Bling Bling Tailoring feat. Akil McLeod

September 25th, 2013

Akil McLeod first caught our eye with his photo entry to the Articles of Style May Giveaway. He had a ‘retro prep’ thing going on and we always appreciate smart vintage finds.

Then we met the man himself at the annual Michael Andrews Bespoke sample sale, where we chatted for a half hour about the value of men’s style, the influence of bloggers, and how much we both love gold jewelry (at the time, Akil was wearing two gold chains and a fistfull of gold rings…on some ‘Modern Day Mr. T sh-t).

One thing led to another and I thought we should feature Akil to share his style with our readers.

“My name is Akil McLeod and I am a 23 year old Academic Advisor for the Educational Opportunity Program at Buffalo State College. I was born and raised in Brooklyn, NY and I attended BSC for both my Undergraduate and Master’s Degrees. My interest in menswear and dressing well began when I started my first internship in Graduate School. I was the youngest person in all of my courses and I realized that the way you dress says a lot about you. In order to be taken seriously, I thought: why not dress for the role that I’m aspiring for?

Then once I started my latest internship with the Educational Opportunity Program, I was already respected by the campus administration because of my work ethic and my style of dress. Therefore, I always say that my style has helped me gain invaluable work experience and ultimately land my dream job.

I also always give credit to my style icons: Dan Trepanier, Sabir Peele, and Angel Ramos. I think their style appeals to me the most because they are real guys with style that can be appreciated by people of all ages.”

Here Akil gives us a taste of his personal style, complete with his signature gold bling.

    1. Tailored Slick Rick

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    “The coral blazer is completely unlined and 100% cotton, so this is a perfect look for a hot day at the office. Although, truthfully, I would wear less jewelry at work. We don’t have a strict dress code, but I never wear more than one ring to the office for the sake of professionalism. It wouldn’t be a good look for me to have a handfull of gold rings while meeting with the Dean of Students or the Vice President of Student Affairs…

    With the bling it’s more of a stuntin’ on the weekend look…hah.”

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    White on white with coral frames to complement the jacket?!

    That’s a veteran move, showing some serious attention to detail.


    What I love about gold jewelry is that it instantly adds an air of confidence and luxury.

    For example, when I first saw this look I thought Akil was wearing a high-end tailored blazer. In reality, the jewelry only made me think the jacket was high-end. It’s from Uniqlo – but fits like a charm!


    At first glance I also thought these tan suede double-monks were some high-end footwear.

    Akil must have a knack for making budget items look expensive.

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    • Coral Blazer by Uniqlo
    • White Dress Shirt by H&M
    • Green Beaded bracelet by Beads of Hope
    • Rings – All 14K gold
    • Watch – Vintage Stauer (I found this watch in a local thrift store and I wear it almost every day.)
    • White Chinos by Zara
    • Beige Suede Double Monks by Zara

    2. Trained Stuntman


    “This is the outfit that I wore to the MAB sample sale back in July. Unfortunately, when I got there most of the good stuff was already gone, but trust me if I got there earlier I would have purchased that dope blue suit that Adrian bought.

    Nevertheless, I was still fortunate enough to meet Dan and Alex and just kick it with them for a little while. I was even more surprised when Dan asked to feature me and use my jewelry as the main theme. It’s definitely a great feeling to be a loyal reader and then be recognized in a feature!”


    “When I first decided to change my style and dress well, I wore tons of accessories. Like tie clips and brooches with every ensemble. However, now I’ve learned the importance of ‘less is more’, unless we are talking about gold because in that case, more is always better.”


    “I’m usually dressed in a shirt & tie during the week for work, so this is one of my more relaxed outfits.

    I’m not really a t-shirt and jeans kind of guy. Sometimes I even feel uncomfortable when my shirt doesn’t have buttons.”


    “Although I wear a lot of jewelry, especially gold rings, I try to keep things balanced by keeping my outfits rather simple and classic.

    I try not to be too trendy. That way twenty years from now I won’t look back at my photos in disappointment and disgust.”


