Tony’s Column: How CT is setup

Since I seem to have more and more to say these days, I’ve decided to add yet another ongoing subset to CollegeTrad’s growing list of editorial features, housed here in the Editorial section. These columns are purely introspective and/or meta-layered in prose, and are not finite in followups as I think of more to say in the future. This column touches on the deeper [read: psychopathic] thoughts that have surfaced from a bottomless pit of tradly intrigue.

I am not really writing about a particular topic on clothing per say with these editions. Instead, think of them as mapping out my lines of reasoning behind my own personal clothing choices; all in the effort of developing your practice of our style’s art in commitment to growing your individual sartorial journey.

Or, think of them as random verbose. It was late at night into early morning as I recorded the following thoughts below as my first entry. I was dreary but a sudden burst of inspiration prevented me to sleep. The majority of you should just disregard now and wait until I come back with new outfit porn pics or something.

Okay. Be bored, I don’t care.

It is cool to think that I have somehow grown some notoriety on Google. I guess if you search certain keywords, my porn pics and articles show up? You probably weren’t expecting to see a picture of me posing with my pea coat when you typed double breasted into the search bar on that one fateful, joyless afternoon delight (but hey, if you are still here then I’ll gladly take that trackback!) Of late, I have noticed that the number of inquiries and comments from actual industry contacts commented on the site or privately sent to me have steadily grown.

That is pretty awesome. It was never a goal of mine to interact with actual key players in the field since I am only just an outside observer looking in, but I look forward to grooming this new found application by reinforcing CollegeTrad’s open door policy. I will graciously entertain any media or brand inquiry that wants to seek my consultation, with the disclaimer that I am bounded by integrity for unbiased appeal in servitude to my readership.

One recent example of query sparked the very subject of this author’s note you are reading now. I had replied the same message I communicate to you, my crazy-for-reading-CT-why-are-you-even-wasting-time-here?! faithful audience; that I appreciated the interest but normally don’t like doing “favors” (as colloquial in humbleness as I can make that) for representation or such on on behalf of a specified brand to the blog’s readers.

This is all to upkeep my moral judgement, if you will, so that I may say what I wish without filtered or compromised freedoms. This may result in what could be perceived as harsh critique at times, but that only reinforces the need of dual protection of both sides, as well as my relative anonymity.

This is foremost an opinion blog after all, and I realize that some of my thoughts and diction can be misinterpreted as malicious. Indeed, that is not my objective I assure you, and any crude humor is for the context of a youthful male audience (and to keep myself from falling asleep at the keyboard.) Even negative sentiments are meant to be tactful in “tough love” delivery. Still, I’ve actually regretted some passages I have wrote in the past, and know that my so-called advanced style expertise is really only backed by hubris resulting from four years and counting of publishing my own blog. Clothes are just clothes at the end of the day, as should be reminded to us all.

The only reason I take it so seriously on this site is for sarcastic guise, with a dichotomy between extraordinarily meticulous detailing on the backdrop of a not-so-serious subject manner. I embrace my over rationalization by poking fun at myself whenever I can, with self-deprecating jokes or related links.

But back to what I was saying. I do try to compromise on my stake however, in responding to a corporate request by taking a look at what is presented to me in a fair review. If I like what I see, and/or it seems like a new topic that has yet to be spread all over your girlfriend’s Pinterest, and I find it pertinent to the interest of my audience then it will be relayed to you with addendum notations of my take. Always with a disclaimer, and if any commission was transacted (which so far has not occurred for any past showcase articles).

Otherwise, any brand or specific clothing items I advertise to you are from my, and my alone, approval. This makes up as much as Blue Sky purity on the blog (for you non-Heisenbergs, I just mean much of what you read from my writings…get on my Netflix level yo). And as I may as well keep going with the openness, some links that redirect you to merchandising are from affiliated marketing, of which I receive a tiny percentage from completed sales in order to receive something for the time I spend penning the blog or via personal correspondence.

This is disclosed in About Me. Although, what I make from third party affiliation and clickable advertising banners is next to nothing in taking into account my website’s billable hours, trust me.

This may have lead to further observations of how I setup CollegeTrad. For example, unlike other blogs, I rarely post seasonal updates from the industry (even in this editorial section that is meant for this kind of miscellaneous threads). It is a directional stance that I decided on over time.

You may recall my early Public Service Announcements during the blog’s pilot season, when at the time I tried to include current retail promotions and other real-time insider information in hopes of starting a multifaceted, one-stop well of preppy and tradly topics. Since then, I have adapted to a more linear purpose, with the corollary being that you the reader have far better resources out there on the web other than from some dude named Tony. If you really wanted the latest updates and hints on upcoming retail sales, then you go to the more popular sites.

Dappered is great for this, as is PutThisOn. Additionally there is ACL and Ivy Style. Or StyleForum and the dozens of other clothing community forums, and the hundreds of clickable redirects scattered on our sidebars in the mens fashion blogosphere, if not market print in Big Daddies GQ and Details. They all have the benefit of a dedicated writing staff, or open sourced and equally-as-passionate hobbyists and member contributors. I also can’t give you exclusives such as on-site photoessays that the bigger bloggers such as ACL can do, so I have to retort to what I know and what I can do in my limited confines. Simply put, it is an information and time management problem. I don’t make a living off this blog (*laugh at yourself if you thought I did….or just laugh at me*), hence yours truly can’t keep up with the constant high flux of the newest boutique showcases and Friends+Family special discounts.

