It was sometime around late 1996 possibly 1997, as I strode across Dexter Lawn I caught a glimpse of a grey sweater, the very same sweater I was wearing that day. I remember thinking at the time that it felt depressing to try and put together a cool looking outfit that would seem attractive to women (this was college after all) only to be reminded that the choices for clothing in SLO at the time left a little to be desired. Seeing multiple guys around campus wearing the same sweater was just another reminder. It also didn’t help when a girl I liked at the time remarked “hey I thought I saw you today, but it was just another guy in a gray sweater, you know the elephant sweater” What? What is an elephant sweater? It turns out that the “unique” color, mixed with the poor construction of the knit, led to stretched out arms that resembled a trunk, from that moment forward this shirt was named the elephant sweater.
The Elephant Sweater didn’t last much longer in my closet. Shortly after that I vowed to improve my personal style and so my journey started. Like a lot of guys I didn’t have a sartorial minded father. My pops was a contractor by trade, his idea of dressing up was having a freshly pressed white tee to go with his “clean jeans”. And it worked for him, unfortunately it did not work for me.
As I started my professional career I was fortunate to be learning business, as well as how to dress like a professional, in San Francisco. Which if anything, has it’s own unique style. The place I worked had a sort of fraternal vibe with gentleman who, as sales representatives where very concerned about physical presentation. It’s here that my love for quality clothing was born as I was finally able to put taste together with a little money. I made mistakes along the way, but every item helped me understand a little more about my unique style. It also didn’t hurt that a few brands we highlight at Office Hours today, were developed during this time period in SF. Tellason and Taylor Stitch were instrumental in influencing my personal style as well as my appreciating for quality American made clothing.
My personal style is constantly evolving, but that evolution is built on top of the things I’ve learned along the way. While I still make mistakes and stylistic hiccups, I try and never forget where I started. Because, as they say “Elephants never forget”.