LET’S HEAR IT FOR THE BOYS: Land of the From-From-Free Clothing

The average consumer will just buy any garment that they think looks “alright” or “passable,” forgoing other elements that us Fashionistos and Fashionistas pay keen attention to when purchasing clothing. Common reasons that we are drawn to varying items may specifically include but are not limited to the color, fit, material, eccentricity of style and construction of a garment. This week, we will dive into the clothing that is marked by superior craftsmanship and backed by the heart and soul poured into each thread.

The clothes being donned by this Fashionisto from Saint Paul are made by heritage brands, essentially meaning that the companies are less focused on producing aesthetically ground-breaking items and more driven toward making classic pieces perfectly. The end result of an outfit comprised of heritage labels is a classic Americana look, where the coolest parts of the outfit are the very threads that make up each square inch of fabric.

The shirt is a classic blue and white gingham check button-down from the American label Gitman Brothers Vintage. This shirt, being made in the United States, has a heftier price tag than your average purchase at J.Crew, but has the superior construction to justify every penny. Worn casually, shirts of this quality will actually break in and become softer and more comfortable with every wear.

Moving on to another Americana brand, these duck boots by L.L.Bean are a truly interesting choice for the summertime, being advertised and marketed as perfect for combating slush and snow. This Fashionisto can easily get away with it because A) he lives in Minnesota where the summer can often feel like winter in California, B) they are low-cut to allow for ankle airflow and C) he doesn’t need anyone’s approval on his seasonal footwear choice. Made right in Maine, these ultra low-cut “boots” fit right in with this Americana heritage theme going on.

The strongest item in this outfit is the denim. Anyone who tries to tell you that any denim over 50 dollars is overpriced and that all denim is the same is a dang fool and you shouldn’t be friends with them. Just kidding, but seriously, disregard them because these jeans will change how you view expensive pants. Expertly crafted by Raleigh Denim in South Carolina, these selvedge jeans perfectly exemplify the benefit of buying from a true heritage label. The wearer is encouraged to sport them everywhere and never be afraid to rough them up a bit, letting the indigo fade naturally. Forget your pre-ripped, pre-faded Abercrombie & Fitch mumbo jumbo and convert to what denim was intended to be: viciously durable and ready to get down and dirty the second you are.

All of these items are so genuinely American, they make anyone wearing Polo Ralph Lauren look like they are committing unspeakable acts of sartorial treason. Any brands claiming to be true Americana while having the words “imported” or “made in China” on the labels are full of gimmicks and therefore should not be trusted.

Hint: Take care of your clothing! I can’t stress this enough. Hang it up properly and really watch how you wash each item. Also, do not buy expensive heritage/made in America items if you plan on having a growth spurt in the next two years. The last thing you want to have happen is to feel all patriotic and practical after buying from these labels only to grow right out of them after 12 months of wear. You’ll be out a few hundred bucks and you might not feel as patriotic as you did before, and we don’t want that. Please keep loving your country.

LET’S HEAR IT FOR THE BOYS: More Hand-Me-Downs, Please!

While college students who are strapped for cash are extolling the greatness of thrifting, there are a few questionable caveats to the benefits of shopping second hand clothing. For one, you really have no idea who wore the item before you, what their hygiene practices were or what they did in that clothing.  Also, a lot of the clothing items that fill the racks of second hand stores are obnoxiously trendy pieces that are so beyond “out of style,” it would be an embarrassment to be seen in them. Some young adults are fortunate enough to have a stylish older sibling who can pass down some of their favorite already worn-in pieces to their younger family members. Such is the case with this Fashionisto from Saint Paul.

This young man’s older brother was kind enough to pass down this cotton jacket, which I posit is the most important piece of this outfit. The most crucial element of this piece of outerwear is the healthy dose of options and opportunities that come with it. Layer it over a hoodie in the fall for a little extra protection from the brisk wind, throw it over a T-shirt on a cool summer afternoon or tie it around your waist after the sun decides to show and heat things up again.

This Fashionisto allowed for his jacket to be the center of attention by keeping everything else in his outfit strictly black or white. A pop of color (even if it is brown) will show that much more if everything else is uniform and plain black and white. This T-shirt is so great because of its timeless design. Nothing too trendy here, this shirt can be worn with any casual outfit and will be a great piece to hand down to someone else in the family after it has been retired from rotation.

