Monday, 18 August 2008

Choose Your Own Adventure

So here we are, 1 year and precisely 100 posts on. How much has been learned in that year? How many Staples have been picked out and highlighted? While a retrospective would be nice, I'm not sure that there's much point - for while this blog has served so far as a record of stuff to do, stuff I like and stuff I think I essential - that is an ever-changing subject. However, in the spirit of a centenary party, I'll take the theme of my first blog and expand upon it.
Since the inception of The Staple, what I wrote standing in my kitchen still has echoed in my head, namely the idea that "everything you need to know about a person is in their shoes". I still stand resolutely by this. Having worked in the City for over a year now, I am still surprised by the number of men who wear cheap, nasty shoes. These men earn a fortune, and can well afford a good pair, yet so many end up in clunky slip-ons from Next. I kid you not. While the City may have the reputation and imagery of men in bespoke suits and Berluti hand-made shoes, the reality is much more mundane. On those rare days when a man in this combo does appear, he is the envy of Cannon Street. The correct pairing of a navy suit with just the right shade of tan lace-ups is so subtle, like the amount of collar to show, the size and type of tie-knot, or the interplay between shirt and cufflinks, that when done right, has made me (and others) stop and stare. It's not hard guys, it just requires a little bit of thought of a morning. Though I suspect that most of these guys have had other things on their minds lately - "credit crunch", anyone?
But the same subtlety also applies to streetwear. The recent trend of rolling up sleeves and trouser legs demands a critical eye; the right length, the right width of cuffing, the right number of rolls. While black slim jeans are an easy match with a plaid shirt, this look is inadequate in today's Topman-saturated market. Individuality comes in the styling details, rather than in the clothes themselves. Any fool can log on to and have a little read and then recreate at the local branch. It takes someone thinking a little differently to make it stylish, individual, and sexy. It is this subtlety and individuality which I wish to make the focus of next year's worth of Staples; brash bars and frenetic festivals are unbelievable amounts of fun, but in order to become a Staple, they have to be tackled with an element of individuality. This means not just seeing bands at a festival and complaining at the sound levels, but taking matters into your own hands and playing a little Jenga if the mood takes you. Not just wearing a tshirt because you've seen it it in a magazine, but because you want to wear it in a particular way. Not just doing things for the sake of it, but because you genuinely feel it will improve your life. This may have gone a little philosophical, but so what? It's important to think about more than just the little things and take in the bigger picture when you can. So with that in mind, the Staple this week is not an item, a place or a person, but individuality. Essentials are what you make of them, and are personal to everyone - it is individuality which is the true Staple, in fashion in as much as music, or any other means of expression.

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