The Cut recently had a great quote from singer-songwriter Father John Misty, patron saint of the not-lost wanderers: “Everyone kind of looks like a graphic designer,” he said. “I just hate that look. It’s predicated on not fucking up, as opposed to the emphasis really being on expression. There’s a lot of prescriptive fashion – ‘Oh, you need the perfect white shirt, and you need the perfect khaki – and it’s just so boring. I would like to see more of a Moroccan-slash-pajama vibe.”
Being that this is the start of spring, we’re bound to see dozens (maybe hundreds?) of lists of seasonal essentials. “Ten Spring Jackets You Must Own.” “Forty-Two Essentials to Spruce Up Your Spring Style.”
The idea of style essentials is awful; it’s just a way to generate clicks and Buzzfeed headlines. Yes, everyone should have a dark suit and the things to go with it (a dark tie, some basic shoes, and yes -- the perfect white shirt). We all have to attend weddings and funerals, after all. Most men could also use a good pair of jeans.
Personal style, however, begins when you branch out and discover things that speak to you.
I know buying things that haven’t earned the “essentials” tag from a menswear magazine can be scary, but with resale sites such as eBay and Grailed, you have some insurance against missteps. On the upside, being a bit more adventurous means developing a true sense of personal style and discovering what you feel most yourself in. Some of the best items in my closet are things I took a chance on and happily found to work out over the years (e.g. a Royal blue mountain parka, which is a lot more cheerful to wear than the drab olive Barbour everyone told me to buy). So never mind what fashion writers tell you are essentials this spring – find your own.