These jeans, following the black and white uniformity seen in the shoes and T-shirt, are appropriate for our theme of hand-me-downs because they look so worn in due to the nature of the wash. Falling somewhere in the category of “acid wash,” these jeans were bought with a slightly faded look, ready to wear with any informal outfit.

This Fashionisto provided a solid foundation to his outfit with a pair of low-cut, pristine white Chuck Taylor Converse All-Star sneakers. The only more challenging task than finding a more classic summer sneaker is keeping these bad boys as clean as they were on day one. If you find that you have scuffed them, just take after Martin Margiela and throw some paint on them to make you look like you “do art” or something. It’s a great way to hide the scuffs, and they will make for an interesting pair to hand down in the later years.

Hint: The greatest part about Chuck Taylor All-Star low-cuts are the slim silhouette that hugs the ankle, so cuff those jeans an extra time to really show them off. Also, a hand-me-down that fits awkwardly can be disappointing, but there are ways to get around that problem. Roll up the sleeves and keep it unzipped to let it drape freely so as to take away from the ill-fitting nature of the garment.

LET’S HEAR IT FOR THE BOYS: Old Black Is The New Black

There is something just a bit superficial and tacky with always dressing in the most crisp, newest looking clothes. An element of rugged individuality is lost the day a Fashionisto chooses to retire an article of clothing because it looks too “worn.” Clothing that has aged with the owner will show signs of wear in the forms of rips, tears, frays, fading, wrinkles, discoloration, stains and/or loss of original shape. These changes do not necessarily constitute a clothing item’s demise, but rather reflect the wearer’s love and devotion to the garment.

We’re going to look at a Fashionisto whose outfit demonstrates his loyalty to the clothing he wears. With a fairly consistent appearance of fading, this outfit shows a moderate yet noticeable level of age. Let’s start with the top. He is wearing a short sleeve button-down shirt with a slouchy fit and a sun bleached color palette. Shirts like these are a must for the Fashionisto wishing to take on the look of aged clothing.

The pants are in a similar vein as the shirt: slouchy and distressed. Once a crisp fit and a deep, dark dye, these jeans have faded over years of wear and stretched out to where they are now. Because denim ages well, it is encouraged to keep your favorite pair for as long as the threads hold together. The slouchy fit is an essential component to any casual outfit, and the stretching will only cause the pants to fit even better than the day you first bought them.

Continuing with the worn theme of his outfit, this Fashionisto chose to don the always classic black Chuck Taylors with a white sole. A sight not uncommon for most Minnesotans, these shoes have been stained by the salt left over from plows on the snowy streets. A plain and simple shoe to begin with, these sneakers are augmented by the imperfections brought on by the changing seasons and their regular use. They are showcased proudly by their owner.

Anyone can buy new clothing, but it takes a true style maven to love their wardrobe enough to wear it for years and years. That continued use will leave you with genuine fades, rips and stains that no brand can replicate.

Hint: Love your clothing! Do not hide them from the world’s elements out of fear of their demise. Buy often for quality and roll with the punches that your clothing will take after years of use. You will be left with the best and most legitimate casual outfits around.

LET’S HEAR IT FOR THE BOYS: Biker’s Paradise

While the world of fashion may be claimed to be the antithesis of all things practical, personal style will always be synonymous with functionality for those who love the simple act of dressing themselves. Those with a passion for activities outside of clothing adapt their wardrobe to better suit their interests. Such is the case with this gentleman from Saint Paul.

Being an avid cyclist, this Fashionisto embodies the concept of function over form since his priorities revolve around personal safety. While bikers can still adhere to current trends, there are natural limitations with their safety priorities. This particular Fashionisto kept it simple and classic, allowing for his outfit to better serve his needs as a cyclist.

A T-shirt, jeans and Vans are all building blocks for the casual cyclist or skateboarder. Out of those three, I would like to look at the jeans. They are Levi’s Vintage Clothing selvedge denim with a tapered fit. Selvedge denim is a great option for skaters and cyclists because of its reliable durability. If pants are to be worn when biking, make sure that they are slim-fit or at least tapered to avoid the chance of them getting snagged on the gears of your crankset. This Fashionisto has taken the added step of applying a reflective material on the outer seam in order to improve his night-time visibility as a vehicle on the road.

