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The Official Dieworkwear Appreciation Thread

Gerry Nelson

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Derek,
A question for you.
Like you, I have pretty broad tastes in clothes. I personally tend to go in phases... I had a classic tailored phase for a while, a prep phase, a workwear phase, A vintage phase, a sort of Brooklyn dad phase (baseball caps, hiking boots, flannel etc). My friends make fun of the fact I have a new aesthetic every time they see me. Now I dont mind that, but it does make building a wardrobe with multiple looks basically impossible and means I never really have a flow or rhythm to what I wear daily. How do you handle it? I know you have more clothes/resource than me, but what do you feel about committing to a look vs chopping and changing? Some of the people I most respect just seem so committed to one thing, and I find that absolutely impossible even though I know for a fact it would make my life and style, much easier... love to get your take.
I'm not Derek but I can't commit to just one look. I like the variation. The result is that I have a very wide variety of clothes and can dress in a number of styles. I like being able to see a look that I like and put something together that's close or has some elements from that look.

You can take a look through my instagram feed. I don't think I have a signature look. If anyone thinks otherwise, I'd love to hear it. I change it enough that people might see me in different things each time even if they see me from week to week. Nothing too extreme but just different styles.

I also like that I can combine things from different styles to come up with something a little different. For example, wearing Kapital Century Denim Jeans in a casual classic menswear style:

Tumblr_l_183280721373023.jpg


The downside is that it does take up a lot of space.
 

Superb0bo

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Really interesting discussion. Personally, I definitely see style as something that expresses yourself ("true" or otherwise), similar to music, arts, and other culture. I very much have a personal style and would feel extremely odd if I switched to something completely different day by day. That said, of course there is variability in what I wear, but it is still very constrained by what I consider to be my style.
 

polyfusion

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Thanks @dieworkwear , @Gerry Nelson , @Sammm , @classicalthunde , @Superb0bo , @Despos , @TheShetlandSweater , and everyone for the thoughtful replies.
I wanted to take a second to consider as I felt there were such such interesting responses. (@Gerry Nelson I followed you on instagram, you always look great, sir)

I think the central idea here is fashion representing (or not) your "true self". The more I think about this, the more I wonder if this is a question I should have reserved for my therapist, and not Derek.

True self is an interesting term. I was born in the early 80s and grew up in the 90s listening to indie rock. True self resonates with the values of that period that I've more or less based my life upon. My day to day job is in music, as an artist manger and the biggest shift I've noticed with younger artists I work with is their lack of connection with the idea of "true self". This broadly is considered a millennial ideal, relative to the more tribal nature of that era - you were either a punk , rock or a hip hop kid (electronic was in something of a lull for teenagers back then). Being 'real', never “fake” and not 'selling out', were things we talked about every day. And I was like that too. I hated other tribes then and defined myself on the subculture I was invested in.
But the present really isn't like that. I haven't met an artist under the age of 25 who considers genres (or selling out) a thing. The presence of the internet has made most kids embrace fragments of multiple subcultures and pasts simultaneously, the best of whom connect and reanimate them into new, thrilling wholes.

This is interesting to me, because when I think of clothes and style, there are a lot of similarities. Most of the styles mentioned in the responses connect, I think, to styles that truly at one point did fully represent some sort of 'ideal man' and 'lifestyle'. Perhaps you were an Oregon farmer, in flannel, rough cap, and wide jeans. Or in a suit, perhaps in Chicago, or London. Or in LA with tight jeans and a Doors shirt. Or a prep kid from Long Island. Whilst I doubt it was always the case, I think its safe to assume there wasn't much aesthetic swapping in those lifestyles. No old Etonian in London was swapping the cords out for a pair of ripped Levis and a black flag T-shirt the way I do on some days. But its hard sometimes not to long for a style that its truly you, and often, for moments when I am wearing a suit, or workwear, or some smooth Italian riviera stuff I'm secretly suspicious of, its hard not to imagine yourself belonging to that culture for a moment.

