Every guy likes to get new stuff. Whether it’s a car, a gadget, or sneakers, there is always a desire for that new new. Unboxing an item that you’ve been obsessing over for months reduces every man into a kid opening presents on Christmas morning.
Until it gets that first scratch.
As great as the excitement over a new grown-up toy is, it can be quickly eclipsed by the disappointment of the precious item being dinged or tarnished in some way. Not everything has to be worse for wear though, especially when it comes to style. Sure, you want to keep a pair of fresh white sneakers as unblemished as possible. But other pieces actually look better the more beat up they get. That patina tells a story about where an item has been and what it’s seen. It also removes a lot of the anxiety that arises when you’re preserving museum-quality items.
Here are seven men’s style pieces that only get better with age.
SCHOTT LEATHER MOTORCYClE JACKET
The leather motorcycle jacket is a staple of two supremely cool cultures: bikers and rock n’ roll. Brand new it comes off as a bit poser-ish, all stiff and shiny. But once the leather breaks in and takes on its distinctive fades and cracks, it just keeps getting better. Each new scratch adds to its character and authenticity.
A.P.C. NEW STANDARD JEANS
The name doesn’t lie. As tough as it may be for blue-blooded Americans to deal with, French brand A.P.C. has created the new standard of jeans. And the way they look when you first buy them is almost unrecognizable from a pair after months and years of wear. The deep indigo of the raw Japanese denim recedes to a lighter blue that looks almost white along the quads where the jeans have broken in the most. Most denim companies offer ready-made jeans in washes designed to mimic the look but nothing can replace the style or comfort that comes when you do it yourself.
Filson has been around since 1897 and if you were to pick up one of their bags today, chances are it would be around 119 years from now. The company prides itself on creating products that are built to last. With that, comes pieces that take on a terrific worn-in quality, whether it’s a subtle fraying of the canvas or the softening of the leather straps. Filson even created a restoration department to give old bags a second life and allow customers to purchase perfectly beat-up ones without having to do all the work.
RED WING BOOTS
We’re not going to lie. Out of the box, a new pair of Red Wings can be pretty damn uncomfortable. The oil-tanned leather and the crepe sole are stiff and unforgiving. But that’s all in the service of durability. And if you stick with it, you’ll be rewarded with a pair of boots as comfy as your favorite sneakers. The upper, footbed, and midsole all mold to your foot over time for a truly personalized fit. And while you probably don’t want to kick actual shit in these boots, you never have to worry about getting them dirty because like a Timex watch, they take a licking and keep on ticking and look damn good doing so.
TANNER GOODS BELT
Tanner Goods cornered the hashtag #worthholdingonto and that is certainly the case with these belts. The leather ages like a good whiskey, taking on that ombre brown over time. The color is deep and rich and just feels like a real man’s belt should. It’s the ideal way to hold up those perfectly worn-in jeans.
CONVERSE CHUCK TAYLOR ALL STARS
Maintaining pristine kicks is one of the 10 commandments of sneakers. But you make an exception for Chucks. I still have the very first pair I ever owned from 1994. The soles have holes in them, but the way that the canvas aged over time is awesome. And the requisite doodles and tags around the midsole only add to the look.
A Rolex Submariner is an iconic timepiece that looks great in any condition. But because of its timeless appeal, you see a lot of them around. One way to make yours stand out is to actually wear it everywhere and let the watch take a beating. Don’t worry, you’re not going to hurt it. Rolexes have been at the top of Mt. Everest and the deepest depths of the ocean so a little scratch on the case isn’t going to hurt it.