Today on Style, we’re proud to feature London-based men’s style blogger, Carlo v.d. Broeck.
When he isn’t managing his blog, http://www.carlovdb.com, Carlo focuses on consulting with other men on how to develop their own personal style.
We sat down with Carlo to talk shop and as always, ask him what advice he would give our readers.
Tell us about yourself. You describe yourself as a “London based style curator fascinated by menswear and lifestyle” on your blog, http://www.carlovdb.com. How did you get started with your blog? Is blogging your main career? If not, what do you do for a living?
Before I begin I would like to thank everyone at ESM for giving me this opportunity to allow me talk about my passion.
When I initially started on Instagram, I had no intention of launching my own blog. I started posting photos as a means of getting unbiased feedback from the general public on how my style was progressing.
When I’m not busy blogging, I’m a freelance menswear consultant.
I started consulting a few years back when work colleagues started noticing how I dressed. The services I offer are for styling and personal buying.
ESM is all about style. If you could describe your personal style in one sentence, what would it be?
I would describe my personal style as “a modern take on classic menswear with a touch of Italian flair”.
What advice would you give readers who are also trying to develop their style? What about those who are developing their style on a budget?
Each artist be it a painter, photographer, etc. has a distinct characteristic that is unique to them:
- Style can never really be copied as it is an honest representation of who you are and your life experiences.
- You are the canvas and the clothes you wear are the brushstrokes. Be true to yourself and your style will develop on it’s own.
- There is no end goal; it’s just a continuous journey.
- Style is not dependent on a specific brand or budget. As long it fits, is of quality and the item speaks to you, then go for it.
When I was in high school, I used to dress in low-waisted baggy jeans and wore either a black t-shirt and a hoodie or a t-shirt with a skateboarding brand on it.
I was going through a “rebellious” stage due to the fact that my high school years were not all that pleasant and I wanted to look tougher than I really was. I was into punk, rock, reggae and ska and this influenced my style at the time.
That all said I was always fascinated by mafia movies, classic American and Italian movies. I always enjoyed seeing people so dressed up in a suit with a hat. Even the kids back then dressed up in tiny suits.
After high school I realized it was okay to be different – so I started my journey into menswear.
Has your style developed as your social media presence (Instagram, Facebook, etc.) has developed? If so, how has it changed?
I like to think that I have stayed true to myself.
Sure, social media exposes me to the outside world of other bloggers and style icons, but I look at them as more of a source of inspiration rather than a direct influence.
What are some of the benefits and challenges you have experienced as a fashion blogger?
A main benefit of being a fashion blogger is that it opens a floodgate of connections to people that are as passionate as you are about fashion.
The obvious challenge is trying to come up with an outfit that is different enough from the last one you posted but that is still true to whom you are – it is easy to get caught up in trends.
Taking photos can be time consuming as well. I am not only talking about the actual on location shoots but the selection and editing process afterwards. I am sure all professional photographers can relate.
At least I don’t have to worry too much about deadlines.
What are some of your favorite looks right now?
I am currently really enjoying all the double-breasted blazers in a variety of patterns and colors. I also like how more men are starting to wear colors and hats.
Do you have brands or designers you favor? For our readers who are developing their style on a budget, do you have affordable brands you can recommend?
Ralph Lauren, Brooks Brothers, Suit Supply, Gagliardi, J.Crew, GAP, H&M, Massimo Dutti, Scabal, VBC, Thom Browne are just some of the brands in my wardrobe.
Keep an eye out for specials and seasonal sales as well. No matter what the budget, there is always something to find.
If you are not opposed to it, thrift shopping and EBay are other avenues. Just make sure you know your size. I’ve been burned in that department a few times.
When traveling overseas, have a look at local brands as well.
You’ll be pleasantly surprised how a place like Japan has shops like BEAMS and United Arrows. Japan is also obsessed with vintage Americana, I’m not just talking about second hand jeans and jackets but actual Levi’s jeans from the 1940’s and leather jackets from the 60’s.
What is your philosophy on men’s accessories? What are your favorite accessories to wear?
Think of bags, shoes, and watches as long-term investments.
When you buy a new pair of shoes, make sure you buy a shoetree with it and use a shoehorn when putting on shoes. Even a leather belt can serve as a temporary shoehorn.
Make sure you condition leather accessories so the leather does not crack and to regularly polish your shoes.
Have your watches regularly serviced as well.
Whenever I go to a store and I see an interesting pocket square I always tell myself “you can never have too many pocket squares” (maybe you can but I don’t think I have reached that stage yet).
If I wear a blazer, my outfit isn’t complete unless I stuff a pocket square in my breast pocket. I once forgot to use a pocket square for a dinner party and my girlfriend jokingly put a scrunched up serviette in my breast pocket to put me at ease.
Do you have any style icons? Who are they and why?
When I initially started my journey into menswear, it was Nick Wooster who convinced me to get out of my comfort zone and try colors.
Danilo Carnevale, Gianni Fontana, Angel Ramos and Dan Trepanier are just a few of my other style icons who are not afraid of colors and patterns.
I also admire the actors of old like Cary Grant and Steve McQueen for their classic take on tailored and casual menswear.
At ESM, we have a list of “Style Essentials” or pieces that every man should have in his wardrobe. Do you have your own list of style essentials? What are they?
1. Pocket Squares
2. Navy Blazer
3. Grey Blazer
4. Grey Wool Pants
5. Brown Chinos
6. White Crisp Shirt
7. Properly fitting dark wash jeans
8. Brown Brogues
9. Classic Fedora hat in brown
10. Grey or navy top coat
What is your definition of “style”? Is there a difference between “style” vs. “fashion”? If so what differentiates each?
I like to think of style as a personal journey. There is not expiry date and it is each person’s own unique in-progress masterpiece.
Fashion, on the other hand, is temporary and non-sustainable.
What does the future hold for Carlo v.d. Broeck?
I look forward to further expand my blog, collaborate with people and brands I admire and turn my designs into prototypes as I progress towards building my own menswear line.
To keep up with Carlo v.d. Broeck, you can check out his website at www.carlovdb.com, his Instagram account at https://instagram.com/carlo_vdb and his Twitter account at https://twitter.com/Carlo_vdB.