You might be thinking ‘Is this just gonna be another piece where he shares photos of himself and talks about how his style has changed?’ Yes – kind of. I think it’s nice to reflect on such things, otherwise you can’t grow. I plan on doing this once a year now!
I’m assuming here, but 2022 was quite the year for everyone. I think we can all agree that 2020 was quite awful, but ever since then things have been still very much like stepping out of the unknown. Much has changed for me in such a small amount of time and I’ve become a different person in many ways. It’s nice to sit down and mull on such when a new year is right before us. Different chapter, I suppose! It’s all a part of ageing and maturing. I strongly believe you can still mature even later in your life – once someone is set in their ways they don’t necessarily have to stay that way, that’s entirely up to them, but people can change if they choose to. Sometimes, though, you don’t have a choice. You are forced to change, and it’s better to embrace that change. Anyways, all this being said – when I develop as a person I find myself rummaging through my closet a bit more than I naturally would. I find myself taking a second look at certain garments and having a new perspective on them. Sometimes I’m inspired by others, occasionally I just will completely change my mind on some of the clothes I own. Usually I don’t get tired of pieces quickly as I tend to have a ‘buy it for life, or at least a very long time’ mindset which has worked well for me so far. But like what I mentioned earlier; time alters things and ideas – life gets in the way. That shirt you loved might not be sparking something in you anymore, that really nice pair of denim you wore forever might not fit just quite like they used to.
This year started out with my fiancée and I moving into a new home. Which was exciting and much needed. Now I had more space to decorate and actually move around in, which was much needed! I was also still recovering from the death of a family member late the year before in 2021, so it was a welcome change to keep me healthily distracted and looking forward to new and different things. With this I felt I needed to do something different. Maybe take up a new hobby, or to find something new to inspire me. Instead I found difficulties. I was having issues with a previous work place and left pretty suddenly, these things happens but I took it in stride and made it into an opportunity to relax. I’ve been working since I was of age to do so, so why not take the time to relax, be creative and think about what I really want to do? This time took me to a lot of places and ultimately to where I felt I wanted to be in my life. I wanted to have control of what I did for a living. I wanted to take my last name that no longer felt like mine and turn it into something I could be proud of! Ultimately I decided to open my own business. How I was gonna do that? I had zero clue. I started studying, asking people who ran business, bugging my business-owner friends for advice and leads into what I need to do and first steps, etc. This was a huge learning experience for me. It let me to so many different paths and ideas I didn’t even know were possible. Well – now that the cat’s outta the bag, I won’t share too much but it’s an exciting life event that I’m working very hard to make happen. I don’t want to rush into things half-heartedly and fail. All this being said, I’m looking forward to 2023 and what it brings. More exciting things from all my creative friends, definitely more creative endeavors from me, too.
In 2022 I slowed down on buying a lot. I wanted to focus on what I had and make sure to wear the things I already owned instead of finding new things every week that I wanted. There isn’t anything inherently wrong with buying a lot of clothes, especially when they’re made by smaller brands and makers, but it isn’t also necessary to constantly indulge myself on clothing I didn’t need. Like I’ve spoken a lot about in the past; I try to buy less, better things. Sustainability is so important in this world, especially in these times we live in. Clothing is such a massive pollutant on this earth, and when we carelessly purchase things we will eventually get rid of, we are heavily contributing to that. It isn’t something I want on my conscience. All this being paired with gaining weight, losing it, gaining more weight, exercising a lot. My sizes have fluctuated throughout the year (let’s be real, still are.) and most of my clothing didn’t fit too well. This is tough as someone who has always been on the very thin side. The niche brands and clothing I wear isn’t cheap and on top of that I was, and am, very attached to these pieces. It was tough to sell them for sentimental reasons and also because the sizes were damn small. You can see the dilemma! Nonetheless I tried my best but am still holding onto a select few just in case – but perhaps they’ll find their new forever home sometime, too, so I can reuse the cash to buy things that’ll inspire me and fit my changing body. Stylistically I found myself pretty much where I was in 2021 so I can’t say that was dramatically developing differently. I did reach more often for trousers than denim and certain boots instead of others. This is mostly because I found what pieces I had that were comfortable to me, therefore throwing those on more often. As one does. I’m excited to see what 2023 will bring for me though. I do feel like my style has found it’s place but there is so much I want to try and dip my toes into. You won’t ever find me in a pair of New Balance shoes, but maybe a loafer or something. We’ll see!
Anyways, I thought it would be fun to share some others thoughts on 2022 from the community. It’s fun to get different perspectives from others in the Denim / Heritage-wear community as everyone has their own ideas on what looks good, and how to style things, etc. I asked some friends what they thought changed for them style-wise in 2022 and if they’d like to try or change anything in 2023. Here’s what they said:
Albert (@upstateguystyle)Having a clothing store that I spend time in regularly has had a big impact on my style this past year. Before Standard and Strange opened in Manhattan, I didn’t really have a favorite clothing place to hang out and try things on. Spending time there has exposed me not only to the creative people who work there, but also to the cool people who come in to shop.
