This is How They View it in LA: Men’s Style by TSBmen.com
For those of you who are new to the men’s style game, and for veterans who haven’t heard (though I don’t imagine there are many of you), savvy-up on TSBmen. Formerly known as “The Style Blogger”, the Los Angeles-based blog has risen above all other men’s style blogs to become the most popular and most influential in the world. Fashion Style Blog catches up with founder Dan Trepanier, the beating heart of TSBmen, to find out what makes him tick.
Veronica Hufana: Linda Welters, author of The Fashion Reader, states “In women’s fashion, stylistic changes occurred regularly… Fashion in men’s clothing evolved more slowly and style changes were subtle.” Can you comment on this statement? Is this observation a stumbling block or a worthy (if not necessary) challenge facing men’s fashion?
Dan Trepanier: Menswear is deeply rooted in tradition, history, research and investment. Men typically shop out of necessity and functionality, rather then impulse or emotion. As such, men’s fashion changes very slowly and gradually. This is not a challenge, in my opinion, it’s the beauty of menswear. Strict guidelines create opportunities for creativity. It’s also possible for men to invest in quality staples that will last the test of time – in some cases they can last a lifetime and be passed down as heirlooms for generations.
VH: How do you feel about being dubbed a style icon?
DT: I’d rather be a rockstar, but I’ll take it.
VH: How much of your success as a style icon would you attribute to:
A. Personal drive
A. Personal drive – 50%
B. Strategy – 10%
C. Timing – 10%
D. Support – 30%
VH: You’ve lived in several cities and traveled all over. Which city would you say consistently has the most stylish men?
DT: That’s a tough one, since every city has it’s own identity and style. I would say it’s between Paris, Milan, NYC or Tokyo.
VH: What designer(s) make regular appearances in your closet? Which designers are you eager to try?
DT: The majority of my closet is bespoke that I’ve designed myself. I worked with a custom clothier in NYC for years – learning the tailoring business before TSBmen turned into a full time business. Aside from Bespoke, the most popular label in my closet is probably Ralph Lauren. I’m coming out with my own line of RTW this Fall – so that is probably what I’m most eager about.
VH: Who are your male style inspirations?
DT: I find inspiration everywhere. Today I saw a homeless guy who had the illest pair of paint-splattered overalls…then I went to eBay to find a vintage pair for an upcoming editorial.
VH: How was the TSBteam built?
DT: Organically over time. For years I was doing everything myself. The first person I brought on was Alex Crawford our Art Director and Photographer, because I knew the importance of great imagery. As we grew we simply needed extra hands to keep up with our growing business. Since we put our team members front and center on the website – they each have their own fanbases now – it’s been very easy to bring on new talent.
VH: Describe the kind of man or overall demographic that you intended to cater to with your website at it’s original launch. Has your viewership diversified, for example, are there more female viewers? How do you feel about the changes, if any, and what have you learned from them? Has the original goal or purpose of the site evolved as a result?
DT: I write for my peers. When I first started TSBmen.com I was writing for my basketball teammates at Columbia University. Literally, since I no longer could justify the time spent helping them pick out outfits every Saturday night. It was for my boys and I who were gradually turning into men, and thus needed an updated wardrobe. Our readership, and content, has expanded some but I would say our core demographic remains the young professional, 18-35, who is not necessarily interested in the industry of “fashion” but interested in using clothing and style to improve their first impressions, confidence, lifestyle, etc.
VH: From the “Average Joe” to the “Fashionisto”, what would you say is the biggest challenge facing men’s fashion and style today?
DT: The discipline and research to invest in quality over quantity.
VH: Name 3 items/pieces of clothing/accessories no man should be without.
1. A tailored navy Suit, preferably in a textured cloth
2. A lightweight black leather jacket
3. A pair of shades that flatters your face
VH: What are your intangible style weapons of choice?
1. A good relationship with your barber
2. A great relationship with your tailor
3. A healthy dose of self confidence
VH: For men, name one thing pertaining to fashion that they should ALWAYS do, and what they should NEVER do.
DT: ALWAYS plan your purchases to build a proper, versatile wardrobe. NEVER buy something in the wrong size just because it’s on sale.
VH: What is the biggest mistake that a woman can make when shopping for a man?
DT: Buying something that cannot be returned or exchanged.
VH: Author and Creative Manager, Senior Advisor, Brand Ambassador, Freelance Consultant, Art Director, Photographer. The TSBmen team members wear many hats, all presumably stylish ones. How do you balance your various roles as entrepreneurs, independents, and advocates for men’s fashion?
DT: Time management is always an issue for us. We’re a small team, so everybody has multiple roles. It’s a great way to learn and grow, I think. Lately we’ve been saying “NO” to a lot of offers and projects, which has been one of the most productive decisions we’ve made.
VH: We can talk about tailoring, tips and trends for days. But what advice would you give about establishing or maintaining one’s personal, unique style?
DT: Figure out your identity. Who are you? Who do you aspire to be? What message are you trying to send to the outside world? Who are you trying to attract? Start by understanding yourself before you begin establishing your personal style. Style is your walking cover letter and your only true first impression.
Photo credits: Alex Crawford, TSBmen.com