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500th Post: A Retrospective

This is my 500th post. When I started this tumblr back in February, I didn’t expect to be here this quickly, nor did I expect the last 499 posts to go quite the way they did. This is as good a time as any to take a look back and talk a little about myself and this site’s purpose.

Here’s the TLDR version: this site started as, and remains primarily, a very personal endeavor, chronicling one man’s efforts to identify, document, and emulate classic and affordable men’s style, especially for brown-skinned fellows like myself. I am by no means a style expert, but I like to help people, so to the degree I can, I’ll help anyone who has questions, or I’ll direct you to someone who can help.

Alexander Chen (of 3sixteen) recently wrote a great post about blogs. I highly recommend that you read it. It’s shamed me into committing myself to being a better writer and proofreader. I think we’ll all benefit from that.

I appreciate each and every one of my followers. You folks make this totally worth it. Thank you.

Long version follows…

I’ve been blogging in one form or another since 2001 (if anyone remembers Greymatter, holla!), back when most people hadn’t even heard the term, and almost no one was trying to monetize it. My personal site had a small but engaged following, and peaked in terms of visits and quality of writing around 2003 and 2004, my latter years in college. When I started working in 2005, my posting frequency tapered down from several times a week to once every couple of months. With just nine posts, the site’s been essentially dead for the past two years.

About three years ago I started using del.icio.us to bookmark inspiring looks that I liked from The Sartorialist. I was a terrible dresser, but was improving with help from forum posts and articles on the Internet. This past fall, an incident at work and the rise of Put This On underscored the importance of dressing well and accelerated my interest in classic men’s style. I credit Jesse at PTO for doing more for me in a few months than years of reading random articles. If you ever read this: thanks.

It occurred to me in February that del.icio.us wasn’t ideal for keeping inspiring pictures, since I had to click through to see each one instead of browsing them all at a glance. A full-featured blogging platform would have been overkill, so tumblr turned out to be a happy medium. And thus, This Fits was born as a personal collection of visual bookmarks—photos, occasionally captioned with short personal notes. I guess the term that’s out there is “inspiration board.” And that’s all this site was ever meant to be.

And then, someone started following me.

I already had followers—two to be exact, and both friends. But this person was a stranger. I have no idea how she found me. I wasn’t going out of my way to promote this site since it was meant to be very personal. Nonetheless, other people started finding this site and following me, which I took as affirmation that the photos and little snippets of advice I was finding resonated with others, too. I unconsciously shifted the writing style of the site to acknowledge an audience greater than one, and I started supplementing This Fits with original posts focused on building a wardrobe affordably. The site hummed along nicely, and its following grew steadily. Men’s style, of all things, got me blogging regularly again after years of hiatus.

Then someone asked me a question. A style advice question.

I was taken aback. I’m still trying to figure out classic men’s style myself. I’m not a style expert, I’m not trying to pass myself off as a style expert, and I don’t think my content or writing style would give anyone the idea that I was some sort of expert. Nonetheless, there was the question, sitting in my inbox.

So I answered it as best as I could, drawing on what little I knew from personal experience and scouring the web. I took a deep breath, submitted my answer, and hoped I didn’t screw it up too badly.

Alexander Chen of 3sixteen recently wrote a great post about blogs. I highly recommend that you read it. His words, along with the increasing volume of questions I receive, compelled me to write this post. This particular passage really stood out to me:

Blogs have become the new résumé or portfolio – and yet, while you would never expect a CV to contain spelling mistakes, incorrect details and grammatical errors, many blogs which have accumulated huge followings are rife with such errors. Please note that I’m not talking about deliberate stylistic choices in writing, but actual mistakes: awkward/fragmented sentences, poor use of punctuation, et al. What’s more, many of these posts are written in a rushed manner (oftentimes in an attempt to beat others to the punch) and result in the proliferation of incorrect information.

That last bit, about rushing “to beat others to the punch?” That totally describes me, along with the requisite “incorrect details and grammatical errors,” “awkward/fragmented sentences, poor use punctuation, et al.” (my 2003/2004 self would be appalled). In particular, I’m thinking about my recent post comparing Lands’ End Canvas and J. Crew pant measurements, wherein I listed incorrect measurements for J. Crew’s classic fit based on a less than reliable source. Sure, I followed up with a correction, but not before my post got reblogged, disseminating the false information. I don’t have an iota of the influence necessary to actually hurt J. Crew’s business, but I felt bad, nonetheless.

So I’ll try harder. I’ll actually use the “Preview” button and proofread my posts. I’ll edit viciously and avoid posting random crap.

Thanks for your attention and patronage, followers. Here’s hoping the next 500 posts will be even better than the last 500.

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Notes

  1. putthison reblogged this from thisfits
  2. thesilentist said: Oh man, Greymatter! What a learning experience, until the spam got pretty bad. I really dig the work you do on this Tumblr & PTO was when I started to pay attention, too & start trying a bit harder. Glad to hear you’ve made it to this new milestone!
  3. thisfits posted this