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Real guys show their threads

Real guys show their threads

There are diving-out-of-a-small-plane types of challenges, and then there’s the challenge of stepping off the ledge of your style comfort zone. You’d be surprised how many guys would opt for the former. Unfamiliar silhouettes? Bold colours? Hard-to-pronounce patterns? They can elicit an unease in men more disorienting than a 16,000-foot plunge. But as they say, if you’re not uncomfortable, you’re not growing – something we advised two guys to keep in mind as we pushed them out of their own style comfort zones. 

To help with the nudging, we enlisted one of our stylists, Alexander, to dress the guys in outfits they wouldn’t normally choose for themselves. And who better to undergo such an experience than two Thread customers and employees – COO David Scott and data analyst Sam Saunders? Both guys have a track record for sticking to pieces they know. For David, that’s Nike trainers and selvedge denim. For Sam, that’s Adidas trainers in a slew of similar colourways. Alexander was set on getting them out of these monotonous style patterns. 

“What I find with a lot of guys is that they want to experiment more with fits, colours, and patterns, but they’re unsure of where to start,” he says. “I find that they’re always surprised by how simple it is to pull off new pieces. All you need is some basic knowledge and the reassurance that you can actually pull something more style-forward off.” 

The first step was encouraging Sam and David to steer away from their usual style uniforms. “I’d describe my style as low effort and low maintenance,” Sam says. “I typically wear a white shirt, chinos, and trainers. I enjoy not having to think about what to wear too much.” 

David’s everyday look was also focussed on convenience and comfort. “My style could be described as pretty safe,” he says. “I tend to wear a lot of the same core basics: jeans, t-shirts, and trainers – essentially comfortable, long-lasting basics. It becomes hard to find the time to break out of that mold – I became stuck in this trap. Finding clothes that fit well can be particularly challenging. I also like nice fabrics and materials, but it’s difficult to know which ones to invest in.” 

That’s where Alexander’s insight came in. “I wanted to point them in the direction of pieces that would help elevate their current look, and simple changes can make a massive difference,” he says. “Luckily, both of them already possessed the tools they need to succeed in this – they just needed the confidence and some basic knowledge to see them through.” 

In fact, both guys had purchased bolder pieces in the past, but ultimately tucked them away when they couldn’t figure out how to style them. “I bought one piece in particular because I saw Alexander wear it in the office,” Sam says. “But when it actually came to finding a way to incorporate it in my everyday wardrobe, I lost confidence.” 

Photographed: Carhartt Michigan Coat (£155)

But just because they were keen to experiment with bolder looks, doesn’t mean that the pieces certain pieces weren’t met with some initial reluctance. Alexander chose one roll-neck jumper in particular that David had doubts about. “I was nervous that the silhouette would be ill-fitting and make me look bigger than I am, and I expressed that to Alexander, but he assured me that wouldn’t be the case,” David says. “Ultimately, he was right.” Pulling off the jumper came down to the right fit and choosing complementary pieces to pair it with. In this case, Alexander chose a cropped jacket in a neutral colour and a pair of selvedge denim to tone down the bright shade of the jumper. 

He also helped David debunk other style myths as well, like the notion that you can’t wear horizontal stripes if you’re not super fit. “I used to automatically reject things with horizontal stripes,” David says, “but Alex convinced me I can wear them, and it’s completely changed my mind about them.” 

David and Sam also learned that you don’t have to overhaul your entire wardrobe, or even one single look, in order to come across more considered. “This process made me realise that I actually have a lot of really solid core pieces in my wardrobe,” Sam says. “Alexander balanced things I’m comfortable with with bolder, slightly more out-there pieces,” Sam says. 

There was one patterned Wax London shirt in particular that he would have wanted to have purchased on his own, but wouldn’t have known how to wear it. “Alexander showed me how to offset it with more neutral pieces so that I felt more confident wearing it,” Sam says. “Now whenever I do, I always get compliments. I was even complimented while wearing it on the tube recently.” 

And Sam isn’t alone in being on the receiving end of compliments. “People notice when you put in more effort,” David says. The most important person to take notice? His wife, Laura Lee. “David’s always had the potential to dress this way, so it was a great experience for him,” she says. “It opened him up to different styles and how to pull things together confidently. I was very pleased. A lot of wives buy for their husbands, and while I might offer my input, he has to be the one comfortable in what he’s wearing ultimately. It was nice to see him get that input from a stylist.” 

The experience has also made him more enthusiastic about style generally. “Now he’s coming home and showing me things that he wants to wear,” Laura Lee says. “He has more confidence to go out of his comfort zone.”  

David also realised that even statement pieces can be versatile. “I’ve worn the Percival jacket Alexander selected for me to go to Tesco, to lunch with friends, and to the office, but I’ve styled it in different ways for each setting,” he says. “It’s easy to see how versatile they can be.” 

Now that he’s comfortable straying from his typical day-to-day uniform, he’s even purchased a few more interesting pieces on his own. “I got a new shirt jacket from MVP that’s lighter for early autumn and adds pop of colour to my look,” he says. “I also bought an Arlen woolen cardigan that gives a bit of texture to my look. Both are easy to dress up or down.”   

For both guys, the experience proved that when you’re armed with a simple understanding of the most flattering fits and proportions, you become instantly more confident in clothing you never would have considered wearing. And once you’re confident, comfort follows. “Wearing things is as much about you feeling comfortable as it is feeling stylish,” Sam says. “That’s the most important part. It shows in how you pull them off.” 

That’s why there’s no need to look like you’ve just stepped off the catwalk to feel stylish stepping into the lift every morning. A bit of confidence – and a burgundy mock-neck jumper – go a long way. Not quite 16,000-feet far, but pretty damn close. 


Words: Allison Pavlick
Photography: Jamie Stoker
Styling: Alexander McCalla