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The Statement Poncho feat. Steven Santander

December 2nd, 2013

Beards, Braces & Bowties” featuring Steven Santander” was one of my favorite features this year.

It helps that Steven is one of the nicest guys you’ll ever meet and his attention to detail is through the roof. He’s an architecture student turned artist and designer who has an interesting knack for looking in-your-face in the most tasteful way.

For example, here he shares a little of his South American roots with three ways to wear a statement poncho.

“This poncho was my mother’s. She got it custom made in Ecuador when she was around my age. She worn it on and off for years but it’s been in a closet for a long time. I found it a few years back and have been wearing it every Fall since. I have a few other ponchos, even had my own custom made, but this is by far my favorite. It’s remarkably warm and everyone who sees it loves it.”

Here’s to beating the cold and standing out from the crowd.

    1. Sharp & Flowy


    Photography shot with the Canon EOS 70D digital SLR camera, with Dual Pixel AF technology and built-in Wi-Fi

    “Who says you have to wear a dressy overcoat over a suit?  This grey outfit acts as a blank canvas for the poncho which is full of color.  Since the suit and all the pieces are slim and streamlined, I can wear the poncho any way I like.  The bulkier, the better.

    As you can see, I’m keeping the beard strong for No Shave November”.


    We often talk about the aesthetic appeal of contrast; casual x formal, high-end x affordable, etc.

    Here Steven introduces another great contrast: linear x abstract. The clean sharp lines of the tailored suit versus the flowy uncontrolled drape of the poncho create an intriguing visual story.


    “As much as I love color (as you can see from my last feature), a good monochromatic outfit can do wonders.

    I bought this grey wool suit off-the-rack and never had any alterations done except for the hem of the pants, which I did myself.”


    Breaking out those mean double monks again. Funny how much green-er they look here. Sometimes color can be relative to context.


    • Vintage multi-colored Poncho
    • Light Grey Wool hat made in Ecuador
    • Grey Wool suit by John Barritt
    • White Dress Shirt by Banana Republic
    • Grey Silk Knit Tie by Jey Coleman
    • Grey Suede Monk Straps Designed by Steven
    • Grey Leather Gloves by Thinsulate

    2. Urban Cowboy


    “A poncho is great because it can serve as a scarf, a jacket, a blanket, a head wrap, basically anything you need it for.  This look, and this way to wear a poncho, is loosely inspired by The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly.”


    “I don’t always wear jewelry but I have always been fascinated by it. My first experience with men’s jewelry was through my grandfather.  I remember seeing him in old family photographs wearing well-tailored suits with some big gold Cartier rings…

    I really enjoy working with my hands and jewelry is a great medium to do that.  It’s a good break from the strain of being on a computer all the time.  As a designer, I believe that sometimes you just need to get down to work with your hands and take a break from the technical aspect of design.

    In this look I made the necklaces, the leather bracelets and a few of the silver rings.”



    • Light Grey Wool hat made in Ecuador
    • Vintage multi-colored Poncho
    • Necklace, Bracelets and half the rings made by Steven
    • Blue Denim shirt by Paper Denim & Cloth
    • Black leather belt made by Steven
    • Blue Jeans by Levi’s 511
    • Black Monogram Boots by Banana Republic

    3. Color Story


    “This is my go-to Fall look…. As Dan mentioned in my previous post, I’m all about mixing textures, fabrics and colors. You can find nearly every color of the poncho in this outfit.

    I found this jacket at a thrift store recently and haven’t stopped wearing it since. The flecks of orange, blue and gold are fantastic and complement a lot of my outfits. It also didn’t need any alterations, so of course I had to buy it.”


    “I prefer my ties wide and silk knit, which isn’t terrible easy to find. When I came across this big gold one, I hit the jackpot!

    I don’t usually care about brand names, but I have to admit I love this Paul Stuart tattersall shirt.  I received it as a birthday gift a few years ago and the colors are amazing, perfect all year round.  The hints of orange, green, and magenta always seem to compliment the rest of the outfit.”


    Lastly, have you tried cashmere socks?


    • Light Grey Wool hat made in Ecuador
    • Vintage multi-colored Poncho
    • Thrifted brown wool sport coat
    • Green, orange, and pink tatersall shirt by Paul Stuart
    • Beige Silk knit tie by Turnbull & Asser
    • Green pants bespoke designed by Steven
    • Brown Leather tassel loafers by French & Stanbury (Benchmade in England Kilgour)
    • Yellow leather gloves with cashmere lining Vintage


    Thanks for reading and special thanks to Steven for participating!

    Yours in style,

    Articles of Style


    Photography by Westley Dimagiba

    • http://undefined Dick Lickerson

      Cool Poncho. He looks like if Gandalf the grey and Joseph of the Technicolor Dreamcoat got married and had a kid.

    • http://www.customsuitsnyc.net Liping

      That is quite an interesting scarf. I do like the elbow patches on the jacket. Goes well with the whole grey theme.

    • Billy Woods

      What type of poncho is this, I only know ponchos as essentially a single large sheet of fabric with an opening in the center for the head.

      • Steven Santander

        Good point Billy. Typically in Ecuador men’s ponchos have the opening in the center but women’s come fully open in the front. The poncho belonged to my mother, I just made it unisex. Thanks for reading!

    • http://undefined Nate

      Pfft this guy again….he’s just too good. Forget about it!

      When I read the title of this post, I didn’t think I was going to like it. I almost didn’t read it. Not many guys could pull this off, but Steven nails it. His understanding of colour and texture is sublime.

