Below are a series of questions I received from Electrogent. I answer them in the YouTube video, but I've expanded each of the answers a little for you here, so that there's some bonus content for my readers!
These were some great questions, and I hope they get some good discussions going. Jumping right in:
1. Who are you and what do you do? Introduce yourself for someone who hasn't read your websites.
As my readers probably know, my name is Antonio Centeno, and I run the RealMenRealStyle.com website.
I like to think of myself as a regular guy providing information in an industry (fashion) that's dominated by women's clothing, and by experimental designers even in the men's corner of things.
My first foray into fashion was actually as a tailor, not an educator. I started ATailoredSuit.com as an online bespoke shop for men. (The business is still running, even though I'm not actively advertising the website as much anymore).
What was interesting about A Tailored Suit was the amount of traffic it received for the information I was putting out about men's clothing. The short articles were originally meant as little more than a helpful how-to for guys who already wanted to buy quality clothing, but it turned out that there was an incredible hunger for simple, straightforward talk about menswear and men's style.
I founded Real Men Real Style around the end of 2011 to provide content as its own product, rather than as a support for a tailoring business. Most of the content remains free, while I sell subscriptions to “Style System” courses and other informational products for men that want more detail.
2. What inspired you to create Real Men Real Style? Was there ever a point in your life where you said “I need to make a website to make a change”?
The short answer here is no.
I never really had “making a change” in mind with my businesses. I do believe that we have a responsibility to make a positive difference in the world — and I'm glad that Real Men Real Style has played a helping role in some men's lives — but it was never a mission.
The website started as a spin-off of A Tailored Suit. It wasn't much more than an experiment, at first. I wanted to see if what I'd observed with my small style guide on the ATailoredSuit.com website was true: that what men actually wanted was information about clothes, not shops and clothiers telling them what to think about clothes.
There was something of an impulse to put my credentials to use, I'll admit — by running my own custom clothier, I gave myself a position of authority to write and blog from. Rather than just an observer of fashion, I was someone who'd had a hand in producing high-quality menswear, and that (I felt) gave me some chops when talking about style with other writers online.
3. While I have not personally used A Tailored Suit, I've heard nothing but rave reviews about this company. What sets A Tailored Suit apart from the other custom suiting companies?
The big difference that most people notice right away is that my company focuses on wardrobes, rather than on individual items. We seek customers who want to transform the whole upper end of the wardrobe — most of the packages I offer include multiple suits, several shirts, and often a couple odd jackets or even an overcoat as well.
I don't generally make one-off shirts or trousers, or even just one matched suit at a time. I often recommend a number of my competitors for people who only need a single item made — it's in my best interest to see this whole industry grow, not just my corner of it, so I'm not afraid to send customers elsewhere when another business is better suited to their needs.
As a result we end up turning down a lot of potential customers at A Tailored Suit, either because they're not interested in the sort of large-scale wardrobe building that we do, or simply because the clothes they want aren't a good fit for my style and my artistic vision.
4. You are not only a prolific blogger, but you also create tons of YouTube videos. What's the setup for these videos?
My studio is actually pretty bare-bones.
It's in my own house — I'm not renting a professional space. My backdrop is a plain white sheet, lit by two bright lights from the front and another one shining downward toward my face. I added a couple hardware lights from Menard's on either side of the sheet, and that makes a blank background that' just as invisible as a photographer's screen.
None of this is high-end professional gear. I bought it all from hardware stores, not from electronics or audio-visual suppliers. My mic is a little Sony handheld that ran about $70, and that's a good example of the upper limit I'm spending on gear for the YouTube videos.
I shoot my videos early, and I keep sound sheets surrounding my little basement studio, both of which are absolutely necessary because of my young children!
There's no teleprompter or written script (as long-time viewers know — they've seen me go off on tangents from time to time), but I do have a whiteboard with some bullet points set up where I can see it for each video.
5. What I like most about your work is your constant flow of new ideas involving men and menswear. What gives you the inspiration to continually think of new topics?
I have a magic secret for providing the information people want: you let them tell you what they want to know.
Seriously, that's all most of it is — I have contact forms on all my websites, and when someone writes me with a question, I make a video or an article out of it and post it for everyone to share, rather than just firing a response back to that one person.
These days I'm getting anywhere from twenty to fifty e-mails a day. A lot are basic congratulations and thank-you notes from fans, but many have good, solid fashion questions in them.
There's no reason for me to spend half an hour putting together a good response to a good question and then just keep it to myself and one other person. I put it out there on my website or on YouTube, and from then on I've got a quick, convenient link for anyone else who asks that question.
6. Say you're talking to someone right out of high school, who owns nothing but ripped jeans and novelty T-shirts. What are three pieces of clothing he could buy that would provide the biggest improvement toward a more manly and mature wardrobe?
No one likes to hear my first answer to this, but I always give it anyway: every man should own a good, dark suit.
Yeah, this hypothetical teen isn't going to be wearing it all that often. But someone's going to die, someone's going to get married, there'll be a job interview; if he's unlucky he'll wind up in front of a judge — there are always going to be suit moments in everyone's lives. And if you don't have a decent suit when those crop up, you're in a bad spot.
So that's number one.
But if we move away from business dress, I wouldn't necessarily say that one item or another is the absolute top priority for every young man's wardrobe. It's more about finding the style that this particular young man wants to express, and identifying the signature pieces that make it up.
Say he's wearing ripped jeans and a T-shirt not just because it's cheap and easy, but because he's got a real identity invested in the rebel/rocker look. You can still do that stylishly. A second-hand black suit jacket from a thrift store thrown over a rock band T-shirt and a pair of jeans is suddenly a “look,” instead of generic youth clothing.
So it's about identifying the attitude you want, not about finding the three most important items that make you “look good.”
And if that's too much of a punt for you, fine: a nice pair of casual leather shoes, some dark, fitted denim jeans, and a casual sports jacket or blazer. Those three would be a great starting place for a young man. But they're not the only starting place, and I think it's important to keep people from getting too attached to formula for fashion.
For the rest of the interview — there were 18 questions in total — visit www.Electrogent.com to see what we talked about!
Discover How The Right Image Helps You Make More Money, Attract Women, & Command Respect
Learn the secrets of style in a structured environment leveraging my proven step-by-step master programs.