Tag Archives: Interview

It’s All in the Dappertude

Do you remember when you were young and you would get in trouble for saying something, and you’d be like “what’d I say?” and some adult would fire back “It’s not what you said, it’s how you said it!!!”

In those instances they were referring to your attitude, which in the moment elevated you from child to certified bad boy! And as we all know chicks dig bad boys.

Well that concept has somewhat translated to fashion by way of Johnny Li founder of the men’s wear brand Dappertude. Dapper style for men with a little attitude. In fact you could say: it’s not what you wear but how you wear it…sort of…well I guess in this case it IS about what you wear. Because Dappertude sells men’s accessories and they have some pretty great items…this line of thought is kind of unraveling…QUICK!!! CUT TO THE INTERVIEW! What do you mean I’m being mean? All I said was, cut to the interview. What do you mean it’s not WHAT I said?….Oh OH! I get it. Well played.

Dappertude Founder, Johnny Li

I always like to start with the name…so how did you come up with the name Dappertude?

 There isn’t much story behind how I thought of Dappertude, I wanted a unique name for my business which had the word Dapper in it and also meant something. After a while of brainstorming, I came to the conclusion of Dapper Attitude, motto: dress so that you have the Dapper Attitude. I noticed that it was a long name so I shortened it to DAPPERTUDE.

What inspired you to start up Dappertude?

It all started when I was working on Hong Kong, I was shopping on day discovered the so called pocket square, at first I didn’t wear it a lot but after getting compliments from friends and strangers, I started buying more and more. When I came back to Sydney I noticed that people were wearing suits without the pocket square and I even asked a stranger (who was looking really dapper) why he didn’t wear a pocket square, he just replied “ I don’t know where to get them from.” That’s when it hit me to start DAPPERTUDE. 

Just one of Dappertude’s amazing lapel pins. To see more head to www.dappertude.com.

You’re based in Sydney, Australia, but you have quite a following in the US as well. What’s it like serving customers from all over the world?

It’s fantastic to see that the dapper style isn’t just 1 country’s style but a style that is universal.

Since you are based in Australia, perhaps you can settle an argument for me…who is more dreamy, Hugh Jackman or Chris Hemsworth…AHEM, I mean…who wins in a fight, Thor or Wolverine?

Definitely Thor will win with his crazy hammer and the more dreamy one would have to be Hugh.


Your product selection includes both lapel pins and pocket squares, what’s more popular with your customers right now?

To be honest, right now the popularity between the both is 50/50. Some people only like pocket squares while some people love the lapel pins.

For your limited edition pocket squares, you teamed up with The Bespoke Corner tailors, tell us about that collaboration.

 It just started off with a chat and then I blinked an eye and “hay its ready.” It was so quick but a great collaboration.

Dappertude has a sweet pocket square collection – including this bad boy.

Okay, if you can only wear one or the other, for the rest of your life, do you keep lapel pins or pocket squares?

I’m sorry lapel pins but the pocket squares has been beside me since the beginning, its time to part ways.

Your lapel pins are divided into the Monday, Friday and Sunday collections…so which one are you?

Like any other Aussie, I’m definitely a Friday person. J Fridays are the best days of the week!

What’s cuter, a baby Kangaroo or a baby Koala bear?

They are both cute, very cute.

Here are Johnny’s Dappertudists.

I love Crocodile Dundee!! I mean I LOVE that movie! Wally, Nugget and Donk! But how do the Australian people feel about Mick Dundee? Is he beloved like he is here? And when I say “here,” I am pointing to my heart.

I’m not sure about the rest of Australia but I certainly loved Dundee, its unfortunate that kids these days wouldn’t have a clue who he is… which is a shame because they won’t know that “The funnel web spider can kill a man in eight seconds, just by lookin’ at him.”

Is there anything you’re not currently selling that you would like to see Dappertude carry in the future?