    • Khaki Driver’s Cap by H&M
    • Vintage Gold Sunglasses
    • Blue Dress Shirt by H&M
    • Yellow Shorts by Towncraft
    • Beige Suede Tassel Loafers by Zara
    • Green Beaded bracelet by Beads of Hope
    • Vintage Graphic Watch by FAO Schwarz

    3. What’s the Meaning?


    “Jewelry has always been a fixture in my personal aesthetic and I doubt that will ever change, especially since it has so much sentimental value for me.

    Both of my chains tell a pretty interesting story. I was born in New York, but my family is from Trinidad. Therefore one of my pendants is the Trinidad and Tobago coat of arms and the other is a 2009 $5 dollar gold coin. For me it symbolizes my roots, all the while keeping my mother close to me at all times.”


    “The gold bracelet that I hardly ever leave home without is a gift from my mom that I have owned ever since I was a baby. In fact, I remember wearing it on one of the inner links so that it could fit my wrist.

    My college graduation ring symbolizes one of the achievements that I never thought was possible for me. I remember when I graduated High School in 2007 and had no intentions of going onto college…now six years later here I am with a Bachelors Degree in Criminal Justice and a Master’s Degree in Higher Education & Student Affairs.

    Unfortunately I do not have any sentimental stories for my other rings, but I hope eventually they will develop their own sentimental stories.”


    “I recently learned how to polish shoes and this was one of my first attempts.

    I purposely only polished the front of the shoe, giving the leather a nice transition…”


    • Blue and Brown Check Blazer by Zara
    • Gold Vintage Aviators
    • White Dress Shirt by H&M
    • Light Wash Blue Jeans by H&M
    • Vintage Gold and Brown Leather Watch


    Thanks for reading and special thanks to Akil for participating!

    Yours in style,

    Dan Trepanier


    Photography by Alex Crawford & Westley Dimagiba

    • Darrell

      I appreciate how you made fashiion by keeping it simple!

    • Carlos

      Very sharp style. I could not pull this off but very inspiring. I have started following Akil to gain more prospective.

    • Juan

      Akil, I just checked your blog and, I must say, your style is just spot-on.
      I recently got the same tassel loafers from Zara you’re wearing in look #2, and I was very surprised by their quality, but I’m worried they’re gonna give up on me a little sooner than expected anyway; how long have you had them for?
      For the record: I thought you should’ve won the May Giveaway. Keep it up!

      • Akil M.

        Thanks Juan I appreciate the kind words. I purchased the Zara loafers in July and I wear them quite often. They wear well with just about everything in my wardrobe, and since I only paid $30 for them I cant complain about their quality. I might just have to preserve them until next summer.

    • Brent Kuz

      Big zara fan! How do you find the quality and durability if their items esp. The shoes and blazer?

      • Akil M.

        Yea man I love Zara. Their blazers and shoes are good quality, especially considering the price. You just have to be patient with their stuff because I tend to wait until they have a sale before I purchase anything.

    • Ricardo

      Hey Akil I’m a huge fan of your work, as I do follow your blog and Instagram. As a fraternity man myself, I was wondering how KAΨ influenced your personal style?

      • Akil M.

        Thank you for the support I really appreciate it. Joining my fraternity did not really have much of an influence on my style. Especially since my chapter was known for wearing streetwear and OG Nike foamposites. It wasn’t until I started my first graduate internship that I became interested in menswear.

    • KMG

      Akil, I was wondering if you had any more info on the beads of hope bracelet. It looks pretty dope and I’m looking to add some green and gold to the “stable” as it were. I usually only wear silver, but a recent vintage watch purchase I think would go well with that bracelet.

      • Akil M.

        Check out their website here, Majority of the proceeds go to to breast cancer research so it is a great cause.

    • Jen

      I dig the flare! Not everyone can pull it off! Also, I think it shows a little bit of his youth to some degree. After all he is only 23 and I like the juxtaposition of his great looks and the jewelry!

    • Richard L.

      Very nice and clean. I’m not the biggest fan of jewelery TBH, but it works.

      What’s the quality like on Zara shoes?

      • Akil

        Thank you very much, I love the quality of most their shoes. I have owned those wingtips for almost 3 years and I wear them quite often. The double monks are the last pair I purchased and I could not be happier with them especially since they only cost $100.

