Style: Back to Basics
Last month, our CEO sat down for an interview with Elevate Lifestyle Magazine, one of the premier publications here in Charlotte, North Carolina. Originally published in Elevate Lifestyle's March issue, we have transcribed for you.
(From left to right, OLE MASON JAR CEO Bradley Rhyne and COO Filipe Ho)
Elevate Lifestyle: When we first spoke about doing this interview, you mentioned this was the first topic you wanted to really dive into. Can you talk a little about why?
Bradley Rhyne: I really wanted to start things off with a solid foundation. Believe me, I get it, fashion/style for men is something that often takes a back seat to other things in life (as often times it should), and as a result is something that a lot of guys are any combination of uninterested, intimidated or clueless on. My hope is to break things down in the most simplistic way, giving someone the core items to own or principles to go by when they get dressed everyday.
EL: Who is the ideal man this guide would speak to?
BR: You know it actually is a guide for every man. Sure, we may not all run a clothing company, or work in corporate America, but this translates to every man regardless of his day job or what he likes to do on the weekends. The basics are just that, the items that every man should have, or could benefit from having.
EL: When talking about the basics, what parts of your wardrobe apply and where exactly do you start?
BR: I am actually going to break things down in a couple different categories: Casual attire, business attire, footwear, accessories and outerwear
Beginning with the most worn category, casual wear, the basics are incredibly simple. White and blue solids for button downs and polos are the building blocks for your shirts and should be the most worn, followed by some additional muted tones or patterns (think a grey check). For pants, some dark denim and khaki chinos can be worn with just about everything.
While every man may not need to dress up for work every day, he likely will have a need to at some point throughout the year (think some form of special event, or hey, even a job interview). For business attire, a grey suit and a navy suit should be in every closet, along with plain white and blue button down shirts. It also makes sense to have a few basic ties that are very simplistic (reds and blues that are either solid or have a very simple stripe or polka dot pattern). These basics will get you through whatever event/interview you may have.
Footwear is one of the most important categories, as while you can get everything else right, if you don’t get the shoes right that is what others will notice. First tip is to keep those chunky sneakers for only your physical activities, and make sure you have something more simplistic for your casual activities (running errands/out to eat/hanging with friends). A causal leather or suede driving shoe or classic desert boot should be the “go to” every time. For dressier occasions you want a pair of basic black and brown oxfords.
Accessories are the items that should accent what you are wearing, not stand out and scream for attention. A stainless steel watch that is a normal size is going to be the most versatile and frequently worn item in your wardrobe along with plain leather black and brown belts
Lastly, while really only applying when it gets a little chilly outside (and man have we needed this year here in Charlotte), is often times the most overlooked item in the wardrobe due to its seasonality. A grey or tan wool overcoat/pea coat is something that can be dressed up or down and so is perfect for all occasions.
EL: What is the number one style tip a man should follow when looking for these basics?
BR: Fit is the absolute most important part of every man’s wardrobe. Guys usually make the mistake of going a size too large when picking out their shirts and pants. Slim fit does not mean skinny, but actually that it is more fitted to your body. Slim fit items are becoming more and more available today, and shouldn’t scare guys away (even those on the heftier side). Make sure the shoulder fits (shoulder points should extend to the end of the shoulder but no further) and the waist fits (when buttoned, there should only be up to 4-5 inches of extra fabric). For pants ensure are not too baggy and not too long to where they are dragging the ground. Once you have the basics and the fit down, you are ready for just about anything!
EL: What is the most common misconception about building your wardrobe, or having what is considered good style.
BR: Hands down the cost factor. For both men and women, it is believed in order to dress well you need to spend a lot of money. Honestly, this is absolutely not the case at all. There are a lot of great brands out there that are both very affordable and fit great for you to build your wardrobe around, and so there is absolutely no need to go out and spend a lot of money on any one specific item if you don’t need to. Once you have built your wardrobe with the basics, only then maybe splurge on that extra nice (pricey) shirt or pair of shoes you have had your eyes on!
*Originally published in Elevate Lifestyle's March Issue. You can read in it's original form here.
A native of NC, Bradley Rhyne is OLE MASON JAR's Co-Founder and CEO, as well as chief editor for all content and social media. With his extensive experience in the finance and accounting industry as a Vice President for a fortune top 10 company, Brad brings a wealth of knowledge, creativity and business acumen to OLE MASON JAR.