Thanks for dropping by and taking the time to check out the ClobberCalm blog. So what is it about?
Basically, it’s just me admiring great quality clothing (manly denim and leather goods), enjoying the community, sense of friendship and unity that comes from sharing images with like-minded dudes on the internet.
Instagram is a platform that has given so many of us blokes the chance to express our love for the threads we sport on a daily basis and, what’s better, we have also had the pleasure of being influenced and educated by each other.
Anyway back to the question, what is it about?
The ClobberCalm blog is about me working one-on-one with a like-minded gent to reveal a little more about the personality behind the feed. Some of these guys have tens of thousands of followers and this does not happen without reason.
I just wanted to know more…
I was honoured when these guys agreed to be a part of this and they have been super helpful. It doesn’t hurt that these were the first 2 guys I noticed when I started to take an interest in the denim and boot world on Instagram. With plenty of Selvedge Denim/leather/indigo/bootage and one fantastic beard these guys really set the bar for me and its great that the feature below gives us an insight into how and why!
MEET THE MAN BEHIND THE MENSWEAR
NAME: Paul Buttenhoff aka @bothrops1
LOCATION: Minneapolis, Minnesota USA
OCCUPATION: Professor, yoga instructor
1. So why Instagram?
Instagram had been around for some time before I finally figured it out. I think I accidentally found my way to IG through someone’s Facebook page. I was attempting to view some photos and was asked to provide a username. All I could think of was the scientific name of a venomous snake that I’d studied years before in Mexico and Costa Rica (Bothrops). I love the visual, ephemeral nature of IG more than the other outlets. Additionally, for me, IG is a great tool for forming and maintaining connections with people who share the same interests. Just over a year ago, I started another page @Spruce_mercantile to help folks sell and buy boots, denim, workwear and accessories. It’s been a fun side project that wouldn’t have been possible without the vehicle of Instagram.
2. Why Denim, Boots, Workwear, Ruggedness?
Both of my grandfathers were hardworking, rough and tumble guys. A lot of the gear to which I’m partial is stuff that they would have used or appreciated, not from a fashion standpoint, but because these things would have kept them safe and comfortable and would have withstood the abuse they were subjected to. This gear makes me feel connected to the great guys in my past and to a different era.
3. What are your thoughts on the rise in popularity of “Instafashion” and the community it is creating?
In the past 3 years, or so, things have changed significantly on Instagram. For starters, I have to say that most of this is just pure, crazy luxury. My grandfathers had to skimp and save to be able to buy the gear they needed to provide for their families. It’s sort of ridiculous to have more boots, for example, than I can do justice to. That said, I am totally in favor of folks taking care of themselves and having pride in their appearance. I think Instagram has increased style awareness and it’s certainly opened up new opportunities. There are hundreds of new makers in this niche and IG has provided for them a free marketing option. I often wonder if the current rate of expansion is sustainable. I hope it is and I’m going to enjoy watching how things unfold.
4. Top 3 brands to shop and why?
For boots, I’d have to say I’m split between Red Wing and Aldens. Both brands have great histories and I appreciate that they have remained true to their foundations. The fact that Red Wings are made less than an hour from where I live and that I saw them on the feet of the men I most respected as a child, put them on the top shelf. The styling, attention to detail, materials, and sizing options offered by Alden make them my favorite. I’m whittling down the Red Wing collection, a bit, and adding some Aldens.
Arpenteur, a clothing company from France, makes clothes that happen to fit me really well and have different vibe than some of the American workwear. They source amazing fabrics and their attention to detail is stellar. I’m hooked.
For watches, I have to go with Panerai. I’m fascinated by the brand’s history and the styling. I’m also a fan of the relative rarity compared to other luxury brands. Some of the best people I know are folks I met through a website called paneristi.com We meet in different locations, here in the US but also across the planet, on a regular basis. The talk rarely centers on watches….we’re just friends.
5. Where’s your favourite place to shop these brands?
Over the past few years, more and more great stuff has become available on the web. Some brands which were once only available in select locations have now blown up and are available online. I’ve gotten much more selective in my buying habits since all of this craziness started. I’m a fan of the seasonal sales that are becoming more prevalent online… once you know your sizing for a certain maker/style/model, it’s easy be ready to snap up deals.