There is a big list of things which I would love to see Dappertude carry in the future. Ranging from cravats and cufflinks to bespoke tailoring of suits, shirts and even shoes. Anything that will bring out the Dapper Attitude in a gentleman.

Johnny is so cool he even has monogrammed shirts! Look at that cuff!

And now Five Signature Questions with Christian:

Who is your Favorite Superhero or Villain?

Saitama from One Punch Man

Who wins in a fight Batman or Superman?

Superman all the way… he’s like invincible….unless batman has kryptonite in his belt… then it’s Batman.

Which Star Wars Character would you be?

I would probably want to be R2-D2….*Big Grin*

What’s your Favorite cereal of all time?

Crunchy Nut!! I could eat this for breaky, lunch and dinner.

Are your dirty clothes on the floor or in the hamper, right now?

Definitely in the hamper, you can’t be dapper without clean clothes.

Dazi Does It!

Beautiful Ties at an Affordable price…that was Nate Ipsen’s dream. It’s quite different than my dream…which involves unicorns, lasers and the world’s greatest ninja. As you can imagine my dream has proved troublesome to bring into reality…But not Nate’s! He has realized his dream with his company Dazi pronounced {DAW-ZEE} – They make beautiful Neckties, Bowties and more. I had the opportunity to interview Nate, take a look:

So, you were once called Simply Skinny Ties, but you have recently changed your name to DAZI [daw-zee], why the name change? Also what does DAZI mean?
As the business has continued to grow, I decided it would be best to change the name of the company. I didn’t want to simply sell a product with a name on it. I have a strong desire to create a brand that people can be a part of, because our customers are what make our products so great. While brainstorming, we came across the word DASI which is Indonesian for “necktie”. We decided to switch the S to a Z to make it our own. DAZI [daw-zee]. You can read more about our name change here.
How did you decide on what the perfect tie width would be?
I didn’t want a tie that was so skinny it looked like a shoe lace or so fat that it looked like a bib. 2.5” seemed like the perfect skinny width to start at.
A lot of companies make ties, why go into such a competitive market for your first business venture?
I was personally frustrated at how hard it was to find a sharp looking skinny tie that was top-notch quality and didn’t cost an arm and a leg. I thought to myself, “If I can design a tie that I love, there’s bound to be other people out there willing to buy it too if I can sell at a lower price point.” I started with only 3 designs and have slowly grown from there, thanks to our awesome customers!
You know sell some pretty great looking watches, what made you decide to add time pieces to the menu?
Thank you. I have been obsessed with watches my whole life and I’ve had a dream of designing and selling them since I was in high school. Part of the reason we changed our name was so that we could include other great products among ties, so this felt like a great time to introduce watches to the lineup!
What’s the coolest thing you’ve purchased since becoming a successful business owner?
When I was first starting up, someone gave me some wise advice and told me to not take any money out of the business if I don’t need it. I’ve funded the whole company myself so I think it’s important to flush earnings back into the company so I can continue to grow. I haven’t bought anything super cool yet, but I can say I’ve purchased more ties than I ever thought I would in a lifetime!
I’ve seen some skateboarding pictures on your Instagram feed. So who’s better, Tony Hawk or Christian Hosoi?
I’m going to have to go with Tony Hawk since he has a video game named after him and I’ve never heard of Christian Hosoi… but I don’t know much about skateboarding!
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You’re 23; do you feel your age gives you an advantage or disadvantage when it comes to connecting your brand with consumers?
The majority of our customers are 18-30 years old. Being within that range myself I feel like I have an advantage because I have a lot of friends who have helped grow my customer base as they spread the word among their friends. Without my close friends, my company probably wouldn’t exist today.
Do you have a favorite tie?
The floral ties have really grown to be my favorite (pun intended haha) and I think the Navy Blue Floral tie is my all time favorite. It takes a bold person to pull off a tie like that! It’s hard to keep the floral ties in stock, they’ve definitely been some of our most popular.
There is an element of fun that’s clearly evident in your ties, Instagram feed and website – why is that important to you?
I think it’s important to show people that we’re a fun brand in hopes that they’ll want to be a part of it. You can’t sell a product if the brand behind it doesn’t have a personality.
What has been the hardest or most unexpected part about running DAZI?
Going along with my previous answer above, it’s a lot easier said than done when it comes to creating a lifestyle behind your brand and products. It involves a lot of photography which I know nothing about. However my good friend Keith takes killer photos and has saved the day on a number of occasions.
And now Five Signature Questions with Christian:
Who is your Favorite Superhero or Villain?
Batman. I’m jealous of his motorcycle.
Who wins in a fight Batman or Superman?
Which Star Wars Character would you be?
Boba Fett. I’m better with a gun than a lightsaber.
What’s your Favorite cereal of all time?
I love Cinnamon Toast Crunch. It’s my weakness.
Are your dirty clothes on the floor or in the hamper, right now?
Hamper. I can’t stand a dirty room.
Use code Gasket at www.daziusa.com for 20% off all neckties!