Moving on to his accessories, he is carrying a Chrome bag with a stabilizing strap to maximize comfort and utility while riding. These bags are tremendously popular among bikers and are great because they are spacious enough to provide for all of your basic necessities, including a laptop, textbooks and notebooks, water bottle, etc. Chrome bags are also practical thanks to the reflective material on the frontside and the fact that they are extremely durable and weatherproof, making biking in adverse conditions a breeze for your belongings.

My favorite accessory is the Fabric Horse U-Lock Holster found on his leather belt. It is made out of recycled car seat belts and makes transporting a heavy U-lock as easy as possible. The biggest benefits of these handy additives to your biking outfit is the fact that your U-lock will no longer wear down your back pocket, take up space in your bag, or come in the way of your legs while being held on your bike. Let us all revel in the irony of reducing carbon emissions by biking while using parts of old cars in order to aid in the sport. This is perfection.

Hint: Don’t think of buying for practical reasons as a sacrifice in style, think of practicality as being the hottest style. Don’t worry so much about trends when buying clothing to wear during some of your favorite pastimes, especially when it comes to more sporty activities like running, skateboarding, cycling, etc. You do not want your clothing to come in between you and your passion. With that in mind, always, always, always wear a helmet. Find one that works for you and rock it every time you ride. I suggest keeping it simple so that you do not grow out of the style.

LET’S HEAR IT FOR THE BOYS: Put It Into Perspective

There is nothing like breaking out the newest additions to your wardrobe. Many Fashionistos and Fashionistas will save up for one item for an extended period, building up the excitement of finally getting to wear it for the first time. When you look forward to the first day you can don an item, you want to ensure that you make the most of it.

This Fashionisto chose to showcase his new pair of boots in a very effective manner: contrasting them with older and more distressed clothing. He wanted to guarantee that the rest of his outfit would not detract from his brand new camouflage Dr. Martens boots. The best way to do that is to put the crispness of the boots into perspective with slouchier, more worn clothing throughout the rest of his outfit.

Light wash jeans with apparent wear and tear are a perfect choice for exhibiting his new boots since the jeans appear old and used, taking the boots’ “fresh off of the shelf” look to a different level. If this Fashionisto were wearing freshly bought jeans on top of these boots, the luster of the new items would diminish.

Nothing says summer more than a white T-shirt. Living in Minnesota, this Fashionisto has prepared for chilly and/or buggy nights by choosing to wear a longsleeve. His T-shirt, much like the jeans, is distressed to look aged so that the boots stay looking young and unscathed. The fact that the boots are the only item in his outfit without fades, creases, or rips encourages that attention be brought to his feet.

Hint: Perspective is a powerful tool in your outfit. If you want to show off an eccentric print, pair that item with more subtle pieces. Wear a vintage jacket with new pants or shoes in order to stress the age of the item. Opposites are your friend and will spice up any outfit.

LET’S HEAR IT FOR THE BOYS: The Employee Discount

Fashion students are doing their best to prepare themselves to enter one of the most cutthroat industries in existence. That means hitting the books, keeping up with fashion shows and the latest trends, always shopping and of course, working retail. A retail job will not only provide you with helpful resume builders and the patience of a saint, but also what we fashion fiends love the most, an employee discount! This Fashionisto has been working at the Superdry store in the Mall of America and thus has plenty of Superdry items to work with. Dressing in entirely one brand can be a big style risk, but let’s take a look at how he pulls this ensemble off.

The vest was actually purchased as a denim jacket before this Fashionisto took on the DIY mentality and figured that he didn’t have room for sleeves during the summertime. Always a classic, denim never seems to go out of style. What makes this vest easy to work with is the subtle branding on the left breast pocket. The logo is inconspicuous since it is designed with colors to blend in with the dye of the denim.

Some say not to wear all one brand, and chances are that those same people will tell you not to wear denim on denim, or what we like to call the “Canadian tuxedo”. I’m here to tell you that jean is awesome and more of it just means you are more awesome. Denim on denim is about as American as having apple pie after your bacon cheeseburger. What really makes the jeans work is the fact that they are raw, meaning that they were not washed or processed after they were dipped in indigo dye. The result is a rich, dark color that will fade in all of the right spots after you wear them in for a few months. The Superdry leather patch on the backside of the jeans is only visible upon lifting up his shirt and vest.

