For today’s Style article, we feature Academic Advisor and men’s style blogger Akil McLeod, a.k.a. The Dapper Advisor.
We’re big fans of Akil McLeod’s dedication to his career as well as his commitment to inspire others.
We talked to Akil about how he got into the men’s style blogger scene, what inspires him and how he developed his own style throughout the years.
Check out the interview below:
How long has the blog for The Dapper Advisor been around? What were some of the initial challenges you experienced starting the blog? Now that it’s been around for a little bit, what are some of the rewards you have experienced so far?
The blog has been around for about two years.
I created it around the same time I started my first internship in graduate school. During that time I was the youngest and the only man of color in all of my courses. As a result, it did not take long for me to realize the way you dress says a lot about you.
So in an effort to be respected and taken seriously by my peers and supervisors, I made the conscious decision to dress for the role that I was aspiring for.
A challenge I faced when I started the blog was developing my own writing style and creating original content.
At first, my blog was just a collage of other well-dressed men, along with some occasional photos of myself. However, in an effort to refrain from continuously re-blogging images of menswear styles, I started using it as a platform to monitor my style evolution. As the blog evolved I also began to educate fellow young professionals about menswear and dressing well for their career.
In terms of rewards, (aside from the usual rewards that are associated with blogging) my most satisfying reward is being able to actually inspire others. For instance, whenever I get an email from a reader about how my blog has helped them land their dream job or even inspired them to improve their style; it motivates me to keep creating content.
What really interested us about your blog was how you started developing your style on a very minimal college budget. Tell us about this time in your life. Where did you go to find pieces that you could use?
During that time, I was a graduate student pursuing a Master’s degree in Higher Education and Student Affairs.
I had aspirations of becoming an Academic Advisor and one my mentors gave me some advice that eventually changed my life. He said, “Dress for the career that you want, and not for the job that you have.“
Therefore, I figured it would be in my best interest to wear a shirt and tie while interning since that was what student affairs professionals wore.
However, I quickly realized building an entire new wardrobe was very expensive, so I started shopping in local thrift stores. Then, I got all of my thrift store purchases tailored to fit my body.
What advice would you give readers who are also trying to develop their style on a budget?
Developing your style on a budget is actually very attainable.
There are tons of resources that offer reasonably priced clothing such as eBay, Zara, H&M, Uniqlo, and of course, thrift stores.
I think it is important to learn the rules of menswear first, then develop a good relationship with a tailor because fit is essential.
ESM is all about style. If you could describe your personal style in one sentence, what would it be?
I would describe my style as classic, modern and professional.
Do you have a favorite look on your blog right now? What is it?
My favorite look on the blog is from last winter when I wore a vintage shearling jacket and suede Jodhpur boots.
Now that you’re at a point in your career where you’re making more money, where do you go to find your clothes? Do you combine high-end stores and more common stores? Do you have a favorite place to shop?
Even though I am making more money, I still enjoy shopping in local thrift stores and finding great deals.
In fact, shopping in thrift stores has become one of my favorite hobbies. However, when I am not shopping in thrift stores I like to shop in Zara, Suit Supply, Carson Street Clothiers, Uniqlo, and MrPorter.com.
A lot of the looks on your blog have you wearing a coat and are a little more formal. Do you have a go-to look when you want to wear something a little more casual?
Due to the nature of my career, the looks that I post on the blog are geared towards more professional outfits.
However, when I am not at work I usually wear one of my favorite leather jackets, a henley, and some boots or a pair of shoes. I am not really a “jeans and t-shirt” kind of guy.
Has your style developed as your blog has developed? If so, how has it changed?
My style has matured a lot over the years.
I used to experiment with a lot of color blocking and I wore a bunch of accessories like lapel pins, colorful pocket squares, and tie clips.
However, I feel since then my style has matured. I tend to wear more neutral colors and I rarely ever wear accessories anymore.
Has your life been affected by your blog? If so, in what way?
My life has positively been affected by the blog in more ways than one.
Not only has it created an outlet for me to freely express my creativity, but it has also connected with a lot of inspiring individuals.
Do you have any style icons? Who are they and why?
My style icons are Bill Cosby, Sammy Davis Jr., Pharrell Williams, and Dan Trepanier of TSBmen.com. These men are all stylish individuals that have an incredible work ethic, great character, and consistently inspire me to achieve my goals.
At ESM, we have a list of “Style Essentials” or pieces that every man should have in his wardrobe. Does the Dapper Advisor have his own list of style essentials? What are they?
- A crisp white dress shirt
- A Navy Blazer
- White linen pocket square
- Selvedge denim jeans
- A quality watch
- Fresh Haircut
What does the future hold for Akil McLeod and the Dapper Advisor?
The future is looking very bright!
In the past few months, I’ve been able to dedicate more time to some of my new passions and The Dapper Advisor blog will begin to reflect that.
I recently purchased a sewing machine and started tailoring my own clothes. I’ve also taken an interest in interior design and plan on sharing some photos of my new apartment.
I would say the biggest change in the future for the blog is the new design that I’ve been working on. I feel like my blog mirrors the many transitions of my life and as I’m transitioning again, my blog will reflect that.
To keep up with The Dapper Advisor, you can follow him on his website at http://dapperadvisor.com, his Instagram account at http://instagram.com/dapperadvisor, his Twitter account at https://twitter.com/DapperAdvisor and his Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/thedapperadvisor.