One practical example of how this in-store time has influenced me: Since I first started buying selvedge denim and exploring heritage brands five years ago, I tended to buy slim-fit jeans. But Neil Berrett, the co-owner of S & S, and Kyle Foxworth, the store manager, encouraged me to try fuller cuts. I resisted at first, but seeing these guys rock their jeans, and being able to try different styles on in the store, finally convinced me to take the plunge. I started with a pair of Ooe Yofukuten, and pretty much lived in them for a summer. They became one of my favorite pairs. Soon after I added a pair of Real McCoys and, most recently, a pair from Black Sign. Each has its own special qualities, but they share a higher-waisted fit that is more relaxed and comfortable. Perfect over the clunkiest engineer boots as well!
Neil and Kyle have really become my one-two punch when it comes to trying new things. Neil has very adventurous tastes and it reflects beautifully not only in how he dresses, but also in what he brings into the store. Being able to try things on in person has enabled me to be a lot more daring in my own selections. It can sometimes hit the wallet a bit harder, but I know I would have never ordered something like Clinch engineer boots if I hadn’t tried them on first in the store. My recent purchase of Wabash-striped pants from Black Sign and Indigofera were very much influenced by Neil and Kyle. Neil often rocks his striped pants, and it was Kyle who picked out a couple of pairs for me to wear for some photos Neil wanted to take. At first I thought, “Never – those are just not my style.” Then I tried them on and instantly and thought they looked great.
Probably my most ambitious purchase to date has been my Real McCoys J-24L leather jacket. I saw that jacket in the window at Standard and Strange for a few months and thought, “Wow, that’s stunning, but I could never pull it off!” That mouton collar was so damned cool, but sitting on top of that “hardcore” motorcycle jacket made it look completely out of stylistic range for me. But one day Neil hosted an event at the store and said I was welcome to wear the jacket for the evening. It was the last one in the store, and happened to be my size. I instantly fell in love with it, and as the evening progressed, I realized I should keep it. Person after person came up to me that night and said, “That jacket looks like it was made for you.” They were right!
So, a few takeaways. First, when you get the chance, go visit a cool store and try things on. Second, don’t be afraid to take suggestions and advice from other people and learn from their experience. Third, be sure to use the excuse of turning 60 to buy as much as you’d like–my 2022 shopping spree was all about that! Finally, have fun mixing and matching and creating your own style. There are no fixed rules, and doing things you are own way is the best way to connect who you are on the inside with what you look like on the outside.
What a great response from Al! Another great thing to come from this previous year is fantastic friendships – Albert being one of them. We started actually talking a lot more and turns out we have a lot in common – every time we chat I feel like I leave the conversation a bit wiser and a bit happier since he makes me chuckle so much! I mean he does look great in that McCoy’s jacket, too – Damn!
Stan (@mister_stantastic)Style has always been a great way to express one’s self through clothes and textiles. The beautiful thing about style is that its growth is ever changing. For the last 10 or so years, my style was been influenced by the eras between the 1920s-1950s. In both workwear and the sophistication of the everyday suit, these looks have guided me on how to dress. In 2022, my style changed or should I say tweaked a bit. With the pandemic, I learned to incorporate a more laid back feel to my workwear inspired outfits. Since being outside wasn’t an everyday occurrence at the start of the pandemic, I adapted to what my new day to day looked like and so did my outfits. This meant putting down the button down shirt and picking up a tee shirt and throwing on a vest and/or jacket. I do still love wearing my collared shirts. But now I just don’t automatically pick a button down shirt when searching what to wear. My preference in tee shirts have been a loop wheeled one. Loop wheeled made shirts bring more character and texture to something that’s so plain. Being able to enjoy a tee’s fabric, changes everything for me. This is the reason I gravitate towards loop wheeled tee’s, now that I wear them more often than I used too. Everyone’s experience with style is always going to be different. Some go through a drastic change, while others keep the same style. But at the same time, those that don’t change, they do tend to evolve. They might just focus on one aspect of their current style and either enhance it or tone it down a bit. This is why the evolution of personal style is so great. Embrace your style! Embrace change! Embrace self expression!
Stan is right! Embrace change and self expression! That’s powerful. I genuinely believe that if you can embrace yourself fully then you can truly be who you are. It seems simple but that’s something I struggled with a lot (still do) when I was younger and it led me down so many different roads where I hit dead-ends trying to be someone I wasn’t! Forget all that nonsense, embrace yourself damn it! Also congrats to Stan – he got married not too long ago! Go wish him and his partner the best.
After asking on Instagram for opinions, it was nice to reflect on what others said and how their experiences blended in with mine. I also am aware of the obvious; I’m pretty young and I will obviously change my mind a lot and the things I enjoy will slowly be developing over time, as it does. I’m 25 now – but in 5 years will I love the same things I do? Will I be wearing the same coats and trousers I love? Will I finally wear some skinny jeans again? (No. Probably not.) If I had to guess I can imagine myself leaning towards more of an old school 1920’s – 1930’s look. I’ve been slowly collecting garments based on that era and I really enjoy how they look and fit the style I want to represent. This being said – I’m excited to see where it takes me and how I develop as a person. That’s what makes this all so fun.
Here’s some of my favorites from 2022. Let me know what you think, or send me your favorites!
Thanks for reading!