Gerry Nelson: Do Your Research and Buy Quality.

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I wanted to delve into the mind of one of Melbourne’s menswear lovers – somebody who works outside of the fashion scene, has no bias toward any brand, and has formed his own educated opinion on clothing. The other day I sat down with Gerry Nelson, the Melbourne man who has one of the most enviable sartorial wardrobes around. Gerry doesn’t spend big on “designer.” He knows what to buy, when to buy it, and how much to buy it for. I talked to him about how this expertise came to be, and how you are able to begin your journey down the same path of sartorial enlightenment.

Gerry Nelson

Where/how did you first do your research into menswear, and how would you go about it now?

I first became acquainted with menswear while flicking through the pages of GQ and Giorgio Armani catalogues back in the ’90s, trying to mimic the styling on the models and not getting very far!. It wasn’t until I properly started researching menswear back in 2011 where websites such as Put This On and StyleForum introduced me to guidelines such as fit, fabric and colour combinations. I’ve formed many great friendships through Styleforum (especially via the Australian Members thread). These friends have influenced me strongly in the way I dress, and continue to be great sources of information when I want to find specific pieces.

If I was starting my journey again, there are a few articles and blogs I would find invaluable as sources of style inspiration:

Put This On’s The Essential Men’s Wardrobe would be my first port of call, which is a list that contains pretty much every basic piece a man needs for any occasion.

I would also be regularly checking out the eBay Round Up article in Put This On for the items I needed. They’ve done the work in finding some great stuff on eBay and save me a lot of time and money in the process.

Once I had the basics, i’d decide the direction in which I would want to point my style depending on my personal taste. For example, I would try to gauge whether the way I wanted to dress was more akin to “American Ivy,” “The British Gentleman,” “The Italian Industrialist,” or perhaps more along the lines of streetwear. After finding the style I enjoy most, I would look at lots of pictures (say on the What Are You Wearing Right Now thread on StyleForum, The Armoury blog, the Linen For Summer, Tweed For Winter blog and too many others to mention) and see what appealed to my sense of style – not just what looked great on the person in the picture but what I would feel comfortable wearing for whatever I do everyday.

The key is to be relaxed and comfortable in whatever you wear. If you are not comfortable wearing certain things, it will show and people around you will pick up on it.

I would also get to know the staff in my favourite menswear stores, once they know my style and size they will be able to inform me about the fit of the brands they stock and what might suit me each time I visit them. I would buy accessories (ties, pocket squares) and the best footwear my budget permits. I would also take my time – there’s no rush as these items will be quality, and i’d use them year after year.

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What makes you deliberately seek out quality clothes, even though they might cost more?
I think that quality clothes look better as they age and feel better the more they are worn. If you are willing to wait for new season items to go on sale and occasionally buy secondhand, you don’t necessarily have to spend alot. Sometimes there are really great things to be had in thrift shops, but you really need to be able to recognise quality, know what you’re looking for, and disregard the labels.

Why do you spend more on a garment you feel is worth the money?

I tend to spend more on pieces that are hard to find and I will get alot of use out of. However sometimes it is purely because I give in to temptation!

What are your favourite pieces in your wardrobe and why?

My favourite pieces are versatile, and can be worn for many occasions and situations. I have a considerable amount of items I love in my wardrobe, but the following are my go-to pieces:

My navy “open weave” sportscoat works well with nearly all the trousers I own. When I can’t think of what to wear, I can throw it on together with a white shirt, brown tie, grey trousers, white linen pocket square and suede shoes and know that I look presentable in nearly any situation.

My dark brown suede chukka boots are comfortable and work well with jeans, chinos, grey wool or flannel trousers.

My navy field jacket is the more casual version of the open weave sportscoat. I’ll wear this with a white shirt, jeans/chinos and and a pair of suede chukka boots and away I go.

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Any pieces that you dream of owning, but are just out of reach?

At this point, I don’t really have anything that I dream of that is out of reach. I’ve found that there are acceptable substitutes most of the time. However, this could easily change at anytime!

Any general advice for us average dudes wanting to step up our sartorial menswear game?

Get the basics first while focusing on fit and quality. Learn how to polish your shoes, iron your shirts and tie your tie with a four-in-hand knot. The time you put into learning these things will pay off.
Most of all, enjoy wearing your clothes!

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Jared Acquaro: How I’d Start Over As A Sartorial Beginner

“Putting clothes on shouldn’t be as difficult as a Rubik’s Cube.”

Jared Acquaro Full Frontal
Jared Acquaro showing us how it’s done!

Jared Acquaro is undoubtedly the king of good-ol’ classic and manly tailored style here in Melbourne, and is often mentioned on a global scale with his blog “A Poor Mans Millions” (Instagram @apmmillions) which is full of sartorial content and menswear golden nuggets for those in search of inspiration. He also keeps telling me he makes a mean Gnocchi.

Today, I’m taking Jared back in time to his pre-sartorial self, so that we may all take a glimpse of how a true maestro would build his wardrobe as a beginner!