Putting aside the valid questions of practicality and storage, I think these things are part of why I find the question a hard one. I want in some ways to try to re-find that authenticity from the clothes and images I love, but recognise in my favourite quote from Derek, that perhaps " I'm just a fashion guy who's into clothes, so I have a bunch of different clothes and like to play dress-up, for lack of a better term." For the 90s kid in me, that is perhaps hard to swallow, though undoubtedly, true. Its also I would say how you find new and exciting things. My two favourite brands are Drakes and Kapital. Kapital especially, in my opinion, takes things we recognise and makes new ideas out of them, that both connect with other styles, but are in themselves an identity.

There is a part 2 to this post, I think, about matching looks to situations and formality, which I think is another very relevant discussion, but I've probably talked too much already, so will save my thoughts on that for another moment!
 
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UrbanComposition

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Derek,
A question for you.
Like you, I have pretty broad tastes in clothes. I personally tend to go in phases... I had a classic tailored phase for a while, a prep phase, a workwear phase, A vintage phase, a sort of Brooklyn dad phase (baseball caps, hiking boots, flannel etc). My friends make fun of the fact I have a new aesthetic every time they see me. Now I dont mind that, but it does make building a wardrobe with multiple looks basically impossible and means I never really have a flow or rhythm to what I wear daily. How do you handle it? I know you have more clothes/resource than me, but what do you feel about committing to a look vs chopping and changing? Some of the people I most respect just seem so committed to one thing, and I find that absolutely impossible even though I know for a fact it would make my life and style, much easier... love to get your take.
I think clothing is fun (no surprise) and dress based on how I feel and/or what I'm doing that day. Since that's pretty varied, the items in my closet are varied as well, and my closet is admittedly huge. I like the decision-making process but can understand if you don't have the time/means for it. If you want to commit to a look, that's fine; it makes getting dressed a piece of cake and is easier on your budget. I don't really think there's a right or wrong answer here.

Edit: I will add that it's a rabbit hole trying to debate "authenticity." Some people think it's what you are; others claim it's what you wish to project. While I personally dress for the occasion, if a guy wants to look like a Duke or an ironworker because he digs it, so what? Unless you're wearing a police uniform or doctor's scrubs, shake off that imposter syndrome and dress how you want; it's just clothes.
 
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Chaconne

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8080E70F-D6AA-4E90-B04D-94E803CD82A0.jpeg


I call it Jawn Kune Do, the Way of the Intercepting Fit

B05E5BC6-0A18-431F-BCF1-00802B6F65DE.png
12BF1568-B46E-4522-A659-34002C0AB488.jpeg

Some days I want loose and breezy, others I want some armor. One day I may want to explore some techwear, be water my friends.
On the other hand I have some favorite posters who seem to have endless interchangeable pieces.
So I have no fixed style opinions on this subject. Be water.
 

Superb0bo

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@Chaconne I would consider the two pics you posted to be expressions of the same style though, definitely coherence in color, fit, and vibe. Not wildly dissimilar in any way.

@polyfusion I found the point about subculture (and age) very interesting. I was born in the early 80s and grew up in subcultures, where "authenticity" was incredibly important. I don't think I've considered the relationship between that background and my take on personal style, but it seems very plausible there is one.
 

jaaz16

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Clothes are fun and wearing different clothes/styles is fun. That's all that matters imho. Don't overthink it.
This. So much this.

The discussion reminds me of a recent Vox article (https://www.vox.com/the-highlight/22280750/covid-19-one-year-fashion-sweatpants-style) in which the author laments the loss of love for her clothes over the past year. It was an interesting read, because I had the exact opposite experience: There was a liberating aspect of the pandemic that allowed me to discover clothes/styles that made me feel good--the sociological aspects of fashion, as @dieworkwear has described it. Slowly but surely I stopped picking things up because I might need it for some event in the distant future and instead bought things I liked that I wanted to wear right now. @gdl203 has mentioned this before somewhere on the forum, how he buys things with the intent to literally wear them outside the store. There's something much more emotionally fulfilling about that, as compared to what many here often deride as a utilitarian approach to clothes.

