ASK DAN: Distressed Clothing, Belt-less-ness, Blog Consistency

June 17th, 2015


Distressed Clothing Trend

Q: Dan, you’re in the industry, can you talk about this trend of distressed and torn up garments a la Beautiful Ful, Kanye’s Adidas line, etc? Just curious on your thoughts and what others you’ve spoken with. Like all other trends, can I assume it will pass?

A: People have been wearing tattered clothing as a sign of anti-establishment, or “rebel cool”, for as long as fashion (and a 2nd hand market) has existed. I think it should be used sparingly, but I do think there’s room in a man’s wardrobe (even the most expertly curated of gents) for a couple worn-in distressed pieces… A pair of faded jeans, maybe a denim jacket, maybe an old pair of biker boots… When everything is too shiny and new, a man can look like he considers himself a little too precious, and doesn’t get too loose. A touch of dirty and imperfection is sexy. It always has been. On the idea of trends – on a more macro level – I think if you look good, feel comfortable/confident, and the clothes flatter your body to create a cohesive look, you can be way “off trend” and still have great style (probably even cooler style than those who are “on trend”). Style can outscore trends any day, and trends are rising and falling faster than ever. It feels like we’re only a few months away from one-day instatrends… Ultimately I wouldn’t concern yourself with what’s “in” but rather what looks good on you and works to flatter, and enhance, your personal lifestyle. Cheers player.

Feeling Naked Without a Belt

Q: I have a question to all stylish people out there! Do you endorse wearing odd trousers or dress trousers (without a jacket) that have side tabs instead of belt loops? A few months ago I saw a picture of someone wearing trousers like that, and I liked the look. It looked clean and stylish. I live in a country where the use of dress trousers is pretty conventional, therefore everyone wears a belt (and if they can, they’ll use a designer belt to look “cool”). I had made a few pants with side tabs, but I’ve been feeling insecure about them due to the lack knowledge regarding tailoring in my country. People will likely ask me if I forgot my belt…

A: Hmmm. I have a hard time telling anyone not to wear something simply because people aren’t accustomed to seeing it, especially if it’s a detail as small as a belt versus waistband adjusters. I actually think side adjusters are ideal for a jacket-less look. A clean streamlined waistband makes more sense with a simple vertical look than a big ‘ol belt cutting a man in half. If you haven’t tried wearing the belt-less trousers to the office yet, I would go for it. If someone asks where your belt is, just tell them that you don’t need one because your trousers fit properly, and teach them a little something about the side adjusters – men have been wearing pants like this for hundreds of years. Chances are they will think it’s cool and maybe you’ll affect the style culture of the office, even if it only inspires one person to think a little more about their personal tailoring. Whatever you decide, for the love of God and preserving the sexy, please avoid designer belt buckles. Nothing is cornier. Long live the side adjuster and the logo-less gentleman.

Style Blog Inconsistency

Q: Dan, firstly let me say that I love this damn website. I’m on here 3-4 times a day, even though I know you only post once per day. What I sometimes notice, and want to ask you about, is the inconsistent in some of your messaging. Sometimes you will say not to wear something (which I take to heart), than you’ll feature someone wearing that very thing. I’m thinking about a recent WIWT shot of your colleague Neil wearing clip-on braces, or some of the trends listed in your “Trends We Hope Die” article…

A: Good question, we’ve received several similar inquiries, especially following that dying trends article. The important thing to remember is that style is subjective. There are no right or wrong answers. I provide guidelines as to what I think looks best on the modern gentleman and what the most valuable clothing investments are to build a smart, long-term wardrobe. A lot of this comes down to personal taste, and these are just my opinions – based on my experience in the industry and what I see happening in the streets/menswear industry. But I don’t style all of the looks on the site, either. We purposely showcase other stylish gentleman from around the world in their own clothes (“What I Wore Today“) in order to provide a larger range of opinions and perspectives. For example, I probably would never wear clip-on braces, but I though Neil really looked fly in them – fly enough that he has people questioning my preceding advice in our Guide to Wearing Suspenders. Now that’s what I consider good style – breaking the rules so well that people wonder why those rules were created in the first place.


Thanks, as always, for reading. Have a style question? Hit us on the AoS Contact Page.

Yours in style,

Dan Trepanier

Photography by Alex Crawford.

  • RD

    Hey Dan! Thank you for answering my question. I thought it would get lost in the comment section, but thank you for taking your time and answering it! I’m glad to hear what you had to say about side tabs, I really dig them. I had my second thoughts but lately I’ve felt more confident about using my pants with side tabs, and your expertise reassured me that they are a cool garment. They make you look slimmer, taller, and more stylish, and as a short guy I approve this. I really dislike the designer belt trend. Most guys are using Ferragamo or Hermes belts in an effort to look “cooler” or more elegant, but at the end they just look like guys trying hard to seek for social validation through expensive and flashy items, and in the process look “stylish”. Keep on with your work man, you are doing a great job!

    – RD

  • Jake

    Hi, this question is off topic, but I’m sure some others besides myself are wondering…won the giveaway??

  • JoeFromTexas

    I think you missed the point of the first question, which was in regards to designers/manufacturers pre-distressing/pre-aging/pre-“destroying” clothes (but keeping the prices intact). If always appearing shiny and new can make someone look too precious, buying at full price clothes that are already aged for you can look, well… what’s the word I want here… too precious?

    Of course wearing distressed clothing with a certain earned patina will always be a part of the American aesthetic (as well as other cultures I imagine), I think the questioner was getting at whether the trend of designers and manufacturers selling pre-“destroyed” clothes was going to pass.

  • cam

    thanks dan for taking time to answer my question on distressed clothing. i suppose i should have been more specific on ‘pre-distressed’ clothing. of course im all for someone breaking in their own clothing and wearing things so not to be too precious.
    regarding the trends question, i think its also important to note that trends come back. for instance, when dan wrote the ‘trends we hope die’ piece, it may have been that he actually likes some of those but they were being seen too much and needed to hibernate for awhile so to speak.

    • Dan Trepanier

      Ahh. I’m fine with pre-distressed clothing. I wear a ton of vintage, and even have some factory-distressed pieces that I really love. Of course it’s better if you broke it in yourself from infancy, but not everyone can wear the same piece so many times that it becomes distressed to the point that it achieves the aesthetic we’re after.

      Regarding the trends question, great point. You nailed it.

      Thanks Cam!

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