By definition, rugged represents something rough, with harsh and strong features. Extrapolate from that and an entire lifestyle is starting to shape up. No longer are the polished clean-shaved Hollywood good boys the most popular kids on the block. At the moment, the ‘Gerard Butler Style’ is the real hit. Oh, I mean the ‘Rugged Style’, but you can understand my confusion.
That’s not to say that he takes the credit for the popularity of this look, he just brought it to our attention at a time when fashionable elegance had started to take over. Paul Newman, John Wayne, James Dean are all icons of this casual low-key style, but it started even sooner; remember the Marlboro Man, one of the most controversial male figures used in the advertising industry? Or the rough mustached man riding motorcycles and exploring rain forests in Camel campaigns? Yes, I know they’re both cigarette commercials but my point is that it was the brawny attitude that people relied on to sell their product. Men wanted to be seen as real alpha males, fighting the forces of nature and braving any challenge.
Times have changed but men haven’t; that’s what fashion designers who have embraced this philosophy count on. You don’t need to wear your father’s work clothes or your granddad’s hunting attire to be truly rugged, because designers have explored and build on this styling niche. Rag & Bone’s philosophy was prompted by American workwear, craftsmanship and quality fabrics, so their products are inherently suited to a rugged fashion style. Cargo pants, sweaters, cotton shirts, waterproof jackets; anything an urban adventurer needs. John Varvatos has chosen eccentric ruggedness to feature in his campaigns, with Iggy Pop and Alice Cooper promoting his dark-colored rock’n’roll sensibility. If you want something for true outdoor experiences, Wrangler and Levi Strauss offer classic practical clothing for some the most extreme adventures, while G-Star’s military-inspired raw jeans are a popular and stylish innovation not only for world chess champion Magnus Carlsen, a testimonial of the Dutch brand.
Take a look at Brad Pitt, David Beckham, Daniel Craig, Bradley Cooper, Gerard Butler in Rugged Style right above; sure, they’re the poster boys for ruggedness but strip them of their wardrobes, put them in a suit and they’ll still be regarded as real mavericks and symbols of masculinity. Why is that? Simply because they haven’t perfected just a casual fashion style but crafted a red-blooded attitude, a trait of personality that comes across whatever they choose to wear. Bad news is you need that to pull off this style. Good news is you’re a man; you probably already have it, just try to exploit that feisty masculinity.