July 22, 2024

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EFOC 2024: Does Your Man Need Help With His Style? Here Are Some Expert Approved Tips – Essence

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EFOC 2024: Does Your Man Need Help With His Style? Here Are Some Expert Approved Tips

A man’s individual style should be inspired by one thing: whatever he wants.

That’s what came out of the robust conversation with fashion experts Alexander “AJ” Julian, Dex Rob and Allen Oniya at the 2024 ESSENCE Festival of Culture’s Suede Men’s Experience.

“When I started out in fashion, I feel like it was a lot of guys that were scared to express themselves in that way because people called them weird,” Rob said. “Society has shifted, and culture has changed, where so many athletes and rappers really pride themselves and look at me great.”

Oniya adds that social media has acted as the great equalizer for fashion enthusiasts.

“I love where we’re at,” he tells the ESSENCE Fest crowd. “I think it’s amazing to see that everyone’s hip. Everyone’s hip to brands, everyone’s hip to styles,” speaking to the cross regional influence that’d been impacted on fashion. “Speaking to different demographics, there was a time where if you’re in Houston, you dressed a certain way. Samin in LA or New York dressed in a certain way. Now it’s like a melting pot, which is great but if I just would like to see more of the pushing of the envelope because I think now we’ve gotten to a place where everybody’s genuinely stylish. And so now we need more of forward thinkers, the tastemakers, risk takers.”

The style experts offered a few pieces of advice for men aiming to elevate their fashion while maintaining their identity.

Alexander “AJ” Julian: “My advice is the same, but a lot less refined. One thing that really helped me, I think New York was also a good place to help me build this concept is, no matter how crazy it is, the item that you want to put on, whatever it is you want to wear, there is literally somebody dressed way nuttier than you at any point in time. Don’t let anyone deter you from wearing what you want. ‘I’m interested in this, but I’m worried about what you’re going to think about me, what you’re going to say.’ It’s like, when you realize the world is huge and there are people who are wearing much crazier stuff than you, just wear it. If you don’t like it, if you’re worried, you feel comfortable, whatever, you tried it. Just continue to try nee things.”

Dex Rob: “I would say start with the basics. Build your essentials in your wardrobe and then start to graduate to the crazier stuff. I think as men, not everybody wants to be seen. Not everybody wants to be the flashy guy in the room. So regardless if you want to be flashy or not, you can still have a style and start in with the essentials and the basics. That’s where you go to. And that way you can start to integrate the crazier pieces in your wardrobe and just be really intentional about your purchase.”

Allen Oniya: “This may sound cliche’ but style is defined by the manner in which you do it. My advice to anyone looking to have a style identity is to own it and rock it. It’s for people to find polarizing or interesting. I think the things that look the same as everyone else aren’t what you should look out for. Do you? Whatever is comfortable for you, whatever you find interesting, pull it out the hat and give it a shot.”


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