This Fashionisto’s white T-shirt is great because it continues the theme of classic Americana as well as subtle branding. You would not be able to tell that this shirt was from Superdry until he told you or after took off his homemade vest to reveal the back logo. Now that we are well into summer, a white T-shirt can be, and I think should be, the building block to any casual outfit.

To top it off, this Fashionisto protected his eyes with, you guessed it, a pair of Superdry aviators. Slim frames are a perfect choice for the subtle fashion maven because they will make it impossible for ostentatious branding.

Hint: Subtlety is key here. If the brand’s logo was more prominent in his outfit, it would appear tacky and gimmicky. The fact that the logos were either hidden or minimal allowed for him to wear all Superdry without the common bystander knowing. Keep it simple and classic and you will be able to get away with dressing like a retail salesperson in public.


Sentimentality is not only a naturally occurring phenomenon, but can be emulated in style by exhibiting the things that mean something to you. Pieces of clothing or accessories can mean much more to a person than their respective price tags. What you wear travels with you day to day and will become building blocks of some of your fondest memories. This Fashionisto has chosen to explore two different methods of styling by wearing clothing that represents something dear to him and something that he’s had for years. While these are two different approaches to styling memorable items, the end result will be an outfit that pays homage to your past.

Starting at the top, this Fashionisto has purchased a classic Duluth Pack x Filson waxed canvas cap with leather detailing. Both Duluth Pack and Filson are quintessential outdoor sporting brands, so this hat is the perfect piece to honor his memories of hunting and camping with his father.

A band T-shirt is a great piece to add to a memorable outfit. Music can speak to us in ways no other art form can. This Fashionisto is pictured wearing a T-shirt by the ’80s alternative band The Smiths, which is all too convenient given the melancholic nature of their music and the fact that they are not a band anymore.

Blue shorts and a blue rain jacket are appropriate because the color blue is synonymous with sadness or pensiveness. Nostalgia isn’t always about being sad, but sometimes it can be a bit tough to come to terms with the fast pace of life, especially when growing up.

Lastly, let’s take a look at the sneakers. Shoes are the type of pieces that will add sentimentality through their own wear and age. I will posit that almost nothing will be able to top the nostalgia of decently worn shoes. It is evident at a glance that this Fashionisto’s pair of Vans has seen a lot of love and pavement throughout the years. He sports the scuffs with pride, for behind every mar and tear is a story. A story to be cherished and reflected on for years to come.

Hint: For building an outfit based off of memorable pieces, gravitate toward brands that are defined by their heritage and level of craftsmanship. I promise you that the items will last for years and years, maybe even enough to pass them down to your son someday. Look into buying clothing that has durable materials such as leather and waxed canvas, as these will age beautifully and become much more awesome the longer you wear them, as long as you take care of them. Finally, do not be afraid to get your sneakers dirty! Give them some real loving and put them to use.


My name is John Scott and I am from Saint Paul, Minnesota. I just finished my freshman year at Marist College in Poughkeepsie, New York. I am majoring in Fashion Merchandising, minoring in Business and planning on minoring in either Product Development or Art and Advertising Design.

I have shown a drive for fashion since I was a little kid. My parents tell me that I would sometimes refuse to wear certain articles of clothing after I inspected them up close, testing the feel and weight of the fabric. Wearing a uniform for the first nine years of school unfortunately did not really help develop my fashion sense. My interest in fashion and style really spiked once I got to high school and was released from the fetters of the dreaded school uniform.

My style has been in a constant state of evolution. From dressing like a skater, to wearing mostly street wear, to latching on to only classics, my own style has been on a roller coaster ride for the past four years. It’s been fun and I always look forward to changing my style with every piece of clothing I purchase. My current style is one of simplicity, since I now like to buy clothing that is marked by high quality construction and materials rather than a brand logo. I love buying something that I know will last me for at least 10 years. My favorite place to shop in the Twin Cities would be BlackBlue because of their expertise in all things related to casual menswear, especially denim. Some of my go-to brands for more affordable basics include American Apparel and J.Crew, while my favorite brands to drool over and save up for include, but are definitely not limited to, A.P.C. for ready to wear, Tumi for bags and luggage and Barbour for outerwear.

I am so happy to be on the CollegeFashionista team this summer as a Style Guru. I hope to shed light on the style of the Twin Cities, as it has played a monumental role in my decision to make it my field of study at school.