I finally had the time to reunite with my best friend a couple of months ago. The train ride from NYC to Rhode Island was 3 hours long, but I still wanted to look my best. I was wearing what I would consider I really cute rugged look – suede desert boots, dark denim jeans, a red and grey plaid button down, and a my alpaca shawl cardigan – but when she saw me all she said was, “you look like my mom” (her mom’s a lesbian who built the shed in their backyard).

I can remember, about 6-10 years ago, when wearing plaid made you a lumberjack (and for girls you were considered a lumberjill). Now, thanks to the fashion world’s obsession with the wilderness (and the rapid multiplying of the “hipster” child), plaid is totally in. It has become a signature for masculine, rugged-wear for the outdoors lover.

The question is: what has inspired this rise of the Paul Bunyan style? Ralph Lauren, Billy Reid and Rag & Bone’s David Neville and Marcus Wainwright are just a few of the artists defining this Fall and Winter by this concept – granted designers are all ready changing and expanding on what this means for the men of today. Chambray, for example, is one of those fabrics that’s becoming a popular substitute for plaid (and it’s also something that my friend’s mom would wear).

What these two pieces have in common is the essence of this lower-middle class man who either chops wood in the forests of Maine or constructs skyscrapers in Manhattan. After an era of the straight man getting made-over by their girlfriend’s queer best friends, it seems that guys want to embrace more of the manly man that has been lost to history.

What Makes The Look?

Shirts: Plaid, Gingham, Tartan, Chambray/Denim, Utility

Pants: Dark Denim, Khakis, Cargo Pants, Cords

Sweaters: Shawl Collar, Roll-Neck, Alpaca, Cable Knit, Utility, Fleece

Outerwear: Denim Jackets, Utility, Sherpa/Shearling-Lined, Bomber

Shoes: Boots (Desert, Leather/Waxed, Duck)

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One thought on “The Modern Rugged Gentleman

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