There are a number of places that I like to visit in-person. In most cases, now, I’m more interested seeing the shopkeeper and sylists than the clobber. I you’re ever in Chicago, a stop at Mildblend is a must. In New York City, check out Self Edge and Leffot (also in Chicago, soon). If you make it to St. Paul/Minneapolis, check out Martin Patrick3, Askov Finlayson, Wilson and Willy’s, and BlackBlue. And please tell them “Hello” from me! (Also, drop me a line and let me know you’re headed this way!)
6. When did you decide to voice and share your love for your clobber on social media?
For almost a year, I had a private account and really only shared pictures of watches with a few folks in the Panerai community. I accidentally made my pics public while fishing around in the settings and got a kick out of the increased response. I also started to meet other folks with similar interests. Since then, it’s sort of been a competition with myself to get better and better at generating content. I get inspired by other folks and am humbled to have inspired other folks. Although nothing is new under the sun, I get a kick out of recognizing signature looks or views that have evolved and been modified as this craziness has rolled along.
7. What’s the secret behind your great images; Who takes them? When are they taken? How do you capture the magic your followers enjoy so much?
As with so many things, mindful practice leads to better results. When my public page was young, I modified my content based on the responses to previous post… I learned from my successes and not-so-successes. It’s been fun. Unless it’s a pic of me taken by someone else, and there are probably less than 20 on my page, I’ve taken the pics. I use a simple self timer app and prop my phone up between a cup of coffee and my wallet (true story). My typical spots are very public places and I’m sure I must have a pretty strong reputation as a lunatic. I usually operate on a daily routine based on my schedule at school. My footwear shots are taken in the morning prior to leaving the house. My self timer shots are taken on my way into work. My gear and outfit drops are typically taken in the afternoon. I have to say, it’s definitely time consuming and it’s only made possible by the flexibility that I have in my schedule. I’m also fortunate to have several great wood surfaces at my house that I use for watch, boot and clothing and there is fairly decent light, at certain times of the day…it’s just luck.
8. What feeds do you like to follow and check in on? Who should we check out?
I’ve actually met too many great people to mention through this fun little endeavor. There are a lot of solid IG peeps right here in Minnesota! I’m grateful of get some time with these folks on a regular basis and, over the years, we’ve inspired each other towards better and better content. That said, as soon as I start naming friends, it’s guaranteed that I’ll omit someone….
There are several folks from various corners of the planet who draw me in on a daily basis:
@Julienlanda has been a huge inspiration from the start. Get visuals and a true gentleman.
@pierssuckling posts some hauntingly magical images of his corner of the world. He has an amazing eye and excels at creating a sense of place.
@lico234 is true gem. He has a great sense of style and his posts always get me searching the details.
@corymahlke always offers a unique perspective on things and his posts keep me smiling on a regular basis
9. What tips would you give new starter on instagram to help them get there feed off the ground and successful?
I’m humbled that folks choose to follow my account and give me some time on their phones. I do feel a true sense of responsibility to post stuff that is interesting. If I have a controlled setting and some time, which is usually the case, I like to take multiple shots with slightly different angles. I have a pretty good sense of how things will end up looking but a little variety never hurts. A fresh perspective or a new view on something familiar is more likely to grab some attention! I also probably spend more time editing content than I do setting up shots and taking picture. If your image is blurry, unless it’s of the Loch Ness Monster, don’t post it. I also would encourage folks to experiment with filters and to use hashtags. I occasionally get a bit of ribbing about my use of hashtags…usually from the same folks who are interested in increasing their followership!
10. And Lucky Last, You’re going to be stranded on a desert island and you can take 1 outfit (4 items) only with you. What would they be? And Why?
This is a great question….I hope this desert island isn’t too hot because I’m going to be dressed in boots (Iron Rangers or Indy Boots), denim (something from Roy Slaper), a work shirt (Corridor or Stock Mfg. Co.) and a Panerai. I know this stuff fits me, I know and respect where this stuff came from, and I know it will last! Oh and does a cooler of beer and Wifi count as part of an outfit?
Be sure to keep tabs on here as, each week at 10pm on a Thursday, we will post a fresh feature about another one of your favourite, real blokes that enjoys sharing their passion via “Pics” on Instagram.
Next week we have @outlinedcloth whose sunny, boot filled images never fail to make me feel a little jealous on a daily basis…
Anyways, I hope you enjoyed browsing this as much as I did. There is plenty to learn if your interested.