Inspiration: Mike from MFA

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Let’s take a break from The Armoury and look at one of my internet friends for inspiration on this “tailored casual” outfit!

The Inspiration

I “met” Mike on the Male Fashion Advice sub on Reddit.  For those of you who don’t know, it’s a thread much like Styleforum or Dappered  that is dedicated to fashion.  There is a big emphasis on beginner fashion, with most of it being inoffensive, but there definitely are some veterans on there who have styles that range from goth ninja to SLP to even Scandinavian Minimalism.  It is on MFA’s bi-weekly What Are You Wearing Right Now that I attribute my recent popularity and how I “met” Mike.

Through some of our brief conversations, I have learned a bit about Mike.  He currently resides in New York and works in the textile/fabric side of the menswear industry.  Based on this archival MFA outfit website, you can see that he took a brief hiatus from MFA until returning recently with a new style.  Since he does work closely with the tailoring markets (instead of the retail market that most people are familiar with), Mike’s style leans heavily toward suits and other tailored pieces.  You can see why I’m such a fan of his style.

If you look at his outfits, you’ll see that he is a fan of the same things that I am: high-rise trousers and the sartorial polo shirt. Just take a look at this outfit; it’s freaking gorgeous. However, while his tailoring game is pretty strong, it’s his take on “casually tailored” that intrigues me the most.  Just take a look at these two outfits.

This outfit was what Mike wore for a “lazy brunch challege”.  I really enjoy the palewave/minimal nature of this outfit, with everything in a muted light grey. Its interesting to use the espadrilles as dark point of the outfit, but I think it works really well here.  It’s all pretty “dressy” pieces, with the one piece collar polo and the linen trousers, but it’s much more comfortable and disheveled when you compare it to the #menswear/dapperbro way of wearing it.  The messy rolled cuffs on the pants add so many bonus points for this look.

This is another great casually tailored look tah called out to me.  The 80’s and 90’s have bee coming back and so have their jeans!  Mike rocks some high rise lightwash denim with a different pair of espadrilles, a white deep placket polo, and a boldly checked sportcoat.  It’s a bit much for my personal taste, but its very effective at creating a balance between dressed down and dressed up.  The jacket appears to be made of a very light and casual fabric, which works well with the polo and the casual jean.  Note that light wash jeans are much more casual than dark indigo selvedge ones (which also go well with tailored garments).  After reflecting on both of these outfits, I knew I had to do my own version at some point.

Since I don’t work in the industry, I’d obviously be at a disadvantage.  I wouldn’t get his discounts or nearly the paycheck to get some of these fantastic items!  Mike has pieces from Boglioli to even Eidos; they are some of the best pieces out there short of going custom or MTM.

My Outfit

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This outfit is way overdue, since its already the first full week of September!  Either way, its still pretty hot in California and I’m not splitting hairs with this ensemble.  I honestly haven’t been in lightwash jeans and a polo since my childhood in the 90s, but its definitely super comfortable.  The light denim works well in this hot weather and its straight/slim nature makes them comparable to the chinos and trousers that I normally wear; the only difference is the material.   Thanks to the pant choice, this outfit definitely leans heavily on the casual side of casually tailored.

I really lucked out on these jeans, since were thrifted ones from Rag & Bone! They’re extremely comfy, made of soft denim, unlike the 80s or 90s ones that you find at thrift stores. They are a bit long, but since the baggy 90s are over we are able to bring them into the modern era with a simple rolled cuff!

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I’m not normally a fan of “casual blazers”, but this one is one of my favorites.  It’s an unlined cotton/linen blend (which is perfect for hot weather) that boasts a 3 roll 2 buttoning and triple patch pockets.  Two of the patch pockets have pleats, which adds to the overall casual nature of the jacket.  You can always wear a true jacket in a casual way but its nice to have something truly unstructured and in a casual fabric that can be for simpler looks.

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Details are always important.  Even though these are all from “mall brands” that I can afford, they still have enough details to set themselves part from the typical faire. The spread collar polo is from Uniqlo, and has a deep placket which makes it look more like the ones from Ascot Chang that are preferred by Italians and the Armoury.  Also note that this jacket has functioning buttonholes on the sleeves.  You can’t find that at H&M or J. Crew!

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In retrospect, I’d have to say that this outfit even qualifies for a semi-sartorial version of palewave.  The lightwash jeans, the light grey polo, khaki jacket, and white espadrilles are a dead ringer for the lightwash jeans, grey sweaters, and white sneakers of the palewave style. I do enjoy streetwear, but it’s fun to do a sartorial spin on a style that has been used more with casual clothes!

Jacket from Massimo Dutti, Polo from Uniqlo, Thrifted jeans from Rag & Bone, Espadrilles from Espadrillestore

I hope you guys enjoyed this latest edition of “Inspiration”! Mike definitely has a great style and a definite life inspiration for me, since he’s apart of the menswear industry that I want to get into.  Maybe this blog will lead to some opportunities in the future! In the meantime, I still love being able to talk about clothing with you guys!

Mike doesn’t post much on instagram, but I implore my readers to at least go on MFA and check it out. He posts on MFA’s WAYWT pretty frequently and is a source of great information about tailored style.  I also post on MFA pretty often and answer the few questions people have about vintage style and high-rise pants.  Besides Mike and I, this sub is dedicated to helping people find their style and houses quite a few inspiration albums and guides to starting off!  I recommend it heavily for fashion newbies or those of you who prefer to have a more casual style.  Just don’t forget about me.

Always a pleasure,

Ethan W.

Street x Sprezza

Photography by Scott E. 

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