Men of Style

Alan Maleh

The 'Man of the World' founder and publisher on his love of classicism, the importance of accessories, and the vintage finds he curated for Gilt.

'Man of the World' founder Alan Maleh.

Like just about anyone with an interest in menswear, we’re massive fans of Man of the World, the quarterly launched by Alan Maleh in early 2012. A lavish celebration of classic style and — to use a cliche that’s simply too apt to avoid — rugged individualism, MOTW is an antidote to the endless chatter that defines the digital space. It’s about the iconic, not the ephemeral.  Here, a few words from the man behind the magazine.

How did you get the idea for Man of the World?
With the Web and everything being so broad — Googling something and getting 17 pages of information — I really felt that there was a need for something curated, a place where guys could come and have a haven for things that are here to stay.

Print media isn’t exactly a growth business these days, but Man of the World is thriving. Is that because you’re creating something with permanence while the digital world is so ephemeral?
I feel like classicism is being left behind. It’s really great to have unique things that pop, but some of the staples and some of the things that a man’s wardrobe should be built upon are not there, whether it be a basic gray cashmere jacket or a beautiful navy overcoat, or the classic white shirt — certain things are being overdesigned in a way.

Is that echoed in this assortment that you’ve chosen for this sale?
It’s sort of the “cherry pick,” I call it. I meet CEOs of different companies, and they’re always wearing a piece that I want to buy and I say, “Where can I get that?” and they say, “Oh, well, I customized it” — you know, everyone’s modifying it to make the perfect piece. I want to have the eye for the perfect piece and I want to make that available to people on a regular basis. It may not be the cheapest piece but it will definitely be something that you’ll be proud to own and have for a long time and pass on.

What are the standouts in the sale?
That little shot glass out of the boot [left] – I can only imagine the person that was made for; the silver sword is something you can hold in your hands and feel like you’re holding a part of history; the American Indian belt buckle with the inlaid stones is just spunky enough without being too fashion forward; some of those American Indian cuffs; that little leather necklace that has the stash holder in it, over a white T-shirt… the question is, what isn’t?

There are so many different flavors of cool in this sale. You’ve broken it up into three different groupings: The Sportsman, The Gentleman, and The Bohemian.
What I realized by being a person who overbuys things, is that at the end of the day you can only wear one pair of shoes at a time. There are a bunch of different looks within every guy, and I find that once you identify who those guys are within you, then you can figure out what you need to move forward.

To what extent is Man of the World a mirror of your own style?
It mirrors a style that I like to emulate and that I appreciate, and it has a lot of me in it, yes. I have evolved into someone who is very much about function over fashion, and someone who is very much about understated elegance and using accessories to make the spark in a wardrobe, rather than the clothing itself.

The magazine isn’t just about things; it’s about the men who are doing it right. You’ve featured everyone from Alexander Skarsgard to surfers to fashion insiders like our former colleague Josh Peskowitz. What are some of the defining characteristics that unite these guys?
I think it’s a passion for living life with style and character and doing things with their heart and their brain. Take John Moore from the first issue. This is a guy who brought his business to the beach because he wanted to surf every day. He’s got an amazing company, Pencil and Paper, that does all this creative work for a lot of major brands, and also takes the time to be with his family and to get on the beach once a day on his longboard in Venice. That to me epitomizes a true Man of the World: A guy doing it his way and a real citizen and a real person with a dedication to his family, his business, and his personal time. He lives an adventurous lifestyle — you know, a modern day explorer.

You’ve been at this a while, which puts you in a unique position to give some advice. What words of wisdom do you have for the 25-year-old version of yourself who’s out there trying to build up his own wardrobe and his own aesthetic?
Develop those staples that identify your style. Identify who you respect for their fits and make that a part of your investigation. Once you have your staples, use accessories to differentiate, whether it be a bandana at the back of your jeans, a little leather bracelet, a little beaded necklace, or a pocket square. Use those elements because as your style changes, the staples will not. If you have good staples, you can focus your money towards some of the accessories that can really make a difference.

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