As a result, I've learned that traditional CM doesn't really do it for me and that I much prefer contemporary casual and modern reinterpretations of the classics. That's been a great discovery, and many of you (+ others around the forum) have been great inspirations.

Last thing I'd note is something that's been hinted at by others: It's hard to bounce around and dabble in different styles for $$$$$ reasons. Yes, you can find secondhand, but there's a cost to that too. I try to remind myself every time I get a little jealous of someone's fit that the >$40,000 in daycare costs will go away eventually...
 

Chaconne

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@Chaconne I would consider the two pics you posted to be expressions of the same style though, definitely coherence in color, fit, and vibe. Not wildly dissimilar in any way.

@polyfusion I found the point about subculture (and age) very interesting. I was born in the early 80s and grew up in subcultures, where "authenticity" was incredibly important. I don't think I've considered the relationship between that background and my take on personal style, but it seems very plausible there is one.
I see what you mean, slowly edging into the full Yohji and the 80%70s style but not quite there yet.
 

dieworkwear

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True self is an interesting term. I was born in the early 80s and grew up in the 90s listening to indie rock. True self resonates with the values of that period that I've more or less based my life upon. My day to day job is in music, as an artist manger and the biggest shift I've noticed with younger artists I work with is their lack of connection with the idea of "true self". This broadly is considered a millennial ideal, relative to the more tribal nature of that era - you were either a punk , rock or a hip hop kid (electronic was in something of a lull for teenagers back then). Being 'real', never “fake” and not 'selling out', were things we talked about every day. And I was like that too. I hated other tribes then and defined myself on the subculture I was invested in.

But the present really isn't like that. I haven't met an artist under the age of 25 who considers genres (or selling out) a thing. The presence of the internet has made most kids embrace fragments of multiple subcultures and pasts simultaneously, the best of whom connect and reanimate them into new, thrilling wholes.
I've noticed the same shift in culture. I also grew up in the same period as you, and distinctly remember how important it was to have a true self, stay authentic, keep it real, etc. People were very much separated into tribes. But now no one cares that Drakes doesn't write his own lyrics. Lil Uzi dresses like an emo kid. People commonly wear band tees that they have no connection to.

Sometime before the lockdown, I was in a car with an Uber driver. We somehow got to talking about music, and how people draw from all sorts of things today. The Uber driver noted this happened in the '80s and '90s as well, like with the Run DMC x Aerosmith song. He suggested that I check out some music event that night. When I arrived, they spun all sorts of things -- hip hop, rock, electronic music, etc. At the end of the night, some woman dressed in all black and with black eyeliner got on stage and did some electro-goth-punk thing. It was the strangest thing because, when I was growing up, these were all very distinct tribes and you would never see people mixing stuff like this.

Just feels like youth culture is not concerned with this stuff about authenticity anymore. Also feels like it's maybe part of that poptimism debate in rock -- you can like whatever you like.

When I look across menswear, I see guys faking it even when they try to keep it authentic. Lots of guys try to dress like Neapolitans, Ivy League graduates, old money industrialists, gothic vampires, 1930s ironworkers, etc. despite having no real connection to these things. It all looks like dress-up to me.
 

gdl203

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This. So much this.

The discussion reminds me of a recent Vox article (https://www.vox.com/the-highlight/22280750/covid-19-one-year-fashion-sweatpants-style) in which the author laments the loss of love for her clothes over the past year. It was an interesting read, because I had the exact opposite experience: There was a liberating aspect of the pandemic that allowed me to discover clothes/styles that made me feel good--the sociological aspects of fashion, as @dieworkwear has described it. Slowly but surely I stopped picking things up because I might need it for some event in the distant future and instead bought things I liked that I wanted to wear right now. @gdl203 has mentioned this before somewhere on the forum, how he buys things with the intent to literally wear them outside the store. There's something much more emotionally fulfilling about that, as compared to what many here often deride as a utilitarian approach to clothes.

