Country Living – Back on the Farm with my Family!

November 12th, 2011

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Believe it or not, I was born and raised on a farm – far away from any “fashion” scene.

Honestly, I was never really interested in fashion, but the notion of personal style always intrigued me. In my opinion there is an important difference between the two. Fashion happens in major cities (runway shows, designer collections, boutique shops, etc). Style, however, can happen anywhere. It’s a way of life, a certain swagger, an expression of individuality.

An important element of good style, as I’ve written before, is starting with practicality of functionality. Being appropriatey dressed (for the occasion, the whether, the activity, etc.) is the first step. Your look should reflect the lifestyle you are participating in, whatever it may be at the time. So when I visit home, for example, I can’t be wearing 3-piece suits on the farm.

The good new is, this doesn’t mean you need a whole new wardrobe for each of your separate activities – just an understanding of which pieces can work for which occasion. In fact, due to the current landscape of menswear, it has never been easier to put together a wardrobe that can effortlessly take you from the big city to the country, or anywhere in between.  For example, most of the pieces featured in this post have already been featured in other posts shot in gotham city NYC, just styled differently.

It’s no secret that workwear and utility apparel are trending (due in part to recent economic woes and a flight to durability and versatility). High-end department stores in big cities are selling re-invented versions of the garments that I grew up wearing on the farm. Think naturally distressed jeans, denim shirts, plaid flannels, quilted jackets, hard-toe boots, etc.

Here, 4 looks from my recent visit back to the farm with each of my family members.


1. Working in the Shop with Leo

My passion for style is my brother Leo’s passion for mechanics. If you can roll it into our workshop, he can probably fix it.

When I’m home I like to wear denim shirts. They’re tough and they get better the more you wear and wash them, so I don’t have to worry about getting them dirty – because they will inevitably get dirty.

Bonus Tip: Brushed cotton chinos are the type of trousers that can translate to just about any outfit or activity. They’re also another type of garment that build character the more they are worn.

Bonus Tip II: I wore these boots to a meeting/interview in Times Square yesterday, with a tweedy winter weight.

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  • Dan

    Excellent post, Dan. I think another great source of inspiration is RRL as well as Ralph Lauren himself. His interview with Oprah at his ranch perfectly shows “cowboy” or “ranch” style without being contrived. It’s rugged and masculine. Wel done.

  • EV

    You look like an idiot with those cowboy boots. Untuck your pants, and wear looser jeans. I doubt pants that tight let you even get your leg over the saddle when riding. Its a farm not a quirky jcrew photoshoot, dress the part.

    • SB

      haha. Thanks for the advise on dressing the part when I’m at home on my own farm.

      Thx for reading,

      • Dan

        Haha get ‘em Dan. I think it’s funny people tell you to dress a certain way when you grew up on the farm… He should say the same thing to equestrian riders.. lol

  • Teofilo

    Great post! “Moleskin topcoat by Banana Republic (S).” The size on that moleskin topcoat is (small) is that correct? If it’s truly a small, can you even button it up without the buttons popping?

  • Todd

    Glad to see there are other farm boys out there who left the farm and enjoy fashion. You can take us out of the farm but there still something about the connection back. Glad to see the integration of your two worlds!

  • Dani

    OK, this post is way beyong adorable… :)

    The Cowboy look is deffinitily a personal favorite ha ha

  • Ambyr

    I’m from the country too and love incorporating pieces (aka my cowboy boots) into my city life. Great looks, my favorite is probably the most simple, working with your brother at the shop look. It’s easy and appropriate.



  • Joey Dee

    This is by far your best post yet, a real pleasure to read. Thanks for letting your readers into your world!

  • Mike

    You’ve heard the term, “the apple that fell furthest from the tree”? I thought I had that one cornered but I’m an amateur compared to you. Your family must have found being in a photographed fashion spread a hoot. That they did it reflects well on you.

  • Khalid

    A pleasure to meet your family. :-)

    “If you’re buying something that you know will last the test of time (like a dark straight leg jean, a corduroy trouser, a tough boot, etc) it’s a good idea to buy quality. … Those $19 H&M chinos cut from 6oz cotton/polyester wouldn’t last two hard weeks on the farm.”

    Can you give us some tips on what exactly makes a quality garment? Price isn’t a great gauge — for example, Banana Republic’s chinos (which I’m quite happy with) are priced high but they go on sale down to H&M levels quite often. My BR pima cotton cords are more refined than what they sell at Old Navy, but I don’t really understand why. Amateurs like us might know the difference between good stitching and bad, and be able to tell apart very poor from very high quality fabric, but we’d appreciate tips on the more subtle aspects of clothing construction.

    Thanks and take care!

    • Arron

      That’s actually a good question. I found that most h and m stuff is cheaply made which makes sense cuz it’s priced cheap. Don’t get me wrong I think for the price they have some good things if you’re on a budget. I find that what he’s saying is true, I’ve had 3 pairs of nudie jeans I paid a few hundred dollars a pair for and they have lasted thru about a dozen levis. I find that club Monaco has good quilty material and is made fairly well also. This is just my opinion, for good boots I go with Clarks cuz red wings are to hard to work in for me. Its all preference. U gotta find what u like. I’m a strong believer , u get what u pay for.

  • Emanuel Iuhas

    WOW! Nice that u are a litle fashionable cowboy… ;-)
    I love the country boots!

  • hellothere

    I still don’t understand the whole “half your shirt tucked in” thing. It just looks so unbelievably sloppy. I can wrap my head around the “messy look,” but this just goes way beyond that, and not in a good way. To each their own, I guess.

    • David

      I think the point is that he’s on a farm…you know, like the whole nonchalant thing. It’s ok to be sloppy in an environment like that

  • Chris

    Great post – I always thought orange trousers could end up looking a little vulgar but you nailed it here.
    It’s also interesting how you can make a bespoke waistcoat look totally farm appropriate.

  • JHG

    Dan, some of the sizes you wear amaze me. I tried on that BR Moleskin Coat and I couldn’t move my arms in a medium. The part that I don’t get is that we are the same height, 6’1″. I weigh 210 and consider myself of a medium build. I like my jackets fitted slim and a 42 Reg is usually a slim but not tight fit. Any ideas on how we differ? Am I wearing the wrong size?

    As usual, amazing post and keep it up.


  • TO

    Amazing. What a great family! One of my favorite posts so far.

  • Darius

    Awesome man… love how you brought it back home.

    • Mike

      Nice, but your clothes are too tight.