A little while back, I received a call from Yunus Kemp assistant editor at the Cape Argus, wanting to sit down and have a little chat with me about the blog and my feelings on the recent success with GQ.
So we met at my favourite little coffee spot, Deluxe on Church street, and had an awesome conversation and a lot of coffee. The result was this.
Sergio Ines is slightly embarrassed by it all. He is more comfortable with the impeccably chosen threads on his back than the threads he posts on his blog, What My Boyfriend Wore. “It’s just a blog. Pictures of myself are taken for it and I can’t help thinking ‘How pretentious is that’.’’
GQ’s second-best-dressed man in South Africa – an advertising art director from Cape Town – is a dandy’s dandy and up until about a year ago a silent sartorialist. As the name of the blog suggests and judging by the pictures on it, Ines, 35, is not alone in this endeavour and is not into taking selfies.
The inspiration for What My Boyfriend Wore came from his girlfriend, Misha. She encouraged him to blog about what he was wearing and about style in general. “I didn’t agree. I thought it was egotistical. I don’t dress for things like that. It’s not about that. But she bugged me and bugged me to do it.”
A little more than a year ago, she started taking pictures of the self-confessed dandy daily and loaded them up to an Instagram account, which fed into a tumblr account. “I played along and thought she would get bored of it. But she proved me wrong. As soon as I saw the growth of the Instagram account, I was astonished.”
There was no text to the pics, but they piqued people’s interest. Soon enough, the account’s |followers (now totalling some |35 000) were asking questions about the clothes Ines was wearing and where they could get them. “People would also ask how they could dress their boyfriends better.”
And so the blog was born.
Ines then started thinking about how he could share his simple rules for dressing. “If you understand the rules of dressing, you then start to understand how to break them.”
He is slightly uncomfortable by the interest shown in his sense of style and does not want to be |classified as a “style guru”. Style is personal to him and it underpins the understated tone of his blog. Items from Mr Price and Markham sit nicely alongside Burberry and Paul Smith. And Ines does not mind telling his readers when he thinks something is “ridiculously expensive”.
“The blog is not really about me. It’s about trying to help the man in the street understand his wardrobe better and how to best use the items in it.”
The pictures for the blog are usually taken on a Friday near his home in the city centre and the Instagram pictures are taken almost daily. The blog has about 20 000 to 25 000 views a month.
Ines admits that the process can be painful. “It definitely feels like a chore sometimes. Dressing up when you don’t feel it’s right. It can also be extremely time consuming, but I try to write a blog post every day, but it often doesn’t work that way.”
As for the GQ nod, he says |matter-of-factly: “I’m probably the only nobody on that list. What does it mean in the bigger scheme of things?”
He is constantly asked about trends. “The trick is to find things that suit you.” He says the biggest fashion faux pas men commit is buying ill-fitting clothes. “I see guys try on suits and stretch their arms etc. When you go out, do you do those stretches?”
There’s a |common misperception that he spends a fortune on clothing. “I don’t spend as much on clothing as people think. This Zara jacket I’m wearing now I bought in Greece for e15. I also don’t buy clothes online, as I’m particular about how clothes fit me. I don’t think anything of mine is that wow.
“I don’t like spending a lot on clothes. I go into stores and look out for the red sale signs. You don’t have to spend a fortune on clothes, just choose key items for your wardrobe.”
As for his acute sense of style – which includes an appreciation for cool pocket squares, tie pins, flower lapel pins – it appears to be in the genes. The first-|generation Portuguese South African says his dad was a bit of a dresser himself. “I’d like to think it comes from my dad. As a young man he was well known for his dress sense. There are stories about him spending his salary on a good pair of shoes. He was always well put together.”
His parents, who live in Joburg, follow his style adventures online. “My mom will tell me, |‘I didn’t like that jersey with that’. “They were very proud of the GQ award.”
In the meantime, Ines is still trying to |figure out what the fuss is all about.
GQ’s best-dressed man in South Africa is Abey Mokgwatane, chief executive of Ogilvy & Mather South Africa
That’s just fine and dandy
And that was it. I loved it, its maybe the truest reflection of what goes on here at WMBW.
Okay. Stay fancy.