. In your opinion, what has caused the recent shift in the way men are dressing there?
FSTB: Many people attribute (or blame, perhaps) the “Business Casual” movement to the Bay Area, and for the most part I think that it’s a reasonable conclusion. However, that laid-back style has given birth to a sense of dress that is put-together and still casual. I think it’s no accident that some of the city’s most popular men’s stores bridge dress and casual – Unionmade, Self Edge, and Alden, for instance. Moreover, the current rebirth of menswear is due largely to the affects of the internet – blogs, e-stores, etc – and no city understands tech as well as San Francisco!
Image via From Squalor to Baller