Of all the potential careers my parents had hoped for me once I eventually grew up, "fashion writer" was probably about as far from their thoughts as a chimney sweep or hen's night stripper. I can't say I blame them.
Until quite recently, an interest in fashion and style was not something that the average Australian male openly took – as if taking pride in our appearance would somehow make us less “manly”. Thankfully this opinion has changed, and for the better.
In the past few years there has been a significant shift in the way the Aussie bloke approaches the sartorial side of life. It's now OK for us to not only care about how we look but also to take an invested interest in our clothes.
No longer are guys simply wearing whatever their girlfriends or wives choose for them each morning. They're out there researching brands and forming opinions on stylistic features.
Nowhere is this more starkly illustrated (literally) than on sites such as Instagram, where gents sharing individual style tips and inspiration with like-minded gents from around the world provides a true indicator of just how far we have come.
So who are some of these men gaining recognition as ranking among Australia's most stylish individuals?
Nathan McCallum is a Sydney-based visual merchandiser who has gained a cult following with his daily style and fitness posts at his website, Bangarangblog.com. What initially started as a way of sharing what inspired him has ultimately become a visual diary for Nathan's personal style, with regular updates of his outfits and the streetwear brands that he has collaborated with.
“Bangarangblog started as a way to vent my creativity, and as a way to store my own inspirations,” McCallum says. “I think, more and more, guys are becoming increasingly accepting of menswear, and men's blogging. I think they just need that bit of confidence instilled in them when they do make an effort, so that they feel comfortable doing it.”
With more than 40,000 followers on Instagram and even more on his blog, Nathan represents the new generation of men not only using social media as a platform to share their interest in menswear and fashion, but as an increasingly lucrative way of promoting personal style, ranging from everyday street style all the way up to the more conservative made-to-measure market.
Jared Acquaro is the Melbourne-based writer and model behind upscale menswear blog, A Poor Man's Millions. As a product innovation manager at Melbourne tailor Oscar Hunt, Acquaro's blog operates as both an extension of his own personal style and a fascinating peek behind the scenes into the art of tailored menswear, including interviews with the names behind some of Australia's best brands. “It (blogging) has opened my own eyes to a different world,” explains Acquaro. “I've learned so much more about menswear and tailoring just from the people I've met and it has given me the opportunity to see behind the scenes of workshops and factories I never would have had access to before.”
And while the response to their work has been overwhelmingly positive, both McCallum and Acquaro admit there can be the occasional hiccup.
“Being a style blogger also makes you vulnerable to opinion and criticism,” Acquaro says. “But you can't take it to heart and try to defend your own opinions, because style is personal and people like what they like. Having respect for everyone and everything will get you far being a style blogger.”
And while I'm sure my parents are pleased enough with my choice of career, every now and then I do wonder if they might have been happier if I had instead chosen the lucrative world of hen's night stripping.
What men's fashion/style blogs and sites (apart from this one) do you read or follow?