    • Gary

      bro you make Zara and H&M look amazing! Great outfits and excellent use of gold

      • Akil

        Thanks for the kind words I really appreciate it.

    • Adrian B

      Ashame you didn’t get there earlier man. Would’ve been great to meet you in person.
      Awesome feature. Really enjoyed all three outfits. Funny that what we both wore to the sale ended up being worn in our respective shoots .

      As for that blue suit….well perhaps it was best you showed up late hah
      *puts dukes up*

      • Akil

        Haha yea man that blue suit was definitely a steal and you wore it perfectly with those AE wingtips. But I am sure we will run into each other at another event because I am always in NYC.

    • http://undefined Ray

      I dont know if I missed it but where are the wingtip shoes from in the 3rd outfit? Zara? Awesome post!

      • Akil

        Thanks a lot, and yes they are also from Zara.

    • Sergio

      Akil, you have great style man! I wouldn’t be surprised if the college counselor at my school gives you a call in the next few days as you are part of the EOP program. You got great style!

      • Akil

        Thank you Sergio that means a lot. What school do you go to?

    • MS

      This gentleman is clearly a passionate, thrifty and brilliant dresser, regardless of what one thinks of gold jewelry. I definitely applaud his looks and his forthrightness.

      It’s thought-provoking because, ironically, it seems to me that the more jewelry a man wears, the “cheaper” he looks, so to speak. Will be curious to see other people’s responses to this.

      • Dan Trepanier

        Akil is also a very genuine down to earth guy. Can you elaborate on your “so to speak”?

        • MS

          I think it’s (admittedly) pretty subjectively placed in my mind. Hmm, I think it has a lot to do with two things namely:
          1. Overt displays of “wealth”.
          2. And a lack of clean simplicity in dress that presents itself as somewhat over the top. The difference between wearing a suit with a wrist watch versus wearing 25 bracelets and a gigantic watch and rings, aesthetically-speaking.

    • Bob

      Missing: gold grill

    • http://undefined Kojo

      this cat is mad dope – minus his glasses I think he is spot on.

      • Akil

        Thank you

    • http://undefined Jeanscuffed

      If you’re protecting your shoes then protect that damn phone!! Lol, too many sliced fingertips out there….enough of me being petty lol, great looks. I always wondered if I could be the type who pull off so much gold accessories. I’m still undecided but you make it look easy and that’s what draws ppl into others own style, is the ability to make it look effortless instead of someone trying too hard. I’m a man of simplistic value and flavor so I would have to say Look #2 is my fav. Good luck in your endeavors.

      • Akil

        Thank you, I would suggest that you give it a try and at the very least you can consider it an investment because the value of gold is always rising.

    • Robert

      Akil, dude, you know how to dress. Beyond the gold, great style. Love you how make use of very affordable clothes here as well. Three solid looks.

      • Akil

        Thank you very much. Thrifting and finding a good bargain has become somewhat of an obsession of mine.

    • Vincent

      Great outfits, nice feature.

      • Akil

        Thank you sir

    • cam

      when I clicked on the first page I thought “oh boy, here we go with the flood of Trinidad James comments” then I got to the last page and his family IS from Trinidad. i do love his ability to make affordable pieces look expensive…that blazer in the 3rd look is exceptional! great post

      • Akil

        Thank you I appreciate it.

    • LouCaves

      Objectively, Akil, you pull off the looks; well done. Subjectively, I will pass on the gold. The last piece of gold I wore was a figaro link necklace with a gold pendant in the shape of the island of Puerto Rico (80’s hip-hop style, bro! LOL).

      Piece of advice: at least hit the rest of your shoe with a cream that doesn’t shine like polish. You don’t want to have half you shoe unprotected from the elements.

      Thanks, TSB, Akil.

      • Akil

        Thank you for the kind words and the advice. Is they any particular brand of shoe cream that you would suggest?

        • LouCaves

          I can’t remember the brand name but it comes in a small glass bottle with a black, white and red label. It’s white in color but goes on clear.

          Another idea is to polish the whole shoe but hit the toe with more coats. And only use “spit” on the toe portion when buffing. I think this will keep the look you’re going for while covering the whole shoe at the same time.

          • Akil

            Thank you that sounds like some good advice I will definitely try that method.