As a result, I've learned that traditional CM doesn't really do it for me and that I much prefer contemporary casual and modern reinterpretations of the classics. That's been a great discovery, and many of you (+ others around the forum) have been great inspirations.

Last thing I'd note is something that's been hinted at by others: It's hard to bounce around and dabble in different styles for $$$$$ reasons. Yes, you can find secondhand, but there's a cost to that too. I try to remind myself every time I get a little jealous of someone's fit that the >$40,000 in daycare costs will go away eventually...
Yup. Some people approach their closet 100% left brain, others 100% right brain. Most people is a balance. You've got to find what makes you happy - that's really the most important KPI here. If organizing the perfect closet with color combos all thought out and just the right amount of everything is what makes you tick, go for it. If having 100 pairs of sneakers that you wear 2x each a year is making you fulfilled, listen to what your brain is telling you. If buying nothing for 6 months and wearing what you have fulfills you, do that.

Whenever I've pushed myself to act in a way that I thought was "right" about shopping, it created all sorts of remorse, envy and overall me feeling bad about stuff. Just don't do that. If you think you're buying too much stuff and won't wear it, don't feel bad: donate or sell what you're not wearing. It's a natural feeling to fall out of love with stuff. Just act on it and move on. Of course, if it rises to the level of a destructive addiction, please talk about it with your friends or therapist.

One thing I know for sure after all these years: I will NEVER know which of my purchases I will wear for 10 or 20 years, and which ones I will no longer like. I've never been right about guessing that. It just is something that happens and cannot be predicted.
 

1969

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One thing I know for sure after all these years: I will NEVER know which of my purchases I will wear for 10 or 20 years, and which ones I will no longer like. I've never been right about guessing that. It just is something that happens and cannot be predicted.
This is so true. Sometimes I buy knowing I'm taking a flyer on something and other times I think "this will be forever" and my accuracy with all of that is quite low.
 
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Keith Taylor

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I didn’t grow up part of any particular subculture, except perhaps nerd by default as an intelligent skinny kid who didn’t excel at sports. Instead I just picked and chose whatever took my fancy, and never found myself locked in to a particular crowd with its own rigid aesthetic.

While I’m sure belonging to a subculture comes with many positives I’m thankful for the freedom to do my own thing without feeling the need to signal my affilitiation. When I lived in the UK my local bar down the road from my home in York was a hangout for people who fell into the loose Venn diagram of metal, rock and emo fandom, so while I showed up in whatever clothes I wanted to wear everyone else in the bar stuck to the same uniform of mostly black clothes - torn jeans and band t-shirts aplenty - and lots of tattoos and unusual piercings.

I left more than a decade ago but I still keep in touch with the group, and now most of them are parents... who still almost exclusively wear torn black jeans and band t-shirts with slightly faded tattoos and unusual piercings. If it makes them happy I’m happy for them, but I’d find it terribly boring to open my wardrobe and find myself staring at the same half dozen monochromatic items of clothing for the rest of my life.
 

mak1277

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I've noticed the same shift in culture. I also grew up in the same period as you, and distinctly remember how important it was to have a true self, stay authentic, keep it real, etc. People were very much separated into tribes.
I was born in the late 70s so roughly the same era. I find all of this discussion interesting because I don't recall ever wanting to be defined by a single "thing" or group. The idea that my entire "self" could be defined by a single style of music, or religion, or profession, or political affiliation, or sports team fanbase, or hobby, is anathema to me. I have never connected with any one thing so deeply that I felt like it defined my whole being. Maybe that's a personality flaw.
 

Superb0bo

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I understood the point about growing up in subcultures as related to a notion that one is authentic to oneself/expresses one's self/identity with style. Not that people in their 30s and 40s who grow up in subcultures just keep dressing subculturally. My own style is certainly an expression of/correlated to the multiple roles I have in life, my history, my cultural/art/style preferences, and so on. The point is that its (fairly) coherent.
 

kaizerpi

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In the vein of some of Derek’s posts what is everyone looking forward to wearing this spring summer?

for me, some light easy pants, popovers/long sleeve polos, espadrilles, an some tailoring again!
 

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