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DANGEROUSLY STYLISH - Classic Menswear & Nonconformity

“To do a dangerous thing with style is what I call art”

-Bukowski


READING TIME: ~ 10 MINUTES


BY ANTHONY GARCIA


10-05-23


Bukowski boldly claims in his poem on style, that he’s “met more men in jail with style than men out of jail”. I can mildly attest to this notion during my short stint in Florida’s finest correctional facility. Alas, If I’d extended my vacation, perhaps I would have gotten closer to the belly of the sartorial beast behind bars, though admittingly not too eager to return & find out.


So, If you’ve found yourself to be a magnet of dicey situations. Perhaps visually intimidate others & want to polish those rough edges, or simply want to add a little zest to your ensembles & demeanor, keep reading.


Style navigates a sundry of avenues, from reading a magazine to a manner of walking, to having a snack, right down to Dylan Rieder’s steeze on a board. It can be the simple way of expressing a thought, or how an individual acquits oneself in the face of danger - if emboldened to tread such waters. It’s a timeless way of doing things, rakish with a dash of sprezzatura. Rebellion too, is an art. It requires modulation, finesse & adroitness. lest one experience frequent societal resistance. Because truly no gentleman desires to get fucked with.



To be clear, I will not discuss classic style from the two-pronged status quo - A) faithful traditionalist or B) trendy #menswear modernist. More so to present rebel style as interpreted by yours truly: a fly-on-the-wall type fella who grew up around motorcycles in Miami Gardens, AKA Murder Gardens - Carol City. I was fortunate enough to have a father born in the mid-1920s with an impeccable eye for style, fine tailoring & dangerous hands to match.


Search hard enough, and one will find a few articles & videos on rebel style. Such as the history of tattooed military men dating back to the 1930s, or the same old stories on mobsters, a 2008 article called “The well-dressed Rebel” by GQ, another from Esquire (2015) speaking on how to look like a rebel, a how-to dress like James Dean & Steve McQueen video by Gentleman’s Gazette, & lastly, & most notably, a discussion on subcultures and style by Permanent Style’s Simon Cromton, speaking with Tony Sylvester. The latter was starting to tap into what I’d like to address. But I’d be remiss to mention that the aforementioned sources are relevant in their own right. However, they speak on how to look like a well-dressed rebel. Not a rebel dressing well, & timeless.


Whenever I think of rebel style, I think of the likes of Basquiat, Lucky Luciano, Muhammad Ali, Gianni Agnelli, Miles Davis, boxer Jack Johnson, members of Joy Division and The Specials, Nick Cave, Marcel Duchamp, & others. They, in their own right, liked to challenge societal norms. Stir things up and watch it swirl.

There’s a subtle, passive, & beautiful rebellion that comes with wearing tailored clothing in an ever-growing casual world. It’s a sophisticated way of flipping off the norm. & for those who have a history of being stigmatized, this can have a tremendous impact on how they’re treated. Be real, people judge appearances, & it would be beneficial if others don’t presume you’re going to steal something, independent of whether they do it or not.


Speaking of stealing, for all 4 years of high school, the only way I could get new clothing was if I visited the local mall & commandeered my fit, sometimes to trade or sell for skate goods. I worked odd jobs during high school but the pay was just enough for school lunch & gas. I wanted to look good, so I played the game.


I grew up in Miami. My Cuban father was an old-timer, as were his friends. For context: my initial observation of classic style was from seeing men adorn odd jackets or sports coats, suspenders & slacks, tobacco in hand, paired with aviators. Alternatively, newly starched & ironed guayaberas, high-waisted tropical wool trousers topped with a Panama hat. For accessories, there were gold or silver Cuban link bracelets & chains, on them dangling a Jesus pendant or some catholic deity. Big rings, slick hair, all grounded by a set of woven loafers or polished oxfords. These are the characters I grew up around.


