My interest in clothing came from my father who even in the middle of Kansas wanted to know the latest fashion.
Degrees in Sociology and Journalism from Kansas State University were the foundation for a diverse professional career.
Serving corporate America, I developed a strong sense of how fashion influences others.
I put my fashion hobby to the test working part time at a Polo/Ralph Lauren store, and filled an educational need by producing handouts for customers on all aspects of men’s clothing.
I was consistently the number one salesman, and I only worked part time!
I have written for ModernMan.com, AMansLife.com, Men’s Health, Greg Norman’s website Shark.com, and have been published in Money, Forbes, and GQ Magazines, Classic Style Magazine, and The Wall Street Journal.
One of my travel photographs was published by the Los Angeles Times, where you’ll also see an occasional letter to the editor!
I reside in Southern California.
AskAndyAboutClothes.com is devoted to what to wear, how to properly wear it, and the history of why we wear what we do.– Andy Gilchrist
How The Ask Andy Website Got Started
As I meet more and more of the members of the Ask Andy Community and those of you kind enough to own my book there seems to be a common question.
How did you ever start the website? Here’s the answer!
I was connected to modernman.com as their men’s fashion forum monitor. I tried to get the owner to post more of my articles, and add some advertising so that maybe I could get paid something! Those requests were not acted upon.
So I thought maybe I can do this myself the way I’d like to do it.
I also had begun writing my book, The Encyclopedia of Men’s Clothes.
One of my longtime friends, Bob McConnell, (a tennis and golf buddy) worked for IBM, and I approached him about doing a website. Bob said, “Sure, it’s easy!” And we went out and bought some Front Page software.
The next few weeks were a real learning experience for a non-tech person (me!). But Bob worked with me and got me through setting up some pages.
On either August 22, 2001 or November 2, 2001 (can’t quite pin it down!!) we were “on the air” and it looked great.
I kept adding to the site, and a week later I had received a total of 14 hits! Most of those were me looking at the site.
For some reason (maybe a real need for this kind of information) in a few weeks we started getting noticed. In a couple of months Google had found us.
I completed The Encyclopedia of Men’s Clothes, had it reproduced on a CD-Rom and sold the first one on March 27, 2002.
Then I talked Bob into setting up an online community (a forum). He was a little hesitant. I’m not sure he was too enthused, and it was a lot of technical work. Plus I don’t think that he saw any value in a site on men’s fashions.
The Forum went up on or before August 24th, 2002, and the traffic started increasing.
The big break came with a story about the site and online community in The New York Times, September 29, 2004 — the traffic shot up to 160,000. It dropped a few days later, but leveled off and then began to climb to 250,000 hits a day!
The May 2006 issue of Playboy Magazine recommended this site. As a result, we started getting over 300,000 hits a day!
And the rest, as they say, was history.
My vision for the website was that men of all ages had not gotten the basics about men’s clothing in the last couple of generations and they were starting to realize that those basics were very important.
From my part-time job in men’s retailing I knew men wanted to know which jacket buttons to button, what color socks to wear, how and when to wear pocket squares, etc.
I thought that I could create a website where gentlemen could comfortably talk about clothes without any embarrassment and ask questions about sock color.
Little did I know it would expand way beyond that! Some of the discussions are out of my league, but the great thing is I’m learning, too!
And I hope we just keep getting better and better.
— Andy Gilchrist
Feel free to send me a message or ask me a question about men’s clothes, fashion, history. . .
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