In my last post I took the experiences from my own personal background and matched them up with existing archetypes to help develop the world in which this look will appear to come from. I identified three main archetypes: Rebel, Cowboy, Explorer, which represent this look in the broader mythology of man. As it is important to remember, good personal style is as much about telling a story as it is about keeping you from being inappropriately naked all of the time. Now that I've identified the archetypes that this look will be drawn from, I can look for representations of these archetypes out in the world. These representations may be actors in movies, celebrities, objects, books, photos, or anything else that is a unique representation of the feeling and the story that I am trying to create with this look. The point is to find a continual source of inspiration for building the look. When you identify these for your own look, you can often come back to them time and time again to find more inspiration or look for ways to change things up a bit. Below, I've included just a few of the inspirations for the look that I'm building. I'll post more when the spring comes around and I need to build the other half of this look:
My favourite all-time source of inspiration for the rugged look has got to be Robert Redford. Rising during the 70s and defining rugged manhood, you need go no further than any of his movies to find some inspiration on how to dress like the gentlemanly-outdoorsman. My personal favourite is Three Days of the Condor, from which I took the above photo still. Definitely worth watching for both being a great movie and a source of style inspiration.
Look for: Denim-on-denim, Chambray, Simple, clean lines
Borrowing it's inspiration from Al Pacino in Serpico, I loved the way that GQ took the style from the original movie and brought it into the modern age. I watched the movie after seeing the shoot, but I liked the updated style far more than the original version. Made me decide to try out a beard this winter. If only I had the pocket change for some suede pants.
Look For: Scruff, just because my clothes will have clean lines doesn't mean I will
A Canadian icon and one of my original inspirations when approaching this look, I admire the style of Billy Bishop's military uniform and the northern pilot attire of the time. His inspiration will help me inject the Canadiana I desire in my look combined with military heritage that reminds me of my time as a cadet.
Look For: Aviation inspired wear
I'll never forget how inspired I was immediately by Brad Pitt's style in Inglourious Basterds. One scene in particular where he's wearing a chambray shirt and a dark charcoal V-neck sweater led me to go buy both the next day. Throught the movie he has the look of a frontierman who's packed light and on the move, both qualities that are incorporated into this look.
Look for: More Chambray, dark layers
Jack Kerouac is both a literary icon and voice of a generation. He was also a modern explorer, seeking out meaning in his life and capturing it all in his work On the Road. Like Pitt in Inglourious Basterds, but not fictionalized, Kerouac was a man constantly on the move, and basic repeated flannel shirts are ideal for a number of conditions and environments.
Look for: Plaid shirts, clothing that travels well
When I first saw this shoot, it took my breath away. Having worked in outdoor apparel as a young man, I always found the goods that we sold incredibly ill-suited to fashion. However, recent developments in this area of menswear in collections ranging from ZegnaSport to Prada Linea Rossa to the more traditional lines like Woolrich Mills or Barbour has added much needed style to technical gear and made it an urban-friendly style alternative. Esquire perfectly captured this movement in their Mountaineering Shoot, leading to much of the inspiration for this look.
Look for: Gear that looks like it is mountain ready
It wasn't until my Grandmother passed away late last year that I realized how stylish my whole family had been. I drew a lot of inspiration from my Grandfather's look in old photos and it comforts me to know that we are cut from the same cloth.
Look for: Pants tucked into bean boots, socks that extend over my boots
It doesn't take much imagination to see how all of these sources of inspriation might be threaded together to build a look. When starting out with a new look, it's important not to spread yourself too thin. It's easy to want to emulate anything you think looks cool, but it takes ruthless editing to get things down to a manageable look, and then to build off of it. Even for this list here, I cut a number of notable style sources: James Dean, Ryan Gosling in Drive, Steve McQueen, Edmund Hilary, and so on. I'm not saying that those names won't make a return to this list eventually, but it's best when you're starting out a new look to focus things and then let them loosen up over time, rather than own a lot of pieces that have no coherence. I'm sure you're a dynamic individual, but just keep it simple for now.
In my next article in the series, I'm going to edit my existing wardrobe down to what works for this look, and pack up the rest into storage. I own a lot of beautiful pieces that have their place somewhere, but i need to be discriminating in rescuing the pieces that matter for this look and leaving the rest out of it.
As always, thanks for reading.
- Mr. S