Express your chest

In the world of things I love there are many legends.
In comics there’s Batman, Wolverine and the Hulk.
In video games there’s Mario, Ryu, and Solid Snake.
In Star Wars there’s Han Solo, Chewbacca and R2-D2.

Now, I’ll never interview Batman. I’ll never rub shoulders with Mario. And I’ll never shake hands with a Wookiee. But I have another love: clothes, shirts, ties, pocket squares and blazers to be specific. And amongst this love,  legends exist too. One such legend is the perfectly named @thedressedchest. Without a doubt, the most prolific and widely known chest on Instagram. I assumed he too would be elusive, lost to me like the Hulk and R2. But  I was wrong!Grid collage

This man wasn’t just someone who had put together countless shirt an tie combinations. He wasn’t just someone who was sharing his love of dressing up. He was kind and generous as well. I mean, why else we agree to an interview? I guess he could be crazy… I didnt really think of that. Well, crazy* or not, I got to interview him (via email) and he was awesome!

@thedressedchest is more than a man playing dress up. He is someone who has taken his love of dressing up and made it a fun experience all his own. Whether he’s showcasing his signature “chest steezes” or his unique take on grid pics, his love of fashion and fun are always clear. He currently has over 114,000 followers and once you click on his feed it’s easy to see why. He’s got the best chest in the biz. He is Instagram’s @thedressedchest!

*@thedressedchest is NOT CRAZY, that was a joke. I know not everyone gets jokes…like infants, Canadian Geese and people who needed this particular clarification.

So please take a moment and see what nonsense I asked a legend. I tend to squander my opportunities…


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The name thedressedchest is pretty perfect for someone posting magnificent chesties…how did you come up with that and can we trade names?

NEVER! The IG handle is mine! Go take “_thedressedchest_” or something, haha.

In all seriousness, originally my IG name was something very hard to read and pronounce (my first and last name), so I had to change it. I figured I always put up pictures of my dressed chest, and I liked how the two words kinda rhymed, so I went with it.

Your pun game is as strong as your chest game. So what takes longer to come up with, the clothes or the words?

It’s a bit of both… Sometimes I come up with a clever quip and I spend a whole lot of time staring into my closet, looking for an outfit that encompasses that pun (I’m still looking for the perfect “Smokin’ Tweed” outfit). Other times I have a great outfit and I find myself staring blankly at the ‘Edit Post’ screen of an IG post for the longest time, trying to come up yet another pun for the color blue.

How fun was it coming up with your own ties and working with the Brooklyn Tie Co.?

Definitely a great experience! It’s crazy seeing my name (or at least my IG handle) on a necktie. And it’s awesome seeing fabrics I picked out get turned into ties. The guys over at Brooklyn Tie Co. are also really cool to work with, and very supportive of my inexperience through the whole thing.tiesDo you have a favorite tie? What is it?

