h1 Every time I convince a guy to throw out his light-wash bootcut jeans, an angel gets its wings.
Megan Collins, Style Girlfriend
Megan Collins loves to help men look great. She doesn't want to turn them into metrosexuals or clotheshorses – and she wouldn't dream of sending them to Fashion Week. She just wants to help guys pick nice clothes that look good – without them having to think too much about what they're wearing. (Ladies, rejoice!)
In 2009 Megan started Style Girlfriend, a weekly column for guys which quickly gained a following and was picked up for national syndication in newspapers across the country. Now she also runs stylegirlfriend.com, a collection of those articles and daily content all about men’s style. The site and column have been so popular, she's also working with a manager to develop Style Girlfriend for TV.
We checked in with Megan by email to find out where she gets her fashion sense, what men's biggest insecurities are around style – and what all men should always wear.
For those that are new to your site, what are some great posts to start with? A lot of guys have liked my denim guide, which – I hope – makes the process of buying jeans a little less daunting. It gives the inside track on the style and color girls want to see them wearing, which I hope is helpful. I think this recent post on finding a signature scent also gets across the whole raison d’être of Style Girlfriend quite nicely. I’ve always said I’m a fan, not an expert, of guys’ style. I don’t have all the answers, and hey, I’m looking for a fragrance too. I think it shows, we’re all in this together, so hopefully that sentiment is something guys can relate to.
What are the most common insecurities or questions men have for you about style? Guys don’t know how to dress for particular occasions, which I totally get. With offices becoming more casual, and with the dress codes on wedding invites becoming more complicated, it’s like you don’t know if you should show up in a tuxedo or in overalls. So I get a lot of "What do I wear to…?" reader questions.
The other thing is that guys get psyched out from trying to improve their style. I know for me, when I read a really high-end fashion magazine, it winds up making me feel discouraged– like since I’m never going to be decked head-to-toe in designer clothing, I might as well give up. Same thing with guys – a lot of resources out there on men’s style assume a guy to can afford all designer everything, and it makes the whole process of improving your wardrobe feel totally unattainable. So I’m glad they can come to Style Girlfriend, and hear, "It’s cool, I wear Target too."
Was there a particular post or series that put you on the map? I was featured on GQ in October, and that really helped to get me in front of a lot of new eyeballs. And I did a campaign with Visa for the Super Bowl, which was on Hulu and on YouTube. I had so many friends who I hadn’t heard from in forever texting me, like, "Did I just see you in a commercial during Modern Family?" Hopefully, those kinds of opportunities will continue to come my way; I’d love to do more video content, but only if it can look really great, so that’s something I’m figuring out right now.
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You've turned your site into a serious business. What do you credit as your secret? Working like a freaking dog! I don’t understand these bloggers who only ever repost pictures of fashion shows, or milkshakes or puppies or whatever, and have 50,000 tumblr followers. I create original content five days a week, and that is no joke. If and when I do really get over that tipping point and reach a mass audience, I intend to let everyone know how hard it is to turn a blog into a business! I could have quit so many times by now, and I didn’t.
You get to see a lot of fashion pieces early. What are your favorite men's fashion finds for this season? I’m actually not … super into fashion? Especially men’s fashion. Do I like to see what goes down the runway at Oscar de la Renta each season so I can coo at pretty dresses? Absolutely. I do have a vagina after all. But for guys, style is more about fit and looking nice. That’s it. It’s not about "fashion" or what’s trending at that moment. My readers probably wouldn’t even know when Fashion Week is, god bless ‘em.
What sites do you follow or admire? Who are your soulmates in style? I think GQ has a really great online presence, with a distinct point of view and voice. I listen to everything Nick Sullivan and Nic Screws have to say over at Esquire. Valet Mag is great. But my head is filled with enough ideas about guys’ style and what I want to talk about that I don’t spend a lot of time on men’s sites.
Actually, I probably get more ideas for stories and posts from women’s magazines and fashion blogs. At least the ones I read, they’re much more likely to be all, "I got this shirt at Kohl’s! Isn’t it cute?" Menswear blogs tend to feature highbrow everything, which, like I said before, feels unrelatable for the "regular" guy. Who I love, by the way. I’m not knocking the regular guy. I’m just much more about the high-low mix. Spend a ton on shoes that will last you a decade, and then buy Hanes underwear, y’know?
How do you like to work with advertisers or brands? Partnerships, advertising, and the like – that’s simply me keeping the lights on while bringing fresh, original content to my readership, with brands that I would be mentioning anyway. I would never work with a brand that I wouldn’t recommend to my readers even if they weren’t paying me. And I’ve established a solid enough relationship with my readers that they know that. So it doesn’t hurt my credibility with them when they see that little disclaimer at the bottom of a post, or an ad on the side of the page.
What other men's style and culture voices are you watching with interest? Who else is doing it right? I love what Dan over at TSBMen is doing (Ed note: Read our profile of Dan Trepanier of TSBMen here: Style and Inspiration from America's best-Dressed Real Man). He and I recently collaborated, and it was great talking to someone so likeminded about guys’ style. We both are interested in helping readers of all stripes look better and feel great. We both nag that it’s all about fit-fit-fit, and harp on how important it is to develop your own personal style. There’s a lot of menswear bros out there right now who will make you feel like you’re doing it wrong if you have on last season’s hat, or an uncool (according to them) brand of shoes on your feet, and just…ugh, that’s exhausting, and mean-spirited, and it’s not the kind of thing that I want to read, so why would I pass along that kind of judgmental take on style to my readers? To paraphrase Allen Iverson, "We're talkin' 'bout clothes." It’s not life or death, it’s just clothes. And clothes should be fun.
What are some men's style trends you're enjoying right now? How about the flip side of that – what needs to go? Colors! I love hearing from my readers that they just bought a pair of salmon-colored pants, or a bright green sweater. When they send me a picture of their outfit because they successfully paired yellow and rust together. It’s so great to see guys taking a few more risks with their clothes, and thankfully, brands like Dockers and Gap are obliging, rolling out khakis in every color of the rainbow for spring.
As for what needs to go, I always say that every time I convince a guy to throw out his light-wash bootcut jeans, an angel gets its wings.
How would you finish this sentence for men: When in doubt, wear… Whatever makes you feel handsome.
Style Girlfriend is a Say Media partner. Follow Style Girlfriend @StyleGF.