Many fashion critics will argue that the skintight dresses and animal-print accessories worn by “Empire” character Cookie Lyon are what made Taraji P. Henson one to watch. Don’t be so easily misled. The Emmy-nominated actress has set red carpets ablaze with over-the-top outfits since her breakthrough role in 2001’s “Baby Boy.”
An important part of an evolving style is to learn what you like and don’t like. This is not synonymous with the norms and ‘rules’ of #menswear. It is about discovering your niche in relation to those norms. I would say 95% of what you wear should abide by the norms, while 5% pushes and crosses boundaries.
None of your style choices, what you decide you like and don’t like, are written in stone. Your tastes will almost certainly stabilize, but you shouldn’t be afraid to change your mind. New experiences and new knowledge should cause you to reassess those likes and dislikes.
My first forays into #menswear were through the Put This On video series. In one of those early videos host Jesse Thorn wore a knit tie. I’d never seen one before and I decided I didn’t like it. I thought it look juvenile. I embraced the idea of regularly wearing a tie, but decided it would certainly not be of the knit variety. Then, as I began to peruse Tumblr I encountered the knit tie more and more often. I learned of its long history in traditional meanswer. I learned of its ability to add texture to an outfit. I learned how it works to make an outfit a bit more casual. I saw knit ties in action and I began to change my mind.
Now, I could not imagine my tie selection without its knits. They are instrumental to my evolving style. I love wearing suits, but often want to push things in a casual direction. A knit tie is an unparalleled means of doing so. It is not wholly incongruent, but it definitely reads as casual; at least, as casual as any tie can be in our current style environment.
Another early attitude I had was in the adoption of over-the-calf socks. I believe it was an early piece on Die, Workwear that made me aware of their existence and the reasons for their desirability. I immediately ordered some Pantherellas from Sierra Trading Post. My colour and pattern choices were questionable, as I was still early in my learning. Later, I added some more conservative options, ordered from Lands’ End. However, I now barely wear them, quite assiduously avoiding them. I would go so far as to say, I hate them.
I experienced a feeling of constriction that I didn’t like. I also experienced my pants catching on them, rather than moving nicely across them. Perhaps this speaks to the low quality of the socks I’m wearing, or that my pants are too close fitting for the size of my calves. But, many vouch for Pantherella and if I’m needing to jump to the next level in terms of quality to eliminate this problem, I’m simply unwilling to pay so much for a piece of clothing that endures so much stress and wears out so quickly. Also, I do not have a problem with mid-calf socks sliding down my leg. Maybe it’s the structure of my calves, but it does not really happen. Finally, I don’t mind seeing part of a man’s leg above his sock, even if it has slipped down. I think it speaks to a certain insouciance that I appreciate, and which fits my more casual dressed-up style.
My style is ever evolving, although that evolution has slowed. Who knows how it will continue to develop. I may be brought back around to over-the-calf socks yet. I may decide knit ties no longer suit me. The most important thing is that I continue to think about these matters and be self-critical.
I actually find winter a bit difficult. I overheat very easily, and going from outside to inside often causes me to sweat. The jacket is actually only partially lined, and it’s a relatively loose weave. It’s a jacket I’m able to wear in the summer. But, combined with a sweater vest, it allows me to move from outside to inside in greater comfort than some heavier wools.
It’s also a very professorial look when I take of the jacket and roll up the sleeves to lay down some knowledge on the blackboard.