I have too many ties to pick just one! I know that the maroon striped tie that I made with Brooklyn Tie Co. ranks pretty high up there (it looks great on you, by the way). Also the navy blue knit tie and the black knit tie I have from J.Crew, since they are so incredibly versatile. The navy blue floral tie I got from QP Collections has got to be one of my favorite floral ties, while the autumn brown glen plaid tie I got from Humanscales is one of my favorite Fall/Winter ties.

I would venture to say your favorite tie bar is the beautiful white whale…is there a story behind that?

Yes! It’s a Valentine’s Day gift from my wife. I love it because first and foremost because it’s from her, but also because it’s simple, casual, doesn’t catch too much attention, but looks really nice. It’s the kind of tie bar that says, “I like to dress up, but I don’t take myself too seriously.”


When you reached 100,000 followers, did you fist pump, high five, scream wah hoo or something else entirely?

Mostly I just fangirled out, going “OMGOMGOMGOMGOMG”. It’s still unreal to me to know that I have 100k followers… I didn’t think I would even get past 1000, to be honest with you. The support I get from my followers and friends I made on Instagram is amazing, too, so I am infinitely grateful for each and every follower.

Do people ever recognize your chest on the street and ask to take pictures with it?

Not even once! I get a few compliments on my outfit here and there, but no one has ever stopped me and asked if I was @thedressedchest. That’s understandable though… I don’t think I have many followers in the Bay Area besides friends and family, and even so I guess it’s kind of hard to recognize someone without seeing their face. That’s perfectly fine with me though; I’m a terribly shy and awkward and tiny guy in person, so it might be for the better that people don’t recognize me from my Instagram.

Do you prefer blazers or sweaters?

I guess it depends on the occasion. Blazers are a little more on the formal side, and I love that I can stuff pocket squares into them. The major problem I have with blazers though is that I can never find my size. The smallest I’ve seen blazers go is 34s, and even those are large on me (that includes J.Crew’s Ludlow and H&M’s suiting).

On the other hand, I love the textures on my shawl-collared cardigans. I obviously cannot wear them on formal occasions but they’re so soft and cozy and let really let my tie and tie bar shine.


And now Five Signature Questions with Christian:

Who is your Favorite Superhero or Villain?

I was a huge fan of Captain America back in the day. My family and I would play Captain America and the Avengers the arcade game and I’d always be good ol’ Cap. Gambit is really cool, too; I love his trench coat. Spider-Man is pretty high up there, also. I used to have this one action figure that was a crossover between Spider-Man and Deathlok. It was easily my favorite action figure, right next to my Sargent Savage action figure.

Who wins in a fight Batman or Superman?

Superman, easily. He can just shoot his eye beams at Batman from like a mile away. Done.

Which Star Wars Character would you be?

Gotta be Darth Vader! My second son’s name is Luke (I tried to talk my wife into making his middle name Skywalker to no avail), so that automatically makes me Vader. My wife is Amidala, and my older son is a Stormtrooper. At least, that’s how I’d arrange my Star Wars family decal stickers on the rear window of our car.

What’s your Favorite cereal of all time?

I get tired of cereals pretty quickly, so I rotate cereals a lot. One that stays fairly consistently good though is Honey Nut Cheerios. And Special K.

Are your dirty clothes on the floor or in the hamper, right now?

Dirty clothes are in the hamper. Clean clothes on the floor and in the closet. 

Style…for a Man…in a Box

Do you like pizza? Of course you do! You’re not some kind of psycho…are you? You probably have a favorite pizza place or perhaps a list of favorites. And while they’re your favorites, you’re not exclusive to them. In fact, I’m sure from time to time you get pizza from other places. Why? Because pizza is so stinking good that you’re willing to try it from anywhere. And when you try pizza from different places, you may eventually find a new favorite to add to the list.

Well that’s how I’m starting to feel about subscription boxes. They’re wonderful! So while you may already have a favorite, don’t you owe it to yourself to try more than one? Who knows, you may find another favorite to add to the list.

