As of late, there seems to be a movement away from branded apparel and accessories. I believe this holds true for both luxury and non luxury apparel and goods. And frankly, few things could make me happier. As a high school and college student I could often be caught in a polo or button up/down shirt with some type of horse, whale or other debatably obnoxious logo on the left side of the chest. But thankfully those days have long since past.
Toward the end of my college days I made a conscious effort to not purchase clothing with any type of logo on it. And although I could not abstain from wearing logos altogether because much of my clothing did have logos on it, I also made a conscious effort to limit the amount of clothing I wore with logos. But at least I can say that I never got into the whole branded shirt with a suit thing, so all was not lost.
So you may ask, what do I have against branded shirts (and other garb)? My case against logos comes down to a few simple ideas; discretion, independence and an unwillingness to promote someone else’s brand over my own personal style.
Much like my preference toward a discreet placement of one’s shirt monogram I think a logo to be not much different. However, I would go even further and say that a logo shouldn’t be present anywhere where it can be seen by others while the item is worn. Especially not emblazoned upon one’s chest (the only exception I have is for golf/squash/tennis clothing where the club logo or name is on the shirt/jacket/etc). Additionally, a logo can be distracting to an onlookers eye, you want someone to see your whole body and face, not focus on one small thing such as a logo.
Many old school custom/bespoke tailors (including some of those on Savile Row) have a habit of placing their tags on the inside of jacket pockets, making it all but impossible for others to see. Which is even more discreet than a label on the inside of the jacket that is common for many makers and brands. Discretion is one of the greatest luxuries. And the best part is that it is often not paid for; it is earned and it is developed.
Take for example, those god-awful Louis Vuitton bags made up of the house’s signature checkerboard (Damier) and monogram patterns. The purses can range into the thousands of dollars, but that does not mean they are luxury. Sadly they are so ubiquitous and over-branded that they represent money poorly spent as well as questionable taste; not luxury (as an exception, the trunks in those patterns are another story, they are bad ass). To keep things fair, men’s accessories are made up in the same patterns, and they are equally unsavory. The belts being the epitome of all things that make me want to vomit. But on to my next argument.
Independence and an unwillingness to promote someone else’s brand over my own style are partially intertwined so I will expound on them together. Over time I realized that I did not need the logo of any given brand to represent my own style. Your style is less about the brands you wear and more about how you wear them.
The brands are there to serve you. They are there to provide the customer with something appealing to wear. You are not there to serve the brand by broadcasting to others what brand you are wearing via the logo on your chest. You should also be confident and independent enough to not care that others know you are wearing any given brand. If someone truly cares what brand you are wearing or is curious because they like what you are wearing, they can ask you. Let your style speak for itself.