Since 2009, Skip Brooks has written about men’s clothing and style on his blog Alex Grant. I’ve been fortunate to follow along as he’s turned his passion into his career. As a loving father and husband, it was great to read his reflections on his own father. I’m looking forward to spending more time with Skip as he makes the move to the Midwest. Welcome, sir.
To say that my father is my inspiration is an understatement. In fact, he inspired me in every field imaginable from sports, service, fatherhood and, style, sort of. I say “sort of” because in reality, my dad dresses like any other normal dad. He doesn’t own a 30 year-old pair of Alden’s or a well tailored Harris Tweed jacket stashed away from his father. And he certainly doesn’t keep a Rolex in a cedar box waiting for the exact time and place to gift it to his only son. In fact, my dad wears what most blue collar father’s wear except with one distinction: My father appreciates quality and origin of products.
I’ll never forget the conversation I had with my father during my freshman year in college that basically started me on the path to finding my style and ultimately my passion. I’m convinced that my creativity stems from my father’s embracement of curiosity. He loves to watch documentaries and TV show about how things are made, and I find myself years later doing the same thing. So while I was flipping through a GQ magazine during winter break, I came upon an ad for a Louis Vuitton Watch. I showed my dad the watch and said, “Dad, look at this watch. It’s so cool.” He glanced at it and replied, “Why would you buy a watch from a company that doesn’t make watches?” And with that little statement, I was forever changed. The statement not only impacted how I shopped but ultimately how I interact with products in general. It was almost like Plato’s Allegory of the Cave: I was merely buying shadows of the products I actually desired.
From that point on, I was on the hunt to find the originators of the “clothing staples” that I wanted to own. If I wanted desert boots, I went with Clarks. If duck boots were in order, L.L. Bean was the way to go. And if I was seeking a classic military watch, I sought out a Timex. Seeds were planted that eventually led to the making of my menswear blog and since my dad purchased my first computer and taught me how to use it, I have to credit him with that as well. Here’s hoping that I can inspire my two little ones in the same way someday.