Manly Style :: An interview with Matt Spiel
I’ve been working on a series about men’s fashion that I’m excited to share with you, starting today. I’ve asked a few men to show us their favorite outfit and to answer some questions about style. Hopefully their observations can be helpful for both men trying to look nice and for women who play a significant role in dressing their husbands.
First up, our good friend Matt Spiel. Matt lives in Southwest Missouri with his wife Amber and son Oliver. He makes a mean fish taco and works for “an amazing company” called Treehouse (teamtreehouse.com). Here’s a little insight into his minimalist, fun style ::
Shirt: Mossimo V-Neck T Shirt from Target
Pants: Levi 511 Jeans in Dark Wash from TJ MAxx
Belt: Merona Brown-Leather from Target
Shoes: Sperry Topsider Oxford Boat Shoes (from Amazon.com)
One of the things that I love about men’s fashion is how understated it is. What are your priorities (comfort, style, function, etc.) when buying clothes or getting dressed in the morning?
I prefer to keep a fairly classic wardrobe so things will last, but if I had to order my priorities I’d say that style ranks first, then function and lastly comfort (sometimes you have to suffer to be beautiful ya know). To be frank, I ranked comfort last because I have learned over the years I am most comfortable when I have confidence in what I am wearing. That’s a key to looking good, wearing it with confidence. Funny thing is, I have been getting dressed in total darkness lately (my 17 month old son wakes up quite early and I usually take the morning shift to let my wife sleep in). So it’s often a surprise to see what I’ve picked out by the light of my phone screen. Most days I dress fairly predictably: pair of blue jeans, t-shirt. These are the items I am most comfortable in and love to wear all the time.
I know you’re a graphic designer. How does this influence your style?
My wife might say differently, but I don’t think being a designer influences my style that greatly. My style preferences were the same before I realized graphic design was my thing. Granted, I know many designers who have a great sense of fashion, but I couldn’t tell you if that stems from being a designer, or just having fashion sense. It’s one of those chicken or the egg situations.
I love how the majority of your clothes were bought at really affordable stores. Do you have any tips for looking great on a budget?
I first and foremost have my wife to thank for that. She keeps me and our bank account in check — something I am very grateful for. I used to have no problem paying full price for clothes. Then, she turned me on to TJ Maxx. The one in our town is a gold mine for tall, skinny males. I try really hard to buy items that I think are well made and will last, but it’s hard to pass up $20 for a brand new pair of Levi’s. A few tips would be, always check the clearance section first. Buying a season behind won’t make you the most fashionable, but will save you big time.
Your shoes are fantastic. Where are some good places to look for great men’s shoes?
Thank you! I bought these shoes a few weeks back with some birthday money and have been looking for any and every opportunity to wear them. This is one item in my wardrobe I paid full price for, but they were worth it. I love a classic pair of Vans (both slip ons and lace ups), and a well made leather shoe or boot is a hard thing to pass up. When it comes to finding great men’s shoes, I always keep an eye out for what some of my designer buds are wearing, and there are a few go to websites I check in on regularly. Uncrate.com is one of those. It’s a great site with very well curated items ranging from clothes, to gadgets, and everything in between.
Where do you find inspiration? Who or what in your life has most influenced how you dress?
When I was younger, I could say with full confidence I found all of my inspiration from indie bands and the music scene in general. That was a heavy influence for me in high school and college. While it may not be such a heavy influence now, I know it shaped the sense of style I have pretty dramatically. Lately, I find inspiration in a lot of the typical places — magazines, websites, Instagram and the like (no Pinterest for me tho). Again, there are a few websites I love to keep up on. Frank and Oak is one, Everlane is another. While I could never bring myself to pay $118 for a shirt, Bonobos is a great place to look as well. They have very classy items, and tons of color.
I can’t help commenting on your hair. It seems like such a big element of men’s style. What’s the secret of a great hairstyle?
Thanks! A few tips I’d give are to get a hair cut from someone with a similar sense of style as you. Also, learning how to use a blow dryer isn’t that big of a deal and doesn’t affect your manliness one bit. Oh, and find a good product to put in it. Hair gel is only appropriate for junior high kids these days. A good pomade or fiber will do wonders.
Is there anything about men’s fashion that really annoys you?
Men’s fashion is slow and bland. It takes a while to catch on to what’s actually fashionable at the time, and finding personality-matching pieces is rough. Oh, and it’s often frumpy looking. I am a pretty thin guy, so I prefer to wear more fitted items. That was nearly impossible for a long time.
What magazines do you have on your coffee table?
Fast Company, HGTV Magazine, Dwell and Arizona Highways.
What band should we be listening to right now?
Can’t just list one. Sorry… In no specific order: San Fermin, HAIM, A Boy and His Kite and probably Ha Ha Tonka.
Thanks so much, Matt!