It’s back to regular programming this week which means it’s time for another edition of You Ought to Be Reading. Up today is Jay from Red Clay Soul, in my opinion one of the best “menswear” blogs out there. Jay constantly cranks out great original content and his Top of the Heap series going on right now is A plus. His take on style has a definite Southern feel with influences ranging from the outdoors to Georgia state pride. Read the following interview to learn more about Jay and Red Clay Soul.
Great Lakes Prep: Why did you start a blog?
Red Clay Soul: The quick answer to your question – I really like the Southern lifestyle, and wanted to write about it. I started Red Clay Soul in 2009 around the time a lot of other great blogs were starting as well (Sartorially Inclined, Unabashedly Prep, A Headlong Dive, Alex Grant). I like to think we were a second ‘wave’ of men’s-focused blogs, after the first wave of some seriously great ones – including A Continuous Lean. Our blogs in the second wave have gone in somewhat different directions, but I still read each of those almost every day. One of the best things about Red Clay Soul is that I’ve gotten to know Lawrence, Fred, Jeremiah, and Skip (as well as quite a few other bloggers) pretty well – and they are all awesome guys (and gals).
When people ask what is Red Clay Soul about, I tell them that it’s a ‘Southern Contemporary Blog’. While I talk about men’s fashion quite a bit, I try and make RCS about the Southern lifestyle, without being overt about it. ‘Southern’ is not a pop-culture trend, it’s a culture.
GLP: Where are you from?
RCS: Atlanta, GA
GLP: What do you do outside of your blog?
RCS: Complain about my handicap. My short game is in the tank.
GLP: How would you describe your style?
RCS: Southern Traditional. I don’t follow trends or fashion shows, but I respect the designers. The demise of ‘metro’ has been a great thing for men’s style, as well as the renewed focus on quality and American-made. I look at my style as very ‘value-proposition’ oriented. I’d rather spend double the money on a suit or a pair of shoes if I know they are going to last. Another thing is that the majority of my closet is interchangeable; I could wear an outfit with shell cordovan penny loafers or cowboy boots and either would look fine.
GLP: Who are your style icons?
RCS: There are quite a few that are pretty inspirational. My Dad and my Grandfather have always been good dressers – I say that my style was inherited. Beyond that, I like what Jack Spade, Michael Bastian, and Frank Muytjens do – I think they each truly understand the classic ‘American’ aesthetic, and use it as the basis for their own respective brands. Beyond that, fellow Atlanta resident Sid Mashburn gets it as well. I have really enjoyed getting to know Sid and hear his perspective. He has had a huge influence on making dressing well ‘cool’.
GLP: What advice would you give anyone looking to start a blog?
RCS: Good luck! It’s interesting how there really isn’t any competition between like-bloggers. There’s a camaraderie where we are looking to help each other. For a new blog – there should be some ‘givens’: grammar, spelling, general aesthetics should all be correct and on-point. After that, the most important thing is original content. It’s hard to take a blog seriously that copies/pastes.
GLP: Bow tie or neck tie?
RCS: Great question. I like both, but I lean towards a neck tie. Either way, make sure you tie a good knot…