So…I don’t. Making my life easier and allowing me to dedicate all of my time allowance and administration to jotting down articles or answering your questions. I retracted my ambitious proceedings of a conglomerate preppy feeder in order to concentrate on my initial intents for CollegeTrad: A source for education of preppy and trad style geared to young individuals, regardless of where he is on his own individual sartorial journey. This instruction is from my personal interpretation of the genre as an [extremely] opinionated menswear blogger. By not devoting webpage space to the frivolous, I hone your valued attention to the bread n’ butter of what I really want to say, which is why another one of my missions is to provide content that is satisfying in ample quality- undivided by a barrage of monotonous PSA’s- to make up for irregular lag periods in between.

I have a busy life in the real world and enjoy CT as my passion project, but can only be on intermittently, and even less so for outfit lookbook posts (to the chagrin of some of you lol). I also don’t like the idea of being of those guys with in-you-face content on my social media ring either, other than using FaceSpace mainly for article subscription to those who are insane enough to “like” my site, and InstaPound for the occasional look at what I just bought! shots. I repin the pictures I upload here on Needlterest to make it easier for you to save them for creative use. But you don’t see me being a TwitterTwat or constantly updating for a reason. This blog should be your prime destination because my words in these chapters are just as important and should accompany those aforementioned outfit pictures.

I designed the site, however arbitrary or haphazard as it seems, in a strategic layout that speaks to how I try to keep my blog grounded and unique.

  • The Guide gives you the bare elements of a starter wardrobe. I assume that you have already completed those purchases as we move forward to my other, advanced suggestions. You will find that you will be using these staple items the most out of any others, and theoretically you can live a good (and definitely wealthier than me) life with these minimalist items.
  • I try to post my own outfit pictures (that I affectionately call My Porn Stash) and not someone else’s, or even worse, from a generic online catalog. This is to show you that I follow what I preach in daily life as your living model, since I obviously own the things I wear in those pics. You shouldn’t copy my lookbook verbatim, but instead see what you like and incorporate it onto your own wardrobe.
  • The Campus Pervert material serves to show you authentic meccas of Trad&Prep. This blog is directed to a general target readership of late teens to early 30s, so I highlight collegiate trends on real campuses. These are what your peers are wearing now. You won’t see many other fashion blogs talk about TFM, and this helps to identify CollegeTrad’s niche within the menswear blogosphere. Frattydaddy clothing is NOT necessarily “good fashion” as dictated by classical trad or fashion forward standards, and some of the outfits you see in those Campus Pervert pics are not even exemplary, but I talk of these styles based on the validity of campus groupthink and not on the conscious of high tier luxury couture. Fratty style is really a beast of its own, and it has a place on the preppy gauge whether we like it or not, and thus I write about its ideal practice in the same way I teach about traditional apparel, and why certain things are they way they are for the fratter than thou. But you should transition to a more sophisticated, mature sense of direction as you grow into your young professional lifestyle post-undergrad.
  • Porn Stores are places and brands that are not on the radar screen of what I consider “mainstream prep”, and thus are prized novelty labels or anchors of the regional prep mecca scene. I also highlight mom&pops that are locally known. This is to add a homegrown touch to the blog.
  • The Ask Me sections and my email contact is for questions or comments that haven’t been addressed in my writings, or otherwise you need my opinion on. I love hearing from yall so don’t be afraid to reach out to me!
  • Editorial editions such as this new Tony’s Column and Trad Mannerisms are other features of how I try to make this blog special. I don’t simply show you a list of “10 things to buy” that relies on the assumption that you can put those ten things together and look good. That is just unimaginative and repetitive, since the vast many of other blogs and tumblrs out there basically regurgitate groupthink. They don’t teach you the nuances of Trad&Prep, of which there are many, and which distinguish those who are in the know. I give you the WHY & HOW of authentic preppy style.
  • I reference “Rule #10” from my Ten Style Commandments that I speak of from The Guide. If one half of my blog is to teach you the WHY&HOW in order for you to dress smartly for yourself, then the other half is to show that our style does not have to be expensive. Quite the opposite actually. Trad&Prep champions the thrifty. Many of you are on college budgets, so I see clothing as investments that you can purchase cheaply and yet survive off of its longevity.

Therefore, if you are here to read for the umpteenth time about how “a pair of Allen Edmonds Park Avenues should be your only black dress shoe”, or that a “tailor can make a cheap suit look like a million bucks”, or you should “shop at Brooks Brothers for a classy style” and that is just that- then this is not your blog. If you want a running scroll of hourly updated PSA’s and other ultimately forgettable bits of info that brush on Trad&Prep but still leaves you not really knowing how to dress tradly and preppy in true manner- then this is not your blog.

How I setup the blog distills into the main objective of teaching you how to think for yourself in your independent clothing style. The kind of stuff that can’t be taught by unscripted photos of people walking on New York City streets, groupthink reposts you’ve seen in nine out of ten blogs, or distracting promotions. I am here to serve as your encyclopedia of Trad&Prep for readily reference, in accordance to a hybrid of classic and modern schools, for both the young man and the upwardly mobile professional. All of the outfit pics, Ask Me replies, articles, and more should paint you a picture of my thought process. This is the core that I think many other menswear sites lack, and that I want to fulfill.

If I lecture to you right, then you will not need any one lowly website (even this one) and eventually my dedicated corresponded from Ask Me as your single fishing hole for preppy game. As the common proverb goes…I teach you how to fish. And what to fish. And what not to eat. You know what I am saying. The rest of the blogsphere breathes wind into your sails on everything else, so eventually you will have multiple casting rods by the time you reach GodModePrep glory.

CT is your compass. All the other guys make up your fleet in tradly pursuit.