This is the story of how I got into fashion and why I do the things I do.
So since I started going stronger on my Instagram (you can check it out here!), a lot of people have been asking me how I got to start this whole men’s fashion “thing” going on, why I got into fashion and where it comes from. This is my answer to you.
First things first, let’s talk about my childhood. In my early years, age 5 to 12, I never EVER cared about what I was wearing. I would simply throw on some random shirt and a random pair of jeans; I would already be ready to go to school. When I was in grade 5, I can remember not having any jeans to wear for school because my wardrobe would solely consist of shorts and guess what.. I wore my mom’s jeans for 4 straight months and couldn’t care less.
Really, the only thing I cared about was my (pretty long) hair. I was quite obsessed with it but still, I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do with it. I just thought getting my hair cut (for free by my mom) was too much of an effort to give and yeah, I was never able to appreciate the blessing of having a mom that cuts your hair for free until I pay 25$ every 3 weeks to get my hair done today (thank you, mom).
In my farthest memory, I would say that the first time I tried to “dress up” was for my elementary school graduation. That day, 12-years-old Ryoma wore black shorts and a black long sleeve polo. Quite formal, am I right (sarcasm intended)? Never dressing up for an occasion until then, Little Ryoma realized he liked dressing a bit nicer than his everyday style, but it was nothing really serious.
The whole men’s fashion thing grew when Ryoma was 13-14 years old. At this time, young Ryoma went to a school where wearing a uniform was compulsory (he didn’t really mind, though). Occasionally, the school would have “color days” once a month, where all the students could wear anything they wanted.
For reasons that I can’t precisely remember, Little Ryoma wanted to outshine everyone during those little glimpses of a closet all the students could show monthly. He wanted to make those color days worth it and show people that HE could look better than anyone else. When you’re quite young, all you want to do is be better than anyone else, I guess. At least, that was the case for me.
When people realized that Young Ryoma started to look good and show up with nice clothes, they started to ask him questions as to why he would dress better than other boys his age. Now that he was standing out, Young Ryoma had to be insightful, find his true reason as to why he likes wearing nice clothes and after a lot of cogitation and reflexion, he finally came up with the answers I use today to justify my style and the attention I give to my image.
Now, whenever people ask me about why I try to dress nicely and focus so much on my image, I give a few reasons that explain my sartorial drive.
First of all, like I wrote in my article on confidence, I pay a lot of attention to my image for myself. I feel good looking at myself in the mirror knowing I did my best to look good. It makes me feel confident. It makes me feel happy and I can tell myself there’s nothing I can’t do. In the end, the person that benefits the most out of your looks is you, not the strangers you will cross in the streets, not the company that will hire you, not your potential date, it’s YOU.
Second of all, there is a message I’m trying to give to others. I always felt like it was unfair that girls had to pay so much attention to make themselves pretty: have the perfect skin, the best makeup, the nicest clothes and a body that fits impossible standards. I wanted to show to everyone that men can do that too. I want to give as much if not more effort into myself to make up for that “injustice” women had to deal with every day. I’m not saying men never did anything for their appearance: on the opposite, I learned that men have been paying attention to their looks and there was a certain standard that men followed back in the days too.
However, I feel like it has not been as much of a “requirement” for men to dress and look nice compared to women. Women have been pressured, almost forced to look pretty and it surely stressed or made anxious a lot of teenagers both back then and now. With social media rewarding those who look good, girls probably want to follow Insta-models as an example and aspire to be like them. For that matter, I want to give my share in fashion. I want to show everyone that it is possible for men to do as much as women. In today’s world, there is a lot of men’s fashion influencers and I cannot be any happier for that change of perspective. Consequently, I also want to help the community to show to men how they can improve themselves by giving them tips and tricks to make fashion easier and accessible.
Because even with all the effort men’s fashion influencers have been putting, there is still the stigma of associating gays with fashion and appearance. I deal with it quite a lot and I think there is still an improvement that can be done.
That’s pretty much all there is to it. This is why I pay attention to my own appearance, why I love fashion and how I got into it. I was reluctant as to talking about myself on the blog but I will embrace my own person in the hope that I inspire even one person to put efforts in himself and aspire to become a better version of his person!
Thank you for reading.
Don’t forget to subscribe to the blog and share this post if you liked it!
Ryoma Martin, from The Soul’s Garment
At your service
Featured image taken by Jeanne Larochelle
Outfit pictures taken by Michael Mayer