h1 Men are creatures of habit and routine. Which means they want full-service content.
Dan Trepanier, TSBMen
Stylish men's media is having its moment, and not surprisingly TSBMen (formerly The Style Blogger) is among the sites leading the charge. TSBMen is led by the best-dressed real man himself, Dan Trepanier, a former clothing-obsessed basketball player who understands what it means to create practical and inspiring content for real guys. Not models, not celebrities – real people.
We checked in with Dan to find out more about what he believes makes a great men's media site, the connection between great content and commerce, which men's style trends are here to stay – and which need to go right now. Gentlemen, take notes.
Independent men's style sites are on fire right now. Why do you think it's finally time? I think the growth of men's style websites, like TSBmen, is due to a greater cultural shift taking place among men, especially young men. It's cool to dress up now. Guys want to wear tailored suits, even if they don't have to.
In my opinion, a combination of factors is causing this shift.
1. Idolized, masculine athletes and entertainers, like Lebron James and Kanye West for example, are passionately indulging in high-fashion and taking their off-duty image as seriously as their professional careers.
2. Today's media romanticizes the role of style among men and creates a sense of nostalgia using period programming like Mad Men and Boardwalk Empire.
3. Today's designers are more in-touch with their customers, making them more approachable and wearable than ever .
4. The fast-fashion industry is able to efficiently keep up with trends and offer affordable up-to-date styles.
5. Social media allows men at all levels of interest to participate in an ongoing dialogue and take-in a wide variety of opinions regarding personal style.
With all that said, though, I think the most important factor is that talented people are finally being recognized and taken seriously by the industry at large. As a result, this allows hard-working content creators to properly monetize their influence, pursue their passions on a full-time basis, and, ultimately, turn their simple blogs into full-service online destinations.
Esquire calls TSB Men one of the best sources for well-dressed real men. What's a well-dressed real man mean to you? The word real is very important here, I think. A real man, to me, is someone who is completely and genuinely himself. He has his own opinions and his own style. He's put-together, approachable, but above all else, he's comfortable and confident in his clothes.
In the world of style, a confident swagger is much more important than up-to-date fashion.
What makes a great men's media site? Frequent, well-produced original content. An authentic and unwavering point-of-view. And, most importantly, finding the right balance between the two "A's": approachable / aspirational.
What are some urban men's style trends you're enjoying right now? How about the flip side of that – what needs to go? I'm loving that headwear is becoming popular again with men. Fifty years ago, a man wouldn't leave the house without a hat. Then we went through a decade or two where a brimmed hat was almost exclusively worn ironically. Finally, well-made hats are slowly creeping back into classic menswear.
What needs to go? The attitude that wearing something "trendy" or "of the moment" makes you look cooler. Ninety five percent of the time, it doesn't. I respect the guy who has the confidence to wear what is not "in" because it looks good on him. The more popular #menswear gets online, the faster trends will die.
What other style and culture voices do you follow? Who else is doing it right? I don't read any other blogs or style websites regularly, but I enjoy cruising artfully-produced magazines like The Rake and Man of the World. The latter has an honest, clean delivery that I think a lot of guys can appreciate.
How can TSB help a men's brand break out or get noticed? TSB is currently generating roughly 1.5 million pageviews per month from style-conscious men all over the world. More importantly, most of these guys (and girls) take our endorsements seriously because we work very hard to keep our message real and authentic. As a rule, we only endorse products that we genuinely use and recommend. To maintain this, we turn down a lot of opportunities ($) from all kinds of brands. Being ultra-selective with our content strengthens the value of our influence in the long run, as well as the value of the recommendations that we do make.
How do you think about the connection between content and commerce? What do readers want? I can't comment on what women want. I've been trying to figure that out for 26 years. I do, however, have a very good grasp on what men want from a style website. Men are creatures of habit and routine. As a writer and editor, they want you to do as much of the work for them as possible, so they can get back to their busy lives. Which means they want full-service content.
It starts with inspiring a person to want to change. That's the hardest part. If you've successfully inspired someone to want to change, you will be hit with a flurry of questions that need answers immediately.
Ok, I'm convinced this thing will help me be more attractive, approachable and confident (which could lead to a happier, more successful life). Sooo... Where's the best place to buy it? How to get it at a discount? Is there a cheaper alternative? What's the best color to suit my wardrobe? Or skin tone? What size should I buy to flatter my body type? What should I wear it with? When can I wear it? Is it inappropriate to wear it to ------? Which alterations should I have my tailor do? How do I find a good tailor? How much will they cost? Is there a cheaper alternative? How, and how often, should I clean it? How do I properly store it? How many times a week can I wear it? etc.
The more straight-forward and full-circle you can make the overall learning process, the happier the reader will be with your service.
What's something your readers would be surprised to learn about you? I grew up on a small farm in the middle of nowhere and often yearn for a much simpler life away from NYC.
Who's closet would you like to raid and why? I have more than enough in my closet. I'm more likely to gift than raid.
How would you finish this sentence: When in doubt, wear… Whatever makes you most confident.
Dan and TSBMen are also new Say Media content partners. Follow TSB and Dan on Twitter @TSBmen.