I don’t care how long he’s been in quarantine: it’s really hard to imagine someone like Matthew Kobach walking out of his apartment, standing in the middle of the street and asking the world at large to suggest some new menswear brands for him to try out.
In fact, it’s hard to imagine almost any man soliciting clothing tips from complete strangers in real life. In a post late last month on Twitter, however, Kobach showed how social media allows for a much different kind of conversation — one where style can be crowdsourced.
Kobach, whose day job is digital and social media manager for the New York Stock Exchange, simply tweeted the following:
What came next was better than anything you’d get through market research, a single personal stylist or even a dozen posts from blogs like this one: a laundry list of menswear brands from men who, for the most part, actually wear them.
Although there were many obvious brands, like Uniqulo and Frank & Oak, that I knew, there were plenty of others in the close to 240 replies that I didnt. Like this one:
I checked it out, and Sunspel has Riviera polo shirts with a 1950s-style flare that were once worn by Daniel Craig in a James Bond film:
Then there was this one:
It’s true: there were lots of great tech-inspired suits on Sene Studio designed to stretch, but also a few with little details I loved, like this field jacket:
Some guys responded to Kobach not once but twice, offering better and better ideas:
Out of these three I’d say Jomers was the closest to meeting the definition of great men’s basics:
. . . but if I were going to a summer weddings (if anyone could actually have a summer wedding) I’d probably look at Spier & Mackay, which has a standout summer collection:
I could go on — and on! — but probably the most incredible thing about this tweet is how it showcases the difference of Twitter versus other social platforms in curating an authentic collection of menswear ideas.
On Facebook, Kobach probably wouldn’t have gotten many brand suggestions outside of his friends, even if he had posted a status update as “public.”
On Instagram, Kobach could have gotten the same number of comments, but there’s something about that platform where it feels you should be leading with an image (like an empty closet in this case?), and the feedback is usually in response to that image.
On TikTok, Kobach would have had to do a little dance.
On LinkedIn, people would have assumed he was possibly looking to get a job at a startup.
Perhaps it’s just my experience, but I’ve found men rarely ask each other directly for style advice. There’s something vulnerable about doing so in person — I almost feel like there’s an unspoken code that you should simply study other guys and apply the best of what they express with shirts, pants and shoes (but not too closely; that’s even weirder).
Twitter is not the place you’d show off your personal look, but despite all the complaints against it — the trolling, the fake news, the messy hashing out of issues from COVID-19 to racism — it is probably the most open to honest appeals for opinions on just about anything.
Yes, there are quasi-social platforms like Quora, where Koblach could have posed a similar question and have it remain there almost like a blog post, but I think the blink-and-you’ll-miss it timeliness of Twitter also contributes to more trustworthy responses.
I realize there are probably a lot more important tweets to be read on Twitter right now, but I have to celebrate the occasional moment on social media where the conversation is all about inspiration, enthusiasm and an opportunity for absolutely anyone to be heard equally. This was one of those times when everyone on social media was really looking their best.
Feature image: From Tommorow’s Laundry, another suggestion from Kobach’s followers that’s well worth exploring