1 Pair of Boots, 3 Completely Different Outfits

1 Pair of Boots, 3 Completely Different Outfits
Proving the right boots can have many different sides, just like you.
1 Pair of Boots, 3 Completely Different Outfits
thursday logo This post was supported by Thursday Boot Co., check out the President boot in the beautiful grizzly wheat.

What is this?

This is not the article I originally wrote.

The initial draft was about how the right pair of boots can work for a range of personal styles. Preppy to street style to rugged to dressed up. Sometimes it’s hard to see that, and so I took a bunch of photos showing how I was able to create 3 different outfits with completely different aesthetics with just one pair of boots.

But then, while I was looking at the photos I thought of something funny and sent it around to a few friends. I realized the photos looked like bio cards for what people yearn for in boyfriends and then husbands.

The “Boyfriend”

men casual outfit leather biker jacket henley gray jeans brown boots

Boots: Thursday Boots, $199 / Vintage jacket: Schott, $780 [similar, new] / Henley: Target, $12 / Jeans [similar]: Levi's, $38

The “Husband”

men business casual pea coat sweater tie khakis brown boots

Boots: Thursday Boots, $199 / Pea Coat: Gap, $118 / Sweater: Target, $25 / Chinos: J.Crew, $48 / Oxford: Amazon, $25 / Tie: Target, $20

It’s a laugh at the classic cliches for men: Our culture drives people to want one thing in a boyfriend, and seek something else from a husband. The boyfriend is unrefined and sexy and confident. The husband is sophisticated, trustworthy, and generous.

The first is defined by the perception of excitement, the second by dependability.

The trouble comes when, naturally, boyfriends turn into husbands. Most people in long-term relationships actually need their partners to be a thoughtful mix of both.

And often what gives it away is our personal style. Show up to a rock concert with your partner to meet a group of friends wearing chinos and a pea coat and it’s proof that you’re embarrassingly dependable. Show up to the 40th wedding anniversary party for your spouse’s parents in a beat-up leather jacket and t-shirt, and you’re roguishly inadequate as a husband.

men street style leather jacket henley black jeans brown boots

STREET STYLE: Boots: Thursday Boots, $199 / Vintage jacket: [similar, new] Schott, $780 / Henley: Target, $12 / Jeans [similar]: Levi's, $38

How many times have we seen the movie where the wife has grown bored and frustrated by a husband who works too much and means well but is ultimately just an agreeable guy who has grown into a boring, middle-aged man?

Equally present in movies is the raffishly attractive but immature grown man still living as a bachelor – grossing out his dates with his filthy apartment, with a refusal to take financial responsibility in his life.

In both of those predictable plot lines, the guy realizes he’s become too set in his own ways. The “Steve Carell” throws away his pleated khakis and promises new passion in a fading relationship. The “Matthew McConaughey” outgrows his motorcycle and promises to commit to a mature long-term love.

The irony is that what I’m basically suggesting is that no one is ever happy: People overlook the bookish nice guys in favor of the rugged bad boy but are constantly frustrated by all of the inherent qualities of an exciting, but immature person. When they get the overly-dependable husband all they want is a guy who knows how to excite them with just a look and a proclivity for spontaneity.

rugged style

RUGGED – Boots: Thursday Boots, $199 / Shirt jacket: Bonobos, $158 [similar] / Flannel shirt: J.Crew Factory, $25 [similar] / Henley: Nordstrom Rack, $18

But it’s not their fault. We should all be allowed to want responsibility and excitement. For me, I want to date a woman who is thoughtful and nurturing, but who is also tough, assertive and sexually expressive within a committed relationship.

And as partners, it’s our obligation to be conscious and present enough to not get stuck in a rut. Strive to be the fun, sexy “boyfriend” who is also responsible and respectful. Endeavor to be the providing and steadfast “husband” who still likes to have fun and mix things up while making his partner feel like the only person that matters in a crowded room.

men business casual preppy pea coat vneck sweater khaki chinos brown boots

BUSINESS CASUAL PREP: Boots: Thursday Boots, $199 / Overcoat: Kenneth Cole, $89 / Sweater: Target, $25 / Chinos: J.Crew, $48 / Oxford: Amazon, $25 / Tie: Target, $20

And that was the argument of my original post. Not, “hey, look at this one pair of boots, if you’re street style you can wear them; if you’re preppy you can wear them; if you’re rugged you can wear them,” – the point is you should make an effort to incorporate all of those ideas in your life. To not have one general style that you wear to everything because that’s what’s comfortable or because you’re too insecure to wear something different.

