Let’s be frank. Too many men lack a strong fashion sense and suffer floating through, “fashion purgatory”, a place where style rests between slightly wrinkled graphic tees and “okay”-smelling jeans. For years, this was home for me.Not much thought was given to my appearance and it showed. Like many men, I had come to believe that an interest in fashion was not for “real” men—that a sense of style somehow diminished my masculinity.
In high school, my buddy, Joe, piqued my interest in fashion. Early in high school, Joe began his departure from “fashion purgatory.” As our friendship blossomed, I followed suit and led my own exodus from purgatory and into thoughtful dressing.
The preppy look became my go-to style. I began to experiment with different colors and patterns making an elaborate, highly personalized style. I wanted to try it all from wingtips, chinos, Oxford shirts, pin rolled jeans, and sweaters (yes, even Cardigans)! Soon, this investment began yielding strong returns: I was more confident in myself and ability to interact with others.
Others, however, didn’t understand who the better dressed version of myself. The newfound style placed a target upon me.
For example, one day, I decided to show up to school wearing a pair of slacks, pink Oxford shirt, and a pressed gray Cardigan complimented by a selection from my color-assorted set of bow ties. Someone commenting on my attire referred to my Cardigan as a “grandpa sweater”. He had a point, but I promptly corrected him, “This is a cardigan.” Armed with a sense of fashion, I was not going to let some random high schooler belittle my style.
Years later, both high school and bow ties (for the most part) are behind me and I continue to grow in terms of fashion and confidence. This is possible and necessary for everyone.
Through my writings in the UB Post, I hope to share the importance of looking good (on a budget) to students further aiding them in achieving their goals while looking and feeling great.
Ben Kahn is a contributing writer for the UB Post covering fashion.
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