      And that beard is STRONG. Good work team.

    • Olerud_4_Life

      Poncho looks better as a scarf. Look 1 if it were just a scarf wouldve been a tough look. Like a twilight zone gray with a weird technocolor style with a scarf. Poncho just doesnt fit first style. Maybe the second style, but then again the color of the ponco doesnt go with the outfit. Third style didnt need a poncho. Color collabs between the socks, the pants and the nice sports coat (crazy blue stabs in the coat…very nice) already did it. THe poncho and even the color scheme of it in the third look made it look a little gimmicky. But the sports coat in the third look is tough and glorious man.

      • Steven S.

        Thanks man, I always appreciate constructive criticism. And yes, the sports coat is very nice. Thanks for reading!

    • Gazman

      I’m sorry, but the only bloke with a right to wear a poncho is Clint Eastwood in a spaghetti western.

    • Felix

      This is legitimately the best look I’ve seen on the site. F-cking killing it Steven! The bold colour of the outerwear is anchored impeccably by three very differing looks – Steven, your eye for colour is almost legend.

      • Steven S.

        I do love color! Thanks so much Felix, glad you enjoyed it.

    • Tim

      The one thing I dislike about this blog’s format is that it’s too polite, kind of the opposite of four-pins format.

      It just feels gimmicky.

      • http://tsbmen.com Dan Trepanier

        I can’t stand the negativity surrounding menswear on the internet. It ultimately scares guys off and creates the “group think” mentality that keeps Americans looking sloppy and afraid to “dress too well”. Show love, not hate.

    • http://keyboardandcompass.com/ Jeff McAllister

      As I’ve expressed in the past, I’m a sucker for traditional cultural items being styled with a contemporary menswear aesthetic in mind. I love most of these looks, but for me, #1 takes the cake. There’s something super modern about a tonal grey look.

    • Miguel G

      Are the cashmere socks really that great? Just moved from Houston to NYC and my feet have been freezing even with camp socks

    • cuponoodles

      Coming from a reader since the first iterations of this site, Look 3 is one of the best, most put together outfits ever featured here.

      • Steven S.

        Having been a reader from the beginning myself and seeing some great stuff on the site, that means a lot! Thanks for reading cuponoodles, glad you liked it!

    • Alex

      One of the best pieces on the site. This guys style is so unique and so natural without looking like a costume. I ordinarily don’t like when ties are longer in the back like look three but for some reason it worked.

      • Steven S.

        Thanks for reading Alex, I appreciate the comments!

    • cam

      steven is killing it and so is this kid http://instagram.com/p/hNIqJxOinz/

      • Steven S.

        Thanks Cam! And yes that kid is awesome!

        • Mack1

          That kid upstages this whole post.

          Think all the looks are bizarre, although love the double monks in look 1.

    • John

      I was kind of hoping the girl from his last post would be featured too.

    • Mr. Ellingsen

      Awesome! I was gonna say that look 1 is my fav, but no, they are all perfect!

    • Selfmade Gentleman

      I can’t decide which of these outfits is the best, because they are all so amazing in their own way.

    • John B

      Not a fan of the pants on the last look, they’re too short in my opinion. The jacket is amazing though.

      I wouldn’t wear a poncho that bold, but something more muted, or even better an oversized scarf isn’t out of the question. I like the first look, but I think he’s being washed out by the background in the first picture.

      • Steven S.

        I usually wear these pants in the summer and they’re the perfect height to get a cool breeze to beat the heat. And that jacket is amazing, even better in person! Thanks for reading John!

    • http://anorexicescapades.com BougieHippie

      WAIT! How amazing and consistent is this guy’s style. The 1st look is simply DOPE! My fav look is the all grey, his trademark piece is killer too.

      Unlike Joe I don’t think it’s silly. It’s true to his aesthetic.


      • http://tsbmen.com Dan Trepanier

        Thanks man. I agree – the looks underneath are ON POINT, as per Steven’s usual.

        • @TSB

          How are you going to continue to let this dude above link to his pro-anorexia website in your comments section, @TSB?

    • Joe

      I often wonder if anyone has pulled off the poncho since Clint Eastwood in “The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly”. Apparently, the answer is no.

      In all seriousness, I liked the last Santander post and the looks here are great without the poncho. The poncho is silly, though it somewhat works well as a scarf, though I would imagine a scarf would work just as well. I do appreciate that TSB does go out on a limb sometimes, and sometime the limb is fly, and sometime it’s silly.

      • http://tsbmen.com Dan Trepanier

        In fairness, I think it’s probably the “statement poncho” that you’re not a fan of. We could have done the exact same story with one of Steven’s more subtle ponchos (like a solid chestnut brown, for example) and it would have been easier to stomach. But we like to push the limits and Steven genuinely loves the colorful poncho – it’s true to his aesthetic and his love of color.

        Either way, not everything we do is for everyone to replicate.

        Thanks for sharing your opinion Joe!

        • Steven S.

          Thanks for reading Joe! I agree that the poncho isn’t your typical go to piece, especially one this colorful, but I think that’s half the fun. It’s not a look for everyone but I believe that it is versatile enough to get people thinking outside the box. And as Dan mentioned, I do love color, so why not?

    • Patrick Germany

      I really love the third look!

      • http://tsbmen.com Dan Trepanier

        Me too. Fantastic color story.

    • Gusto

      Red Dead Redemption!

      • http://www.tsbmen.com Westley Dimagiba

        as a gamer I really appreciate this hah