Happy Friday Fishy Friends! I’m incredibly excited for today’s guest because simply put, Josh Johnson is a really great guy with a unique perspective. (You’ll see why below.) I also love the random way I found him. As writers do, I was Google image searching clothes for a character. My rock star drummer needed a tank top. Here’s how it went down: I typed in “Man Tank Tops”, scrolled through loads of images and then Bam! I saw this cool, adorable guy … right away I knew I was looking at Will.
A little further digging and I found he had a blog of his own. A very awesome blog mixing men’s fashion with honest, positive and creative narrative bits that you’ll want to check out. Just my luck, he had a contact link should someone want to work together on a post. I practically shouted yes and not long after, I had myself a Guy Day guest! As you’ll see from our interview, he’s got a fresh, entertaining male perspective that I know will be appreciated by our writer and reader friends alike. And he’s so darn charming. And cool. Please welcome Josh, The Kentucky Gent…
Me: For our fishy friends not familiar with The Kentucky Gent, please tell us a little about yourself and what you do, Josh.
J: I’m a blogger, foodie, free lance writer, and runner from Louisville, Kentucky.
Me: Cool, and what do you love about your job?
J: I love that it never feels like work. I get paid to do what I already love to do. Talk, eat good food, drink good drinks, and wear killer clothes.
Me: The above outfit is pretty killer. So, what type of outing are you typically most excited to get ready for and why? Ie: work, a concert, a walk in the park, a non-stop flight to Aruba?
J: Dinner and drinks with friends. I don’t tend to get dressed up much, but I always love putting together an outfit.
Me: Speaking of Aruba, I know you love the beach which is awesome sauce with us Mermaids. What is the current consensus on hero-worthy swimwear? This is always the one thing I think you’ve got to be practical about, especially with sand and water involved but obviously we all want something flattering too. I hand it over to you, oh mighty subject matter expert.
J: The shorter the better, honestly and seriously. Not so short that we’ve got special bits exposed, but take a hint from the Euro males and show your thighs some love. It’s more flattering on most all body types. Longer, boxy shorts make a guy look short and squatty, which should be the last thing we want to impart on someone when we’re poolside. Prints and bright colors are my go-to’s.
Me: In your opinion, are men actively aware of their style or are they winging it? Do you think the average guy puts more thought into his clothing choices than the average person realizes?
J: I think it’s a toss up. It honestly takes MORE time to look like you didn’t take any time getting ready than to actually look put together. Men are masters of emulation. We do what we see our guy friends doing, and that’s where I hope I can help out. I keep it simple, most of the time, and don’t wear designer duds. I want to appeal to the average Joe and show him that you can look like a million bucks while still looking like a guy next door.
Me: I like that. Do you listen to music when you get dressed? What’s a great song to get your clothes on to?
J: I almost always listen to music when I’m getting ready. Typically something upbeat, but it does depend on my mood. Currently I’m obsessed with Sia’s new album.
Me: Adore Sia, big time. As romance writers, we are taught to give our characters quirks to help them leap off the page. What are some quirky fashion choices you can give to help us achieve this for our romance heroes?
J: Take iconic pieces and give them a personal twist. Two of those for me would be jeans and chucks. They help me seem more relatable to the average Joe, but I’ll spice up the shoes with some funky socks, or by cuffing my jeans up at the bottom.
Me: If you could style anyone, who would it be and why?
J: That’s a tough one, but I’d definitely style Nicole Richie. Only because she doesn’t really need to be styled, and I’d love to get a glimpse into her life and closet.
Me: Nice. In romance novels, we love a tattooed hero. When I searched out your tank top pics, your tattoos immediately caught my eye. What do yours say about you and are they just as much a part of a man’s style as any other piece of his wardrobe?
J: They all tell a story. Each one of them a different part of me, and a way that I’ve chose to deal with and cope with things that have happened in my life. Tattoos are wearable art, and because of that they’re the ultimate accessory.
Me: Cool, now let’s have a little fill in the blank fun:
J: A stylish man can also be… insecure.
J: A stylish man shouldn’t be afraid to… stand out.
J: Every stylish man should own a… leather jacket.
Me: Can we talk pj’s? First off, what do you men call them? I probably spent way too much time deciding how my hero would refer to his jammies in my latest book only to realize he probably wouldn’t refer to them in the first place. Am I right or wrong? But we do tend to talk about men’s sleepwear in romance novels so help us out, Josh! Are they pajamas, pj’s, bottoms, pants, lounge pants? Or something else entirely?
J: To be honest I’ve never been a PJ’s kind of guy. I’m incredibly hot natured and HATE sweating while I sleep. When I’m lounging around the house I’m in gym shorts and an old t-shirt, and most guys that I know are exactly the same way. When it comes to sleep I’ve always heard it’s best to sleep in the buff, but when I’m not doing that I’m usually calling it a night in just my skivvies.
Me: There you have it, romance writers, don’t overheat your men! Buff or skivvies, take your pick. 😉 And for the sake of those writing details, let me pick your brain a little further on this topic. For a woman, wearing a nightgown to bed can be a hassle because she ends up getting tangled and twisted. Is there anything similar for a man as far as sleepwear goes that the average woman wouldn’t know about? Anything uncomfortable?