A new favorite of mine is The Styled Man Box. You fill out a Personal Style Profile and then each month you get 4 to 6 accessories. Want to know more? Well, I had the opportunity to sit down (via email) with Lance McBrayer, Owner and Lead Curator for The Styled Man Box.

The Styled Man Box 2_Black_grid

Subscription Boxes are becoming all the rage – when did you decide to put one together?

I decided to put a subscription box together after coming back from my last European trip in France and Amsterdam. I had gotten a custom suit made and loved the idea of the place that I went to. They had a swatch book of and for everything I could ever think of – cloth, thread, buttons, lining, etc. I loved the idea of just being given everything I need and wanted – without even knowing that that I wanted it. That’s when I realized that there are so many men out there that don’t even know that they want items that they don’t know they want or need until the options are presented to them. Hence, The Styled Man Box was born.


I usually lead of with this – how did you decide on the name The Styled Man Box?

Well, I knew that I wanted a name that was an acronym and with the word “Society” in it. And I wanted the name to obviously have something to do with fashion. So, I went through all these words till I came up with STYLED. It stands for Society of Trendsetting Young Leaders and Elegant Dressers. It’s to promote a society of young (and older) gentlemen where they are groomed to be leaders in every aspect of their life and dress for success.


How do you decide what goes into each box?

For those that sign up for the monthly subscription, there is a Style Profile Form that they receive. From there, I’m able to tailor their box to their personal style and taste. While each month there is an overall theme, each box is curated for the individual gentleman.

Is curating a box each month more challenging than fun or more fun than challenging?

Hmmm. I believe that it’s more fun for me. I mean I love color coordinating in fashion. When I put a box together and it’s aesthetically pleasing layed out before being boxed, I get such a feeling of satisfaction and pleasure. I embrace the challenge that comes from having to do that.


Are the contents of each box meant to be styled together as kind of a grab and go?

Yes, I curate the boxed items to be easily paired with each other. I believe that you should be able to take your suit, a shirt and some nice shoes and simply add your curated boxed items and, “Voila!” – you’ve just been STYLED.

Why should we buy your box…besides the obvious awesomeness contained inside?

Men should purchase The Styled Man Box because it’s simply the easiest, most economical and no-brainer way to automatically upgrade their style quotient on a regular basis.


You have some fantastic lapel pins in your online store, which one’s your favorite?

Thanks. We take pride in our Lapel Pin Collections. They are all designed and hand-made by myself. I was so tired of seeing the same ‘ole pins out there everywhere. I couldn’t take it! So, I decided to get creative. And, I just continuously get inspired. My favorite is in the Gears & Gadgets Collection. It’s these gold, silver and bronzed sprockets that I layer over each other. I love the metal tones together and each one becomes a unique, interesting little wearable work of art.

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When you dress up, what’s the one thing that you must have on, or feel unfinished without?

Well, before I would have definitely said a perfectly perched pocket square. Now, since the resurgence of the lapel pin, it’s my finishing touch.

Others companies don’t do this, but you have your clients fill out a personal style profile before receiving their boxes…why?

The Style Profile Form is to ensure that I get a pretty clear idea of what the clients overall style preferences are. I use that to keep them looking forward to receiving and pleased with their box each month as well as to help them, at times, step out and beyond their comfort style zone. It’s about being a trendsetter and leader in how they dress and accessorize.

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And now Five Signature Questions with Christian:

Who is your Favorite Superhero or Villain?


Who wins in a fight Batman or Superman?

Batman – while I admire Superman’s bronze, Batman has the brains – and dresses really, really well. Lol.

Which Star Wars Character would you be?

I’d be Darth Vader – hands down has the best outfit – I’d make that cape look really good.

What’s your Favorite cereal of all time?

Cinnamon Toast Crunch… yum!

Are your dirty clothes on the floor or in the hamper, right now?

Ha!… my hamper zips, so right now, on TOP of the hamper.