That’s What Friends Are For

One of the most important skills I have developed over the past few years is the ability to say I don’t know. I tend to focus my energy on my strengths and then surround myself with people who do know the answers to these other things. It works well. You should try it. And it served me particularly well a couple of weeks ago when I had to call up my good friend Junior. See, I really enjoy writing this blog every week. I enjoy conveying the way I see the world along with style tips for both beginners and advanced people alike. I hope it’s entertaining to you all, but I also hope you get a tidbit or two each week that actually helps enhance your life. The rest of the stuff (the picture taking, the social media, the marketing, etc.), not only do I hate it, I also have no freaking clue what I am doing. So 4.5 months in, I called Junior and told him I had no idea what I was doing, and that I needed his help. A lot of folks are afraid to ask for help, but I know what I am good at, and I know where I need help. Writing the blog=good. Marketing it=terrible. So I needed help, and Junior was the man for the job.
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Junior is a good friend. Some of you know him. Some of you do not. He is an excellent soccer player. A soon-to-be marketing genius. He has 3 college degrees. Is 5 years younger than me. And a sounding board that is wise beyond his years. So we had lunch, and I laid it out there for him. He was basically my blog shrink. We talked through details which I won’t bore you with, but you will likely see as the blog continues to evolve. But the most important thing that he said to me that day was “Benj, you are not a fashion blogger.” And I looked him in the eye and said, “Nor do I want to be”. We laughed, and basically agreed that my actual website and blog was what I wanted it to be, but my marketing of it to people that are not familiar with who I am was extremely weak. I was using the wrong hashtags. Saying I was something that I wasn’t nor had any desire to be. So the people who were reading my blog were getting one experience, but people who were just looking at my social media were getting something completely different.

He texted me a couple of days later with a laundry list of ideas and some necessary changes. I told him I needed to put him on the payroll. So as I am always saying, if changes are needed, actually make them. I hope you are already seeing and enjoying some of them. It wasn’t that my previous version was wrong, it just wasn’t right. And it will likely be tweaked again down the road as my thoughts continue to evolve. But for now, I’m going to continue to give you insights into my life experience that hopefully will help yours, and style advice. Nothing more. Nothing less.

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So it turns out that my pal Junior is quite stylish himself. So I thought this week I’d let someone else weigh in and give some tips from a different point of view. Interestingly enough, his two points should be a familiar concept by now. One, make sure your clothes fit correctly. That should be easy enough, right? Still lots of work to be done there. And second, make sure your style is authentically you. He has his style. I have my style. You find yours. He’s got the business casual mastered (see picture above).  I rarely ever do business casual. Different strokes for different folks. Be you, put some thought into it, and make sure the items fit.
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A few style points from me this week also. Accessories, i.e. the extra details, are so important. In Junior’s picture above, you see the bracelets, the watch, and the pocket square. In my picture immediately above, you literally see some of my favorite items. A limited edition Gucci scarf/pocket square from Florence, Italy. A classic black Tom Ford tie you can wear anywhere. Hand painted dalmatian cufflinks from Brooks Brothers. Leather/cashmere gloves and an alligator belt, both from Ralph Lauren Purple Label. I wear a Rolex every day that is engraved with my son’s initials and his birth year. And finally, an engraved silver pen that I use for everything that I have had for 18 years. Seriously. This is grown up stuff. I spend money on the details for a variety of reasons. With the engraving, it’s personal. With some of the fabrics, it’s the best quality in the world. And for all of it, people know that I pay attention to everything.

A few things to take out of this week’s post. First, it is ridiculously important to have a good sounding board in life. Vital. Second, don’t be afraid to say “I don’t know” and then find the experts who do know. In my twenties, I knew everything. In my thirties, I know surprisingly little. Sound backwards? Not at all. Third, you can start paying attention to the details today. These items will be an investment in your personal style. Those above will literally be with me until they fall apart, and in some cases, that may be after I’m dead. Quality. And last, continue to think about and develop your unique style, and focus on properly fitting clothes. Isn’t it amazing how many times that theme keeps coming up?

Thanks Junior for your help, and everyone have a great week.-Benj

(Please note my new Instagram is @anythingbutkhakis.)

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