With the Indianapolis 500 taking place this upcoming weekend, it seems fitting to highlight a blog ran by a fellow Hoosier today. GiveMeIndiana is one Hoosier’s attempt to go against the norm here in the heartland and dress up rather than down. It’s a prime example as well of how you can still dress well and build a wardrobe on a college budget. Taking advantage of our geographical proximity, Drake and I met for lunch recently and he answered the standard YOtBR questions.
Great Lakes Prep: Why did you start a blog?
GiveMeIndiana: I had a blog of inside jokes, complaints, movie reviews, and diary style entries in college (it still exists, http://coffeeandfingernails.blogspot.com/). I enjoyed the outlet that blogging provided.
In 2010 I joined tumblr after following users like cbenjamin and Ilikeitpreppy and used blogging as an inspiration to encourage myself into better dressing. It was encouraging to receive positive feedback from similar bloggers when I posted outfit of the day photos. In my work environment most people dress down as far as decency allows. By dressing up I was going against that trend and coworkers were not supportive.
Early on I joined in with the 100 days of ties project at the momentum of failure and there I also found a sympathetic community. By the end of the project I had gone from feeling uncomfortable in my clothes to dressing up as routine. In fact, I have inspired a few coworkers to follow suit.
GLP: Where are you from?
GMI: I was raised in a suburb west of Indianapolis. I grew up in a small neighborhood surrounded by miles of cornfields and woods. It was a five mile bike ride to visit friends. Being isolated like that encourages ingenuity. If I wanted something I would have to make it myself, if something was broken I would have to fix it. It was just too inconvenient to go to a store.
That can be seen in my style now. My tie clip was made by keeper off of a pocket watch fob. I have a belt my father made from webbing that ripped off of his USMC rucksack. That lifestyle leads one to buy things that last. When I buy something I don’t just think of how it looks when I buy it but how well it will hold up and how it will look in five years.
GLP: What do you do outside of your blog?
GMI: I’m the director of a recording studio that creates audio books for the blind and physically
handicapped. Outside of work my free time is dedicated to law school and spending time with my wife
GLP: How would you describe your style?
GMI: Traditional. As I alluded to above, it is important to me to buy clothing that lasts. Half of that is
quality and half of that is utility (avoiding looks that are too contemporaneous). Blue shirt,
tie, loafers. That look has been foolproof for fifty years. There is no reason to think it won’t be
serviceable for another fifty. I’m careful with my money. If I am going to buy a new blazer I want to make sure I will be as pleased with it next year as I am with it now.
The other influence on my style comes from wearing clothes that make me happy or remind me of
pleasant memories. I’ll wear T-shirts from Charleston, SC fishing suppliers that remind me of where I
spend time with my family and go fishing with my father. I have a belt from the flagship Cabela’s store
that I picked up on a road trip to a rodeo in Steamboat Springs, CO that I have never been able to part
GLP: Who are your style icons?
GMI: My father and grandfather. They not only taught me how one can dress well without standing out,
but I also inherited much of my wardrobe from them.
I also learned a love of the outdoors from my family. We would often go fishing or hunting for pets
on a family farm south of Lafayette, IN. When I’m not dressed for work my wardrobe is built for the
beach or the woods. I’m equally comfortable in Carhartts and Bean boots as I am summer shorts and a
fish belt. A lot of that comes through in my daily wear.
I have been influenced by Southern culture ever since my family moved to South Carolina. You can’t
go to Charleston and not fall in love.
Currently I am taking creative cues by other bloggers that I respect. RedClaySoul, Manifold
Destiny, 30&Broke, Alex Grant, 10 Engines, The William Brown Project, To Take the Train, and Back
Down South are daily reads.
GLP: What advice would you give anyone looking to start a blog?
GMI: People look before they read so work on nailing the photography. That doesn’t mean run out and buy the best camera you can (though it may help, most of my shots are merely camera phone), it means work on framing your photos to accent whatever subject matter you are trying to display.
Advertise your presence to more established bloggers with a following. Don’t go out asking for follows or reblogs but let them know you exist by commenting on their posts. Take advantage of social media. Even the established bloggers are incredibly nice and active on twitter. Take advantage of that and get their advice.
Create your own content. Give people a reason to check you out.
GLP: Bow tie or neck tie?
GMI: Neck ties. Bow ties are still a bit polarizing in the Bible belt. I’m not making that leap yet.