Over 4 years ago it was proclaimed that The Fine Young Gentleman was a reaction to all of the poorly dressed men out there.
That was April 4, 2011; the post was titled ‘Actions & Reactions‘. It was the first post on this blog. It was written out of frustration and catharsis; but mostly of a desire to help men dress better (admittedly, I also wanted to learn more about menswear and get some free clothes). Whether I succeed or fail in this mission is for all of you to judge. But don’t start thinking that even if I am failing that I am going to stop trying.
Aside from having a rather simple direction and purpose for The Fine Young Gentleman, I didn’t have much else in mind. I knew that there was a lack of good coverage of what was then a very young online custom clothing, shoe and acccessories industry. Which as a side note, it has been a beautiful thing to watch that industry grow. More broadly, I thought that there was a lack of good coverage for moderately priced clothing for the cubicle warriors of the world; which at the time I was one. Those of us who, whether we wanted to or not, had to dress in some form of business casual dress or suit. We wanted to dress well, or at least presentably, and while we were not poor we were also far from swimming in cash.
This blog was never intended for the guy looking for a $100 suit or pair of shoes. Nor was it meant for the guy looking for a $5,000 suit. It is meant for the guy looking to spend between $500-1,500 on a suit and another few hundred on a legitimate pair of shoes. Most importantly, The Fine Young Gentleman is meant for the guy who has a desire to dress better; who wants to learn how to dress like a man who has his shit together. It is not for guys who want to dress like skateboarders, lumbersexuals, festival goers, hip hoppers or fashion tarts. You will find discussion on those other styles elsewhere.
In the past 4 years I believe that I have written about as many, if not more, of the new breed of custom and online menswear brands than anyone else. Built relationships with them and the people behind them. Brands like Black Lapel, Indochino, Meermin, Cottonwork, Jack Erwin and Knot Standard. I even started my own brand, Jay Butler. Much like I thought there was little good coverage of good dressing for men; I think there are also limited options for well made, well styled and well priced casual shoes for men. Our feet deserve better and Jay Butler intends to provide them with better.
I realize that neither I or this blog are flawless. Among other things; my grammar is perhaps not the best. I should be better at answering emails in a timely manner. And I should start putting up better posts more frequently; which includes working through the backlog of reviews I have. I am working on getting better at all of these things. However, sometimes progress is slow and time is limited. Additionally, other changes are due such as a new appearance, so expect a new theme sometime soon.
Fortunately, I know that my efforts are not wasted. Each month, I am approached by numerous brands and PR agencies asking for coverage and advertising space on The Fine Young Gentleman. Far more of them are turned down than are accepted. It must be that way in order to keep the content of the blog well curated. Most of my time spent on this blog is not spent on writing; it’s spent on saying ‘no’ to people, corresponding with people (such as brands and other bloggers), web design, photography, social media and research. The time adds up quickly.
Each month over 120,000 of you from all over the world come to The Fine Young Gentleman in search of something (although we will see how that changes with Google’s most recent search algorithm update). Or about 4,000 people a day, or 165 per hour. I remember during the first days of this blog, 40 people per day seemed like a lot of people – a 60 degree day, in the parlance of The Wire. It is both humbling and flattering that so many people read this blog and find it useful.
For those of you that read the blog now and have been reading for years; I cannot thank you enough. Indebted to you, I am. For those brands that have supported my efforts here over the past few years, thank you as well. I believe that it is the confluence of these three things; the readers, the brands and the blog that give The Fine Young Gentleman its unique voice on menswear. A voice that will continue say what it wants, when it wants, because it wants.
Justin L. Jeffers
PS – as always, you are also free to say what you want, just speak up in the comments.