Five Years of Style Blogging

June 22nd, 2014

I’ve been doing a lot of interviews lately and one gentleman I spoke with, who has been reading Articles of Style since day one, had some great questions that got me thinking.

I thought I would share some snippets, to give you a better idea of life behind the scenes here at Articles of Style…

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So you’re a fellow Canadian?

Yup. You, me, and Drizzy Drake.

How do you feel about being dubbed a style icon?

I’d rather be a rockstar, but I’ll take it.

Being from Canada many people believe that style isn’t as relevant in Canada as it is in the states, are their any inspirations that you draw from being raised in Canada or is there somewhere you get inspiration from?

I think it’s “fashion” that isn’t as relevant in Canada. We have 1% the number the designers, or brands, or “fashion weeks”. But “style” is everywhere. Rich, broke, Canadian, Mauritian…we all wear clothes and we all make decisions about how we present ourselves to the world… Sure, I still take a lot of inspiration from my roots in Canada and life on the farm in St. Joachim Ontario.

You’ve lived in several cities and traveled all over. Which city would you say consistently has the most stylish men?

That’s a tough one since every city has it’s own identity and style. For me, it’s between NYC, Paris and Tokyo.

When I first discovered your blog I was very intrigued by the different proportions and textures you used while dancing in between the classic and modern aesthetic, what do you do to make sure each one of your blog posts are just as interesting as the last?

It all comes back to story telling. That’s what sticks with people, ultimately. Most of what I write is not so much about “fashion”, but about people. People and their relationships with clothing. Through that lens we discuss the effect of personal style on an individual’s interpretation from the outside world.

My favorite stories on Articles of Style are profiles of creative men who have used fashion to better their lives, and by doing so, have inspired others to discover their own identities. The overarching theme of Articles of Style, I think, is that anything is possible and style is a tool that can help make it happen for you. I’m living proof. I’m a kid from a farm in the middle of nowhere, and now I sit front row at fashion shows and consult for major menswear brands… Storytelling, my man.

As your site has matured over the years there has been a subtle shift in the subject of some of your posts. Where originally the focus of articles was exclusively on “style tips” and creatively utilizing the basics of menswear, the recent topics have been geared more towards probing the limits of men’s fashion, and featuring individuals that are doing the same. Can you speak to this shift?

We’re always growing and learning, but from early on it’s been about balancing the informational/instructional content with the inspirational/aspirational stuff. When I first started blogging, it was all about my personal style. But that got boring for me, and it was such a narrow way to think. Style is subjective and there are so many forms out there to appreciate… Lately we’ve probably been a little too heavy on the forward-thinking style profiles. We’re bringing back some content that is more true to our origins…but ultimately I’d rather lean a little too “out there” than a little too vanilla. I like to keep people on their toes, they look better that way.

Many people assume that being a blogger is essentially very easy, just get a bunch a free clothes put them on an people will comment. What would you say to them?

Being a blogger is easy, anyone can do it. Making a living off your blog and turning it into a business, that’s a whole different story. There are thousands of menswear bloggers in the world. You show me one who is getting real money and living well off his website, and I will buy him lunch. People think it’s easy because it’s advantageous for us to make it look easy. Story telling, my man. Welcome to show business.

What are the challenges you have that most people aren’t aware of and how do you stray away for the typical “blog” stereotype?

The word “blog” has a very casual and colloquial connotation. I wanted to get away from it. It’s part of the reason we re-branded from “The Style Blogger” to “Articles of Style”. The biggest challenge is getting paid what you’re worth, given the size of your audience and it’s level of engagement. The blogging world is still very new, and internet advertising is the absolute Wild West with virtually no universal market standards. For example, there are traditional paper magazines out there with smaller readerships than us, but they sell 30 pages of ads to major brands at $15-$20K/page every month… But for a “blog”? Those same brands expect to send us a free jacket in exchange for feature in a post. Sometimes we just have to keep it really honest with brands, and stand up for our place in the market.

Would you suggest the blogging business for style enthusiasts like myself and the many other men and women out there?

Blogging is the best business in the world. We have virtually no overhead. My office is my laptop/iphone and our only fixed cost is our dedicated host server, which is a few hundred bucks a month. That said, given the current landscape, it’s virtually impossible to make a good living as an independent style blogger, especially on the men’s side. You’ll need a variety of skills and diverse revenue streams to support yourself. If you’re treating it as a full-time job you’re essentiality creating your own brand – which is one of the most difficult things to do in business.

Author and Creative Manager, Senior Advisor, Brand Ambassador, Freelance Consultant, Art Director, Photographer. You and the Articles of Style Team members wear many hats (all presumably stylish ones). How do you balance your various roles as entrepreneurs, independents, and advocate for men’s fashion?

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 new projects, which has been one of the most productive things we’ve done.

From the “Average Joe” to the “Fashionisto”, what would you say is the biggest challenge facing men’s fashion and style today?

The discipline, research and patience to invest in quality over quantity.

Name 3 items/pieces of clothing/accessories no man should be without.

1. A tailored dark suit (preferably in a textured cloth)
2. A lightweight black leather jacket
3. A pair of sunglasses that flatters your face

For men, name one thing pertaining to fashion that they should ALWAYS do, and what they should NEVER do.

ALWAYS plan your purchases to build a versatile wardrobe.
NEVER buy something in the wrong size just because it’s on sale.

What are your intangible style weapons of choice?

1. A good relationship with my barber
2. A great relationship with my tailor
3. A healthy dose of self confidence

What is the biggest mistake that a woman can make when shopping for a man?

Buying something that cannot be returned or exchanged.

What’s next for Articles of Style?

Travel, videos and products.