Brand Whore

I wrote a blog way back about identity. Basically the gist of it was make sure your outsides match your insides. Heart and mind, body and soul. I am a graphic designer and like any creative person we dress how we like, some in black, some in t-shirts others in a suit and tie. But no matter who you are you essentially are wearing a uniform. It says who you are and where your priorities lie. If you are a t-shirt wearing guy like me you no longer have anything to prove, you are comfortable with where and who you are and the clever illustrations or words on your shirt make you look clever (or so I might think). Let me give you a little history as to how I got to be a middle aged t-shirt wearing dude and wear I am going from here.

In high school it was about image, my best friend and I wanted to be cool so the thing for us was the preppie look. It was the mid-eighties and consumerism was king, you did anything to look good – just watch American Psycho. This was the time when the meterosexual was born. The flopped bangs hairdo with the collared rugby shirt and the rolled up jeans would get you laid, but not before the girl would ask you if you were gay or not. Trust me, if I saw myself back at that time I would have asked me the same question. So most of our money didn’t go to beer or Compact Discs (yes I know I’m dating myself) it went to clothes. My part time job kept me in the latest Ralph Lauren, Gant and Lacoste. I would get one piece at a time and build my wardrobe over a couple of years. It was slow going.

I then went to college, slowed down and spend money on food and rent…and beer of course. Until I worked at a high end clothing store in Bankers Hall here in Calgary called Oxygen. This is where my fashion education really began. I learned how to fit a suit, tie a tie in multiple ways, how clothes should fit and why. What makes a $2000 suit better than a $200 suit. Plus how to build a wardrobe properly. They say you can have a solid wardrobe with six pieces. True if you don’t include accessories. Oxygen carried such brands as Hugo Boss, Antonio Miro, Giuliano Fujiwara, Versace and many more. We even carried a Canadian designer named Phillipe Dubuc, who I actually had the pleasure of meeting. I own one of his vests. Great clothes. So over my short time at Oxygen I learned and listened, soaking up what I could and spending most of my pay cheques on clothes I couldn’t afford. Then came my years in advertising. I would wear dress shirts and sweaters but never did the suit thing. So when I started my own business I wore for comfort, jeans and tshirts became the norm and to this day I am still rocking the T & J combination. But that is about to change.

I went with my friend and web designer to look for a nice pair of shoes he needed for a pitch he was doing. He also wanted my advice on another piece he had picked out (a jacket). We headed over to the mall and went to Henry Singer, my friend knew the sales person so as they were looking at shoes I poked around. Like getting a wiff of my wifes perfume, all the old feelings came flooding back and I remembered why I’d loved clothes so much, my fashion education came back to me like a rush of familiar friends. Cuts and patterns, new designers that I had heard of but never seen up close (Dolce & Gabbana, Michael Kors, Tiger of Sweden). Just like in graphic design you see trends and underlying styles. Classics and crazy pieces. I knew that as I get older if I am going to be taken seriously by anyone I will have to start dressing the part. I will still stay true to my aesthetic I just want to dress my age. I don’t want to be the guy with a closet full of t-shirts who has nothing to wear to a wedding or graduation. Just like before I will build my wardrobe slowly and collect my six signature pieces one at a time. So by this time next year I may look like a responsible adult. Even if I don’t act like one.

Do the clothes make the man or vice versa?

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