J: I hate wearing a shirt to bed, if it’s too tight you can feel like you’re being smothered, but if it’s too big you end up getting it stuck underneath you as you try to roll over. It’s a pain.
Me: Is there ever a time when fashion just isn’t important to you? I’m looking for a day/situation when you’ve got something going on or nothing at all and you simply say “Screw it. Not worrying about what I look like today.”
J: I have a lot of those days. Luckily for me my style is incredibly laid back, so even on those days I still keep it looking purposeful. If I’m having one of those days I grab for my favorite pair of jeans/shorts and a loose fitting t-shirt. If I’m wearing shorts I’ll cuff up the sleeves on the shirt, and if I’m wearing jeans I’ll cuff them instead. It takes about 2 minutes to get dressed, and I’m still looking fly.
Me: When trying on clothes, are there any body parts guys are checking out on themselves to see if they look good? You know, kind of how we ladies are checking to see if our tushes look good in those jeans.
J: I always lift up my shirt to check out my butt in the mirror. Other than that I check my stomach and love handles.
Me: You. Are. Awesome. Onto … Grooming! This could be an entire blog post of its own and Josh, if you’ve ever read a romance novel, you know we ladies are OBSESSED with man-grooming. Our heroes’ whiskers in particular. I’m not even gonna go there as to why that is. I guess I want to know how your grooming affects or is related to your sense of style. Is facial hair something that is trendy kind of like hairstyles? Also I’m curious to know how practical is facial hair for a guy? Are these things a chore for you gents to maintain? Are you like, “Damn, I hate having to shave but this is the look I want.”
J: I actually hate shaving, and haven’t done so in years. I keep a trimmer in the shower, and when I start looking unkempt I trim down the scruff and even up my neck. Growing out a full beard is definitely a task and commitment. It’s important to keep your neck trimmed up at all times or you end up like a wooly mammoth, not a sexy lumberjack. But in the end it’s worth it. Facial hair styles come and go, but I think we can all agree most men look better with at least a 5 o’clock shadow.
Me: Agreed. 😉 It is beyond exciting to have a stylish man in the pond and so I’m taking full advantage! For this last bit, I’m going to give you a couple hero backgrounds and ask you to give us romance writers a practical outfit or piece of clothing for the guy and his particular task.
Our first hero has been set up on a blind dinner date which he’s not too thrilled about, but it’s not the date’s fault so he’s doing his best. In this frame of mind, what would this guy show up in? So he’s trying to be nice but not trying for a second date. And he’s probably a bit of a loner and doing that adorable brooding thing.
J: That would depend a lot of what he knew about who his date was with, what they liked/didn’t like. If he wasn’t shooting for a second date he’d obviously do his best to be as far from what they were expecting as possible. Based on what I know about romance stories I’m sure the date would expect him to show up in a leather jacket, tight jeans, and an even tighter t-shirt, am I right? (You’re so right, Josh!) I’d tell him to show up in relaxed fit jeans, a t-shirt, and a blazer. He’d still look dapper, but would not be the apple of his date’s eye anymore. He may however garner the eye of a few admirers in the bar.
Me: I like how you think, my friend. So our second hero is the one who’s gonna end up in a sticky and dangerous situation with his love interest and have to save the day. Um, let’s say they ended up running from a nasty ole stalker after an evening walking the local street scene. Our dashing hero should probably be wearing…
J: …Chucks not sneakers. There’s a BIG difference between fashion footwear like Chucks, Vans, etc. and thinking it’s ok to wear Nike or Adidas gym shoes on a date, or in public in general. It’s a no, no. If a date shows up wearing the same shoes he wore to the gym it’s probably best to let the stalker nab him, so kick off your heels and run Forest, run.
Me: I can’t run because I’m too busy cracking up and rolling on the floor. Whew, okay so this last guy, boy my heart really goes out to him. The poor young man just woke up with a swollen neck, two tiny puncture wounds and looking way too pale. Josh, please have some fun and style our newly made vampire for all those paranormal romance writers out there.
J: In true Edward Cullen (I heart you, Josh) fashion, stick to neutral tones, like beige, gray, tan, and black. It’ll keep from washing out the already pale skin. Keep it simple with a basic t-shirt or woven, jeans, a leather jacket, and boots for that bad-ass broody vibe that we all know we lust after.
Me: All right, that’s it. If I could throw you in a net and keep you here in the pond I would! Bare minimum, I hope you’re okay with honorary Merman status. Thank you, Josh. You really rocked it out for us today. Now please share where our readers can follow you for more excellent tips and insight into the stylish man’s world.
J: You can subscribe to my blog by visiting TheKentuckyGent.com, or follow along on the below social media handles.
Pinterest: The Kentucky Gent
All right friends, so what do we think? Ready to write some well-dressed heroes? For our readers out there, share your faves when it comes to what your romance hero is wearing. And let’s all give Josh some love!
Psst… All the awesome pics used in this post are credited to the very gracious and stylish, Josh Johnson.