WellBuiltStyle: A Conversation with The Peak Lapel

WellBuiltStyle: A Conversation with The Peak Lapel

Welcome to a new interview series we’re starting here on The Peak Lapel in which we chat with some of your favorite online men’s style personalities. It’s our hope that you can learn from these people in ways that can help improve your own style, routines, image, life, and productivity. We hope you find these conversations as interesting as we do! If you’d like to see someone specific interviewed for this series, do let us know!

Who are you and what do you do? Where can people follow your work online?

I’m Manny De La Cruz and I’m a lifelong fitness enthusiast turned style aficionado. People can find me over at my website: www.wellbuiltstyle.com and they can also follow me on Twitter.  

 Click to check out Manny's site!

Click to check out Manny's site!

How did you first get into men’s style/clothing/fashion and when did you decide to turn it into something more than just a hobby?

I first got into men’s style sometime around 2011 when I made a career change. My new job required me to up my style game in a big way and I’ve been hooked on men’s style ever since. I started the website a couple of years later (2013) and haven't looked back.

What is your hair styling routine, if any? What products do you use and why?

These days I keep my hair relatively short (think tapered along the sides with a bit more weight on top). I style it using a generic drugstore brand hair gel. I’ve tried many, many different products (pomades, gels, sprays, creams, etc.) over the years but I have consistently found generic, scent-free, alcohol-free hair gel works the best for my hair. Sometimes you don’t need to overcomplicate things!

What is your EDC (“Every Day Carry”), and why? What do you never leave home without?

I’m a minimalist when it comes to EDC, so I only carry my driver’s license, two credit cards, a debit card, and some cash. I use a money clip to carry all these items which I typically put in the front pocket of my trousers. I also have my cell phone and my car keys (which literally contain just the key to my car and house) on me. I generally stow my phone and my keys in my bag to avoid stuffing them in my pockets. Of course, when I’m not carrying my bag I will put my phone and my keys in my jacket pocket or otherwise carry them in my hands.

How would you describe your personal style? What is your go-to outfit?

Rugged-refined with a sporty twist. Some of my favorite pieces include henleys, cardigan sweaters, button-up oxfords, denim jeans, double monks, etc. One of my every day, go-to outfits is a henley, denim jeans, and some sort of boot (desert or chelsea). Whether I’m lounging around the house, hanging out with friends, or running errands on the weekend, I tend to find myself wearing an outfit like this.

 Check out that MTM suit!

Check out that MTM suit!

What is the biggest splurge style item you own and why?

The biggest splurge item(s) I own are a couple of MTM (made to measure) suits. Each of these suits cost me around $1400 CDN. I have an athletic build that is hard to fit off-the-rack, so spending extra money for MTM was well worth the cost. The fit is impeccable, and I look (and feel) like a million bucks in those suits.

What is your favorite style purchase of the last year and why? Least favorite?

My favorite style purchase of the last year (2017) would have to be a beautiful short sleeve button-up shirt I picked up from a local menswear clothier in my town. The quality of the shirt is second to none. It’s perfect for the late spring/summer season. It’s also great to be able to support a local business in my community that’s making outstanding menswear products.

My least favorite style purchase of the year would have to be the no-show/loafer socks I got from Gap. They simply do not stay on my feet at all. The socks slip off my heels. Very annoying. Time to look for a better pair…

 Manny's favorite new style purchase: that awesome short sleeve shirt

Manny's favorite new style purchase: that awesome short sleeve shirt

Walk us through your morning routine…

I’m up by 0430hrs (I start work at 0600hrs). I shower, shave, and get dressed (key tip: I lay out my clothes/outfit the night before). I’ll then make myself breakfast (a high protein smoothie) and pack my lunch. I’ll typically do a 5-10 meditation or an entry in my gratitude journal before heading out the door by 0530 for my ~30 min walk to work.

What is one style rule you think more guys should be breaking? On the flip side, what is one style mistake you see (even some otherwise well-dressed guys) commonly making?

I’d like to see more men break the “don’t combine black with brown” style rule more regularly, especially when it comes to casual style (think black denim jeans with dark brown boots).

One style mistake I see otherwise well-dressed men make is wearing blazers or sports jackets that are too short in the tail. The “chopped jacket” look is definitely a trend right now (although it’s dying), but it’s not something that I find aesthetically pleasing. 

What book have you gifted most often?

Meditations by Marcus Aurelius

How do you keep yourself productive? What advice would you give to someone who is looking to be more productive?

Simple: treat your excuses for not wanting to do something as the lies that they are. It’s a mindset shift that works for me. 

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