Just like the optimal guy, a great pair of boots is rakish and cultured. Sexy and dependable. That’s why these service boots from Thursday Boots work so well across style aesthetics.

Much like how I’ve talked about using chameleon items to blend dress levels, a great pair of boots like the Presidents in grizzly wheat span style archetypes. Wear them with slim dark jeans and a leather jacket and they look badass. Wear them with a v-neck sweater, a tie, and khakis and they’re handsomely business casual.  Use them to finish off a quilted jacket, a flannel shirt, and a thermal henley and look ready to split some wood.

I’m a big fan of Thursday Boots. We’ve partnered with them on this post, but if you read Primer regularly, you’ll know I use them all the time on my own. I have four pairs now and regularly go for one of them over pairs I have that cost twice as much.

They’re made with full-grain leather (the highest quality grade available) and constructed with a  Goodyear Welt, which is considered far superior to frugal adhesive options, and present on all high-end boots. And unlike many vintage-inspired models, all of Thursday’s boots feature a full glove leather interior lining meaning not one of the four pairs needed any uncomfortable breaking in.

Which comes more naturally to you? Being the “Boyfriend” or the “Husband”?

Keep the conversation going in the comments!

Special thanks again to Thursday Boots for helping to make this post possible.

Andrew is the founder and editor of Primer. He's a graduate of American University and currently lives in Los Angeles. Read more about Primer on our About page. On Instagram: @andrewsnavely and @primermagazine.

  • Jonathan Abrosimoff

    Hey Andrew – great article, I love Primer. I know you’re in L.A. but up here (Canada) we’re freezing! Any chance you could give us some help with dressing for the ‘Canadian Arctic’ but still looking good? Have a great day!

  • Dliebman100

    I second that last statement by Mr. Jonathan Abrosimoff! Maybe a 2-parter article of looking good in NY winters and Canadian winter.

    Any thoughts on the LL Bean Maine Mountain Parka vs. Arc’teryx Therme Parka?

  • Joseph Padilla

    Yup! Definitely the “boyfriend” in this case. The chances of me letting go of my leather biker jacket in the next couple of years are slim to none.

    My best way of having the “boyfriend” and “husband” persona merge is with a bomber/trucker jacket, henley, dark jeans and minimalist sneakers: it gives off the impression of someone who’s relatively dependable yet is up for anything.

  • Felix Marcano

    Great article, I’m usually a mixture of both, I live in NY and wear a suit Mon – Thu, business casual on Fri. and on the weekend prefer more of a rugged look during the day, I like to switch to a little bit more conservative in the evening if dining out with the wife (Pic #2). These boots seems very versatile, although I have similar looking boots, I do not own a pair of Thursday Boots. Would love to see more rugged looks for man on their late 30s to early 40s without looking boysh and trending. Also, NY winter is brutal sometimes, give us some pointer on how to stay warm and look stylish at the same time.

    Thank you

  • Zac Silk

    I’m really glad to see this article has provoked a lot of responses. Personally, I’m more the boyfriend at the moment as I’m usually wearing a leather biker jacket.

    However with a module that I’m taking at college taking into account marks for dressing professionally I’m starting to dress more like the husband just to get some good marks.

    Glad to see Thursday’s offer a boot that is so veristile, I’d probably aim for a rugged weekend look with a field jacket of a quilted jacket to replace the quilted shacket.

  • rogun

    Another great article Andrew!

    Yep, people want the bad boyfriend and the good husband. I’ve seen countless examples of women who will only date men with long hair, but then demand they cut their hair when it gets serious. But there’s no reason you can’t be a little good and bad. It makes things interesting!

  • Kenny David

    Hey Andrew, this was great. For me,
    I definitely relate more to the prep and rugged more than the rakish. I really like how the 3 outfits you modeled reflected Tanner Guzy’s three style archetypes. Also, I appreciated how you expanded on that idea, nuancing it by talking about “husband” vs “boyfriend” and how a blend could be best. One question. How would you translate these same principles of blending archetypes to the workplace, where sexual attraction isn’t the primary purpose of the outfit? Thanks so much.

  • http://www.thestuntzombie.com Stunt Zombie

    How are the fit on those boots? In your experience, do they run true to size, or are they a little big?

    • http://www.primermagazine.com/ Andrew

      True to size in relation to the other boots I own.