Started From The Bottom Now We’re Here

An open letter to you, from our newest contributor, David Hall:

A lot of you reading this today were around about four or five years ago doing something pretty similar. You know, perusing the various OG #menswear blogs, parroting your favorite looks without shame, studying the gospel of Americana.

You started your day with a marathon viewing of Paul Newman and vintage Robert Redford slideshows (a lil’ inspiration with those Wheaties!) before lacing up your Red Wings, throwing on your friend’s Dad’s old, tweed blazer, and sneaking a peek at the cuffs on that selvage denim you knew would take a while to break in (but-dammit-if-I-could-just-take-the-stairs-without-looking-like-I’ve-still-got-my-sea-legs).

We all knew the spiel—our very own Hail Michael of sorts. A selection:

  • “Men’s style has lost its way, and everything has become too consumeristic.”
  • “Everyone is looking for the next big thing, but we have to get back to our roots and celebrate a time when things were made intentionally and meant to last. Like, let’s see: A farmer’s jeans were meant to do things in, and everything was made in the US-of-A.”
  • “I mean, look at this photo of my dad when he was our age. HE WAS ACTUALLY COOL. And his clothes fit better than ours.”
  • “We’ve got to start caring about how we dress, and there’s simply no cutting corners. The right clothes are expensive, and this is no laughing matter. But we’re straight because these boots have a lifetime warranty, this heavyweight denim will last a lifetime, and this hat is made in the same factory
    that made Babe Ruth’s hats.”

Now, don’t get me wrong; my spirit animal is whatever beast wears the skin that eventually becomes a pair of Alden Shell Cordovan PTB’s. But let’s call a spade a spade here. Times have changed. Maybe not that much, but enough. It’s been a few years, and they were right. Your Thousand Miles still have about 600 miles left in ‘em, and that Barbour jacket could use a fresh coat of wax.

But…are you really gonna wax a jacket? I mean, you’re 27 now. And you are working, like, a lot.

You get home, open a craft brew (don’t even get me started), and before long Googling “how to wax a jacket” sounds like the worst thing in the world. Then the gears start turning. You price a few used Barbour jackets on eBay and (wouldn’t you know it?) that’ll go a long way toward that J. Crew Ludlow Topcoat you need to upgrade your YoPro status. A few clicks and cell phone pics later, and the deed is done. Your finely crafted piece of #menswear history will move on to partially shield the rain from some young buck in Cleveland for year[s] to come.

And thus ends this twisted tale that began with justification and ended with, well, justification. The fact of the matter is that a lot of us aren’t ready to buy “the last pair of boots you’ll ever own.” It’s never a bad idea to buy quality, to buy USA-made, or to buy timeless pieces. With enough time, these purchases usually pay for themselves, but for heaven’s sake sometimes it’s fun to get new things. It’s often an expensive lesson to learn, but hey, at least you went with the jacket and not that tattoo of the dog you and your college roommates bought together because I don’t know why.

Moral of the story: Buy what you can afford, and budget *vomit sound* for both the classic staples and this season’s shiny new toy.


Your New Friend, Confidant, Nemesis,

David Hall

P.S. I was going to write a post introducing myself, telling you about my fears and hopes and dreams. But then I realized maybe you don’t want to know me like that—not just yet. Alls you need is proof that other people out there are still figuring this out, fruitless investments and all. So here’s to growing up, still being awesome, and Shazamming songs on the radio to stay relevant. I am excited to be here, and thanks for reading :/

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