If you were starting from scratch as young Jared, but knowing what you know now, what are the first handful of items you’d focus on? 

Well first of all, if I was young Jared again I’d be focused on becoming a tailor and in doing so I’d find out what works for me and be able to make myself everything I need. Anyway, that is only a dream, so as young Jared I’d start with two basic Navy and Charcoal solids for suiting, a couple of subtle pattern sports jackets, white and blue shirts and your typical black and brown quality shoe. Now in saying that, you said if “I knew what I know now,” it’s a completely different ball game. I would need to slowly build up a wardrobe; I’d already know what works for me through my previous trial-and-error, how something should fit me and why and how to take care of all my clothing too. It’s not always suits and smart wear either, I love to mix casual elements into it too such as t-shirts, cotton pants and polos.

Jared Acquaro "The Don"
Jared Acquaro “The Don”
Christian Kimber Boots
Olive Green Christian Kimber Boots

Where would young aspiring menswear Jared shop in Melbourne? 

I would get my suits, shirts, trousers and jackets made for me from a made to measure tailor here in Melbourne – there are many around these days. It’s best to create your own long-term relationship with one, rather than go to who’s trending each season. I really don’t want to name drop just one brand because I get specific things from all sorts of random places. I think that’s the key to further your own style; For example, you could buy your nice suits and jackets from Oscar Hunt, get your accessories (ties, socks, cufflinks, skincare) from Henry Bucks, buy some seasonal one off’s from MJ Bale, spend a bit on shoes from Double Monk and for those extra special suits or jackets maybe see Joe from The Finery Company when he’s in town. Broadening your horizons will broaden your style. Just try not to jump on too many “band wagons” and “illusions,” focus on quality over quantity.

Who are your current style inspirations? How would you do your research? 

I don’t really have any right now. Back in the day I used to take inspiration from a lot of guys from around the world, the Internet, people in streets and stylish friends. But now I just know what I’m after and like to design or create my own thing. Now I look at not the person per-se, I pay more attention to the colour combinations they choose against the person’s natural tones. Whenever I need some inspiration, my research starts with an idea or colour and typing www.google.com.

What popular fashion trends would you personally steer clear of? 

High fashion or runway doesn’t suit my personality, either does Avant Guarde/Couture. I like more practical and simple constructions. Putting clothes on shouldn’t be as difficult as a rubik’s cube.

Finally, any life tips you might give young Jared

Put your clothes on and walk out the door and never look in a mirror more than once. Confusing yourself takes away your comfortability. Buy for yourself, and nobody else.

If you enjoyed this post, please add your email to the subscribers list on the top right side of this page. Thanks for reading Jared’s opinion and feel free to add a comment. The Melbourne Style brought to you by Steve Calder. Ciao.

Suits and Sneakers Done Right

When it comes to wearing clothes and talking about mens style, my emphasis is on comfort, comfort and more comfort. “All pieces in your wardrobe, formal and informal, should be based around comfort. If they aren’t, you’re not doing it right.”

Even though I advocate comfort, it is very easy for myself and many traditional sartorialists to critique and even shun the use of sneakers in sartorial style. Granted there is a time and place, and when done right this look is very striking and visually pleasing. The trick is to maintain elegance when dressing in this way, and it can be tough to master.

There are two key ingredients to sneaker/suit success. The first is a damn cool pair of sneakers, and the second is to ditch all conventional thinking on what you know about suit wearing. In the examples I give here, I will analyse the specific use of these ideas in non-business wear.

Two Individual Inspirations: Alessando Squarzi and Nami Man

Alessandro Squarzi Suits and Sneakers

Analysis:

Alessandro has the innate flair that many Italians posess, which certainly gives him an advantage on the style front. He’s likely been paying attention to details in the clothing he wears since he was a kid – even more reason we should learn from him!

The clear emphasis here is relaxedness. His trousers are roomy and braces help exaggerate this, his jacket is unbuttoned, and he has plenty of volume in his sleeves. Pair this purposeful tailoring with super comfy sneakers and a decidedly light (casual) colour palette, and you get clasically inspired weekendwear at its best.

Nami Man Suits and Sneakers

Analysis:

Nami is young, trendy and heavily influenced by modern streetwear. Pair his #streetorial background with his love for traditional tailoring and you get a dark, slim, punchy version of weekendwear with the same relaxed intention. In this instance the fabric of his suit is most likely woven to improve freedom of movement while remaining as form fitting as possible. Relaxed comfort in a different, sportified way. This particular look is very eye catching and makes use of (and is incomplete without) accessories. Widely accepted pieces used to complete this look are: Bracelets, Beanies, Eyewear, Rings, Scarves, Quilted Vests and Technical Outerwear.

If you’re still curious about this look, I encourage you to do a bit of your own research. There are many Tumblr’s and blogs that promote relaxed tailoring. Here is a list of a few of my favourite brands and blogs based around relaxed and natural style:

Gabucci

Rose & Born

BnTailor

Patrick Johnson

We Are All Alright

Ciao,

Steve Calder