Hats Off! Thomas McBee’s Top 5 Style Tumblrs, Sites, and Blogs to Get Your Day Started Right!

I love that the Internet is as close to true democracy as we can get, a “mic check” that’s literally spawned a revolution. Even with Big Brother’s constant attempts at interference, we the people prevail. Twitter and about a million independent news sites disrupt corporate newspaper’s monopolies. Jezebel and Racialicious provide much-needed commentary located in feminism and the intersection of race and pop culture; and sites like Original Plumbing (who I blog for) look at life and style through a trans lens.

And then there’s style. Everyone knows about the self-obsessed teens taking pictures of their outfits, which maybe is useful to other teens but is maybe not so interesting to the rest of us. Every day I locate creative online resources that help me live my life more stylishly, and since I hope IBC does that for you, I thought I’d pay it forward by tipping my hat to the folks who get me excited about my day.

They’re not all fashion-oriented, but they all challenge the established norms: whether through formal innovation or the very lens in which they examine culture. I think style is about making your best self external, and these folks encourage me to think differently or deeply, or just plain inspire me.

Just a note: I’ve left out the usual suspects (The Sartorialist, f0r instance) to give face time to other spots you might not have come across before. Also, I started this and had to whittle my list way down! It was so hard. Feel free to leave sites that inspire you in the comment section. Carrie Leilam Love just turned me on to Vintage Black Glamour, for instance. There’s so much out there! I love the Internet!

5. Nerd Boyfriend

Nerd Boyfriend is such a rad idea: highlight scenes in movies/iconic celebrity photos and then locate the key pieces and point viewers toward where to buy them for themselves. So you can dress like this:

Bob Marley! You're so stylish.

Or this surprisingly awesome scenario:

Michael Palin as Mr. Pither.

4. Backyard Bill

This one is pretty big leagues, but since not everyone knows about it I thought I’d give it a plug here. What I like about Bill’s blog is that it subverts the traditional man-on-the-street fly by. Instead, he goes to his subject’s homes and interviews them, thus giving his photographs a profile-y quality that gets at the heart of the person’s style.

Backyard Bill profiles Mr. Natty.

His habit of asking everyone the same questions can be grating or gratifying, depending on your preference for originality versus ethnography. Occasionally he focuses on folks whose style I’m not a fan of, but the overall project is beautifully done and an interesting twist on an old idea.

3. Art of Tranliness

Not so much a style blog as an information-sharing resource/advice column, this Tumblr is run by two sartorially-minded transmen who also answer community questions regarding transition legalities/concerns while also reblogging awesome images and fashion advice. I get the feeling that they’d like to amp up the style part but they’re such good guys that they want to also take care of their community. It’s sweet. So if you’re trans*/masculine or an ally, it’s a great place to information gather and also occasionally catch some fantastic images, like this one:

2. We Could Grow Up Together

This is more art project than style blog, more photo essay than what-to-wear. That’s exactly what I like about it. Photographer and Creative Director Kwannam Chu beautifully captures his adventures, fashion and otherwise.

Kwannam Chu.

Chu’s jet-setting lifestyle is enviable, but his sense of wonder is contagious. He’s currently in Tokyo, and ecstatic:

“after a couple train stops from shibuya, there’s kōenji ~ an old neighborhood famous for its vintage menswear shops. from rrl by ralph lauren to riding breeches from the 30’s to tricker’s boots to varsity sweaters, this place has it all, but you need to have the patience to go through all the little shops on the little streets that look pretty much look the same. and i managed to find a striped morning jacket, a mohair cardigan, and some buttons for a poncho.”

I want to go to Tokyo!

It also helps that he’s got such great style:

1. Tie ( I know I’m cheating already but whatever): The Impossible Cool and Fuck Yeah James Dean

From The Impossible Cool.

Both Tumblr blogs will provide you with hours of inspiration. The Impossible Cool curates  pitch-perfect pictures of bygone swagger. Reminding you that celebrities didn’t used to need stylists, just cigarettes and sunglasses. Oh, and black and white photography helps.

From The Impossible Cool.

James Dean is my style icon so there’s no way Fuck Yeah James Dean wasn’t making it on this list. But if there was ever an argument for the unstyled celebrity, he was it.

Fuck Yeah James Dean.

Somehow Dean managed to maintain a laid back, put together, bad ass look without the help of consultants and without ever appearing as if he was trying too hard. Look at this every day to remind yourself of what’s possible.

Also, he was clearly gay.


About Thomas Page McBee

Gentleman first, always. James Dean is my patron saint, poet is my gender. More about me here: www.thomaspagemcbee.com


  1. Michael von Braithwaite

    Kwannam Chu is now my hero.

  2. Kat

    DELICIOUS!!! So many good links here. Thanks ever so. My inspiration cup runneth over.

  3. Pingback: Reading « Neutrois Nonsense

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