At home, I was exposed to the classic Cuban style, my neighborhood was predominantly southern black, & as I developed my identity, I found activism, Animal Rights, racing bicycles, building motorcycles, American Hardcore, Powerviolence, Raw American Black Metal & Crust. The exposure to these prismatic concepts taught me to appreciate diversity. Also, the importance of being able to authentically contribute to a culture, as opposed to just stealing ideas to pose in.


I want to carry on this spirit and help other men find their visual identity through sustainable clothing, all the while feeling good & looking good. If one can’t outgrow getting into trouble, might as well look good doing it.


There are plenty of analogous benefits to timeless style. Wearing long-lasting, ethically sourced clothing (new or thrifted) is more environmentally friendly, it helps you out financially in the long run (cost per wear) & helps foster the artisans who put these garments together. More the reason to find the appeal to anti-fast fashion, often called slow fashion. Furthermore, there is plenty of research suggesting that a well-put-together individual appears more attractive and a more attractive person reaps more benefits from day-to-day interactions. Things like how you’re treated at work, pay rate, and so forth. Tailoring can also enhance your appearance by sculpting your silhouette to more favorable means.


That’s all fine & dandy but how do you do it? Here are some pointers I’ve picked up over the years trying to make these juxtapositional cultures & aesthetics get along.

  1. Instead of hiding, let the elements that make you unique shine. Be it in my case, scarred knuckles & hands, a 4-inch scar on my head, or dark and jarring tattoos. these attributes will only add to your overall uniqueness. Just mind your manners or you’ll just be another dickhead in fine tailoring.

  2. Wear simple ensembles. Odds are you already have a rich personality with stories to tell. Let your personality & unique attributes be the center of attention. Trust me, we already stand out more than you think.

  3. Avoid costumes: falling too heavily into any era will appear anachronistic.

  4. Limit the amount of black clothing you wear. It’s too easy, unimaginative, & could come off unapproachable.

  5. Avoid big or bold logos, fine things whisper, they don’t shout.

  6. Let your ego take a back seat. Biased by relative norms, most of us are used to having our guard up. Used to confrontation, utilize that momentum towards having positive interactions. You will not only speak on behalf of yourself but also the group you’re representing.

  7. Find social events to mingle and meet like-minded people. They are available worldwide & it just takes a little searching. Places such as black tie events, vintage car or motorcycle shows, equestrian events, tennis events, & 1930s or 40s events at your local historic venue. I'll list a few events so you get an idea, I highly encourage looking into it because it will change your perspective on dressing well. & again there are plenty of them around.

  • The tweed ride

  • The seersucker ride

  • The distinguished gentleman's ride

  • The race of the gentlemen

  • Goodwood revival

  • Concours d'elegance

  1. Start small, search around for the style that resonates with you, & buy some key timeless pieces from that style, preferably from a thrift store.

  2. Invest in good footwear, sneakers are cool if you’re going to the gym or going for a run. Otherwise find some Goodyear-welted, storm-welted, hand-welted, or blake-stitched footwear. Such as boots, oxfords, derby, or loafers. Footwear comes in subcategories such as:

  • Wholecuts

  • Balmorals

  • Monkstrap

  • Penny loafers

  • Belgian loafers

  • Service boots

  • Wingtipped boots or shoes (with or without brogues)

  • Captoe boots or shoes (with or without brogues)

  1. With clothing, you can explore these articles in all weights, weaves, fabrics, & textures. From Linen, tweed, wool, or cotton, articles such as:

  • Sports jackets

  • Blazers

  • Teba jacket

  • Safari jacket

  • Double-breasted jackets

  • Chore coat

  • Single or double-pleated trousers (forward or reverse)

  • Gurkha trousers

  • Flat front trousers

  • Chinos

  • Side tab trousers

Hope this helps! Now get out there & charm the world. If you have any questions reach out to FeralxFolk on Insta & YouTube or the web https://www.feralxfolk.com/




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