Look at my pocket square! I’m a men’s style blogger. My blog is called “Classy Urban Natty Traditionalist.” I love bespoke wingtips. I say and use the word “bespoke” as much as possible, even though I am not entirely sure what it means and just saw it in Monocle once. I am also quite fond of the words “curated” and “steezy.” As in, “I took a piece from my carefully curated 90s boy band concert tee collection and paired it with double monk straps and rolled selvedge denim for a totally steezy date-night look.” I wear shit that the Situation wouldn’t put on for the launch party of a new flavored rum, but I bore you to death by analyzing the stitching and fabric in so much detail that you won’t even notice the outfit at all. I was named one of the “Top 10 Gentleman’s Dandy Bloggers of the 1st Quarter of 2012″ by men’s magazine editors who really needed a 10th blog for their listicles and were going to shoot themselves if they had to look at one more Instagram photo of sockless loafers and cropped trousers.
I penned the above homage to “Nice Try, Bro” and “Look at My Striped Shirt!” in the midst of a men’s style blog-induced meltdown. I had been trying to find some to feature in my own blog, but my search turned out to be a wee bit frustrating. I really thought I was going to lose my shit if I saw one more fucking bow tie or read the word “dapper” ever again. When the menswear blogosphere sucks this much, what’s a guy to do?
While I was in my dandy-rage, I was reminded of this Aldous Huxley quote: “For every traveller who has any taste of his own, the only useful guidebook will be the one which he himself has written.” I’d like to paraphrase that and say the only men’s fashion blog or magazine you should be reading is the one you write yourself. That doesn’t mean you have to get a job at GQ or set up a WordPress account and write a blog about pocket squares (please don’t, actually). The latest social media micro-blogging apps make it easy to create pages with a collection of images, and you don’t even have provide any written content, or do much of anything besides sign up and hit the “repin” or “reblog” button.
Just because it’s called “social media” doesn’t mean you have to use for the conventional purpose of getting “likes” and “follows.” Social platforms are also a great way to organize your own thoughts into an easily accessible external memory. In fact, no one has to follow you or even know you have a page. If you want to keep your personal style project private, set up a shell email account with a random name like “sundayinaugust” and then join Pinterest or Tumblr under that email address and ID. People can see your screen name and the things you pin or reblog, but they will otherwise have no idea who you are.
There are a lot of apps out there, but here I am only going to talk about Pinterest and Tumblr. Pinterest is more mainstream and easier to navigate, while Tumblr is artsy and edgy and appeals to a younger crowd. Pinterest is famously 70% women, but it’s not only girly-girl stuff. There is plenty of inspiration for men, whether it comes from other male users or the many “dream date” boards of female users who crush on men. And yes, there are GBT boards, although if you search for “bear” you might have to look through lot of these before you find this. Best of all, once you repin or reblog a post onto your own page, the gender identity and orientation of the person you got it from becomes totally irrelevant. Image-driven social media allows you to bypass the annoying narrative about how to be manly or ads for stuff you don’t want and concentrate only on the look.
So if you want to start your own fashion micro-blog, here is what to do after you have opened up your Pinterest or Tumblr account:
- Start with a seed image. Think of one single thing that defines your style or your fashion aspirations. It could be a celebrity, a fictional character, an outfit someone is wearing in a famous painting or music video, your favorite designer or just an item of clothing you really love. That’s your seed image that you will use to find other things you like.
- Search for tags or pins of your seed image. If it’s a celebrity, character or designer, just type it in. If it’s a clothing piece or a famous scene, describe it the best you can and put that in the search. Even something as simple as “white t-shirt” will get some great image results. Look through the results and repin/reblog the ones you like for your own page.
- Follow the trail from your seed image to find other images and people. Now, see who originally pinned or blogged the thing you like. Have a look at their pages. You might see some other looks you like, or you might want to follow them. You can also see who else repined an image you like onto their own pages, and who follows the boards you like. Check them out and repeat the process until you have populated your own board with enough looks.
- Check for links to blogs or other social media. Social media begets more social media. Your favorite pinner might have a Twitter feed you could follow. Someone on Tumblr could also have a WordPress page. Who knows, you might even find a non-sucky blog to read. Imagine that.
Both of Tumblr and Pinterest have smartphone and tablet apps, so you can do your pinning and reblogging on the go. It can be a good way to fill the dead spaces in boring meetings or waiting for the train. Yes, it takes effort, but if you take the time you would normally spend browsing for clothes in stores or reading style magazines and allocate it to finding images, you can learn what you like faster and in many cases order it directly online instead of wasting time in the stores. You might choose to spend a little time each day browsing looks, or you could just decide to work on your project once a season when you need new outfits.
If you want some examples, take a look at my two men’s fashion Pinterest boards. The first one is a nod to the classics. The other one was inspired by my favorite Korean idols. I also have a Tumblr feed, which is mostly filled with pictures of black outfits and K-Pop stars, but I recently found some good images of simple outfits like this one. So ditch your glossy ladmags and “look at my outfit ” blog bookmarks, and start creating your own look. Just go easy on the pocket squares, bro.