Don’t be Andre…
You already know style isn’t about wearing the “latest and greatest”. You don’t tout your paycheck on your sleeve to impress others. You place comfort and utility above all else. Even so, if you don’t consider some other important factors, you could still end up looking like Andre from The League.
What we wear is a window into who we are and while wardrobe is a low priority for most men, we should be mindful of how we’re portraying ourselves. Here are a few things every eco minded man should consider:
Clothes with Meaning
It’s okay to continue wearing cheaply made generic brands if you support the degradation of our environment and you’re okay with the pay and working conditions of their manufacturers. But if you believe in being environmentally and socially conscious, see if you can find some clothing that share your values.
Note: Make sure a brand’s effort is legitimate. Be wary mindful of companies greenwashing as a marketing ploy to get more business.
Default Brands vs Life Style Brands
I call brands that ride the fashion trends and market to vulnerable consumers “default brands”. You can find them at every outlet mall, they are somewhere in between trendy and dull, and many have become the default for those who don’t know what they want.
Default brands like Hollister, American Eagle, and Ocean Pacific don’t really stand for anything. Their core mission is to make money at all costs and they market heavily to consumers who are unsure of what to wear.
On the other hand…
Lifestyle brands cater to the needs of people who have specific passions. Brands like Patagonia, O’neill, and Carhartt were built based on a need within a specific lifestyle.
Patagonia was the first of its kind to make outdoor gear that is environmentally and socially conscious. O’neill pioneered wetsuits for surfers in northern California and continues to push the frontier in surfwear technology. Lifestyle brands have a core mission fueled by a passion and they support the longevity of that lifestyle in their business.
Quality over Quantity
It’s okay to wear the same outfit every week (Steve Jobs wore the same thing almost every day and no one knocked him for it). Take your time to find something you really like and take care of it so it lasts a long time.
You won’t have to go shopping as often or buy as much if you get quality things that fit well and last a long time. Some items that are slightly more expensive are worth it because they have quality materials and craftsmanship. But don’t assume a high price means quality. There are a lot of shitty garments out there that are marked up just for the brand name, not because they are higher quality.
The value in second hand is twofold.
1. Finding something in a thrift store is like finding a hidden gem. Putting your time and effort into it makes it that much better… Plus, all the other eco and social benefits you’re already well aware of.
2. Originality – Getting out of the loop of the latest mainstream brands is liberating and there’s nothing like reviving a retro style.
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