Brock McGoff of 'The Modest Man': A Conversation with The Peak Lapel

Brock McGoff of 'The Modest Man': A Conversation with The Peak Lapel

This conversation is just one installment in our new and ongoing interview series. Check out the other awesome interviews we've done by clicking here!

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

My name is Brock McGoff, and I run The Modest Man, which provides in-depth, practical style advice for men (especially shorter men). (See YouTube channel here.)

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 found myself becoming interested in online business and men's style around the same time. These two interests converged with The Modest Man. I always wanted TMM to be more than a hobby, but I didn't know if it would possible until a couple of years in. As of 2016, I've been running TMM full time.

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

I've had a bunch of different styles, and the routine really changed depending on length, style, etc. Right now, my hair is pretty short. I use Khiels Shampoo/Conditioner daily, followed by some pre-styler (I like this stuff), then whatever cream/wax/pomade I'm testing that week. Recently, that's been the latest and greatest from Blumaan and Hanz de Fuko.

What is your EDC (“every day carry”), and why? Where do you keep which items? What do you never leave home without?

I usually carry a minimal wallet by Anson Calder in my front left pocket, although I've been road testing an aluminum wallet from The Ridge Wallet. It's not quite as convenient as my AC, but it's very secure and sturdy. I wear a casual watch on my left wrist, usually a diver or field watch. My iPhone X (white/silver, no case) always stays in my front right pocket. Everything else usually goes in my shoulder bag: laptop, keys, AirPods, hard drive, etc. I don't carry a knife or multitool, but I do want to add these to my EDC. Let me know if anyone has suggestions (must be tiny)!

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

Basic, fitted casual. My style is like a great referee — it often goes unnoticed, but it doesn't make mistakes. The specific outfit depends heavily on the season, but an example would be: slim, tapered olive chinos, button up shirt (untucked), lightweight field jacket, camp mocs, sunglasses, and wrist watch. In summer, it might be: slim chino shorts, plain sneakers w/ no show socks, a fitted t-shirt or polo, same accessories.

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

I like nice sunglasses. Not crazy expensive, but not the cheap, replaceable ones you get at Target. I have two pairs of prescription sunglasses from Warby Parker, and I wear them all the time. Also, nice underwear is a must. It doesn't have to be expensive (Uniqlo AIRism boxer briefs are amazing), but I'll throw down some cash for great underwear.

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

My favorite purchase was the Hamilton Khaki Mechanical field watch. I fits my style perfectly, and it's quickly become my go-to daily wear watch. Least favorite? Hmm... I tried out a slim fit bomber from Uniqlo that was way too big, so that was pretty disappointing.

Oliver Wicks summer blue suit 1.jpg

Walk us through your morning routine…

I get up around 7:30a in zombie mode. I'm no good in the morning. So I make the bed for a quick victory, then brush my teeth and chug 24oz of water. While I'm finishing my water, I heat up a cast iron skillet and get some coffee brewing (usually drip, sometime pour over). I either make eggs and toast or a breakfast wrap. I don't drink any coffee until I've finished a full bottle of water.

While I'm cooking and eating, I listen to an audiobook or podcast — usually nonfiction — in the morning. Then I check my emails, social media, and to-do list before getting 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?

Wearing pocket squares. They've become this must-have, totally necessary thing, to the point where people point out when you're not wearing one. I don't think squares are necessary all the time, and they can be overly dressy for some occasions.

In the same vein, well-dressed guys often over-accessorize. There's almost never a good reason to have more than three accessories on your body. For me, it might be sunglasses, watch, and maybe a tie or pocket square. If you have a watch, bracelet, ring, lapel flower, suspenders, etc., you end up looking like a caricature of a stylish man.

What book have you gifted most often?

The one book I've recommended most is The 4-Hour Workweek by Tim Ferriss. It changed the way I thought about my time and income, and it helped set me on my current trajectory.

How often do you read, and what kind of books? What is your overall media consumption like? How do you balance all that while staying productive?

Honestly, I find it very difficult to stay focused and not to get lost in the sea of "infotainment" online, especially when there's a fresh batch of it ready to consumer each morning. I try to follow one simple rule each day: produce more than you consume. This goes for everything, from calories to articles to tweets. I want to make sure that, in a given time period, I produce more than I consume.

That said, certain types of consumption are better than others. Reading books is often a great way to spend time. Even fiction can be great for your mind, vocabulary, writing skills, and imagination. There's a big difference between making progress on a thought-provoking book and casually listening to the latest business podcast in your queue. They both feel productive, but if we're honest with ourselves, the podcast probably won't help you achieve your goals.

I try to read/listen to nonfiction books in the morning and fiction at night. It doesn't always work out, and sometimes I watch Netflix instead. But I try to finish a book every month.

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

There are many, many days where I'm not very productive. I don't have a deep willpower reserve, and I'm not super regimented. But I get the important stuff done. I know what motivates me (it only took 30 years to figure it out...), and I think it's important to pinpoint what motivates you. Most people think it's making money, but I don't think that's accurate. For me, it's about freedom, not money. Money buys time, and I desperately want control over my time. So I have to control my income. It's the only way I can get the flexibility and freedom I crave so much. Other people might want fame or power. Or maybe you're competitive — maybe you just want to beat other people. That's fine! Harness that desire.

If you're not sure what motivates you, here are two common ones that work for most people, including me: you probably don't want to disappoint others, and you probably don't want to look back and regret anything. So commit to other people, and do it publicly. Make sure that your laziness will result in other people being disappointed in you. And when you're struggling with a decision or feeling unmotivated, ask yourself: what will you regret later on? When I'm on my deathbed, what decision will I wish I had made?

This works for me every time!

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