Taj Burrow's 50 Rules of Style: Stab Mag
5:34 pm Apr 20, 2010

Style is a tough one. Put in too much effort and you’re labelled a princess. Too little and you’re out of your league. I don’t claim to know anything about fashion but I’m starting to know what I like. I’m no peacock but after a year of sitting in design meetings and having design swatches stuffed under my beak, I feel like I can point you in the right direction. Here’s what I’ve learned about style…

Unless you’ve got chunky stilts like Jules Wilson, steer clear of springies in the brine.
You spend your days in puffy skate shoes, tone it down for a more fitted kick after dark.
Avoid hoodies and big puffy jackets on a night out.
If you’ve got busy boardies, pair it with a plain tee. You can do a button up in the tropics, too. That kinda works.
Similarly, a busy tee can work with plain boardies.
Plain with plain and you’re looking old, I reckon.
If you’ve got the chance to suit up, do it. As surfers, you spend your life dressed down. May as well step it up when you can.
I don’t like to stand out too much. I also don’t like to be washed into a sea of anonymity. If you’re going to a party where every cat is dressed in denim, chuck on pants.
Denim shirts? Pretty mad, if you can pull it off. Wear over a rock tee.
And, please don’t wear sneakers with a suit unless they’re real high-end like Common Projects. Converses with suits? Yawn.
Jeans and thongs? Please, no. Didn’t the Y2K bug wipe you out?
Boardies at airports? Not that cool. And, I don’t think I’ve ever been on a warm plane.
Shoes and surf boardies. I know, Bruce Irons can do it. Not me, probably not you.
An open shirt over a tee is a simple look that’s pretty simple.
Ridiculously long boardies look exactly that. I’m not keen to get my thighs out but right on the top of the knee is more than acceptable.
Big wallets bulging with receipts and cards and coins? All you need are a few notes, a credit card and a licence. Drop the coins in your car or a tip jar.
That suit you just bought? I can guarantee it’s a size too big. Take it to a tailor. For an extra hundred bucks, even a cheapish suit’ll look awesome.
Learn how to tie a tie. It ain’t that hard and it sure impresses a girl. Ain’t nothing lamer than a grown man having his woman or mum standing behind, twisting his flaps around.
All that good stuff you bought? Buy a raft of wooden hangers and throw out the wires. For one, it’ll make your wardrobe look sleeker.
Buy a good black belt. No, no, not the sort you wear on a karate suit. Break the bank on it and you’ll wear it on everything, from suit pants to jeans.
That suit we were talking about, don’t dry clean it if you can avoid it. Get it steam cleaned if it’s really crook otherwise use a lint brush. Vomit? Okay, dry clean.
Eyebrows. Unless you’re Wolverine, leave ‘em alone except for the odd stray monster. Shaving in the middle and plucking makes you look like you’re a Russian gal on the make.
Someone asks you about that fine shirt you’re wearing or those prize kicks? Don’t talk brands or what a bitchin’ deal you got on ebay. Feign ignorance. Tell ‘em you just liked the look of ‘em at the store.
Cigarettes? Even on the hottest gal, they’re still pretty rough.
The old striped fisherman tee? It’s tired as hell and you might feel like a geese but in a crowded club filled with angry death motif tees and button downs, you’ll appear as a friendly simpleton. Women love friendly simpletons.
You know those tees that rise up too high from too much time in the dryer? Lose em, no man needs to wear a crop top.
This winter, I’ve been seeing a lot of double-breasted jackets. I like em.
Who am I, Tom Ford? I’m from Yallingup, for chrissakes! If you feel comfortable and confident in what you wear, then you’re winning.
Confidence wins every battle. Take all my crap with a grain of salt.
Despite their rank protectionist policies with iTunes and their cruelty in refusing to let you make replacements when you lose all your songs, there ain’t no contest between Mac and PC. Drop the extra coupla hunge.
It’s the sorta the same thing with cars. Euro beats Japan beats Korea. Although, that said, I could kinda see myself throttling around the city in a Kia Soul.
Your crib’s the most important possession in your life. Don’t squander your cash on furniture unless you absolutely love it. A great chair, couch or bed can last a lifetime and’ll give you ridiculous pleasure each time you sit or pump on it.
Pro surfers reading Lance Armstrong and other crook bios. It ain’t no crime to seek a lil mental exercise, boys. I recommend authors David Eggers and Junot Diaz. Easy, fulfilling reads.
Helmets on bikes? Necessary, sure, but that don’t make me wanna wear one.
The Underbelly thing. Gangsters as heroes? I don’t feel it. Kings Cross makes me ill.
Dressing in dark (black) can make even a crook country kid like me look borderline sophisticated. Hence the blacks and greys in my range.
Also, don’t be afraid to contrast your new black denim with a white tee. Classic.
Anyone who wears sunnies indoors infuriates me, especially in a shopping centres.
I love random finds: vintage briefcases and man bags, although I’m sure not adverse to a wander through LVT or Gucci.
Speaking of briefcases, they make a great home for your lappie.
Recycle if you’re tight for cash. Coordinating old favourites with some new things works just fine. Trends come and go and you’ll end up spending way too much on things you won’t wear in a month’s time.
Backpacks are awesome when you’re 15; not when you’re 30 and earning a humpty gees a year.
Studded belts? Please. Webbing is where it’s at, at least night now.
Look after yourself. The sun’s awesome, and we all love a tan, but give the dermis a drink now and again.
And, buy a good cologne: Tom Ford, Ice-Men by Thierry Mugler, even a bit of CK One. Ain’t nothing worse than an untidy grub getting around town looking for a girl. Good luck, buddy.
Don’t overdo it. This applies to everything: accessories, hair, layers of clothes. Any guy that ever wears two belts, wtf is that all about? Guilty for all counts: Russell Brand.
Questions like, “How does it look?” or “What do you think?” It’s always good to get feedback but asking those questions makes you sound, a, like you’ve got no confidence or, b, you’re one of the vain princesses who work for Stab. Ask your chick, that’s about it.
Crook all-over logos. Plain gear is better most of the time, anyway. If you do wear designer gear, let them notice. Make it seem like it’s not a big deal.
Vintage gear. Treasures you’ll find in secondhand stores will surprise you. No one else will have it: denim jackets, ties, bags. Even things like vintage cameras. Amazing.
iPhones? I don’t feel em. Too big, too hard to text, too many weird quirks. In two years, maybe, but not now. Besides, if I wanted a brick in my pocket, I’d carry one.
Be nice to girls, even the not-so-pretty ones, especially the not-so-pretty ones. It sure isn’t hard, but it constantly amazes me how many doolies think it’s the funniest thing in the world to write em off for whatever physical imperfection. The rank things I know get so bummed about it.
Conspiracy theories and the ensuing don’t-believe-what-the-government-tells-you schtick bespeaks a man of little, not too much, learning.
Patent leather kicks. Globe made me a pair and it blows my mind how many girls comment about em. You can buy something kinda similar from LVT.


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