It’s been a while since my last style article and I decided to make a comeback with an interview.
Nate is a friend of mine and runs one of the most interesting style and fitness blogs out there – Iron&Tweed.
His advice is spot on and he somehow epitomizes the essence of what it means to master casual wear for men, which is regarded as the fundament of style.
And that’s something I totally respect because I know how tough it is to get there.
I have personally struggled a lot while trying to understand the basics and essentially capitalize on this knowledge in order to evolve my personal style.
And I am sure that most of you find yourselves in the same position.
In this enlightening interview, Nate will share his personal story and reveal some extremely interesting ways to level up your style game.
Try to get the most out of it and if you have nay questions make sure to mention them in the comment section below. Enjoy.
Tell us a bit about yourself and who you really are.
I’m a husband, father and blogger living in Chicago. Menswear and fitness are my greatest passions and I love thinking about all things aesthetic. Sometimes I actually struggle to follow movie plots because I’m so focused on the visual aspects.
I’m an avid outdoorsman, car enthusiast, and lover of the sci-fi and horror genres.
I’m fairly introverted but enjoy good company, and I’m driven by logic – almost to a fault. My wife occasionally calls me Spock.
What influenced your style philosophy and why is style so important to you?
I grew up in a steel mill town with absolutely no real lifestyle influence, but I always admired the well-dressed men in old movies like James Bond. I spent my teen years dressing in whatever the cool kids were wearing, usually looking like a skater, a thug, or a combination of the two.
But in my spare time, I would browse magazines and websites like Ralph Lauren and wanted to emulate these more refined looks. It was discouraging, though – I just couldn’t see how that kind of style could fit my life.
After spending a few years in various manual labor jobs, I changed direction and went back to school to pursue a fitness degree. It was the casual environment of the classroom that allowed me the freedom to really develop my personal style.
But it’s funny, the working class image I was so eager to shed has actually become integral to my overall style today. I’m just comfortable in denim and boots and I’m a firm believer that personal style should have a strong foundation in your experiences.
Style is important because it visually communicates who you are. Without even speaking, you can project professionalism, rebelliousness, charisma, or whatever else you want.
How did you get to the point to create such a concrete and unified framework around your style?
I’ve been casually researching men’s style for almost 2 decades now. I attribute my personal style to a combination of genuine interest (bordering on obsession), experimentation, and most importantly, time.
When I first started out, I really aspired to an elegant look. But over time, I realized that I really feel comfortable in and gravitate toward more rugged pieces and aesthetics. Once I stopped fighting my natural inclination to workwear and rugged, unstructured clothing, my style evolved organically into what it is today. Now I try to find ways to mesh the rugged and the refined in my wardrobe.
Why do you think most guys fail to develop a great sense of style and consequently an efficacious wardrobe model?
I think a lot of guys fail because they focus on “looks” and “outfits” rather than building a wardrobe. Singular outfits are disjointed and specialized, while a well thought out wardrobe is like an adaptable organism.
With interchangeable pieces, you can transition seamlessly from a casual setting to a more formal environment without the need for a complete costume change.
Can you explain us the importance of mastering the fundamentals of style?
You’re spot on with that question since this is the platform from which I created Casual Style 101. Sometimes I feel like the stereotypical little league coach, chanting “fundamentals, fundamentals, fundamentals!”
When you master the basics, you’ll always look your best. You won’t have to wear ostentatious clothes to get noticed. When you have the basics nailed down, people won’t be able to pinpoint the exact reason you look so good, they’ll just sense it.
It’s always apparent when guys skip this step. They try to emulate what celebrities or the stylish guy of the office is wearing (erroneously thinking in outfits) without understanding what they’re doing or why, and sometimes get it about 70% correct. But there’s always some crucial error or inconsistency that makes it look like someone else has dressed them.
Really, mastering the basics is going to take you the furthest in your style endeavors. And I know not everyone wants to spend years figuring out these basics they way I did, which is why I created Casual Style 101. Once you have the foundation that’s detailed in this book, you can take your style in whatever direction you want and build upon it. It’s a guide that can be copied exactly.
Any personal insights/hacks you could give to our readers that can prove invaluable while building their style and wardrobe?
The best advice I can offer is to think about building a wardrobe versus individual outfits.
To create this wardrobe, you should draw inspiration from everywhere. Consider your work environment, geographic location, what movies you like, your style icons, and where you want to end up in life.
The more you draw from within yourself, the life you’ve created, and the life you aspire to, the more natural and satisfying the whole experience will be. In time, you’ll find your authentic style.
If you are interested in reading more about Nate’s ideas and start mastering the fundamentals, you can check out “Casual Style 101” here. I have read it and I can personally vouch that it is one of the most comprehensive guides out there. Highly recommended.
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